Monthly Archives: September 2011

TD Bank Mayor’s Cup Professional Criterium – September 25, 2011

Submitted by Joe Reis

I registered for the TD Bank Mayor’s Cup Professional Criterium in mid-August before I knew it was going to be the USA Crits series championship. I had heard a great deal about the race from friends and thought it would be a fun way to end the road season. The race was certainly fun and it was very neat to be competing in the middle of a city like Boston, but it was definitely not an easy race to end the season on.

I arrived at the Government Center in Boston with about 30 minutes to spare. I quickly kitted up and picked up my number only to find that they were calling riders to the staging area. With no warmup, I knew my legs would not be happy. To top it off, I was starting in the back of the 100+ rider field. I had been told that I really had to start at the front for this race, but I didn’t think much of it until I actually saw the course.

When we took off, things immediately stretched out. We made our way down past the first two turns and took off on the backstretch. Just as predicted, the legs were screaming. All I could do was sit in and hold on for dear life. After about 15 minutes of this, I managed to start working my way through the field. I always felt like I was making good progress until we hit the back stretch and I could see how big the field actually was and how many riders were in front of me. No matter how many people I passed, it felt like I was still sitting in the back. Luckily, the pack seemed to balloon mid-race after the start/finish line. I was able to shoot up into good position and stay there for a lap. I got my confidence up and wanted more so I tried to get even further up by passing on the inside of the 2nd corner. This turned out to be a big mistake though as I lost all momentum after getting cut off and having to brake. It took a lot energy to get back up to speed and I burnt a big match. I had to spend the next 5 or so laps sitting in and recovering. Definitely learned a lesson from that one.

With 7 laps to go there was a crash in between turns 1 and 2. The legs were back now, but I was also sitting pretty far back so I was forced to slow again as I made my way around the downed riders. Once again, I found myself burning another big match as I sprinted to catch back on. This was where the race really got fast as teams started queueing up at the front. There was little I could do at this point but sit and hang on. The rest of the race was really just surge and recover since things were so strung out in the back. On the last lap, there was another crash on the 3rd corner. Lots of riders went down in this and I had to slam the brakes. There was no way that I could do anything and I just had to roll in with the rest of the riders for 62nd place.

This was definitely a tough race tactically for me. I learned a lot of valuable lessons though and I am eager to learn from my mistakes. Overall, this was a great experience. It was such a neat feeling to be competing among so many big names and in Boston. Such a great way to end the road season.

Time for some CX now.

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Portsmouth Criterium – Race Report – Pro1/2 Men – September 18, 2011

Submitted by Joe Reis

On the 18th of September, I traveled from the University of Vermont to the coast of NH for the Portsmouth Criterium. Having done this race last year, I knew that it was one that I could not leave off my race schedule. This is truly one of the best venues in the Northeast – big and enthusiastic crowds, great setting, and good sized fields with well-seasoned riders.

If there is one late season crit to watch, this would definitely be it in my opinion.

The race got off to a good start with riders attacking. There were some very strong riders who were determined to get a break started and this kept the rest of the field on edge and the pace high. I found myself sitting in the back and riding the tail for the first few laps as I had had a bit too much coffee and was a little jittery. I was back to normal in about five laps however and started to work my way into the middle of the pack.

The attacks kept flying and the primes kept coming. Because of this, the pack began to really stretch out and only came together a few times. I was just hanging on to wait for a good time to move up further and I soon found my chance. About halfway through the race, the pack ballooned on the backstretch and I was able to move up the right side of the road. Just as this happened, an attack flew from the same side. I found myself trying to bridge up with this move, but decided not to do so once I realized there were others that were more willing to pull everyone back. I let them take over and sat in.

The lap cards were quickly coming to an end and it was time to start thinking about getting on a wheel as the break was coming back. I was sitting up close to the front when the last break was caught and the peloton quickly ballooned. I was forced back as riders shot up the sides and I found myself in pretty bad position for the last couple laps. I tried to move back up, but the last laps of a race are not the right time to move up. I ended up finishing in the field for 38th.

The race could have gone better, but I am still happy since it was such a great day of racing and Joe Lynch was able to go solo for the win in his race. An amazing feat by any standard.

Portsmouth Criterium – Race Report – Cat 3 Men – September 18, 2011

By Joe Lynch

I will try to keep this short as I know many of you saw the length of my last memoir and pressed the delete button!

