(Writing this report about two weeks too late.)
Weather golden, cool windy and dry after a rain. Ground tacky, not dusty, not muddy. Fast
The usual dreadful staging (next-to-back row) but I managed to fight my way ahead a few places even by the hole shot, and then gain a couple more on the descent past the hops fields. Lap 1 was hot and I felt pretty good about holding my place. Hey maybe I might even crack the top 50%! I was about five riders back from a blocker who had let a wide gap open behind the top 10 or so racers, so barring those top 10 I might have done even better.
Alas a crash early on Lap 2 brought a dozen racers past me. I corrected through a patch of gravel on a sharp right and which set me up badly for an immediate sharp left, lost traction on my rear and came down sideways. A few bikes went over me and I was up, but with no good option back into the (tight!) group. I pedalled about five strokes and noticed my stem cocked about 30° to the right — had to stop and correct that.
By Lap 3 or 4 I was the sole rider I could see in my group, getting caught by the fields behind. By the last lap I had caught the end of the second group in my own field, captured I think two or three rabbits, and ended with a mad sprint for 33rd (of 43).
My best Category B race ever!