This race just keeps getting better! I highly encourage everyone to participate or come out and spectate next year! I made the trip and it was well worth it! I got to the course early to register and check things out. After that, rollers. Then, it was race time. The field was much larger this time around and I noticed some collegiate racers from Tulane as well. From the start, we were pushing it. Those #CollegeDoodz were keeping the pace high and they didn't seem to be hurting at all. This year was much faster but I had more endurance, so I maintained.
I found my groove and stayed in the front pack as the paceline formed, 4th or 5th wheel. It felt really nice. Then, PRIME LAP. The pace jumped quick and I latched onto a wheel and hung on. The yo yo started to really happen after the technical corners. Riders from the back were diving into the insides and rubbing shoulders with the leaders. I started to fall back several positions. I gave no effort towards the prime. I worked to get back to about the 7th wheel or so and I held it. Things did not calm down much. The pace was still high and the chasers kept diving inside the turns. I got defensive. Soon after, we had a long, flowing paceline again. I sat tight, conserving as much as I could. The leaders started to take turns pulling. I even heard someone say, "Let Doogie Roux take a fucking pull!" Ha! No. There were three laps to go and things got wild. Riders came quickly from the rear and stirred things up. A rider in front of me got spooked, jumped right and braked hard as we made a wide left. Our wheels crossed. I sat up and held my position for a moment but was quickly passed by several riders, one of which bumped my right shoulder hard. I stayed upright but I lost the ideal positioning I worked so hard for.
I didn't know exactly where I was but I estimated somewhere around 8th or 9th place. I latched onto the paceline again. I was preparing to really put out effort in the home stretch to pass as many riders as possible. We came around the backside of the course and the pack was wide. I did my best not get spooked. We took the second to last turn and I squeezed the bars tight as I prepared for the final sprint. I was ready. We straightened up and started to make the left. As soon as I got out of the saddle...BOOM! A rider was down! I saw others going around him. I grabbed my front brake and threw my weight on the rear tire. I was almost at a dead stop. I looked left and it was clear but there riders were ahead of me. I gave a massive effort and did not look back.
I crossed the line and immediately wanted to get off the bike and lay down. I did just that, and a rider thought I passed out. He yelled, "MEDIC!" I laughed and said, "No, I'm just really spent!" I had no idea how I finished. I was thinking 9th or 10th. A few minutes went by. After talking with some fellow racers, they made the announcement for the podium photo. Doogie Roux finished 3rd! Yes indeed. Chilling at the races is cool. I did that.