This year, Eric L, Carl, Graydon, Gene, Ed and Chris showed up for the Cat 3 race. I was determined to not drag the whole field around with me if I went and to support my teammates if any were able to get up the road. I managed to sit in for about 4 laps I think when I made it to the front and bridged to a dwindling one man break by riding through a prime sprint. I ended up with 6 (I think) boys in a terribly disorganized break. Looking back, I noticed that at first, we only had the field strung out behind us. But after a bit, another look revealed we had a REALLY nice gap. So I talked to my breakaway companions as sweetly as I could regarding going through corners single file so as not to slow the group and pulling through to share the workload. After a lap or two of this I decided to try yelling at them. Still, terribly disorganized with me doing all the work. On the next prime lap, one of the CCB boys actually went for the prime with no discussion. Much to early for such self centered tomfoolery, particularly from a man so unable to work a minute ago. So, I followed, on his wheel but with a muted effort, slowly turning it up, knowing he would fade after his effort. I turned the screws just a bit more as I passed him while pulling away to the side for the proverbial shake and bake. DISMISSED…. A look behind revealed that indeed, the rest of my companions were dismissed also! Not really my plan, it was only to make the CCB guy suffer for his efforts. But, what the heck? Why not try to do something with such a nice gap and sizable gap behind that! So I asked myself what Hank or Fast Fred would do?

After this point, I am not able to comment intelligently on the rest of the race. I put my head down and started trying to focus on a pace I thought I could hold for the next 35 minutes or so. I thought about missing the selection at the Clam Festival and how I felt I let my team down, I thought about riding the Raymond loop in the rain alone, I thought about sitting on the guardrail with Eddie and Jack waiting for the ambulance after I ran Hank over at another Clam Festival and the entire CycleMania Crew, “Joey, what can WE do for YOU to keep you on the road?” I thought about getting dropped on East Hawley Road earlier in the summer and taking a pee break when I was supposed to be leading out Jeff for an intermediate sprint at Green Mt., I thought about Doc Brown’s (OA) efforts on my knee and my struggle to ride to the stoplight on Blackstrap during my recovery with my dad, I thought about the patience and support my family has given me. I thought about how many of you push me and support me and then say “nice job Joey”, what did we do? Well, Art, Graydon, Gene, you listen. Jurgen, Aron, Chris G., Joe R., Eric W., F. Fred, Uncle Troy, Brett, you guys push me when I am tired and my legs hurt…. You attack me when I am already on the rivets, you call to make sure I got home if I get a flat.. Deirdre, you give me the Hall Pass to go!

So, if you are receiving this note, it is because I look at today as something that would NOT have happened if you all did not play some part in it. Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart.

Quadcross – Race Report – September 11, 2011

Submitted by Paul Weiss

3 PVC riders raced today Goerge Bennington, John Meerse and Me.   Got in a bit late so I wanted to get a lap in between races and got on the bike with only the street clothes and a helmet (No cleats on).   It was a cool course with a long woods section including a hairy 180 bumpy off camber turn.   I took this turn a bit fast and rolled my tire in it.   Ouch.   Well now I was to do 2 races without a spare bike.   Not good.   The Masters 45+ race was a fast start and I seemed to be up in the top 3rd.  Things were good until I hit that 180 degree turn again and this time it was Tom Stevens, who fell right in front of me and I had to choice to run over him or his bike.   I chose the bike and really missed most of it luckily.   This put me back a few places again.   There was a woods single barrier that I ran the first lap because it was bunched up.   The laps after that I could bunny hop the barrier but found my front chain ring was coming off and going between the double sided front guards (I run a single up front).   This was not good.   After the race Mark Wysoki (the race mechanic) told me I needed a new chainring and chain and to space the guards better.   Who knew.   The bad thing was, I lost the font ring chain about a dozen times, which does not make for fun riding.   Getting off my bike so many times really has a slowing effect on forward progress.   It was fun to have George Bennington in the race.   He was having a great day, and we ended up riding together for about 2 laps.   With 1 lap to go I rolled my back tire on a really difficult off camber section after the double field barriers.   Lost many places getting it back on.  Not the best race I have done….oh well.   I saw John Meerse after the race but did not see him during my race since the 35+ started ahead of me.

