The second problem was I ran too much drink mix in my water. By the middle of the second lap I was starting to get some mean stomach cramps. Fortunately there were neutral water bottles in the feed zone. I was able to grab one and by the end of the third lap I was starting to feel better. Another lesson learned. I won't be repeating that mistake again on the Nightmare.
Now for the actual race. It was 44 miles along a circuit of about 14 miles and 900 feet of climbing per lap. On the last lap we had a finishing climb that gained 600 feet in 1.5 miles at an average of around 18%.
The first lap was at a nice pace, as I thought it would be with the distance to be covered. From the beginning of the second it was game on. A flurry of doomed attacks went of the front. Most of the time though it was Kissena or NYVelocity guys, so their teams (understandably) were not helping in pulling the breaks back. We averaged a brutal pace of 21mph over the course of entire race until we hit the bottom of the final climb. On a course like this, that pace hurts - A LOT.
Since I knew I was having trouble sticking with the strong men up the climbs I would go to the front at the very beginning and slowly slide back so that by the top I was in the middle of the main group of 40 riders. The tactic worked well as I was able to stay between 5th and 10th wheel most of the race. I used the knowledge gained from Housatonic and hardly did any work on the front and this probably saved my race. By the finishing climb I was well positioned at the front of the group.
I knew I wouldn't be able to hang with the top guys on the climb. I simply rode my pace up the hill. It was hard as guys were going around me with the lead group but I knew if I played my cards right I would be able to catch most of them as they burned out further up the climb. The tactic worked and I was able to climb a good 15 or 20 places up between the halfway point of the climb and the top/finish line.
It just wasn't my day today with the field that showed up. I managed to get 17th out of 75. Not bad, but not a top ten. Although it wasn't what I was hoping for I am still happy with it. The field that showed up was really strong so simply the fact that I was able to stay up front all day until the very end makes me feel good. My first race of the season I was getting shelled at mile 10, but now I can stick with the big boys until the very end.
After today's race I still have high hopes of doing well at the Green Mountain race. Even though it's a 4/5 race, most of the fast 4's will probably be doing the cat. 4 only race leaving us a newbies to fight it out in the cat. 4/5.
By the way, Nightmare is less than 30 days away!