Saturday, May 3, 2008

It's been a crazy couple of weeks for me recently and I have a couple more to go before life returns to normal. as a result, blogging time is at a minimum. Nonetheless, I wanted to post a recap of some of the more interesting races at the Myles Standish Road Race before I take off on my next trip.

The Myles Standish Road Race in Plymouth is one of the spring classics in New England. Much like the spring classics in northern Europe (Paris Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Fleche Wallonne etc) this race is characterized by bad weather, rough roads, inevitable crashing, and steep short climbs. Another race held the same weekend in upstate NY has claimed the title "L'Enfer du Nord" (the hell of the north) and probably rightfully so, but Myles Standish isn't far behind in diabolical difficulty.

I fully expected to need several layers of fleece and a rain jacket as per usual, but the day dawned beautiful and only got better. Very uncharacteristic for early spring so close to the cold waters of Cape Cod Bay. Several people were heard saying "it just doesn't feel like a Myles Standish race".

The racing started early in the morning with the cub juniors taking the course first. A determined crew took the line in the parking lot and hit the road at full speed before the pace car even shifted into drive. One lap later Tommy Goguen took the win with a comfortable margin. over his younger brother.

The CLNoonan team was in control of the Junior 15+ race from the start. With so much disparity between the experienced juniors and the beginners, half the field never stood a chance. Hopefully they will get some good coaching and racing experience before they get discouraged. The 6 riders in the lead group, three of them from CLNoonan, came into the finish with blazing speed as CLNoonan wound up the lead out for the sprint.

The Masters45+ race split up on the first lap with Colman O'Connor of the host club, MassBay/Bicycle Link, and two riders from the Gearworks team taking matters into their own hands. The group of three got away clean and established a comfortable lead of over 20 seconds. With two laps complete, the lead was still growing. Then O'Connor dropped his two companions on the one significant hill in the course, a fairly steep but not too long climb in the first 1/4 of the 5 mile loop. Colman has shown in the past, including winning the race last year, that he has the fitness to win so the others must have been hurting bad to let him go. His lead kept growing and he was out of site when he won. Paul Curly from Gearworks took second from the field.

In the women's race, Kathy Rowell from NEBC got it going with an early breakaway but was caught by 4 riders who tagged onto the Cat 4 field after it passed through. Lydia Mathger broke from the reformed lead group to win solo.

In the Pro 1 2 race an early break of 5 including two of the most powerful teams, Sakkonet and Fuji, took off. This included the older guard of the local cycling scene represented by Mark McCormack, and the up and coming Danny Estevez. Jake Keough from Sakkonet tried to make the bridge across the 2 minute gap after his team mate Estevez dropped out of the break. This left 4 in the lead group (McCormack, Todd Rowell, Jason Beerman, and Rob King) followed by Estevez followed by Keough and one companion. King lead out the sprint but the most expereinced rider in the break, if not the entire day of racing, Mark McCormack (Fuji) came around him for the victory.

It was a great day of racing with only a couple of minor scrapes. The race's old reputation as a crash fest seems to be a thing of the past now that the course and the finishing stretch have bee modified. However, if the roads continue to degrade without repair more changes might need to be made.

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