It was hard to even start to the Elite race knowing I had 1 good bike, and 1 with a rolled tire on the back that was delicately partially glued on.  So I started off the back of the elites with 5 McCormack brothers ahead of me.   Yes 2 National Champions and now the oldest sons of Frank are racing.   Really cool to see and fun to race with.   I did my best to race with the previously rolled tire and front part of the chain falling off.   It seemed like an eternity but I finished after getting lapped not sure how many times…..

It is good to have race days like this before the season gets into full tilt.   I will hopefully get some help from Cyclemania this week and repair my bike and work on the body all week.   Next weekend VT Verge Series 2 day race.   Looking forward to that one for sure.

Green Mountain Stage Race – Vermont – September 3-5, 2011

Submitted by Joe Lynch:

A few days of racing at the GMSR saw Jeff’s last year as a 40+er. He swears he can’t wait to race 50+!

On the first stage we missed Fast Fred as we both struggled to finish toward the middle in the TT. I ended up 15th like last year but beat last year’s time by a whoping 3 seconds. Jeff just opened up his legs for the next day.

On a hot and humid stage 2 we saw 3 guys go up the road over the first KOM and hold a sizeable gap through the long downhill on Baby Gap. In my defense I did sit and watch them for a while. They were still up the road by the time we got to the first intermediate sprint where Jeff popped out of the field to salvage any leftover points and where I of course got nervous and tried to sneak up the road. We got a small gap. With 3 or 4 other attacks and counter attacks I realized I was not going to bridge now without a TRAIN behind me so I sat up and sat in and let the powers that be close down the break at the first feed zone. We then rode as a group to the second KOM where, with serious efforts, Jeff and I both stayed with the main group but NOT with Yabroudy, Staffo and someone else. These boys really turned the screws over the top and pacelined down the hurricane ravaged Baby Gap, pedalling like mad the whole way. All 170 pounds of me waited like a tiger to chase down that hill but we were 1/3rd down the gap and they were out of sight by the time I weaved my way throught the group at 45MPH to start chasing. At the bottom of the gap the break was out of sight. I hit the proverbial reset button, reminded myself that NOTHING would work if I did not try, and set about diplomatically organizing a chase for the long haul over rolling hills to the finish. All in hopes that Jeff could sit in and get a good sprint. About 7 strong guys including the Yellow Jersey himself put together a reasonable paceline where we all pulled through for about 20 minutes. So sad, the finish was coming and the gap was actually growing, so I sat up when the jersey did, reminded myself that I am still a good dad at least, and drifted to the back, thinking about training harder. At this point Jeff’s only option was a field sprint with no help from his one team mate. Considering, he gave it a great run and managed 9th place, not bad for a guy who is waiting with baited breath for 50!

We were blessed with another hot humid day for the queen stage. A slightly different course this year because some of last year’s roads were not yet put back together. Jeff and I both hurt on the first hill right after the neutral zone but we soldiered through and next thing ya know, Jeff was off the front chasing down a break before the first intermediate sprint! Because of my teammate’s beautiful efforts, I was left to close down a gap formed by some tired guys ahead of me though dirt and yes indeed, a PILE of 2 inch bike eating crushed rock! I floated through the crushed rock on Ron’s fancy carbon wheels (thanks) tradgedy narrowly averted! After closing the gap, one of the guys rode up next to me, and said “thanks dude, here is a chocolat gu, you saved me and about 20 other guys by closing that gap”! Oooooopsie, ah what use is a bike race anyway without someone to race against right… With the approach of the intermediate sprint, I very badly timed a nature call where I was supposed to help Jeff get more sprint points. As I was busting it back up to and through the group in a panic, I watched Jeff go screaming up the road to take the sprint. No one up the road anymore, maximum points for him! After a humiliated push (by me) so he did not get dropped, we both drifted to the back just hoping to finish with as little output as possible, saving it for Mondays crit. Jeff went off the back on Baby Gap after his effort on that sprint. I told him to pace himself. I was very proud of him and embarassed at myself for that effort. We made it to the top of Baby Gap and guess what, I was still there! As the pack turned up the steeper switchbacks of App Gap though, I watched them ride away with resolve, thrilled I had made it uphill as far as I did, still feeling super and knowing if I paced myself I might be able to fire up the Joey Lynch diesel on Monday!

