This will be my second race of the day and I am feeling more comfortable because I see some more xXx jersey's and I know the course now. As I give all the info I can to Jonathan and Matt about the course, I start to develope a sense of confidence. Going to the line with teammates, even though I did not know them well, made me feel stronger. This is something I never felt before in cycling, having never been on a team before and racing mostly in the mountain bike races, which is more of a loner type situation. And then the race starts and for the first five laps, Jonathan, Matt, and myself are holding the front, always in the top ten spots. It was a powerful feeling. My confidences was way up there. The pace was pretty easy because everyone was fighting so as not to be in the front to take on the strong headwind. It was brutal.
Matt and I had talked alot before the race, and since it was his first race, I was giving him all the pointers I had received. So about lap 6, Matt and I are talking and with my confidence about as high as it could get, and the pace so slow, I get this stupid idea and ask Matt, 'Do you want to play with the Pack'. And right after I say that I jump and take off. I lead the pack for a half a lap, the tough part of the lap, against the wind and up hill. Now I'm tired and want to get into the draft, and having a tough time. I finally find some draft in the back of the pack, and then what happens before I can recover? A break. Jonanthan gets in the break of six. After stirring up the pot in this Cat 4/5 race, I am fighting to hang on. My goal for the race was to finish with the pack and now the confidence is down. The break is a success because no one wants to work. I realized the experience of the riders in the break as they waited for something to happen and the capitalize on it. I need to learn some patience and how to draft. Well after a couple of more laps I recover by drafting and a slower pace every time we turn into the wind.
With four laps to go I still don't understand the whole patiences thing and am riding up front taking on the wind and getting tired. I'm not riding efficiently and I need to think about everything I'm doing. I remember then Luke saying, 'Position, position, position'. With three laps to go, I sit back again and get into the draft. Matt and I ride together and are just waiting for something to happen in our group. On the final lap, Matt moves up and I follow. He likes the hill and is feeling strong, so he starts to pull to the front and I follow his wheel. The wind really takes it out of him, but I am thankful because he leads me through the last turn and I am feeling fresh. So I start to sprint, and of course way to early, patience, patience, patience. One passes my on the inside.
I finish 7th, Jonathan 4th, and Matt 11th. I still have a lot to learn. I have to thank Matt for my finish. He did the hard work against the wind and up hill. Today was a good lesson on patience and holding a position in the front but not in the wind. Must become a wheel sucker.