Mason Lake Mashup

1,2 + A, B = 3rd
Women’s racing. There aren’t enough of us to get our own races, so when the agenda is pushed for the Cat 3 women to get their own race, the 1, 2 women get to race at the same time as another category – masters men.  I hate this set up, but Martha tells me I have to pay if I am going to race another category.  I look at the sign up list and there are a fair number of women.  I want to see how folks are doing, socially and competitively.   All in all, as much as I hate racing with the masters men, I decide I am not in the mood to pay $20 to race separately.
Elite women and masters men. We aren’t the same race, we are two races mixed together.  We have done this for a while, so some of us know that when women (only) attack, women are supposed to chase and the same if there is a men only attack.  If there are both, then everyone chases.  Pretty simple?  Not in execution.  Generally, we are mostly in each other’s way.  Then, there is the bonus element of testosterone.
The race starts out at a pretty good pace.  A guy from the Lenovo team in the masters field keeps us moving.  A different mix of men including a couple of husbands we know.  It is less annoying than things have been in the past.  A few attacks, but many are mixed, so they come back.  Eventually a couple guys get a way, then a few more bridge, without women.
Then, two women attack (Jen T, no teammates – looking good) and Izzette, healthy and happy to be back (1 teammate).  I look around and the 2 teams of 3 are not to be found (should have looked on my wheel, I think a couple were camped there most of the race).  So, I decide I will try to bridge – figuring that would encourage others to bring it back.  I make a sort of effort.  Two Lenovo guys come with me?  to help?  no, they both come around me and slow down.  Enough so that the pack attaches but fast enough that we catch the girls.  ok, I guess.  Figured something like that would happen.  One (husband) says I was thinking we were boys against girls, but then remembered that it is girls against girls.  what are we doing again?  uh, yeah, whatever.  Getting in a work out.
There was some half effort action.  Some other stuff like my old teammates pushing me off wheels – fine, take it.  At least you are doing something.  Some chit chat.
1/2 way through the 4th lap I counter a 1 person attack and it feels pretty good.  I hear Jadine say she is with me.  She is riding well again this year – which is good since we are going to Redlands together in 2 weeks on the same team.  We work together, pretty quickly, Morgan from bikesale (my old team) shows up.  She sits on for a second recovering from her bridge.  I yell at her to work in.  I know we need to make a pretty good gap before the testosterone guys notice and decide to chase us.  We all work together well.  I am working hard.  I can hear Morgan – same breathing cadence.  Jadine is quiet – but she is always quiet.  The 3 of us go through the finish line – 1 lap to go.  I suggest we sprint for it knowing we are going to get caught and knowing that when we come through the finish the next time, there are going to be a bunch of men in the way.  Jadine says no.  She wants to win (doesn’t say so, but I can tell).  I say ok, already thinking she can have the win (not good thinking).  We get caught shortly after.  Potentially, Michelle might have caught us?  She won the TT the day before.  Also seems to be riding well.
The women are all together at the finish with about 15-20 guys left maybe.  When we get to the 1 k, I ask the guys around me, that if they are not planning on sprinting for 12th place, if they could get out of the way sooner than later.  A couple say, “oh, sure” and float back.  Jadine is well positioned behind a few men.  Morgan is on her and planning to use Jadine as a lead out.  I am behind them with a few other men in the way.  Mike, Jadine’s husband, strings things out so that we don’t bunch up – about the best and most fair thing he could do in the situation.  I am struggling with my brain – do I try to use some dude as a lead out?  no, they are not going fast enough.  I need to go early, but there are at least 10 guys in front of me, so I can’t gap.  so, I just go-ish.   Jadine comes around easily.  Morgan is able to come around too, but she is not able to come around Jadine.  I take 3rd.

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