I love this race, it suits me, no hills and lots of cardio. Unfortunately they moved the race to Sunday this year from Friday the previous two years which meant fewer people out to watch. It also meant a smaller field given the divided the races up more extensively than in prior years when there was only two fields.
The M3/S4 group was probably about 50-60 riders. Different from other years, they rolled the group out from Scott street and created a rolling start after the neutralized first lap. This race is great because it feels like an all out TT until the group pulls up as it goes into the tight corners. This year as in previous years the 4th corner was a trouble spot. This is where we come north on market street and turn left to head west on front street (yes going the wrong way!!). This turn is less than 90 degrees and as such, when you go wide you run out of room quickly. Unfortunately at about lap 10 or so, Jason touched a wheel and went down just in front of me. The good news was that he came out of the crash relatively unscathed (a little road rash on the arm and leg). I managed to stay inside and powered on. The race is interesting as I have tried to compete in prior years right at the front. But you tire quickly given the wind and the all out effort. Today I kept in the middle of the pack for most of the race about 20-25th in the group. This always risks being taken out by a crash but I managed to avoid the two that happened on turn 4 in the first half of the race. Just past half way i was feeling wiped out, the sprint in the back stretch was killing me as the group accelerated hard away from scott street before having to slow down going into the turn at market. I should have just relaxed but I was quite concerned about losing the group. Thanks to my wife Dianne, DY, Lana, Alexx, Jamie, Jason, Peter and others for keeping the cheering going, it always helps to power the legs.
With about 8 or so laps left i started to get a second wind and the legs were responding, I used laps 7-3 to move forward in the group, coming up on the inside of front street, I almost got wiped out as the leaders made one of those big waves from the right to left, which cuts off any aggressive riders trying to move up. With the second lap left i moved again to about 12th or so and felt comfortable but still needed to get into the top 5 or so in order to avoid the sprint issues that take out riders. For the last lap, I took to the top 5 as we came back down front and i felt comfortable. I got passed by 4 riders at the backstretch as we made the second last turn up market. The 4th and final turn is always sketchy as the focus on the sprint begins. Luckily for me, I avoided the crash that took out about 3 or 4 riders and was able to jump up the inside and start the sprint to the finish. Unfortunately my garmin readings on heart rate failed at this point as I thought my heart was coming out of my chest. I didnt have a lot left and couldn't reel in any of the 4 in front of me and got passed by one rider. I finished 6th overall and 3rd in the M3 grouping.
From the initial results it looks like the group averaged 43.5km/h for 40 minutes vs 43.3 last year for 60 minutes.
Peter S finished 33 in the M2 category, and I am not sure why Demetre was NP for the M1 race. It is astounding to me that the S1 category were able to achieve a 47.6km/h average speed on that course. That is just flying!
As usual, here are the garmin stats.