This one sucked. I didn't catch that my start time was moved up by an hour from the tech. manual that was published the day before so our leisurely lunch in NH turned into a race to the race... picked up my packet and got to the start line with 30 seconds to spare.. no warm up, straight up hill. Anyway thats my excuse for a 30th place finish.
Stage 2 Circuit: 53 miles 2 KOM's 2 sprints.
Goal was not to get gaped after the KOM's which happened last year. Did a little pace setting at the beginning but then just tried to stay mid pack. First time up the KOM climb a small gap opened but with the help of a few other dudes we caught back up pretty quickly. The second time around the gap was bigger and it took a while and some decent work to catch back up, luckily a bigger group helped out and we caught back on in the last 5 miles before the finish, made a little mistake here, as we caught back on I saw what looked like 4 or 5 dudes going of the front so I sprinted past the whole field to catch them... I should have asked, turns out those dudes had been dropped from another field, woops. The pace got very fast with 1k to go and I figured I was around 15-20 position around 500 to go... then some dudes who started the lead out blew up and sat up and I found some room ahead so went for it with whatever I had left. Surprised me a bit since I was just going to hold position, not wanting to take anybody out sprinting from mid pack! Ended up crossing the line 12th. We lucked out as it didn't rain until after we finished.
Stage 3. 67 Miles App. Gap finish.
Again the goal was to get to the base of App. Gap with the pack. This has been motivating my training all summer. Last year I had a mechanical 20 miles in and finished the race alone. That sucked and I was determined not to let that happen again! After a 5-6 mile neutral start which just kinda stayed neutral a couple of guys went off the from and no wanted to chase including myself. Figured they were going for the sprint points at mile 14 and they can have them... then 4 dudes went off the front again at mile 10, definitely going for the sprint points... though it was risky I let them go figuring we had time to catch them and I had no intention of being in a break all day and blowing myself up before the big climb! We caught most of them around mile 20 something but the pace cars where gone and the pack was going pretty slow and easy... word got back that there was still a dude off the front and his team mates were controlling the pace so we picked it up and a hand full of us chased pulling the whole field into it. Massive potholes and slight downgrade between miles 20 and 30 made things interesting, this is where i had an issue last year, but I avoided all of them and we caught the guy who was off the from before the first KOM at mile 40. I stayed with the pack on this first climb, which didnt feel to hard, and the pace also didnt feel to fast after that. The KOM at mile 64 on Baby gap was tough, I was expecting this to be the hardest part of the race and it was... but I managed to stay on. A few miles later the App gap climb starts and I just went steady and tried to pick people off, figured I had around 20 ahead of me at the bottom of the climb. Picked a few people off and ended up with 16th. Sweet!
Stage 4. crit. 6 turns, a decent climb out of turn #6, lots of painted lines and granit/brick crosswalks.
Course was wet. Not cool.
Anyway, somehow with my estimated finish time they gave me 23rd place out of 33, about 2 minutes back which put me into 17 place in the GC. SWEET!!