Steve and Kal took turns pulling and tried to take maximum benefit of having just 2 of them on the corners. The fourth lap Mike Birditt took another monster pull after turn 2 and got his speed up to 35 mph. That area is slightly downhill but I know this put me under a lot of pressure. Mike looked to Alex to pull through but Alex tried to jump across since Kal and Steve were getting pretty close. Alex didn't make it and the pressure came off before we dove into the power climb. I got popped along with Raffy Gomez. There were 4 60+ racers left in the pack including John Rubcic, Bruce Steele, Jim Morehouse and Monty Pettus. Monty got dropped last year but traded places with me. There were a few other riders that got dropped earlier.
Steve and Kal kept working it and the pace actually slowed a bit. Lap 4 turned out to be the fastest of the day. UCC was doing a nice job of blocking. They had 7 other UCC riders left in the peleton.
On the last lap the pack kept a moderate pace between turn 2 and 4 until Paul Rodiguez of UCC started his jump for home near turn 4 which would take everyone into the power climb. This is where confusion reins as to what happened next. What we do know is riders started piling up and those that didn't go down all have their own stories of a close call. Those that I know of that went down were Bruce Steele, Richard Gentili, John Rubcic, Warren Wicks, Monty Pettus(3rd this year), Richard Roberson, and Steve Cahill. There were probably others but these are the only riders I am aware of. Lots of road rash, broken frames, wheels, helmets, pedals, shoes, & kits. The worst of the whole thing happened to John Rubcic. John ran into Bruce Steele who was one of the first to hit the deck. Warren Wicks came into the riders down and tried to jump them but to no avail. John went flying over Bruce and broke his left collarbone and 3 ribs. John stayed down until an ambulance was able to take him to a local hospital. After X rays and a consultation with a specialist, John was released and spent the rest of the day at home with his wife, Laura. He wasn't in a lot of pain because he was so shot up with drugs.
In 60+ action Don Kimper was the first 60+ rider up the hill and was thinking of stardom but Jim Morehouse chased him down and passed Don near the finish line to win the 60+ category. Bruce Steele and Monty Pettus remounted and finished 3rd and 4th.
This was a hard race for me but maybe easy or moderate for others. The crash overshadowed the finish of the race. Are there lessons to draw from this. Surely! Safety first over the lust for a good placing. One really bad move can snowball and bring down a lot of racers. Complete placings below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!