Monday, May 17, 2010

Bond Rd: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Having been a while since I last towed the line, I wasn't sure what to expect at the Ohio Valley Spring Series Race #7, held on the Bond Rd. course in Harrison, OH. I'd been coming off a bad patch of training due to some fatigue issues, the last race I attended started in a downpour (but I forgot to pack my shoes, which I think turned out to be a blessing in disguise), and I bagged on racing in my home state of Michigan last weekend due to a family visit and bad weather. But the positives here were that I used that rainy day to change out all the cables on my bike (shifting is now spot-on), and I took advantage of the trip home to get some much needed rest and a very thourough massage.

Rumors had been flying around the internet (see Facebook) as to the difficulty of the Bond Rd. course. Amoung these were a switchback climb that was a 30% grade (false) and a wicked fast 50+mph technical downhill (true). I drove the course upon arriving to the race yesterday, and my first thought was that it looked a little scary.

I felt a little better about things after a one lap pre-ride with OB and The Pilot gave me a better view of the hill and some good lines on the decent. An added bonus was that the legs were feeling good.

The race was scheduled for seven laps, and started out pretty tranquil, minus the kamakasi solo rider attacking from the gun. I don't think the 40+ rider field was very interested in doing much, as most guys were a little worried about the hill that was coming up in roughly four miles. The first time up was good for me, as I was right there in the top five guys, feeling strong and gaining confidence. It looked like most of the field made it over as well and we still had a pretty large group after the first lap.

First time up the climb

Fast foward to about the halfway point of lap two. There had been several attacks and counters so far, but nothing was sticking. During a lull in the action, I saw an opportunity and punched it on a short roller, easily gapping the field as no one wanted to chase. Unfortunately, no one wanted to come with me either, so I was left on my own. I figured I'd give it a go and try to get to the downhill, in the hopes that a small group would bridge up to me. This worked out perfectly, as three riders came up to me on the flats and we worked well together over the next lap. The field chased for a bit, but then it looked like they lost motivation, and we were gone.

Leading the early break

One lap later a group of six caught us, making a front group of nine riders, and that was how the rest of the day played out. The officials were giving us splits of about a 1:30 back to a chase group of two, and 3:00 back to the main field. All we had to do was ride steady and it was looking good that we would make it to the line. Oh yeah, we also had to keep surviving the climb.

I suffered the last three times up the climb, dangling off the back, but fighting to catch back on each time. It was a struggle because I knew I was running out of gas, but if I could just stay on there it was easy to ride in the group the rest of the lap.


The elastic finally broke for me on the final ascent. I followed a couple surges, but then it was lights out. A bit dissapointing because I knew if I could make it over I'd have done well in the sprint. Still a solid day, and I rolled in solo for 9th place. Adios.

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