The weather was warm and sunny-starting in the 60s and ending in the 70s. I felt pretty good because most of the faster, younger riders started ahead of me, there weren't too many people passing me other than groups of fast women who must have started in later waves. There was constant traffic but mostly I was passing slower riders. That made me feel pretty good about myself even though my actual speed wasn't really much faster than the other races I did this spring. The finish winds through Hastings on paved roads so I had a little sprint out with someone else to the finish, which I won. Of course with so many different waves, there is no way to know if someone you're riding with is even, behind or ahead of you. The Sager road stretch was interesting. I did have to stop and walk a couple of times there, but due to the fact someone ahead of me stopped and there was too much traffic to go around them. I might have been able to ride that stretch the whole way if there were no other riders nearby. I finished 1033/1475 overall with an average speed of 14.71, 48/80 in my age group. This will be my last gravel race of the spring season. I'm a little disappointed in my results. I'm actually more than one mph slower in average speed compared with past races. I haven't had a chance to train much due to the situation with our business staffing, which will get worse before it gets better. But, even a bad day on the bike is better than a good day anywhere else. I just like to get on my red bike and ride it for all I'm worth.
I think two equipment choices helped me. I kept my Clement MSO 40mm tires instead of going with my narrower (and theoretically faster) LAS tires. Much of the gravel had been worked up and loose, probably due to the amount of traffic ahead of me and the dry conditions of the course. It hadn't rained all week so the roads were dry and dusty-really making the Paris-Roubaix reference realistic. So I like the wider tires on loose gravel-more secure. That allowed me to push a little harder, maneuver around people even though I had to get onto looser gravel and stay on the saddle in the soft sand. I also changed my gearing to a 50-34 front crankset and 30-12 rear cassette. This lower ratio allowed me to spin while remaining seated on most of the hills. This is a faster way to climb for me, and I think it helps prevent my quads from cramping. Trying to decide if I should keep this smaller crankset on the BMC or switch it back to my Surly, which I now am using as a Rando bike.