At the Gate we saw two guys come by; I said we should let them go because not catching them would be less ignominious than being passed by them if they turned out to be faster. Rick and JB seemed to agree so we gave them a 30 second head start. Then they stopped! We passed them 20m from the Gate. We decided they must have had the same idea. One of them nearly caught us at the top of the Bump, but then waited for his buddy and we didn't see them again until Junction.
Then some other guy came around just as I was starting to lose contact with the gruppetto - he passed me while riding no hands and futzing with his jersey zipper... quel panache!
Without even turning a pedal in anger, Rick rode away from us at about 2MTJ. JB stayed pretty close but my elastic snapped and I was almost two minutes slower at the line.
From there we went to Blackhawk. On the way down, some dumbass in a Cherokee tried to pass us so I decided to stay clear of him with an Il Falco style descent; didn't see HIM again until Diablo Road. Must have been Pro Jersey day today - I had my Quickstep on, Rick had Jelly Belly kit, and I saw Gerolsteiner, Sierra Nevada, and USPS too.
From here on, I enjoyed being the fast one and sprinted up all the little hills. Rick outsmarted me on one but I won't let that happen again.
One week till De Ronde!