For Monday’s crit, there was a much needed lecture from Jeff. “Joey, you get your shit together and ride at or off the front, I need points!” So I put on my game face, thought about pain and suffering in other guys legs, and watched people’s numbers disolve in the  rain. Callups in the pouring rain…. Guys do ya still want to race? You are all experienced enough to know what you are doing…. From the Yellow Jersey, “Call the race, its not safe.” From Jeff very quietly, “Oh, why, cause that way you don’t have to defend your jersey?” Anyway, after about 10 minutes of hullabaloo in a torrential downpour, we were off for our one lap neutral start to get a feel for the course and the river now running through the corner at the bottom of Main St.! The course was full of water, I bet we all looked like Fast Fred in that epic picture. We rode through the river just fine, quite interesting, all it does is slow ya down. But, alas, there were legitimate concerns about middle aged men getting excited about $100 primes and forgetting they really don’t have good traction. So the Commisaire called the race and the rest of racing for the day. Jeff and I made it back to his car to find a river making its way almost to the bottom of his doors!

As usual, Kevin played a gracious host, finding a sweet place and cooking that would put Chef Brockett to shame. The housekeeper for the house we stayed at lost her home in a swollen river, many were still standing but I understand her’s is gone, like they have not FOUND it yet.

I am quite proud of my team’s efforts out on the road, however, the one thing that made me most proud of my team was to look in this ladies tip envelope to find that, together with help from some friends staying with us, we had given her over a $200 tip. Between that and our modest contributions in the relief jar at Race Headquarters, I believe I have the privilege of racing with a bunch of gentlemen.

Maybe the least glorious times are appropriate for thanking the folks who stand behind us. So I enthusiastically thank my team mates for pushing me and supporting me, OA for a knee that WORKS, my family, Cyclemania for EVERYTHING, and Jeff particularly for putting up with my buffoonery over the weekend.

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Submitted by Jeff Fisher:

Well that pretty much summed it up.  And, just in case you’re wondering, Joey wrote that whole report on his phone while driving back to Maine.  I’m not sure how he pulled that one off…

Joey was kind saying middle of the pack on the TT.  Let’s just set the record straight; I sucked.  First I was surprised you could use aero gear.  I didn’t even bring an aero helmet.  I just happened to see Kevin before the start and he loaned me his.  It didn’t help.  I lost tons of time even though I was trying hard.  For whatever reason I just couldn’t get it going.  Then the wrong way twins managed to keep their string of wrong turns going and Joey and I had to retrace our steps and ride even farther to get back to the car.

On day two, it was brutally hot.  If Kevin hadn’t given me a handup I think I wouldn’t have made it.  I had a great sprint for the first intermediate sprint and thought I was going to have a great result.  I rode up to Joey and told him to try and stay at the front and go with the break that was surely going to form at the KOM.  This year there was no descent after the KOM, it was a couple of miles of false flat.  That second KOM nearly broke us and for a short period of time there were the three guys off the front and then seven of us chasing.  Well really only one or two guys chasing because myself, Joey and a couple more guys were just hanging on the back trying not to get dropped.  I thought the race had completely disintegrated.  Somewhere on the descent of baby gap more guys managed to get on because we were just coasting.  On the final sprint it was total mayhem with the sprint starting at 500 meters to go.  I thought I had it, but with about 100 to go I got cramps in both quads and that was it.  I actually got pipped right at the line and lost a place.  Still a top 10 should give me some Nebra points if they’re counted.  Oh, and it was another long hot ride back to the start.

On the third stage I was suffering from the start and hoping not to get dropped on the first KOM which came at mile 11.  Luckily the pace wasn’t torrid and we all survived.  After that it was attack after attack but nothing was getting away.  We hit the dirt section and I lost my mind.  Three guys were off and I rode them down and went right through them.  Next thing I know I was driving the pace at 27+ and pulling away.  It seemed just like cyclocross practice.  Just after the dirt, Tyler Munroe(sp?) and Paul Richards managed to bridge up and it was game on.  I looked back and it was a single line of guys as far as I could see.  In retrospect, that was a match I probably shouldn’t have burnt.  Oh well.  I started cramping on baby gap badly and had to sit up.  By the time I got to app gap I was cramping every time I tried to put anything into the effort and when I got to the final 500 meters I could have walked faster than I was riding.

