Being such a short race of only 25 mins, I'm told it has a faster pace than the earlier 3/4 race that lasts 45 minutes. After signing up for my race I saw David James replacing his front wheel. He showed me that its hub had broken earlier during the 3/4 race (which was still ongoing). It was an Ultegra hub and without cross lacing, and it's not designed or warranted for that. (I think they've relaxed that on some newer hubs).
He flatted during last week's race, so was particularly frustrated. But he was ready in plenty of time for our race. I mentioned a few posts back about 13-y/o (14?) Avery Visser and last night at the start I joked that I would be staying on her wheel. I knew from previous races that she'd stay with the main pack throughout.
In fact, I had it as my goal to stay with the main pack myself, so I was really only half joking. A Cat 3 buddy from work, Bob McGhee, offered some tips and unwittingly asked me to make it my goal stay with the pack last night. The back-and-forth turns tend to stretch out the pack, but it seemed like a faster start last night, and my power meter reported that we were fastest in the second 0.8-mile lap, averaging 26 mph. It was never "easy" but I never felt like I was going to completely collapse. I wasn't looking back and was trying to allow no more than about 10 riders in front of me, but it felt a lot more stretched out that usual, it started to bunch up and slow down around the 4th lap, but a couple of laps later at the last turn before the straightaway a woman went down, she sliding across the asphalt left, her bike sliding right and me somehow slipping in between.
I later learned it was Avery, ahead of me, of course, possibly going down from complications of a lapped rider. There's a left-right switch right before then and it's a particularly problematic spot for passing a lapped rider. I understand that Avery was not seriously injured, but did suffer some road rash and bruises. I had nightmares after seeing my own son go down when he was 15 and he barely had a scrape, so I'm particularly thinking about Avery and her folks today. I imagine she's experiencing a lot of delayed-onset pain.
The 5-lap card comes out and I'm still strong -- I'm actually going to make it!
At two laps to go, I fall back from the lead group of about a dozen riders when they ramp up for the finish, but fortunately both teammates are still in it. I finished about 75 yards behind them and while not exactly with the lead pack, it was a stretched out race, there are 35 or so behind me, so I'm feeling pretty good about my best finish ever and my fastest 25 minutes on flat ground. Being lapped is a distant memory.
Right now I'm still debating getting up early for the June 16th downtown crit and racing in one of the 30-minute Cat 5 races, else sleeping in and racing the 50-minute 4/5 race in the early afternoon. I'm leaning towards the shorter race that I'm more accustomed to. It just occurred to me that I could try both! :-)