Paul Havens and I rode down to the BTR Crit in Kzoo. When we left we were a little skeptical as it was 6 am and pouring down rain. Our race started at 8:40. At about 8 am it stopped raining and we were able to get a couple of practice laps in before the Cat 4 race. By the time our race started most of the puddles had disappeared but the road was still completely wet. The announcer said we were starting with 47 riders, gave us our guidelines and we were off. I went right to the front and took a full-lap pulll to get things started. My goal was to make sure we started off at a good pace and also to set an expectation that we weren’t going to be sitting up the whole time and waiting for a sprint. After the first lap I slid back a few spots and went around the first 90 degree corner right on the inside. I got pushed into the far inside of the corner and had to go right over a wet metal drain cover. My wheel slid as soon as I hit it and that was the last time I was going anywhere near that! For the next 30 minutes everything was pretty “typical cat 4.” Someone would try and go off the front of the group and everyone would chase. We’d regroup, then someone would put another effort into getting off the front and get caught. Paul was probably the most successful breakaway. He went by himself with about 4 or 5 laps to go. He got out probably 100 yards and some people behind me started griping. Heard stuff like “he’s not going for the prime, he is going for the win, we better try and catch him.” Paul took the prime and let himself come back (with a brand new pair of SRAM socks, a $19 value!). Leadout has definitely made a reputation for itself because I heard people saying to “watch the leadout guys.”
Going into the last half of the last lap I found myself getting pushed out of position. I needed to move forward so I went to the inside and road the concrete curb up to 5th or 6th wheel. The last corner had been giving me problems all day and the last lap was definitely the worst. As we went into the wet last turn my wheel slid out from under me. It caught about a foot later but killed my momentum. I got my bearings and jumped out of my saddle to regain my speed and try and get a position. I sprinted past a couple of guys but couldn’t get to the top 3 since they had accelerated through the corner. I finished 4th overall. Paul got blocked in right at the end and finished in the field just behind me.