You know what happened today.  I was bummed because it was going to be a duel for the green jersey.  I actually had a couple guys come up and tell me they wanted me to win.

50+ next year baby!  I can’t wait!

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Submitted by Bruce Schwab

As the lone OA 50+’er this year, I can say that next year with Jeff there (and Hank?) can’t come soon enough. My only real goal for the weekend was to get some sprint points (that jersey is nice!). My plan was to poke along in the TT and save the legs for the sprints, however Dave Z loaned me a very nice HED tri-spoke so I had to ride honorably. Smack dab in the middle (17th) is actually quite satisfying because I typically stink at TT’s!

In the circuit race I got a few points in the first sprint and was hopeful for the finish. However the 2nd time up the KOM I faltered…then had a great opportunity to get back on when the Yellow Jersey (Mosher) came by with 2 Keltic teammates. I couldn’t believe my luck and hopped on. Unfortunately on the last little riser before the downhill I was hit with the worst cramps I’ve ever had and completely locked up. OW. Had to ride in with a chase group, 4min down. CCB’s Tyler Munroe (who had passed right by me in the TT for 3rd on the Stage 1) won BOTH the first sprint and the finish. He moved into first with the finish time bonus.

On the “Big” stage 3, I had only ONE goal; to win the only hot spot sprint at 22.8mi. I had to chase down a few small splits (which I usually refuse to do), but I was determined. It was a long one, led out by Munroe at 500m, however somehow my legs didn’t feel a thing and I came around at 100M get it. James Nash (Munroe’s CCB teammate) was coming up on the right but I really wanted it and held him off. I sat up to cruise the rest of the race but then noticed we had a big gap so sat on the CCB duo until the group brought us back. I managed to tag along with the pack until Baby Gap and rode easy (not entirely by choice) up to the finish with a motley group of cramping stragglers. Mosher won the stage and was back in Yellow with 58sec on Munroe (who was 3rd for the day).

Turns out that Stage 3 HS sprint was the ONLY sprint that Munroe didn’t win for the weekend. For in the Monday Crit he rode right off the front; and when Mosher slid in a corner (came out of his pedals but didn’t go down) a bunch of us got held up and gapped. Like a fool I chased on my own when both the climber’s and yellow jersey’s were behind me…but hey, I still had fantasies of getting some more points. Ya…right. When the “Jersey Group” finally got rolling I struggled to hang on and one after another a series of 545 Team riders kept leaving gaps and dropping off.

After closing those gaps about 3 or 4 times I drifted off myself and finally got yanked as a storming Munroe was about to LAP me. He went on to lap the “Jersey” group (Sarci, Mosher, and a few others), and win the final sprint besides. Yow, I was impressed. Jeff and I will have to tag-team him next year…for this year at least I got him in one of the sprints.

Green Mountain Stage Race – Race Report – Cat 2 Men – September 3-5, 2011

Submitted by Joseph Reis

Stage 1- TT

The prologue TT of the Green Mountain Stage Race was interesting. Having not seen it before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. All I knew was that there was a hill for the first few miles. After a lengthy warmup, I shifted into my desired starting gear, rolled up to the start, and before I knew it, I was off on the climb.

Not knowing the course really hurt me. I pushed far too hard on the climb and didn’t know about the flat section on the top. I had almost caught my 30-second man at the top of the climb and I suddenly realized that the signs on the road were km markers. I still had a few kilometers left and I was hurting. I put my head down and dug in for the rest of the ride. I was not able to pass my target, but I was able to keep him within striking distance.

Once again, having not seen the course beforehand really hurt as I found out that rest of the course was downhill. I spun my gears out pretty fast and just tried to keep the cadence high. Not much else to report until I hit the final climb where I unloaded the tank and gave it my all across the line.

I finished about a minute and a half down and in 66th place. I didn’t really think too much about this result as I knew that I was going into the course without knowing it and that there were still more days of racing ahead that could suit me well.

Stage 2- Circuit Race

The circuit race was moved and shortened due to the devastating effects of hurricane Irene. Although disappointed that the race had to be shortened (64miles), I was happy that it was still being held. I was also lucky enough to see most of the course ahead of time and I knew where the climbs and other points of interest were. It was actually a pretty interesting course that twisted through some picturesque Vermont villages and valleys, climbed up some rolling hills and the back side of baby gap (KOM located at the crest), and after descending down, finished on route 116.

