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.

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