I disconnected myself from him with 100 yards to go when one rider and then another hit the pavement in front of me. I swerved around them to the right, got out of the saddle and sprinted maniacally uphill to the finish. As I crossed the line I thought my head and heart would explode simultaneously.
Coasting down the hill, I counted 11 riders in front of me, which I assumed included the six B2's. I circled back and found Fraiman, who asked me how I did. "Great," I said, breathlessly telling him about the two guys arguing and how I decided to go out in front and how I was leading with only five miles to go and I almost won and....
"Yeah," he said with a smile. "I'll bet those guys were glad you came along."
I'm still not exactly sure what he meant by that remark. I don't know much about bicycle racing, but as far as I can tell, you learn about 50% of everything you'll ever know after finishing the first lap, and maybe 80% by the time the race is over. I think Fraiman's comment had something to do with that remaining 20%, which just might take a few more than four laps to master.