About 40 showed up for the TNR this week, including many of the typical A’s that I recognized, and a lot of faces in the B’s that I didn’t. We left for White Church / Coddington through Brooktondale. The A’s left, and I’m not sure exactly where they went because some of them passed us later coming in the other direction. The B’s took a pretty good pace from the beginning, not even waiting to clump up after the initial hill to make sure everyone was aboard. Sam took a very early sprint, which I started to follow until I decided that I was probably not going to get anywhere with a jump this early. No one else joined, so we got sucked back in shortly That wasn’t worth my energy, so I tried to draft after that to save up some.
Once we got around the turn, Mark was leading the pack up the hill. Usually at this point, there’s a pretty hard pace in attempts to break up the group on the incline, but it was pretty slow this time. I felt stuck at that speed, so I pulled out and rode my pace which was just a little faster there. Most of the group caught on to my lead, and there was a paceline for a few miles over the rollers. I was still trying to save some energy, so I kept pulling off quicker than the others. One guy took the lead for a while, but some behind us were yelling to peel off so they could push the pace, which was a good idea at that point. I think we lost another half of the group around here. I caught up to the lead group which was now 5 or 6 of us. I rotated through to the front, and when I tried to pull off, I heard Sam behind me say he was not going to pass me. I stayed in the front for a short while, not really wanting to be in the lead at this point, so I wasn’t trying to pull hard.
I tried to keep a steady and efficient pace for a few miles approaching the last stretch. A few others were still ready for a sprint finish. I let up for less than a minute to let someone else set the lead pace. It was fast, but since the last mile or so of leading was still soft for me, I was preparing for a fast sprint. Sam let up, and two others went for the sprint. I drafted until I could see the finish line, and then pulled around and put my effort in. I was able to pass the 2 sprinting fast enough that they didn’t try to keep up with me, and I had a safe lead at the finish! I had never won the B’s TNR before, so I was thrilled.
I expect that as the weeks go on, the other that are training more will likely beat me regularly. But to start the season with a win is a great sign that I kept up some strength over the winter.