This race was a nightmare for me last year. In 2013, it was only my 2nd race as a cat 4, and I crashed out of the first one, then took a month off after the birth of my second son. In last year's race, I got shelled after being stuck at the back for 6 laps, and placed next-to-last.
This year my goal was to stay up front and try not to get dropped. The technical section is brutal to the tail-end of the peloton, and I wanted no part of it. I got a spot on the right side on the front row, right where I wanted. This let me be on the inside of 5 of the 7 turns, and one of the lefties was more of a bend than a sweeper. The plan was to mark attacks in the second half, and I would lead Larry out for the sprint. I stayed up front for a few laps, then settled back about 15-20 riders deep and screwed around there for most of the race. Not much happened since the winning break left on lap 3 and no one chased. The whole team took the second field prime lap, with Dustin making a move toward the end to collect $25 of beer money. Late in the race, 3 riders were well up the road, so the sprint was going to be for 4th. With 1 1/2 laps to go, I found myself boxed in about 10 riders back. I told the guy on my left that if he let me out, I would pull him to the front. He laughed and said "go!". I hustled up front, told Larry to get on my wheel, then maintained 4th spot. A rider from the Irwin Tools team (I think that's what they're called...that's what it said on his ass anyway) made a nice move from 3rd position. He let a gap open in the technical section while his teammate and one other rider from The Cyclery team pulled away. I had to pull the field back up to him, then decided I would just blow past them and lead the race past the finish line for the bell lap. Another rider from The Cyclery pulled in front of me, so I jumped on his wheel, then got knocked off by the Irwin guy going into the technical section for the last time. I took a really shitty line into turn 3, which let Freddy Bernabe in front of me, pushing me back to 4th. I knew that coming out of the back section, I was going to have to hit full gas to get Larry up there for the sprint. Once we came out of the last turn, I looked under my arm and Larry wasn't there. I knew it would be hard to keep him with me through those turns and it might not work, but now it was up to me to sprint it out. On the home stretch before the final turn, the guy from The Cyclery finally died and went backwards. The Irwin guy opened a little gap, but I trusted that Freddy would chase him down since he had been strong in the race all day. I stuck on his wheel while the gap narrowed. Then out of nowhere, a guy from Cannonball-Hub made a strong move on my right and got just in front of me. Going into the last turn, I took the hardest line I could to try to make up the ground I lost. I passed the guy from Irwin & Freddy almost completely on account of the line I took, then got out of the saddle and emptied the tank into the short finishing straight. I was closing on the Cannonball rider fast, but ran out of road. I know that when I looked down at the finish line, I could see all 4 front wheels of the sprint contenders. I ended up taking 2nd in the field sprint, good for 5th place overall. I don't remember feeling any pain at all during the last 2 laps, but right after I rounded turn 1 after the finish, I leaned over my front handlebars to puke. Fortunately nothing came out, just a bunch of embarrasing dry-heaving sounds. I remember seeing the wide eyes of a course marshall who definitely would have been in the spash zone.
Dustin finished right behind me for 9th and Larry got 12th despite being driven into the fence in the aftermath of an exploded tube during the sprint. Talk about bad timing for a flat.
Youtube video is up, but you can cut to the final three laps by clicking here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgaDqKyTq_g#t=2316