It would be quite easy to spend more time writing a race report than actually spent racing, so I'll be brief.
Short Version: Cereal Medley, coffee, orange juice; 5th place out of 27 in M45+ 4/5 race at official time of 18:24; Pere Noel, James Brown [?] and grilled cheese at the Trappist
Cereal Medley (with banana instead of blueberries), 1 cup coffee, Odwalla OJ
Bart, my neighbor and new recruit to EBVC showed up at 8:30 and we threw his bike in the back of the car for the 30 min drive to Brisbane. Saw Dana ride ride into parking lot and gave him a shout as we were getting kitted up. Warm up laps and a few punches up a hill in the adjacent industrial park where we ran into Richard, another M65+ racer who rides with Bart.
Temperatures were definitely warmer than in years past and though I'm not sure the concomitant decrease in air density led to faster times, I do think it had a positive effect on lung health.
Bart's wave went off before mine so I just stayed on the rollers until 5 min before start time then baldly used Dana's position in the starting grid as an excuse to work my way through the crowd to "my team mate up there"
Dana still got a much better start than I did and was several positions ahead as we started the first climb. Pace seemed surprisingly manageable in the first couple of minutes and I was able to erase my deficit on Dana and get to a comfortable spot a couple riders away from the front. We got to the saddle top of the first climb reasonably compact at the forn end, but as it flattened out towwards the light, the real power guys started laying it on and things stretched then started to break up.
The second 1/4 of this race from stoplight to the turn into the park is always the worst for me. It's not steep enough, and it can be windy and really penalize you if you get caught without a wheel to follow. I was in about 10th and pretty bummed about that because I did not realize that we had started in a mixed group with the 1/2/3s and though all those guys up ahead were in my group. In this section 2 more guys passed me before the turn into the park and I could not up the pace to grab their wheel and that just deepened my funk.
After the turn into the park you loop under Guadalupe canyon Parkway and there's a section that always confounds me as to whether to go hard or save it for the climb. With nobody from my group around to copy, I think I did neither. The rest of the climb was painful, at least as much mentally as physically. I had no targets to chase, no knowledge of who was behind me, and no spark in my legs so just slogged up alternating between in and out of the saddle. My Garmin said 18:14 at the line (though the official results show 18:24); either are a nice improvement on my previous year's time, though it's very tempting to think of the woulda/coulda/shouldas around how much a difference being able to hold a good wheel could have made.
It's lucky that I didn't fully throw in the towel in the final climb because when they published the results it became clear that Dana was right and we were mixed in with the 1/2/3s and at least 8 of the guys ahead of me were from that group and my actual position was 5th in my group of 27. There was a guy not far behind me time-wise (at least according to their timing) so any letup would have dropped me a place.
Bart finished 4th out of 8 in the 65+ (where the winner was considerably faster than me) so we have two EBVC top 10's to start the year.
There was a marked decrease in the level of coughing and hacking at the top of the hill compared to years past. I attribute that to the warmer, possibly moister, air. Normally it sounds like a bunch of 3 pack a day smokers coughing up a lung at the finish.
Post-race was a little cool down on the rollers then back to Oakland where proper hunger eluded me (remember we're talking barely an hour of riding including warm-up). Eventually we went down to the Trappist where I took my lunch in divine beer and washed it down with a grilled cheese sandwich.