My race was exhilarating too. The start was sort of horrifying to me, though, I have to say. It was so dangerous! There were many sudden decelerations in the huge pack. So, I was, sensibly (I thought), keeping some distance from the bike in front of me. All the Italians seemed to take that as an invitation to pass me, and by the bottom of the hill I suspect I was close to the very back of the pack. From there it was a matter of trying to work my way back forward. Rick and Todd were with me, and we made some progress. I think we passed you and some of the rest of our group at the water stop shortly before the long and short routes diverged. So it appears you had more guts in the starting chaos than I did.
Todd and Rick took the long route fork, I went for the short. After a few more miles I caught up with Rich, who had been up in the very front with Markham for some time at the beginning. He was the last teammate I would see until the finish.
At around km 65, which is 20 km from the finish, we came to a biggish hill. I headed on up at my pace and no one followed, which seemed weird to me. No other groups were visible ahead. I elected to forge on anyway. I rode for 15 km by myself, picking off a few ones and twos of riders. I kept looking for the pack I had left behind, and finally with 5 km to go they reappeared. I held up to wait for them for a moment, just to be fresh, then fell in around 3rd wheel. Very shortly the big uphill to the finish began, and once again I rode away from the whole group. Eventually one lone rider bridged up to me and we rode together for a couple of minutes, but he was out of gas and I accelerated again to leave him behind and ride across the finish alone.
This all felt quite heroic at the time – the long solo breakaway, the breakaway win solo win on the uphill finish. It really would have been, too, except for the 139 riders that were out of sight ahead of me!