5th place (got pipped at the line by two All Americans: Ron Barry and Carlos Goncalves).
My goal for the race was to sit in the first lap, see how the pace went, stay out of trouble and counter any attacks as soon as the bigger teams pulled in any attacks. The neutral role out was pretty uneventful and no one went down, the pace was also pretty slow. As we passed through the intersection that marked the start of the course, the pace was really slow, and I asked other riders if we started and they said yes. Fearing a typical Cat4 race, I picked up the speed to get to the front and then kept going. Steve Anderson (DC Velo) came up beside me and said "let's go" as he speed up. For the first half of the first lap, it was Steve, one other guy and myself in a three man rotation setting the pace. It felt good because it felt like racing and not a Cat4 yo-yo fest. The first lap continued to be a high pace as some others joined the pace setting.
Not sure when but Tom (don't know your team) attacked and was looking really strong. I think one other rider went with him but they didn't get too far ahead and the pack wasn't really interested in chasing them down so early in the race. I, for one, wanted them to sit out there and tire themselves out. The pack eventually caught them and at some point in the 2nd or 3rd lap (?) 3 guys got away (a Kelly rider, Manny, and a 3rd) and the pack never could really put in a concerted effort to catch them, plus I never thought they'd be able to stay away for the rest of the race. During the 4th lap, Kelly amassed their entire team at the front and set a not so slow/not so fast pace. I didn't realize one of their riders was in the break and that they were just slowing the pack down to give their rider a winning chance. I got to the front and started working with Lance Lacy and some other guys. When I realized we weren't really gaining any time on the break, I got back into the pack and rested for the final drag to the finish. Last year, I got totally boxed in during the run-in to the finish and this year I wanted to bury myself or at least try to get a break going so that I wouldn't get boxed in.
So, on the last lap, I moved up the pack on the outside and as I passed Tom, I said something like "come on". He got on my wheel and I moved towards the front, but once I got there I attacked. Tom, Eric Seidel (Bicycle Place) and I got a jump on the pack and as made the right hand turn up the steep short incline we developed a good gap on the pack. Eric is really strong but doesn't race a lot. He got the front and must have pulled for about a mile. He put in a huge effort. Tom was #2 and I was #3. I kept looking back and seeing we had a gap and kept yelling encouragement to keep the pace up. A guy bridged up to us and caught us on the little rollers about 1K from the finish. I was the only one of 3 that was able to jump on his wheel. I kept looking back and we still had a gap but we were still pretty far away. With about 500M the dude was fading and I looked back and saw we still had a gap. It was do or die, so I jumped as hard as I could and hoped I'd have enough to get me to the line in 3rd place. This seemed to be the longest stretch of road, and I forgot about the very slight rise just before the finish. I gave it my all, but Ron Barry flew past me with maybe 50' to go and then Carlos pipped by less than a wheel at the line.
Completely different story.
Finally met TerribleTerry and Bryan Burns (Haymarket)
With 3 to go, I easily moved up the climb on the left side and then went hard near the start finish and didn't let up until well past turn #1. I think 3-4 others came with me, but I'm not sure what kind of gap we had. On the downhill section we weren't working well together and we got caught just before the turn leading into the climb. I got boxed in on the inside and lost a lot of momemtum going through the turn. Had to work hard to get the speed back up by then I was towards the back again. Too many sketchy riders and my spidey sense was telling me a big crash was going to happen. Too many guys not holding their line as they bounced from wheel to wheel. I was in the back going into the last turn and was able to sprint up to mid field by the finish line without much effort. Came in 26th.
Tysons Cat 3/4
Although, I felt fine during the Cat 4 race, it was afterwards when I cooled down, standing around in my wet gear, that I realized how F'in miserable it was. I had an hour after the Cat 4 race before my second race in the 3/4. It was during this time that I began to shiver and realized I had dry jerseys and arm warmers in the car but no dry leggings or shorts. I was so cold, I couldn't get my mind around doing another race, so I got out of the wet stuff and watched the 3/4.