The men's category 1/2/3 and 3/4 fields were combined into one giant super-field that was really persistent with making short attacks. It was great to have so many teammates in my race simultaneously for a change. I particularly liked being able to race with Billy Slutz because we were both constantly freaked out by the wet roads. I don't mind time-trials, cyclocross and triathlons on wet surfaces but pack riding down wet, steep, curvy descents is not my forte'. I fell off the back of the main group a couple times on the largest descents and then I would have to work way too hard to catch back on at the bottom. I was thrilled with my performance up the climbs for this time of year as I would typically gravitate toward the top 10 over the crest. I'm proud to say that I did not have my chain come off any of the appropriate chainrings during the race despite the best wishes of my competitors, so that's one goal met. Maybe it's because I'm riding the Cannondale Super Six Evo Red this year and I wasn't last year. Either way, I was able to actually stay in the main field during the first loop of the course. Goal met!
Unfortunately, I was beginning to freeze miserably as the rain became heavier during the second loop around. Though I love the way they taste, I wasn't drinking much of my Camelbak Elixir or eating enough Honey Stinger Waffles that first lap because I was too worried about the wet roads. I've begun to figure out that I'm a little more nutritionally sensitive than the average person so this kind of mistake really does me in quickly, particularly when there a lot of brief attacks that suck out the muscle glycogen. With the larger combined group that was inevitable. At mile 50, as we ascended the first climb again, I sunk too far into the fatigue zone, mentally weakened and fell off the back of the group. That was pretty frustrating since I'd been climbing well during the prior miles. From that point onward I wanted nothing more than to be done. I couldn't feel my feet or hands at mile 40 so that certainly didn't improve. I would do harder bursts to keep my body temperature up but that still didn't work. I suffered it out and finally finished, simply glad to be done but extremely numb. It took at least 15 minutes in my car and a thermos of hot chocolate to even begin to feel warmish again. I'm wearing my Gore-Tex riding boots next year if it's that cold again.