With this year’s road racing season starting a month later than in past years, better weather and strong legs were a guarantee. The lollipop course for the Cat4-5 race was two laps of a relatively flat 16 mile circuit with a 1 mile neutral roll out that also served as the finishing leg. The weather was sunny, but a chilly 38F at the start with steady 5mph NW wind throughout the race.
Team Bobs-Bicycles.com two participants, Craig and Micah, were up against rival teams UpCycle, Ten Barrel and BYRDS all having stronger numbers.
All too common in a Cat4-5 race, nerves and inexperience caused a crash just 2 miles after the start. Thankfully, both Team Bobs-Bicycles.com riders were well positioned and avoided problems. Shortly after the crash Team Upcycle sent a flyer. We kept our cool, as there was a lot of racing left, and our best strategy was to conserve energy until later in the race.
Upcycle and some other teams controlled the front of the peloton at a cavalier pace for the next lap and a half allowing the solo breakaway rider every possible chance. Eventually, however, the breakaway rider was caught.
With 6 miles to go it was becoming apparent that the peloton of 25 racers could be finishing together. This was a problem. Our odds were low, and the group needed thinning. At this moment, an UpCycle rider took a flyer up the right hand side of the road. Jumping on, I dug deep, took a pull, and much to my surprise a different UpCycle rider pulled through. It didn’t matter; we were hammering and riding hard. I gave all I had, and the attack was successfully thinning the peloton, with many riders attempting to catch and failing. The pace had increased greatly, and Craig needed to sit in, avoid being gapped, and wait for his opportunity.
Within a couple miles my break was caught, and I was subsequently dropped, but the high tempo successfully thinned the peloton, and Team Bobs-Bicycles.com chances had been improved, as this smaller group would now contest the finish.
However, near disaster happens when Craig and a handful of riders on the front miss the last turn, fracturing the front group into two. Somehow, a Ten Barrel rider paced the group back with Craig in tow over the next 3 miles. Then, the pace really kicked up during the final mile. Kyle Gray started the sprint, with rolling H behind and Craig in third position. Rolling H blew up and moved clear, Craig sprinted to the Left passing a fading Kyle Gray, and Sawyer went right. In a closely contested sprint, Craig took 2nd place by a bike length.
Author: Micah Durham
Editor: Fritz Stafford
Published: April 5, 2017