Patterson Pass RR Elite 3 race report.
Teammates: Bill L, Jason, Hussein, Paul C.
5 of us lined up for this hilly, windy, 69 mile race (3 laps of 23 miles). I had never done Patterson before and did not feel confident going into it due to poor training for the past 3 weeks. But while I warmed up I set my goal for the race: have no regrets. So I got mentally prepared for what I expected would be numerous times when I would want to stop and steeled myself for the pain of the climbs. The race starts off almost immediately with the main climb of about 22 minutes, and wow did the first time up hurt. I felt like I barely made it up with the group, and a couple times I thought I was getting a little light-headed to add to my screaming legs and burning lungs. I suffered my way up the second climb and did my best to rest and recover on the descent. Hussein and Jason did a good job of staying near the front for most of the first lap, but I didn’t see either of them after that. Bill was riding strong and was having no difficulty with the climbs. On the second lap a few riders rode way from the group on the main climb. I just sat in, having nothing with which to answer. If they could stay away, good for them. My oxygen depleted brain didn’t register everything very well, so I was confused about whether we caught them or not. but apparently we caught 2 of them but 2 stayed away to take 1st and 2nd. I managed the 2nd lap better than the first and I started to feel optimistic that I would finish. On the way up the 2nd climb on the last lap Bill made a push with a few others and they really strung out the group and got a gap. I crawled over the top and latched onto a small group chasing the leaders. Since Bill was ahead, I took a free ride as they pulled back up to the front group. Shortly after this we had established ourselves as the leading group, 12 in total. As we went down the rolling descent toward Tracy I went to the front to lift the pace and pull Bill along, and I rode off the front. Okay, not what I expected. Kevin from Freewheel/Britesport bridged up to me and we worked together to try to build a gap. I figured we would get caught, but in the mean time Bill could just sit in and coast. We were joined by 2 other guys a few miles from the finish and they had more energy than me and Kevin (we were cooked at this point), so we got dropped by them. they stayed away to take 3rd and 4th. I suffered along going up the last 2 rollers into a strong crossing headwind until Bill rolled up on me behind 3 other riders. I managed to latch onto them and draft for a few minutes. Then going into the last 1 kilometer I went to the front to lead Bill out for the sprint. Bill duked it out with one of the other riders (don’t remember who, it’s mostly a blur at this point) but the other guy had more sprint. He took 5th, Bill took 6th (way to go Bill!) and I rolled in at 9th. This was one of the toughest races I’ve done and I achieved my goal: no regrets. I left everything I had out on the course today. As far as I know Jason, Hussein, and Paul all finished. Pretty good day for BBC.