As I am returning the cheers and support to Brain Boyle and Peter Allen in their 30+, Matt Grosspietsch walks up and introduces me to Alberto Segura. Then William Pankonin comes walking up and now we have four xXx's going to race the 4/5. Matt and I did not bring trainers so we decided to meet up 45mins before the race for a warm-up. It was nice to talk about wind direction, where we needed to be after the third and fourth turn, and what we wanted to accomplish for the race. We needed to go wide on the second turn to hold the speed, on the south side of the pack after the third turn and then the west side after the fourth. There were 52 riders in the race. At the starting line the nerves started to set in. This is alot of people for me, going through the turns? But it was good to see some familiar faces like the guys from the Cutting Crew and our team. At the start Alberto takes the front and gets the pace going, William, Matt and Myself get right up there. I realize that the pace is going to be much faster than the previous race. On the second lap a rider right next to me overlapped his front wheel and when the pack shifted he went down. There goes the nerves again. I faded back in the pack to save energy. It is a big difference making turns with this size group. You can't see the turns, the expansion joints in the road, or much of anything when you are in the middle of big pack. I didn't like the feeling. Then the next time we are going through turn 2 (downhill and fast) all I hear are guys yelling "truck". A semi had gotten on to the course and the offical stopped him, but parked him on the outside of that turn. No one got hurt but it could have been very bad. Nerves going haywire now. I was not able to move up and after two more turns there was a break and I thought for sure I missed it again. I was still in the middle of the pack and towards the back. But they never got away. I need to move to the front, I didn't care because I needed to see. So I move up on the outside and filter into the top ten. There were alot of surges, sprinting out of turns, but no one got away. I even chased down a break with four laps to go. Then I remember the MDP first crit meeting and the boys say that breaks don't usually work in the 4/5 race because everyone is always chasing em down. With three laps to go the paced eased up. What is going to happen? I am looking all around. I'm tired but have to make my goal, finish with the pack. With two laps to go the pace jumps up and the race is on again. Work, work work, stay with the pack, stay on that wheel. I keep talking to myself. Just before we cross the line on the bell lap I feel I accomplished my goal. I will finish with the pack, and I become content. I'm not sure I want to finish in a mass sprint with so many, danger. So into turn one I keep my speed on the downhill and through the turn 2 and then I will just follow the pack in. But then something came over me. Or should I say some people passed me. But it was who passed me. Three members of xXx. I was inspired. I realized that I should be with them. It was a great feeling. Why was I Ok with just finishing? I seen Alberto, Matt, and William go around on the outside one right after another. It was impressive. It took me a couple of seconds to get out of the pack but I dropped down on the bars and raced right to them before the third turn. Turn 3 had a section of patched potholes along an expansion joint, and during the race the pack would split. I found myself on the far outside going into the turn and was worried about being pushed out on the turn. So I eased just alittle and got to the inside of the outside group going around the turn. But this time the pack didn't go back together. Jonathan told me once you may only have one chance in a race and a second to do it or your chance is gone. So I jumped and moved through the middle of the two packs. Then they started to close but I kept pushing and moved up to sixth before I bumped shoulders with riders to each side of me on the closing pack. I had been blocked by wind on both sides and the move up went fast. I realized then I had made a move that put me in a very good spot. With the head wind I knew that the front runners would fall off. One after another, they started to pull off. Two before the turn one in the turn. I also figure the sprint is going to start after the turn. I am sitting in third and stand up after the turn to get back to speed and on the guys wheel in front of me. One more falls off to the outside again. Then I see the sprint go to the far outside but I can not get out there(guys from the Cutting Crew). I try to stay patience but I don't think the rider in front of my is strong enough to lead my to the finish. Then more riders pass on the far outside and I still can't get over there. So here I am do or die? I shift down and start my sprint, but know the finish is a long way off. And I can't breath. And as I am getting up to speed, there is a blue flash to my right. I tell myself 'get on his wheel'. 'But I still can't breath'. Somehow I get to his wheel and can draft. Shift again, Stand, Can't breath, Sit, Shift again, Stand, legs burning, can't breath. Then I noticed this strong rider as lead me back up to the cutting crew although they were on the other side of the road. There were more surges in the middle of us but no one could hold the speed with the wind. Me? I was just sucking on this guys wheel and crying for oxygen. Shift again, and then I told myself I could breath on the other sid eof the finish. I got some extra strength from somewhere and gave my all. Now we passed the Cutting Crew on the outside and the line is coming up fast. Go around him I said. So I pull out and then gain on him. But as I come up to pass, he accelerates even more and I can not match. That wind was a bear. I cross the line in second and am in disbelief. Breath. What did I just do? 2nd? No way. Where did I get the power? I realized I never sprinted before will my hands on the drop portion of the bars. I was very excited, and thanked the sprinter in blue(Dennis Sandquist) for leading me up to 2nd. I tell the boys from the Cutting Crew, nice race and then hook up with Alberto, Matt, and William for a warm-down. I still can't believe it. I know it is only a training race but I was feeling good. The results seemed to take forever, and when I seen them I was in more disbelief. They had me as 1st place. How could that be? I was clearly beat by a wheel. So I talked to the officials. Was this guy DQed? I was told that he was lapped and when he actually crossed he was a lap behind. I told Jeff Perkins and he was also suprised as he had now got 2nd. So we got our medals and laughed, still in disbelief. The guys from the cutting crew also laughed but liked the fact that the top two spots in the 4/5 race went to guys with mountain bike pedals and shoes. What a great day. Then the results came out on the internet and I was put back to 2nd. That's okay by me because I really didn't win the sprint. I do apologize for posting the results as a 1st place on our site. But I was so excited that night. Next time I will wait for the true results. As for Dennis Sandquist, I will get him his medal. But most of all I would like to thank Alberto, Matt, and William. If it was not for you guys going around on the outside together as you did, I would not have been inspired. I am on a team now. I have a bigger responsiblity. I can't just cruise in with the pack. I have to represent xXx Racing - AthletiCo. I have to race. And that means fighting to the end. Thanks for teaching that to me. And Matt I owe one one. That is two good finishes I got inwhich you took part in. South Beloit here we come.