Just a little background. This was our first race as a formal team in 2007. I have tried to make it down there ever since.
I went down there with Mike Seguin and a Bryce from xXx. We started our trek at 4:30 in the morning. Luckily they allowed me to sleep a little on the way down. Once down there we were greeted by the rain that put a chill in the bones. Registration has always gone smooth at this event. We got our gear on and went for a spin as this was Bryce's first time down. I'm glad we did the in town loop as it seems the transition from the downhill pavement to pacers has deteriorated a bit. I was a little concerned about how to dress but once you are soaked to the bone it really doesn't matter.
The field was a whole lot smaller than the registered 75 in our Masters 40+ field. We had 47 at the line. Off we went. I finally was wet through about 4 miles in with my glasses fogging up; so off they went. I made my way up to the top 15 before the downhill right/left at about mile 6. This is where I was told the field split as that section of road was the first true test of braking and turning on the rainy roads. I even felt my rear wheel slide just a tad.
At about mile 8 I see Mike and about 5 other guys go off the front. Two of the big teams had people up there so I moved to the front to tell their teams to start controlling the front. They weren't listening very well and Mike's group was caught soon after. Needless to say the counter attack by two riders stuck for the remainder of the race.
The first lap was pretty tame after that. Up the hill going back into town I shifted down to my small chainring before the climb. I was happy staying with the pack up but did get stuck behind a slower rider. Seeing as how I was spinning it didn't affect me too much. At the top of the hill is an odd left hand off camber turn with a drop off to the outside. It was nice to see they placed hay bales there. Needless to say I took the turn wide and rolled onto pea gravel that I rode through until I hit grass versus trying to turn and get back on the pavement. There were also two other riders who went off at the same spot. So now I'm off the back. I bomb the hill rattling my teeth and holding on for dear life on the rough transition. I was able to reconnect at the rough left hand turn on the pacers.
The second lap was met by attack after attack. I was happy I was able to predict when they would occur and covered them fairly well jumping from wheel to wheel. On one acceleration I was glued to the guy's wheel in front of me as he and the I slammed into a hole. This particular hole I remember on the first lap as having many water viroids around it. On this lap it claimed both of mine. Now I'm without water for about 15 miles. Of course after that incident the pack started calling out road hazards. More attacks with a guy from Mack and another guy doing an unbelievable amount of the attacks.
As we headed into town the pace slowed considerably. I thankfully went down to the small chainring and sat and spun as many stood with a slower cadence. Up the hill in town I felt good as I sat in about a third of the pack back on the cone side. I made sure I wasn't directly behind the guy in front of me. When a guy locked up his real wheel and endoed to my right I made my move to fill his hole. This momentum carried me up the hill. At the top I was sitting about 6 back. Now my mind started to race. How do I play out the last 3 turns? Well, it didn't matter as I took the same damn turn bad and went off the road again. No catching up to the pack this time. I came in 14th.
After the race I found out Mike got a flat 10 miles in. He still did well on his own for 50 miles coming in 27th.
Another memorable Hillsboro in the history books.