I was lobbying to sell our entry's. I've done this race, I know it takes significant fitness to do it well, and knew I was coming into it in much worse shape than last year, which was already a fairly low marker. Annie - the wunderkid, was lobbying to do the race, and was recruiting my friends to heckle me into it. She hadn't done it with me last year, so her naivete can be forgiven, she didn't know what she'd drug us into. Short story, she was persuasive, I succumbed, and we were at the start line come Saturday morning - Annie being anxious to do the race, me being anxious to get it over with and get to our next stop, Yosemite. I really wasn't a total sourpuss about it, I'd done a few long rides with a good amount of climbing, and felt ok on one of them, meaning there was at least a chance of the legs working as well on this day, and it wouldn't be a total mess.
Long story short - by rest area 1 (for some they were aid stations, for purposes of recapping my day we'll call them rest areas), I was pretty certain the legs weren't going to be better than they really were, and I thought riding with Annie would be the best use of the rest of the day. She'd started several minutes behind and it wasn't long before she arrived - she looked phenomenal. Aided by a screenshot of Magic Mike that I'd covertly taped to her top tube the night before the race, she was blitzing the first climb, and feeling great doing it. She grabbed a quick bottle, and off we went.... and then...within about 30 seconds..... she dropped me. The rest of the story is on the video.... it ended up being a cool day, we didn't do it fast, but we got to do a big chunk of it together which was the clear highlight. As far as races go, Burke and his gang knocked it out of the park again.... fantastic production by the Crusher folks, best volunteer staff around, including and maybe highlighted by Burke's family at the rest area just prior to the KOM where we probably spent too much time joking and laughing, but made for one of our favorite parts of the day.
It may be a one and done year for the racing.