First, on a lovely Saturday just south of Salt Lake there was the Draper / Velo City / Canyon Cycles circuit race. The circuit abuts that of the Hammer at the Slammer, and the astute reader will recall from last year's reprot that I won this particular race (Draper, not H-a-t-S) because of its singular lack of climbing.
Did I mention that it was cold? Really really cold for Salt Lake, but there it is. There is apparently a thing this year where 4s are supposed to be separate from 5s, since the 5s can be random one-day license Public type people (there being no more Public class). Yet at the 4s start, there were only 9 of us so the district rep, who just happened to be awaiting his masters' start, made an executive decision to combine us with the 5s, of whom there were approximately 20. Then he exhorted the 5s to upgrade. Hopefully this was not lost on Peter, present in the ranks of the 5s.
I appeared to have gained a couple teammates in the peleton with the addition of the 5s, but as the race went on it would seem that team tactics are not emphasized until the level of 3s or so. One guy would just get out front and pull for a long time - and it wasn't even me. Anyway, the first of the four ~10.5 mile laps was pretty easy, just like last year. Except much colder. Despite my non-conditioning, my first (and the very first) Pocatello Tuesday nighter just barely under my belt in fact, I was hanging out in the peloton. So it can't have been that hard.
Another lap goes by. It's still quite chilly, and now my eyes start to just hurt like there is a fine dust under my contacts. This is no fun at all. For the remainder of the race I alternate squinting between eyes and try to avoid other cyclists and immovable objects. In this I am successful, luckily.
Somewhere about half the pack got strung out and dropped, and I wasn't even in that part, though I am seriously tailgunning on the gradual climb past the prison on the last two laps. I have an idea to not get dropped on the last little climb before the flat run into the finish, except everyone else has the same idea. Well, I'm somewhere in the middle. Then, just like last year, the arms of the railroad crossing (a mile out) start coming down. We all regroup there before one of the race promoters waves us across, saying the train is stopped up the tracks right on the sensor. We didn't get run over, so I guess he was right.
Now, of course, it was a sprint to start the sprint. At the next-to-last turn, I was about 6 or 7 back and made up a couple. At the last turn, I would then be 4 or 5 back, and I made up a couple more. And in the sprint, I half-wheeled (more obviously than last year) Joe, the really tall guy with the red Jetta 16v, for third. I ended up in my 14, not because I wanted to be there but because my cold hands were swimming around in my supposedly-warm gloves and I couldn't make the upshift. Oh well. Peter was along a bit later, but then he got to leave in a warm car while I sat around holding my eyes and waiting for my grand prize of $40. In the form of gift certificates at the Canyon Cycles bike shop in nearby Draper. What, no coffee cup this year?
Then that was over.