Submitted by Hank Pfeifle:
Jamestown was a nice way to conclude the 2012 road racing season. We had a good turnout with John Liston in the 55+, Ron Bourgoin, Ta Herrera, Carl Hitchcock and me in the 45+, Mark Caron, Joe Lynch and Christian Muentener in the 35+, and Kevin Hays in the 4’s. There were about 55 people in each class of the 2 lap 38 mile race. The course is pretty much a Saturday Morning Ride flat one but with a tricky big ring hill at a mile to go that concludes with a flat top and then a sweeping 3 corner descent to the finish. It’s quick!
35+: The importance of teamwork, team reputation and individual reputation proved their worth in this race. The race was an attack fest from the get-go (Bill Shattuck is an Energizer bunny), but Mark Caron corralled all initial break attempts keeping things under controlled until things stacked our way. However, with a side wind and narrow roads things started going really ballistic the first time approaching the lighthouse (about 14 miles into the race). Strongmen Ciaran Mangan, Max Lippolis and Monte Frank managed to escape and our Joey was quick to recognize this threat/opportunity and hustled to try and bridge over. His main man, Christian, catches the threat/opportunity drift a little late but that only increases his sense of urgency. Around the lighthouse bend he whirls and with centrifugal force slingshots toward Joey (our Joey!). With speed and strength born of SMR front riding, he is soon up to Joe and then in front of Joe and then, with the supreme sacrifice worthy of a Longfellow poem, Christian gives his last 20 seconds of energy to the chase and launches Joe who finishes the bridge and latches onto the back of Ciaran’s wheel. Oh what sacrificial nobility and my hands tremble with teammate-al reverence as I write these words. Meanwhile, the break-away guys were very happy with this outcome because they wanted Joe in the break for the dual purpose of a) employing his proven strength and b) having an OA guy in the break would negate having the OA team chase their butts down. It worked and when Skip Foley also joined the group, they were away for good. Nice heads up riding and exceptional teamwork.
45+: No breaks in this race although there were plenty of attempts. Anticipating a group finish coming out of the lighthouse, our pre-race plan was to set things up for Ron – Mr. Finisher (also defending champion). After the lighthouse, there was a two man attempted break going down the road. Ta and another guy had separated from the field and were working to bring the break back. Carl and Ron were near the front waiting to be towed up to the break. Meanwhile, I saw all this while wanking at the back of the pack. No worries, I tiptoed up along the yellow line and, carrying good speed, launched away from the pack, through Ta and up to the two guys (one being Jim Nash, winner of the 50+ Battenkill). Now we had a guy in the break and now the pack would get very serious about chasing us and now Ron & Carl could sit and rest while being towed by the reenergized pack. We in the break were very motivated to get up the hill, across the flat and headed down toward the finish before getting caught. Being caught in the middle of a hard charging pack towards the finish is no bueno. We hit the hill with about a 100 yard lead. We got to the top of the hill corner with about a 20 yard lead – gulp! I looked down at my now less than tan legs but which still glistened nicely with sweat in the low autumn sunlight, and willed them to spin ever faster. And they did but not fast enough as guys started to whiz by, principle among them being Ron. Golly, the guy can go when he smells the finish line where he was half a wheel from repeating as champ. Carl and Ta managed to bring it home safely and avoided the “big one” which occurred in one of the corners.
John and Kevin also concluded the season in one piece, again, no easy feat as there was another crash with flying bodies just yards from the 4’s finish line. Lesson from this? Keep your head up in the final sprint!