The entire team had the black cloud today.
Lap 1, the Pony leaves the stable straight away. A little (maybe completely) against strategy but we'll see how it works. The dirt section wasn't so much a dirt section as it was a water bottle section. Rolling as I was at about 10th wheel, I was curious as to how there were 50 water bottles in the road. Apparently the entire 40+ field had decided to lighten their bikes by jettisoning water bottles. Then we pass the bloody Pony sitting on the side of the road at the beginning of lap 2. So it didn't work out that well.
The one good thing that happened on lap 2 was that the pace picked up. A couple guys were doing good stuff - props to the Artemis, All American and GFK (? - blue and black kits) guys who were doing their share with me. Coming around the end of lap 2, I was kind of wondering where all my team mates were. The unfortunate answer came to the front - "dude, they're all gone." A flat and a crash added to the broken Pony pretty much took the meat of our lineup straight out of it. We still had one ace a few wheels back, but very quickly the whole context changed. Not a huge deal, I felt really good and although I was spending a bit of time working (led through the dirt and over the hill on the second lap), it wasn't taking anything out of me.
Finally, at the beginning of lap 3, a strong "working group" formed at the front and we took the pace solidly over 25, rotating through and if not getting rid of anyone at least making a straight line out of the blob. Then the race got neutralized before turn 1. After turn 1 we lit it up again and I made some dope deals with guys about breaking at the spot where we'd have a good chance. Going into the dirt I was third wheel and watched the guy in second miss the turn and heard the guy in 4th miss the turn. First wheel (All American) and I were all of a sudden handed about a 50 yard gap. I rolled tempo just to make the others work to get back to us, and then saw the two guys I'd felt strongest about breaking with roll up to me and it was on.
About 5 seconds later I got a rear flat and my race was over.
No telling how it would have worked out had that not happened. If Granny had wheels she'd be a trolley cart, you know? The ray of sunshine is that I'm thinking through races while they are going on, I'm sort of able to think through them as if time is going slowly rather than playing mental catchup from behind the 8 ball.
Steven Grant is a fooking ox.
The Pony is out for Bear Mountain, leaving just me and Gravity (4 crashes in races this year) as the team. We both acquit ourselves somewhat competently on hills so we'll see how it goes.