Lots of rain made a muddy course.
All 90-something photos I took of the B-race can be found here
Did I say it was muddy? Normally ridable sections of flat grass were making my rear wheel spin out like a stuck tractor.
All told I rode the course pretty good, but a few of the leaders lapped me near the end and I got to see even better lines through the muck. Always learning.
Amid my nearby competitors, my weakness was the muddy run-up and subsequent climb. I could not do this as fast as I wanted---namely, as fast as others around me. However, I seemed to make this up on other parts of the course, most notably on the second run-up and fast descent, and the final set of barriers where I routinely reeled guys in. For example, on next to last lap, one of the guys that I yo-yoed with early on re-appeared within range. I played it smart in the middle of the race and recovered enough to floor it on the last lap. Judiciously, I reeled him in foot by foot. After the second run-up to remount and fast descent, I hit the gas hard on the back stretch. After the final technical corner I put the heart rate to the red-zone, and bore down. I put a safe gap on the guy chasing me, and came in hot on the barriers. All the mud was clogging my pedals. I was hoping for a clean remount... and nailed it! I passed three guys including my yo-yo partner while each were hopping on their bikes. I wound up the pedals more, heart screaming, banked the corner going into the straightaway and accelerated to the line, a full 100 foot gap on my rivals. Ahhh the triumph! Well, not really. It's just fun to play around. I'm hoping my effort will get me squarely in the middle of the pack (update: I was 21st out of 52 Masters-A finishers---60th percentile---so I did better than my intuition, but still in the middle).
Go home to lattes and a homemade apple galette. Contrary to popular belief, you can make a better latte without a special machine. While your stovetop Italian espresso maker is heating, put some milk in a pan and whisk to near boiling. The foam you get from this easy technique is as robust as from the steamer arm of a mega million-dollar espresso maker. And don't be an ass and use whole milk for crying out loud ;-). The pan technique also adds a bit of caramel to the flavoring that you won't get with steam.