Well, I did it...I took @Yumi-Ko 's words to heart and decided to spend abotu 200 gems working hard to finish in first. I also am glad I set my alarm to wake me up about 15 min before the race ended. I was in first and at least two nodes ahead when I went to bed (events start/end at 6am East Coast Time). I woke up to find out I was a node behind and debating gem usage - I haven't spent any money on gems (yet!) so using a lot of gems to get past things doesn't hurt to much. I was on the hatch 7 breed 6 node of lap 14 and those are killer for me so I rolled the dice ( and 20 gems) on a wheel spin and landed on "finish node". So I jumped ahead and collected the food within time and fought one fight and stared at the board for the last 6 seconds of the race!
My High Nebula dragon is on the nest now and will be my 3rd Heroic. I'm going to take a break for a bit and build up gems but any strategy on the races is appreciated
I'm going to work in getting more islands since I tend to collect gold better when the islands are ready to collect
I am good with food - 30 sec food collects well
My kicker is hatching and breeding. Spamming terra (either breeding or hatching ) works OK but not great so any other tips would be helpful.
Any tips on anything else would be greatly helpful as well!