What can I say? Super fun course that apparently will never be again. Solid group of guys in the 3s but after a week off the bike and some fit issues with my seatpost after bike transport from Belgium, I was feeling a bit sluggish and off. After spending 25 miles doing nothing, a 4 man break had about a minute on the group and I started getting antsy. Against all of my better judgement and all of my plans before the race, I went to the front to ramp up the pace and ended up a little too far into the red on the hill going into town.
I tried to just drift back through the pack intending to finish the hill at the back and then just hang on through the town, but somehow I got gapped and never closed the gap. I chased by myself, super hard, for about 15-20 minutes, passing guys that were getting spit out the back of the group, and I got to within about 15-20 seconds of the pack but just never made it.
3 of the guys that had gotten spit out the back were able to jump on my wheel and recover a bit so we had a 4 man group to finish the race. I did most of the work to get us back to town and two of the guys were glad to let me lead our group across the line, but the younger guy decided he wanted to sprint for it from 500m out.
Needless to say I came around him easily with 200 to go and just looked over my shoulder and shook my head at him. I don't like sprinting for 30th place, but pride and all. Not sure how far behind the main pack we were, but in that 15-20 minutes of hard chasing, it was like my legs turned on and remembered what bike riding was and suddenly felt strong and light.
C'est la vie. Still an awesome day on a great course with some fantastic people.