The titles above could be likely headlines had we produced a win in the 30+ Cat 4/5 race late on Saturday afternoon. To any innocent bystander, it would have appeared that we cunningly planned a race strategy and then flawlessly executed said strategy during this race, when what really happened was an incredible stroke of luck followed by good teamwork!

In this race I had a horrendous start with my wheel slipping on the line. I looked up only to see half the field already around the corner. After two laps I was certain there was no way I could improve my lamentable position. After a few laps I learned the place to gain position was on that freshly paved section of the course preceding the bump, so over the next few laps I sprinted down that stretch and took the inside corner, each time getting a bit closer to the action at the front. What I did not realize while I was chasing was that Chris Sheripitis was doing some chasing of his own, pulling the bunch back to a lone breakaway. This explains why the pace was so fast and why it was so incredibly difficult to gain ground on anyone.

On one lap I did as I had been doing. . .accelerating before the bump to gain ground, when suddenly I found myself in a clear lane on the right, moving to the front. Then even more suddenly I was OFF the front. There had been an even larger ease here after Chris caught the breakaway rider, causing my acceleration to become a clever attack! I glanced quickly at the bunch, saw everyone sitting there, and knew that was it---that was my chance and even though it was unplanned, I just had to hammer it 110% and see what happened.

I lead over the line at the end of that lap, and the next, at which time I heard the bell! I kept fighting, knowing that Chris and Jacques et al. were doing what they could to disrupt the chase, and thought if I could make it over the bump with a few seconds then I might just take the win. I held them off past that point, but they closed me down with just two turns to go. A late crash around that turn gave me hope that some guys might hesitate, but no such luck. The race was on, and I could hang on only for 12th.

So even if you get a bad start, be patient and keep working to regain good position. You really never know when, suddenly and most unexpectedly, you will find yourself in an optimal position to capitalize and have a chance at a win, and if that happens you just have to fire full blast and don’t hesitate.