Thursday, April 23, 2009

Myles Standish Circuit Race April 19th 2009

If any of you out there in the blogosphere have any influence with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), please use it to make them re-pave the roads in Myles Standish State Forest. If there was ever a more shovel ready project, I don’t know what it might be. The roads in MSSF are now, after this long winter, a complete disgrace. As a result, race promoter Bill Sykes made the difficult decision to move the race off of what was left of the traditional loop around the forest and move the race to the training race course around Charge Pond. It’s a 1.3 mile loop surrounded on one side by the pond and on the other by a camping area that is not yet open for the season. In short, it’s a great place for a training race, but kind of lackluster for one of the early season New England classics. It just isn’t the same without the possibility of someone taking a plunge into a recently thawed lake (yeah, it’s happened). But there really is no choice until the DCR paves the main loop around the forest.

It went pretty much like this:

Juniors 10-14 - Peter Goguen (Minuteman Road Club) won it in a break with Nate Morse (CLNoonan), Chris Worden and Peter Vollers Jr (Starthouse). All four young men have fathers who are either active or retired racers so it’s no surprise they formed the winning break. Peter has the extra benefit of having at least 3 older brothers who race as well (I’ve lost count of exactly how many bike racers that family has spawned).

Cat 5 – The 50 rider field limit suddenly looked like a good idea on the narrow roads and a full Cat 5 field this early in the season is a good sign for the future of the sport. Not much of note happened in the first 18 miles as the less experienced riders dropped off the back. Too bad they couldn’t stay in and finish, but this ain’t the marathon and the stragglers were pulled out by the officials. Anyone can ride 20 miles so there isn’t much pride to be had in simply finishing. About 36 riders finished in the field. As they passed through the start finish area to begin the last lap you could see the two BikeBarn guys, Andy Legan and Bill Kinney, making their way to the front with Bill keeping Andy out of the wind. Bill led Andy to the front and kept him there through most of the final lap but got slammed by the headwind on the backside of the course. Andy fended for himself from there and came around the final corner in second spot. He was gradually coming around the guy in first, Devin Riley, and had almost completed the pass when he inexplicably stopped pedaling with 30 yards to go. This allowed Riley to maintain his lead by just inches to the second cross walk which was the real finish line, not the first one that had been used during all four training races earlier in the season. Legan took home second prize and a valuable lesson – ALWAYS KNOW WHERE THE FINISH LINE IS.

Pro 1,2 – Mark McCormack (Team Fuji) and Jeff Craddock (CCB) took off early and worked smoothly together for several laps. They collected two $10 primes for their efforts, then they dropped back rather suddenly to the field losing a 30 second gap in just two laps. That’s weird, Markie and Craddock don’t just suddenly blow up like that. The field had split behind them but came back together as Frank McCormack pulled the field up. It was later theorized that Shawn McCormack (youngest of the three racing McCormack brothers) was the team leader for the day and since he didn’t make the break, Mark dropped back and Frankie pulled Shawn’s group up to the chase group. At the finish Shawn won after getting the best lead out in history from Mark, Craddock was second, and Frankie was third. Peter Vollers would later tell me how Frank and Mark can control a race so well that that their designated sprinter doesn’t have to do much in the race but sprint for the finish. Peter said they did it for him many times when they were together on the IME team in the 90s. Not to take anything away from Shawn who is obviously coming back into form after years off the bike, but apparently today was meant to be his day from the start.

Mas 45 – This one stayed together through the first half despite turning in the fastest lap times of the day including the previous Pro-1-2 race. The speed was due in large part to the very active Gearworks team that seemed to be constantly sending riders off the front. First to go was Tom (the Steamboat) Stevens. He went twice before Bob Bisson went twice. At the finish it was all together and Paul Curley (Gearworks) took the win from the final corner followed by Joe Rano (Bike Alley).

Juniors 15-18 Mystic Velo and CLNoonan made up half the field so they looked like favorites to win on the starting line. The field of 10 stayed together to the end. David Gilchrist (Mystic) led it out from the final corner and hung on to win with his team mate Ben Wolfe right behind in second. Chris Esposito, who came all the way from Maine, took home third place.
Masters 55- Mark Hagen (CCB), Dusty Adams (Mosaic Smalti) and a few other strong men took the line with a couple of first timers to make a field of 12. It didn’t take long to sort things out. One time heading up the strait to the start finish area Dusty had to shoo a turkey off the course as it almost got hit by the field trying to cross the road. They seem to be all of the forest these days, it must be mating season. After a bunch of accelerations and attacks mostly by Hagen, the top few came in together with Hagen taking the win followed right behind by Dusty Adams and Richard Cullen (Corner Cycle).

Cat 4 – The Cat 4 field was filled to the 50 rider limit but it didn’t take long to start shelling some off the back as the front of the field worked hard all race with some fast lap splits (around 3 minutes). Ryan Littlefield (Base 36) came to the front at the finish and stayed in the saddle to power up the slight hill for a win with the field unable to come around. On his wheel was Brett Walker (Hammer), then Greg Brown (Cape Cod Cyclists).

Mas 35 – This was another race that stayed together despite riding very hard. Ray Botelho (the One Man Wrecking Crew) and Eric Jensen (Bike Barn) always seemed to be at or near the front when the field came through the start finish. With 2.5 laps to go, Botelho took off from the front of the field and no one went with him. Jensen seemed to help him by sitting on whatever chase developed and then it got to the point where no one wanted to sacrifice their chance at second place so Botelho was gone to stay. He won by about 15 seconds followed by Paul Curley at the front of the field sprint, then Todd Rowell (NEBC).

Women – A field of about 13 started but they were of all different ability levels and ages ranging from Emily Curley (Gearworks) to Julie Lokhart (NEBC). After about 5 laps more or less together, 4 rolled off the front. Kristen Gohr and Lydia Mathger (both Colavita) along with Cathy Rowell (NEBC) and Carola Berger (Webcor) rode the remaining 12 laps together while the rest of the women formed small groups behind. Kristen Gohr won the halfway prime– she can sprint. At the finish Kristen led it out and took the win with her teammate Lydia right behind her, then Rowell and Berger followed right behind.

Cat 3 – This one was a barn burner because 17 Cat 3s decided to ride hard, really hard. They consistently rode the fastest laps of the day, even faster than the Pro -1-2 field. The Pros were turning in 3:00 minute laps. The Cat 3 field, dominated by the CLNoonan and NEBC teams with four riders each, was always below 3 minutes and commonly around 2:50 per lap. Somehow, Colin Huston (CLNoonan) and Kyle Smith (Cambridge Bike) went even faster and broke clear off the front. David Chiu (NEBC) didn’t wait long to jump on the train and leave the pack behind. With the two biggest teams in the race up front, Tom Middleton, the only rider in the race from the host Mass Bay/Bicycle Link Team, decided his best chance was to join the break. He later said it almost did him in making the bridge across, but he made it and recovered well enough to start taking his pulls. Meanwhile, the six NEBC and CLNoonan riders controlled the field for their team mates in the break. After a few laps Smith couldn’t maintain the pace of the break with only limited opportunities to rest and dropped back to the field. The remaining three stayed away and Huston led out the sprint all the way up the finishing strait and dropped Chiu and Middleton. Chiu managed to hold off Middleton then 30 seconds or so later, Paul Lynch (CLNoonan) won the field sprint for fourth.

David Potter was kind enough to be the in-race camera man for the day during the Masters 35 race. I’ll have some race video posted as soon as I figure out how to edit it down to a reasonable length. Check back soon.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

Well put on (and wonderfully announced) race; I agree it's a shame that the roads are in such terrible condition in the park