The goal for the race was to try to get in a break right away. I knew that there was a good possibility that this would not happen so the backup plan was to just sit in and stay near the front, saving the legs for the next few days. I didn’t think that I would have much of a chance to contest the finish sprint as it was a long straightaway with a good tailwind. I thought that I would spin my gears out too quickly.

The neutral start began and I positioned myself in the middle of the pack. I wasn’t positive as to where the neutral start ended, but I could tell that it had ended when the pace picked up. Apparently a break went off here, but I didn’t see it until it was too late. So I just sat in and started taking in the experience that was my first Cat 2 circuit race. The pace of the Cat 2 field wasn’t much different than I had seen in past categories, but it was much more consistent and there were a lot less surges. Riders could actually hold their lines and were much more comfortable together. All these factors led to much more efficient racing.
Anyway, the first lap came and went with out much action. The hills really weren’t much trouble. Descending baby gap was pretty smooth and route 116 was fast just as I thought. The break was soon back and we started the 2nd and final lap. The pace didn’t change much until we hit the final climb for the KOM. There were a few surges to get points and then the downhill started again. There was a lot of movement this time down the hill as everyone was trying to stay out of trouble before the fast finish. As we hit the bottom and turned onto 116, the pace picked up. Before I knew it, we were climbing over the last few small hills and the finish was within a couple kilometers. I started working my way to the front after a rider went off the road. Luckily not too many people were effected by this, but it did cause a good group of us to have to sprint back on. I was sitting about 30 wheels back and I could see the finish. I knew that I was in a good and safe place and I just tried to keep my cadence as high as possible. I was quickly out of gears and my cadence steadily rose all the way to the line. I rolled in for 28th. Not much changing in my GC placing, but I did move up a few places.

I was happy that I was able to keep near the front when it mattered, but even happier that we would be able to do some climbing the next day.

Stage 3- Road Race

Just like the circuit race, the road race had to be modified and shortened significantly (~61miles). The promoters were able to have it finish on App. gap though which I was glad about. I knew that this final climb up the gap would be the deciding factor in the GC.

We began the day with a nice neutral start from the base of Mt. Ellen. This was an interesting neutral start as it was all downhill for quite a ways. As we started the race, I moved up near the front so as to see the better climbers on the KOM at Duxbury hill. I made it to the head of the peloton before the descent which turned out to be a good plan as we were soon on the flats and flying over some loose dirt roads. We crossed over one very loose section where many people had difficulty navigating a safe path. I just picked a line and went for it, passing a few people and staying with the guys at the front. Not a whole lot of action through the sprint bonus. I missed my feed a few minutes later, but luckily I was carrying a spare bottle in my jersey.

The race started to get interesting about mid-race as a few guys slipped off the front. The pace picked up and they were caught a few miles down the road as we turned onto route 116. We rolled down 116 with little trouble. There was a good cross-wind, but I was able to stay sheltered until the turn onto Baby Gap.

The race really began at the foot of this two part climb. Riders either moved forward or dropped back here. A small break was able to move up the road, but the tempo stayed controlled for the most part on the climb. I realized about halfway up that my legs were feeling very fresh and I was looking forward to the finish on App. Gap. As we crested Baby, the break was brought back, but the tempo stayed up. The peloton had really been shredded by this point, but it was only going to split more from here. I stayed about 10 wheels back as we made the small descent to the base of App. gap and as the climb began, I moved closer to the front.

App gap, is a fun climb. It’s not terribly steep until the end, but it certainly goes on for a ways. It also features a good number of switchbacks that lead to a very fun feel. I was able to stay with the leaders until about halfway up the climb. Things just really split apart here and it was every man for himself to the top. I focused on keeping the leaders within sight which I was able to do until the final switchback. I worked with a few other riders, but I was grinding too big a gear and did not anticipate the steep grade of the final pitch. My rhythm was off and I just worked my way up to the finish. I finished in 20th place. This moved my GC placing up to 21st in the 90 man field.

Stage 4- Crit

Unfortunately, poor weather caused the promoters to have to cancel the crit for many of the fields that were racing in the afternoon. Since the cat 2s were racing later in the day, we didn’t get to race. Bummer.

