by Jonathan Podwil
Scott 9th, Me 46th (but only 22sec behind) out of 85 or so.
The course was 2x19miles of rolling two lane around an island where Jamestown, Rhode Island is situated. Each lap consisted of a large loop an then a segment which consisted of a ~2 mile rolling slight uphill and then a high speed roundabout around a lighthouse, then back down and after a flat section a 500m 5.5% climb, followed by a sharp left hander and, for the last 400m a moderate downhill and then it flattens out for the finish where Main St. meets the harbor. Very scenic.
The conditions were pretty bad (although Scott likes it, apparently). Not too cold but intermittent mist and rain and by the end of the race everyone was soaked. My shoes were making squishing noises, there was so much water in them. I couldn't see out of my glasses so I took them off and got hit in the eye with a steady stream of grit and water, so I put them back on. The roads seemed slick and the marshals tried to slow us down on sharp turns. Otherwise it was a fairly fast race, average 24.5mph.
There were 2 crashes, apparently none of them weather related. About 2 miles in on the first lap, we heard at least 2 riders go down – This was on the straightest, flattest segment of the course, I have no idea what happened but it must have been stupid. At the finish, 2 riders leaned into each other (i.e. took a bad line) right in front of Scott, forcing him to run wide to avoid it and costing him a couple of places. One of them was lying face down on the sidewalk not moving when I saw them (admittedly only a few seconds after it happened). I did later see him at the finish line, he was dirty and scuffed up and his shifters were bent but he seemed ok.
During the race, more or less half of the field got dropped. Scott was in a good position the whole time, always near the front. This was a very tightly packed group - things would get strung out on curves but basically it was typical cat 4 negativism. I drifted to the back of the pack after the 2nd roundabout but managed to filter up to the top 1/3 just before the final hill - and then, blew up. Just for 10 seconds or so but enough that I fell to the back of the peloton. I don't really know why, usually hills like that are my strength, and I recovered immediately but it cost me 20 or so places.
After a short cool down we checked in at the officials' desk and within 2 minutes I was shivering so we went back to the car and changed. Some woman in the parking lot asked if she could take our picture. We let her. Generally the townspeople seemed really enthusiastic about the whole thing despite the crap weather. It's a big deal there, I guess.
Took a looong time to get home, mucho traffic, but it there won't be anymore races till spring (well, road races anyway) and it was worth it.
Hopefully there will be a meeting soon, in which far more calories are ingested than expended...