We failed at bringing a cooler and snacks or a proper lunch. Typical. And the temps were increasing from the mornings nice cool race. Things were ramping up for a hot and windy second go. Luckily I won a box of Clif bars in a prime from the earlier race and luckily Conrad gave me three bottles of water before he left.
I got on the trainer twice before the race. I didn't push over 100 watts either time. I was tired and unmotivated. We had the Moment tent and I laid in the grass for a couple of races. I ingested all caffeine in sight 15 min before the race in hopes of a jolt to the system. A coke, motivator, and a gu were dumped in the very empty tank and a prayer for survival. I even stole some ice from the food truck cooler and shoved some down the front and back of my long-sleeve black skinsuit and in my single bottle of APX.
Small-ish field of 35 compared to Murietta circuit and especially with the technique-easy, wide course. I chatted it up with a Parlee/Herbalife pro rider from Australia before the race and knew I should stay with her.
It started off slow. And really, stayed that way for the entire race. It was similar to the women's 3/4 field and half assed attacks, but this time it was the wind reeling riders back in. Primes were happening but I was happy to sit in and observe the race. I was all over the field, finding new wheels to follow. During one of the surges, I begged myself for 3 laps to drink, as my mouth was turning to parchment paper.
The only thing to note during the race was about half way through. We were heading into the only real corner on the course and I was near the back and towards the outside of the bunch. There were probably 4 girls wide in front of me, I was in between two others, and had people behind me. Everyone took the corner and held their lines except the girl on her hoods in front of me. She sat up and pointed her bike out of the corner towards the far side and started veering left. Right into my front wheel.
Shouting commenced and I was forced to follow her ridiculous line wide, while also grabbing both brakes somewhat hard. And in a corner, that's not optimal. I somehow managed to keep the bike upright and with some choice words, and decent handling skills, we all made it out unscathed. Something about "put your hands in the drops" made me feel like a cop and I made the mental note to avoid her wheel.
Fast forward through a pretty boring business park crit to the last lap. I did my usual find a ride to the front and caught a dragon lady wheel. Three girls went on a flier, only to get pushed backwards as we hit the windy backside. This made for a squirrelly bunch as the group was absorbing the girls through the middle. I had visions of getting boxed in, and saw myself slipping backwards as the group was going around the slowing riders. The move had to be made. Two of the lead out girls were moving back quickly in a trajectory towards me, and had a decent gap between them. I surged up the middle, taking what was my most controversial line all day, all while holding my breath. I felt like the doors of the alien ship from Independence Day were closing in and I was going full gas to make it through. Must go faster, must go faster.
Big breath when it stuck and I was back making my way forward going into the final corner. A couple more moves before the corner and I unleashed the sprint which moved me up a couple more spots and I managed 4th, just narrowly missing 3rd at the line.