So, that race in Massachusetts happened yesterday. As promised, Brendan raced Cat 2. Brendan's bike, however, had no desire to do that.
I pre-rode the course, well some of it, and thought it was going to be a fun race. It felt fast and manageable. I stopped pre-riding when I came upon this crazy floating bridge.
I figured that the Cat 2 start would be faster than the Cat 3. It was, but not that much faster. I was in fourth going into the singletrack in the woods. Positions changed a bit until the crazy floating bridge, but I was in fourth getting to the bridge. My rear derailleur had started shifting funny, but I didn't really think anything of it until the other side of the floating bridge. It promptly shifted the chain into the spokes on the other side of bridge. I fixed it and on the next shift, it did it again. Things were not looking good. I lost a whole slew of positions and realized that I had bent the derailleur, though the hanger looked ok. Needless to say, this made riding with speed up any hill very difficult because I couldn't shift into any of the lower gears. I took it easy for a while, trying to figure out which gears worked and which gears didn't. I finally settled into a groove and could ride at maybe 75%. I caught back up to two 19-29 people and was started to feel a little more confident. It being my first Cat 2 race my expectations weren't very high, so I was just riding for the sake of riding and having a pretty good time.
Then my chain broke and I stopped having a good time. I ended up jogging the second half of the third lap and finishing with a depressing +2 hours time on an 18 mile course. Although, my wonderful girlfriend, Johanna, was waiting for me a little ways before the finish for some cheering up.
Also, Cat 2 seems to be a good fit, though it'll be awhile until I win some socks again.
2nd also, one of the reasons that the crazy floating bridge was so crazy was that the water on either side was like four feet deep. I was told that in the Cat 1 race, someone tried to do a slick pass by running around the bridge and he sank. Also in the Cat 1 race, someone tried to jump on to the bridge, busted his ass and crashed into a tree.