Grant's Tomb 2019 - M3/4 - Gabe
Lined up towards the back which was an absolute mistake. I wasn't as confident about this race as I should have been, and was intimidated by some of the stronger riders and 3s in the field. Should have stuck with my original game-plan from the Cat 4 race, which was to go hard for the first half lap to ensure a good position through the U turn and in the lead group. Instead I ceded a lot of ground at staging to 'stronger' riders, and had to fight my way through and around into the first chicane.
I worked back up to the pack on the uphill drag and felt pretty good. For about 3 laps I felt like I was taking my lines really well. I ended up burning matches in 2 places though. First was right after the steep kicker/right hand turn. I wasn't quick enough to latch back on to a wheel, or otherwise to pick the right wheel. This was a headwind section and I lost a lot of ground by having to work hard and come around folks that were letting gaps open. Second was the very beginning of the uphill after the U turn. That uphill shouldn't be too hard of an effort for me, so I think I was feeling the affects of having worked hard _into_ the U turn and then having to work hard out of it, too. Other riders around me started to drop off, and after about 9 laps I found myself alone and maybe 5 seconds behind the lead group. Could see Kevin and really wanted to reconnect, but just couldn't put in a big enough effort. Was doing ~400 watts on the uphill and still wasn't gaining ground on the bunch.
I ended up hopping into a chase group that was very disorganized. I felt good in the chase and more comfortable about how to work it than most. We never were able to really tighten things up, though, and got pulled.
Takeaways - start position and the moving well into the first turn of a critical _matters_. I should be more confident about my space. If I notice something gaps opening early on, I need to be more willing to work hard to deal with it before it's too late.