Very fast course! Very dark...see the picture here of the back straight away. After numerous attempts by various smaller teams, it seemed apparent by lap 20 of the scheduled 37 laps that the midnight crit would end in a bunch kick. The front half of the course was bumpy, tight and twisty with 3 sweeping corners leading to the back straightaway. And it was very difficult to stay near the front throughout the race as this section (a 4-lane 500m avenue dimly lite) easily allowed the top 20 riders to change in a flash.
I worked hard in the beginning of the race to watch for breaks, often riding fast along the backto lead the group through the final corners and stay safe.
With 20 laps remaining one RealCyclist.com rider launched a solo attack and although the UHC train lined it up with 9 remaining, the rider managed to stay away until the final lap.
The fast pace (topping out at 63km/hr) and dark corners made it a real fight for position and it was easy to loose focus. At 5 to go, the UHC train peeled through the streets with Barley, Carlos and I following, the Kenda train behind. But the wide avenue of the back straight made it too easy to swarm. With 4 to go I was back in 20th! At 1.5 remaining, the peloton speed along in the dark when sparks flew and bodies became silhouettes....10 riders ahead and to my right suddenly hit the deck. The next time through I couldn't believe there was only 1 lap remaining.
Every time we hit the brakes into corner 5 (of 6 and the one following the back straight), it would bottleneck. The final lap though was so fast that the top 15 managed to string through undaunted. Carlos attacked the UHC train and was 2nd wheel with 1 corner and the 220metre drag to the line but ran out of fuel with 100m to go. Barley, who was shuffled back in the back straightaway, carved through the final corners like a cat to regain position in the finale. I finished the day in 15th. Remi, after barely surviving the crash and in talking with an old teammate decided: "let's just finish for our ten points shall we?" and immediately almost hit the fence as a pothole in the dark knocked his hands clean off his handle bars.
It was a fist fight in a closet! But we all survived. Carlos 4th, Barley 5th, Ben 15th, Remi 67th. Carlos back in the orange leader's jersey and TeamExergy 2nd in Team Points! BAM!
HeyBuckShot was also here for the race so look for some photos from Walterboro in the HBS' next segment!