The 3/4 race was 4 laps with a couple small climbs on the back half. On the 2nd lap Joe Moyer started to pull away a bit on some rollers and I made the decision to let him go. He is a strong rider, and I knew he would be able to form a decent gap if we let him. I hoped then to be able to bridge that gap and ride with him later, but knew that if I tried right then the whole field would react.
I sat on the front and talked to Keith Bianchi and some others, refused to pull through etc.. Joe's gap got up over a minute. I was suprised no team/riders organized to start pulling him in. I continued to sit in 2nd or 3rd wheel and not really pull through, hoping for the field to break into a small group on one of the climbs on the 3rd lap. We did get a group of 7 and I worked with them. The gap was 50 seconds at the beginning of the last lap, our group stopped working well together and most of the field came together again. I stopped pulling at all and started thinking about racing for 2nd. The pace went down very very low. It was disappointing that a group hadn't formed which would allow me to sit on and pull me since I was "working" for Joe (selfishly- with the idea that it was also giving me an advantage).
Got frustrated and threw in a couple of real efforts/starts but even when I totally telegraphed it the group didn't react in time and by the time the 'fast guys' got up to me they whole field was with them. Didn't think it prudent, "right", or in sticking with my plan to give solo chase. Back to lots of sitting in. Finally, we got to the final time over the pair of hills. Down to 5 chasers who worked together. Stopped working when it became clear we wouldn't be caught, tried to save for a sprint, felt strong. Stupidly went too hard too soon on the uphill finish and two riders who stayed together came around for actual finish.
Feel like the race was an exercise in race strategy more than anything else- definitely feel I learned a few things on various levels. Mostly relearned the lessen of almost every road race- be patient, wait, take what it gives you! The two guys who beat me in that sprint had apparently been right in not joining me when I had tried to split the field earlier in the lap.
Congrats to Joe for putting the effort in to stay clear! Despite the shenanigans behind him it was a mighty impressive TT effort that he put in. It would have taken a whole group of us doing some real cooperating to even have a chance to reel him in.
Tomorrow I wake at the crack of dawn and we plan to ride that 200 mile route! Wish me luck, I'll try to bring the camera and remember to pull it out- we will be in tons of scenic river valleys etc..