The View from the Back @ IVRR
Riding in the back of a race gives one a great view of action that other racers miss out on. For instance, Andrew Bates proved that his carbon fiber bicycle pieces are no match for his climbing power and ripped his steering tube in half on lap 2! I got to see the whole thing happen because I was choosing to climb the hills at the back of the peleton! (Andrew is fine, by the way)
On the next climb, I was able to pass along a tip to a rider with a flat tire that was signaling with his left hand. I told him, "hold up your right hand if your rear tire is flat." He would have ended up with a fresh front wheel from the support can if I wasn't there to offer my expert advice.
A lap later I got to witness (and avoid) a broken chain flailing back and forth like a some sort of James Bond anti-pursuit device. (Bond was able to safely stop his bike without taking anyone out)
Finally, I'm able to get a lot of encouragement from spectators by climbing at the back of the field. I feel like I have my own fan club when I get to hear folks yell, "good job man, keep going!" or "come on John, you can get back up there!"
Of course I'm joking, and here's a little about the actual race: Independence Valley didn't disappoint. There was rain, there was sun, there were attacks, there were moments where I feared another field would catch us, there were really fast rides up the hills, there were sketchy descents, there was a 2-man break that stayed away for almost the whole race, and then there were the last 1.5 laps where things got crazy-fast! Hitch rode super-strong and managed 3rd place after getting in a 4-man break on lap 4. Zach held on to a front group after a solo attack and managed to finish 8th. And me? I pulled the plug after lap 3 and enjoyed a rainy ride back to the staging area.
Alex made his way onto the podium in the masters race with an impressive 3rd place finish.