Weird day today. We find ourselves ahead of schedule with a lot of stuff to do with iron work. Whether we can consolidate this aheadness into my not having to work on Saturday I do not know. I do know that I would like to learn to weld.
If you don't wear GamJams socks at Lost River, you're leaving money on the table. GamJams is offering a $100 bonus to anyone who wins his/her field while wearing GamJams socks. There are strings attached, like that there needs to be 25 people in the field. Some fields haven't got the numbers yet, so get with your team mates and get in on this action.
On to Crab Run. You've just come off of 259, which is sort of a dead straight false flat, likely into the wind. Contrary to popular opinion, Crab Run isn't my favorite section because of the peeler joint (Paradise City) on the outside of the turn onto it. That doesn't hurt, but it's not the big reason.
Once you turn off of 259, if you are ahead by 20 or so seconds, you will be invisible for the next several miles. Crab Run is a series of zig zag turns and rollers that makes it hard to see ahead or behind. It is also the kind of road where if you have a little juice to pop it over the top of the rollers and down through the crux of the downhill and get good rolling momentum, you can go radically faster than someone who's coasting the downs and pushing the whole way on the ups. A bunch of the turns can throw you, too. You'll crest over one roller and then pick up speed really quickly, right into a turn. The turns are short enough that it would be hard to screw up badly enough to wipe, but scrubbing away all of your momentum would be wicked easy. We could see a nasty accordian effect through here. Nasty.
Between the invisibility clause and the ability to maintain momentum better than a bigger group, a solo rider or small, strong selection could really do some damage here.
The Crab Run section ends at the intersection with Cullers Run. To get onto Cullers, you turn right onto a bridge and go up a short rise. There's a really cool cabinet shop on your right (it's the cool, small, green building) but I don't think you'll have much kitchen remodeling on your mind here. Once onto Cullers, you are in a significant shade canopy, which cools things down and helps to cut down sight lines even more. Cullers has the worst shoulders of any road on the course, and the last time I saw it there was some gator-backing on the road. I'm sure the gator-backing will be taken care of, but the shoulder drop offs could be rough. You do that charming buzz up the right shoulder telling all the guys in front of you to move out of your way and you have a pretty good chance of winding up in the mulch.
The main things to consider through this whole section are that it's winding, it's rolling, and you won't be able to see people more than a few seconds ahead or behind you. Really fun and fast when you do it right, energy sapping and frustrating if you aren't smooth about it. I can't see it causing the decisive split at the front of the race (although anything's possible), but those who get a gap before this section could really consolidate it here, and those struggling at the back will have to buckle up their chinstraps real tight and deal with it here if they want to stay with the group.
Get ready, the steep hill is next.