Gerry and I did the 40K today (Sunday) with four laps.
The day was warm and we had a strong south wind. The 50+ and 55+men and women started together, and then everyone else a few minutes later. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, except me, of couse. A couple of guys were from Richardson Bike mart. One was on the team time trial team you chased home last year. He said you about killed them single-handedly. I didn't realize it at the time but Mickey ???, their big gun, dropped out about 3 km from the finish of the TTT.
Anyway, we took off and everyone behaved pretty well the first lap. We were riding single-file, with Gerry next to last and I last. The leaders pushed it pretty hard on the second sharp turn, and both of us had to accelerate to catch back on, but other than that it was pretty uneventful. I was having flashbacks to the Fayetteville race, when I again was last in line and got dropped when the guy in front of me couldn't stay with one of the accordion-effect accelerations after a corner. So I moved up in the pack when I got a chance.
On the second lap, one of the 65+ guys attacked, and four of us 60+ guys went with him. Gerry was in the bunch that got caught out, so I was on my own. I think I now have a greater appreciation for Custer's situation. I was riding wtih a guy named Wally.
At the end of the second lap, I got a chance to try something that may never happen again. I got a feed! Or at least a water bottle. My feed zone chick was my wife Susan, who was along because we were coming back from Galveston. It worked just like it was supposed to; she held it up and I grabbed it. Pretty cool. She said for her it was like holding a cigarette in her mouth while I shot it out with a pistol. We also passed the 50+ bunch on the second lap.
Three 50+ guys passed us on the third lap, and then slowed down, so we were drafting them. I was on Wally's wheel at the end of the third lap, and he kept looking back at me and moving closer and closer to the shoulder so I couldn't get a draft off him, until he was riding about 4" from the edge of the pavement. Then one of the guys went around him on the left and he forgot about me because he had to chase the other guy down.
The first half of the fourth lap was uneventful, but the second half, people quit taking their pulls and started jockeying for position. On the bottom of the long hill on the back side, one guy attacked, but his jump was non-existent and I could stay in the saddle and still stay on his wheel. Toward the top of the hill, he attacked again, with the same result, so we stayed in the same order until halfway up the last rise before the right turn to the finish. Gerry and Stanton had worked out a plan for me since I have no sprint, so I gave it a shot. I jumped and dug for the turn, and was leading at the start of the straightaway. At that point the flaw in the plan (or, rather, in my conditioning) appeared. I didn't have the legs to hold my lead, and everyone came around me. I was fourth in my age group and last of 5 in the lead bunch. My second completed race and my first finish in the lead bunch.
Gerry finished with the second bunch, and won his age group.