Laps 1-5: I'm riding scared (noob). Atrocious bike handling (noob) costs me tons of positions as I repeatedly gap myself out of the turns (noob). I go from the top 15 down to the bottom half of the field in record time (noob).
Next several laps: I try to remind myself that I am not a Cat 5 noob anymore and I finally settle in, get in a rhythm and attack the turns with confidence ( + ). I start to work myself back up towards the front on the windy backstretch ( + ). I completely miss a rider breaking off the front (noob). Later, I see another rider bridge (+). I inexplicably forget about the breakaway (noob).
2 laps to go: A rider shoots off the front, I chase and then attack until the finish. It sticks. (+++++). My heart nearly explodes as I cross the line in 1st place... no wait, 3rd place. Yeah, I really did forget about the two guys off the front (noob).
I sweat all over the podium girls (+).