Overall, I had a great time at GMSR. Although the race had to be changed, I was very impressed that the race organizers were able to pull off this classic. I am eager to race on the original course and I will certainly be racing this again next season to do so. As far as my racing goes, I am pretty happy with my overall performance in my first race as a cat 2. The first day was interesting, but the final stage on app gap was very fun and helped me move up many places in the GC. Great race.

Masters Nationals – 60-64 – Bend, Oregon – September 3, 2011

Submitted by Hank Pfeifle

Yep, Mr. LeDuc bagged another 1st at Nationals – something like his 18th one.  However, I am happy to report that I made his win most difficult and thought I had him a couple of times. 50 or so guys toed the line and we had to negotiate 2 laps around an 18 mile course that featured two good climbs in the final 9 miles.

I took all your council and rode a smart race. Sat in on the flats and worked my way to near the front for the hills. I was sitting 10th wheel on the first climb and was ready to sit and see if someone else would turn the screws. Nope. Everyone was hoping for a free trip up the hill. Being such a short course I had to say “no dice” to that. My legs were feeling great. BOOM and off I went. Sorry but I couldn’t help myself. Of course there was a reaction and they came up to me. I clicked down another gear and went again. And again they came up. Click, click BOOM a third time. That did the trick as things whittled down to 14. That’s a manageable number. Three miles later we hit the 2nd climb, which is 300 meters at about 15%. Now the 14 were in fear of what was coming. My cold heart had ice running into my veins, and I couldn’t wait to apply more punishment. Boom – hard up the hill and a sustained effort over it. We had another half mile of gradual climb and this really offered an opportunity to dish it out. Kenny Fuller came with me (60 time national champ – really) and he came thru sensing the opportunity. Off we went working well together, but LeDuc was able to bridge the gap. I was hoping he’d bridge by himself, but everyone always clings to him and force him to make the move. The field was now down to nine.

On the rolling backside, Fuller did a great jump on a long roller and I bridged to him. We had a good gap, but again LeDuc brought the group with. However, Fuller’s move dropped two guys. Now we had seven.

Onto the last two hills we went. My legs were feeling even better. I had to make it happen now. I attacked from about mid group. Attacked again… And again. Fuller was on me and he attacked on the crest and kept the screws turning. No problemo and it helped to get rid of two more guys (those pesky teammates who caused problems in the crit). Now we were coming tithe final climb. Unfortunately, the two teammates were able to work together and get back on. No way was I going to allow them to contest for the win.

Up the hill I went with everything I had – and I had a lot because I was feeling great. Fuller hung on, but we were able to gap LeDuc and probably had 100 meters on him at the top corner. Gotta go now. LeDuc is a powerful guy and would definitely win any group sprint. Fuller knew that, too, and we rode possessed. 5k to go. I couldn’t believe it when LeDuc came up to us. He can bridge like no one else. He also brought Wayne Watson with him. During the race someone told me he is the best 50+ climber in Colorado. He also came in 3rd in the TT this week. Rats.

With a mile to go there is a big ring 400 meter climb followed by a 400 meter slight downhill, then straight thru a round-about, half K up to the final corner and then 300 meters to the finish. From last position I jumped and gave a final dug up the big ring hill. Instant 50 meter gap. Watson came up to me and thru me at the top of the hill. I jump hard to get on him but missed and was about 50 meters back pretty fast. Still, I had a gap in Fuller and LeDuc and had to dig deep and finish this thing. I focused on reeling in Watson. I was making good progress when LeDuc caught me with 1k to go. He exploded past with Fuller in tow. I couldn’t catch that one either. They got Watson at the corner and Watson hung tough for 3rd.

I think I played my cards as good as I could. I felt strong and my efforts were actually hard. Not some delusional concept on my part. LeDuc, Fuller and Watson each gave honest efforts. Fuller gave repeated attacks. LeDuc, too, worked like crazy. Watson tried to TT away from us before the hills. I did work, but no more than my share. My money card (hills) played well today, but the guys used their strengths to counter my efforts. I rode to win as did the others, so the results are easy to live with.

That’s how it went. Top five medal, so my carry-on bag will be a little heavier on the way home.

I look forward to having a beer tonight.

From the road,

Hank