What a beautiful day for racing. Clete and I rolled out for the late afternoon Cat 5 race, which started off at a surprisingly quick pace. Dave's pre-race advice to be near the front heading into the climbs was proved super helpful as we shedded 6-7 riders each lap. There was a moment during the climb on the first lap that I thought I might fall off the back, fortunately the pace eased the next few miles. Clete and I both spent some time at the front and each time got stranded for a few minutes with no one willing to pull through. Halfway into the third lap, there was a pop hisssssss from up ahead...
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".