There are a few races on the calendar that after racing I say to myself "well, I'm never doing that again." Yet, one year later I find myself kitted up at the start finish, or in this case chasing the field after missing the start from derailleur adjustments. Patterson Pass Road Race is in my opinion one of the most difficult races on the NCNCA calendar. Two climbs featuring a 15-20% grade with headwind provide by wind turbines, followed by a screaming 50mph descent with crosswind gusts, and topped off with a series of rollers to a flat 500m sprint. Now do three laps of this for just under 70 miles.
Somewhere on the main climb in what I think was the second lap, around 8 or 9 riders attacked off the front. I figured the difficulty of the course and crosswinds would finish them off but we never caught them. On the third lap 2 more riders attacked the group and apparently bridged up to the break. Normally not covering successful moves like this would frustrate me but I was merely trying to survive the race and had already gotten dropped once on the rollers and caught back on.
On the final lap the peloton had widdled down to 15 or so riders including Daniel and myself. Riders urged us to rotate to the front and take our pulls but I was struggling to hang on after a muscle cramped in my right hamstring. Coming down to the last couple kilometers our group started to split and I was getting dropped. I closed my eyes, crawled into the deepest depths of my pain cave, and mustered up what little energy I had left. I caught Daniel and a few other riders with 1k to go breathing new life into my legs.
After rolling over the finish twice already, I knew it was a 90 degree right turn to a long 500m stretch directly into the wind. I decided to try and catch everyone off guard and launched my sprint directly after the turn into the headwind. As I came up to the finish line I felt another rider coming up on my left side approaching fast. As he started to overtake me, I threw my bike for the line.
Exhausted we both looked at each other neither of us being sure who took the sprint. I thought he had beat me but it turns out my bike throw was good enough. I was a little disappointed that I had only gotten 10th place due to the riders up the road but am confident I raced to the best of my abilities and would have probably dropped out of the race had I tried to go with either of the moves that stuck.
Well, I am never doing that again.