I went off from the starting line with a good out of the saddle effort. It was really the first time in a couple months that I cranked on the bars like that. I was really pumped up that it felt close to "normal", so I promptly discarded the conservative pacing strategy I had for the night and put the pedal to the floor.
Since we started the race with only a 30 second gap between riders, I could easily see the rider in front of me and noticed I was gradually closing the gap. I went through the corner and was pretty sure I'd catch him before the turn around.
I went a little too hard on the first part of the hill and paid the price on the flat section by the cell phone tower, but then I did a good effort on the steep section and caught him just as Kevin M caught me. That threw my concentration for a couple seconds. I sat up to catch my breath before the turn around, then the chase was on!
I caught up with them at the turn and went past with a little burst of power. I thought, I'd just keep the hammer down all the way to the line, but slowed a little around Brakeman Road. They both passed me again just as I was recovering, so I put the hammer down again and passed again. Once we were in sight of the line, I was pretty fried, so Kevin passed me again but I held on for a decent time.
I was surprised to get a 20:35, which is actually significantly better than my previous effort this season. I was also surprised to average 310 Watts (3.1 W/kg), although I tweaked my position on the bike this week, so my iBike readings probably are probably off a bit.
I think my strategy for next week will be to pace myself more carefully over the first 5 miles of the course, then go for broke the last two miles.