Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lake Sunapee Road Race

Masters 45+ Report
A strong masters contingent raced Sunapee on Saturday - Brett, Jody, Kevin, Brian and myself. Many of the usual suspects from CCC/Keltic, Cycle Fitness, Bethel Cycle and other teams were there. The race was lively, with attacks starting right away coming out of the rotary. Brett and I participated in many of these. It seemed the rest of the field wanted a piece of this action too, and nothing could get away.

On back side of first lap, Tom Butler (CCC/Keltic) and I got a small break going in the hilly section. We got caught just before the long, steep hill. Bad situation. I nearly got shelled right off the back. I licked my wounds in the field for a while, having already spent too much time at the front of the race.

As we finished the first lap, two riders got a sizable gap. Chase efforts were disorganized at best. Then Brett, Brian, myself and one other rider came up to the front with an agenda. We kept a nice 4-man tempo paced rotation going to bring the gap down. By the time we reached Rt 11, the break was put out of business. The IBC effort here was a nice piece of work.

A number of additional attacks ensued on Rt 11, with Tom Officer (Cycle Fitness) making what looked like a promising move with two others. Not sure what happened with that one, as it ended in some strong words being exchanged. Cresting the big hill on Rt 11, I found myself behind a split with several strong riders cresting the hill ahead of me. Those stronger guys did not seem to have any interest in driving a group of 10-12 riders, so we soon bridged back together. I was cooked by this point, foolishly playing way too many games at the front of the field.

On back side of second and final lap, Randy Kirk (Cycle Fitness) strongly surged off the front, growing a sizable gap on the field as we merged onto Rt 103. There seemed to be no response from field. I was quite certain Randy had the win. I decided on last pitch of stair step climb to rotary to launch off the front. The field let me go. I might have had a 10 second gap cresting the hill, 20-30 seconds behind Randy, going for 2nd place. I knew my chances were slim however, as my matchbook was empty. Sure enough, as I approached the rotary, I was swarmed. The best I could do at this point was limp up to the finish line. Turns out Tom Butler won, as Randy Kirk was swarmed in the last meters too. So it turned into a bunch finish with 37 riders given the same time. I finished 19th, and Kevin was down just a couple spots from me. In discussion after the race, a shift in strategy may be required to capture stronger finishes for our team. At Sunapee, a lot of the work IBC put in benefited other teams.

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