Pesky. Yes, what a cool race and course! Great organization, the staff handled the huge field gracefully, and it races over some super fun terrain. Some nice twisty, curvy one lane roads, and a climb that’s just big enough to shed some of the bigger guys. I thought I might do OK but surprised myself on this one. Several teammates attended, and here’s the tally:
McKenzie 55+ 1,2,3,4 3rd Place
Reynolds 45+ 4,5 2nd Place
Ragains E4 14th Place
Etchison E4 17th Place
Chappell E4 29th Place
The 55+ race starts mellow, with a sprint prime, and some good but manageable efforts on the first climbs over Old Stage Rd. What a beautiful area. I’ve ridden these roads before but never raced them. Low fog causes some wet surfaces, and there’s newly chip sealed gravel sections so the descents are a bit technical. I love technical descents, but I’m not fond of wet roads. Too dangerous.
It all stays together on Old Stage, and the first of two times up the big climb the slower riders get gapped. I make the cut, but on the descent and flats after the climb, no-one wants to work so it re-groups. Up over the smaller climbs on Old Stage the second time, I push the pace a bit to try to reel in a breakaway of three riders. I take the lead on the descents wanting the pace to be pretty high so we don’t lose any ground… I know one of the riders off the front can descend.
Two of the three riders are subsequently reeled in but there is still one rider away. We try to organize and eventually we get the pace up enough to just catch him at the base of the big climb to the finish. At that point, he blows spectacularly and lets everyone go to duke it out on the climb. Almost comical. I’m hanging at the front with a couple of riders slipping away from me. I know it’s all I can do, so I just keep it up and cross the finish line in 3rd place. Peter Taylor won with Scott Duncan taking second. Great day on the bike!
A report from Ben Ragains:
Ben leads the pack. Photo courtesy Kurt Harvey