This was my first time in this race. I don't usually get started this early in the season, but I pushed to get in shape for a trip to Mallorca Spain (end of March, amazing...), so I figured I'd give this a try. It is a nice course. There's a 33 mile "Outer Loop", then a 23 mile "Inner Loop" that repeats the southern section of the first loop. So you get to ascend the finish-line hill twice. (This was good because it was my first time on the course, so I could get a preview of the end-game.) Aside from the finish-line hill the course is pretty flat.
I was very pleased to see good attendance at this early-season race, considering the drop-off in road racing recently. There were 373 total registrations. 36 in the men's 60+. There was a club from as far as Philadelphia, PA.
The pack stayed together until the first time up said finish-line hill, then split roughly in half. I tend to do well on hills, so I was near the front at the top, not paying much attention to drafting (since it was up-hill after all...), mind strategizing about what to do the next time up that hill. Unfortunately, as a result, I was separated slightly from the group when it took off on the down-hill. This caused me to burn some energy catching back on. A similar thing happened last year at Quabbin. Gotta pay attention to this in the future.
The second lap was faster, and with about 5 mi. to go the chase group caught up and the field was crowded again. I felt good at the end, and pushed to the front four. Found I pushed a bit too early, and got passed by the group about 100 yards from the finish. Came in 14th. Okay with me, considering the Cat 2s, 3s, and a world-champ in the field. They didn't seem to lose any edge over the winter...