Race Report – Lake Auburn Men’s Cat 5 – Podium!

Tom Coughlan – Lake Auburn Men Cat 5

2nd of 31 finishers

I stayed in the pack for the first two laps. This was a bit frustrating
because the pace seemed slow. It seemed no one wanted to be in the lead,
because of the rather significant headwind along the long start/finish
stretch (Perkins Ridge Road). I found the steep downhill after the
start/finish quite disconcerting with the wind blowing hard. As tempting as
it was, I decided to ignore the KOW (king of the wall), and focus on the
finish. The somewhat slow pace allowed me to drink water regularly and pay
attention to my pedaling technique (“ankling” – thanks Peter!). Maybe the
combination of these were what allowed me to do well at the end.

On the third lap, as we approached Perkins Ridge Road, our lead car slowed
down, and I saw some nut in a blue car start to pass us. Then I saw the “cat
4” sign in his rear window, then I saw an on-coming car in the other lane,
nearly even with our lead car, potentially blocking the way! Fortunately,
the on-coming car stopped and pulled over just in time, and the cat 4’s
managed to swerve and pass us. (Then two cat 4’s apparently dropped their
chains on the hill in front of us, got off, and tried to fix them, right in
front of our on-coming lead car! They moved eventually, and we did not have
to come to a stop. Geesh! (Why do they start the cat 5 first, then the cat
4? Why only a few minutes between the starts?)

By now, our group was pretty bunched up, and rested. The group stayed
together for the rest of Garfield, right onto Perkins Ridge Road, and up the
hill. I felt like I was locked in, not able to find any space to get free
for the sprint. Finally, I managed to move left one position, and when I was
pretty sure we were at the 200M mark, and could cross the yellow line, I
did, and pushed as hard as I could. Surprisingly, I pulled ahead, and only
one guy passed me as we approached the finish. I recall I up-shifted and
tried to catch him, but to no avail. My first time on the podium.

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