Temperatures lingered around freezing as a bloated field of 61 started rolling. Unfortunately, the majority of the race was pretty dull with no one willing to take any big risks to break up the rolling school of fish and not enough topographical challenges to stretch things out. Even teams that had big numbers played it conservatively, which contributed to an uneventful first eight laps. If Paris-Roubaix is called "The Hell of the North", the Carl Dolan Cat 5 should be known as "The Purgatory of the Mid-Atlantic".
This was a wild one!
Frank Shewmaker and I lined up with about 30+ guys for the Category 5 race (50 miles). It started out pretty relaxed as the climbs started coming I thought it would be a good idea to start testing the field. So on the second real climb (about 12 miles in) I started to pull away and Frank came with me. We seemed to have a decent gap as we were barrelling down the descents. Then catastrophe struck! GRAVEL!