Monday, June 14, 2010

Ohio State Road Race

A steamy day greeted the Pro 1,2 peloton at the State Road Race yesterday in Williamsville, OH. The forecast called for highs in the mid-eighties with a 50% chance of rain, promising to make the 90 mile race one of attrition. Staying hydrated and properly fueled were going to be critical, as well as being diligent about maintaining proper position in the pack and conserving energy at all times.

The course was about a 13 mile loop of mostly flat roads, a short, twisty, technical downhill, and one short, steep hill that came about two miles from the finish line. We were scheduled to complete seven laps of this circuit. Early morning rain promised to make the downhill a little treacherous during the opening laps, and the ever-present crosswind promised to make life miserable for those caught at the back of the nearly 50 rider field.

The race started promptly at 11:00, and Dan Campbell of Team Panther wasted no time at all, attacking literally from the word go. Chris Durand of Huntington and one other guy that I didn't know took off in pursuit, completing the bridge within the first mile. And that was that, we never saw them again. Amazing. Dan took it to the line, eventually dropping Chris and being joined by his teammate, Paul Martin for a 1, 2 finish for the Panther team. I think the third guy from the original move also held on for third place.

Back in the pack, Panther and Huntington did a good job neutralizing every attempt to bridge across. The race was super fast at times, with lots of surges coming out of the frequent corners. It actually felt like a crit at times because we were coming out of the corners so hot. The pace would slow to about 20mph for a couple minutes throughout the race, but then the attacks would start back up again in earnest. There must have been close to 100 big surges during the race that had us hammering in the drops in the 53x13. That'll take a toll on the legs for sure!

My day was going great, as I was sticking to my plan and sitting in, waiting for the last lap to make a move. Unfortunately for me, I had a front flat during lap four, and had to ride it all the way to the start/finish line before I could change it out, which forced me to have to chase for about four miles into a headwind to catch back on. I paid the price coming up the hill during lap six, as cramps prevented me from going with the surges that split the rest of the bunch into three groups.

In the end, I knew I was done for, but soloed the last lap to avoid a DNF, coming in one spot out of the money in 26th place. Who knows what would have happened had I not flatted, but that's racing. Adios.

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