As a reflection of the length of my race, this recap will be short. My first Pro/1/2 race, an amped up UCI team that was looking to make a statement to the “local guys”, and a course where I crashed at last year turned out to be the perfect storm for a very humbling experience. Knowing that moving up in the 70 person field during race would be difficult, I made certain to line up in the front of the field. At the start of the race I was actually in the front row. The whistle blew and we were off, by the time we reached the second corner I had given up 30 positions in pure fear of crashing myself or someone else. I had gone into this knowing that physically, it would be a fast race, what I didn’t expect was the actual speed of the race itself. Everything felt as if it was in fast forward, and I felt as if I was in everyone’s way and everyone was trying to take me out, it was like my first race all over again, only exponentially faster. I soon figured out that while not physically comfortable, sitting at the back was mentally comfortable. Tail gunning any criterium is about the hardest place to be, but when there is a field of this quality on a course that has a very sharp left hand corner at the bottom of the descent and then heads quickly back up hill, hanging on to the field was like staying on a raging bull. Although by about minute 20 I began to figure out where I could conserve energy and where I had to pump out 1000+ watts, and was actually very confident that I could stay on until the time was right and then try to move up before the finish. Well about 5 minutes later all of that changed when there was an attack or something on the front, and as I came out of the corner to head up the hill all I could see was people scrambling for wheels, some making it across the gap and other just sitting up and calling it a day. My first instinct was to write the “big check” and try to get across the gap, but then I noticed a guy that I had raced with as a 3 trying to get across in front of me, so I jumped on his wheel figuring that we could work together. However, it seemed that he had other plans because after I took my first pull and pulled off to let him pull through I realized I had dropped him. I was now alone and all I could see was the field pulling away in the distance. There was no sense in fighting anymore, so I pulled the plug and rode up on the sidewalk, becoming a spectator. Turns out, had I stayed in, I would have been pulled in a couple laps along with the other guy I was dropped with and would have received a 53rd place finish. While certainly not anything to be remotely proud of, in some strange way it would have felt better than receiving a DNF. On to the next one!!