So on Sunday, I loaded up the Element and when kids were done with PSR classes, we headed off to Wendy Park on Whiskey Island on the beautiful shores of Lake Erie.
We arrived at around 12:30 and found a good parking spot by the barrier section. We had packed some lunch so the kids ate while I registered, got dressed, pinned numbers, etc. I had about a 30-40 minute warmup with a couple hard efforts. I also had a nasty crash going through the barriers when I hit my front wheel on the second barrier and endowed spectacularly right in front of my wife and kids and a few other startled witnesses.
While I was registering, I was surprised to learn that the race age was as of 12/31/09 which for me meant that I could race in the 40+ A Group. Yeahh, it pays to be old. After recovering from my endo and tightening my headset I barely made the start. I managed to make several passes and was sitting 5th wheel behind the Lake Effect train of Rudy, Jeff, Bill and Derek. I passed Bill on the mound before the downhill to the gravel right turn. After the Lighthouse section, I was able to bunnyhop the large concrete barrier and passed Rudy and Jeff and was in first for about 10 seconds before Rudy passed me back. I decided to not stay on his wheel as I was a little winded from all the passing. Jeff and Bill came by and got a gap. For the next lap or two Derek and I were back and forth then Phil Hines joined us from behind. Derek later dropped off the pace and Phil and I caught Bill, who was experiencing the first of his mechanical troubles. For the next lap the three of us rode around with Rudy and Jeff about 60 and 30 seconds ahead of us, respectively. With 4 to go Phil attacked just after the climb from the litehouse and took off eventually passing Jeff and closing to within 60 seconds of Rudy. With three to go Bill and I were yo yoing back and forth until he stopped at the pit and could not continue.
I was know sitting in 4th place in 40+ A group with Jeff Craft about 30-45 seconds ahead of me and John Ehrlinger about the same distance behind me. I needed to put a big effort in the catch Jeff, but in the end could not muster the energy, so I just kept it steady and finished in 4th place. Results are here. I was just under 3 minutes behind the winner, Rudy Sroka. I think I lost most of that time on the 3rd and 4th laps when I lost focus. Hopefully, I can stick with Rudy and Phil next time. Thanks to Rudy, Julie and the rest of the Lake Effect crew for putting on a great race with a well conceived course. Thanks guys!