Promoter Sandy Martin pulled it off again and put on a fine race despite having little volunteer support and even less sponsorship. The course is a 1 kilometer four corner squished rectangle with a bit of an uphill every lap. Most of the corners aren't too tight but the first one after the start line does occasionally see riders overcook it and head onto the neighbor’s lawn at the apex of the corner. Here’s how the races went down:
Women Cats 3 and 4, and Women Masters 30 and Masters 45 (all fields together for separate prize lists)
The Cat 5 men often start a day’s racing off and it’s unusual to start a day with the women’s races. But that’s how Sandy Martin rolls so the women got top billing today. The combined field numbered about 25 riders and Frances Morrison proved herself to be one of the fastest by taking the first prime about 5 laps into the 25 lap race. Attrition started to take a toll at the back with brisk lap times around 1:34. About 18 or so of the women stayed on the lead lap and on the last lap it got strung out with some gaps. MaryAnn Martinez (Capital Velo) took the final sprint to win the 45 plus category and the race overall. Frances Morrison was second overall and first of the Cat 3 and 4 race, and Perri Mertens (Cambridge Bike) was first of the 30 plus race. Frances Morrison graciously donated her prime (a mini-pump) to be a prize for the kids grass crit since she “already has plenty of bike pumps”.
Unfortunately I could not follow the kids races while also announcing the big-kid races on the road so I don’t have any info on that. Hopefully a few of them will be back to compete on the road when they are big enough.
Masters 55 and 65
The two age groups were given the option to race together with separate prize lists or to keep two separate fields. The older guys were up for a challenge so the two fields were combined on the start line. That meant that both races would be doing 25 laps. James Themig (Mystic), Micky B (BOB), and David Burnette (Mystic) got away and stayed away. They lapped the field with about ten to go. Meanwhile, Mark Hagen (CCB) was hanging out in no man’s land chasing. He seemed to realize that he wasn’t going to catch or be caught and soloed the last 15 laps to take fourth overall. At one point he asked where all the primes were that I had promised on the start line, but I’m sorry, there are no primes for a solo rider in no man’s land. They all go to the break or to the field to liven things up.
Dusty Adams (Mosaic Smalti) took the field sprint which included the three riders on the lead lap so he got fourth in the 55s. The overall winner, Burnett, was in the 65s so Mickey B won the 55s with Themig second and Mark Hagen soling to third. Richard Martin (Masters Velo) was second in the 65s.
This 30 lap race started off at full throttle. They were riding hard for the opening half of the race but a group of 6 got away at 15 to go. But Dave Foley (BOB) brought it back all by himself with no apparent help from the rest as CCB and Sunapee sat on him. As I recall he even won an uncontested prime during the effort. He sat back after his work was done and recovered at the back for a lap or two. It stayed together until the end for a big field sprint. I thought I saw Mike Norton taking a close sprint but the official results indicate that Greg Melone (Gearworks) beat him in a photo finish. It's a good thing JD was there with the totally pro finish line camera set up. That’s probably not the result Foley had in mind when he was single handedly closing the gap.
All the big masters teams were well represented in this one including Sunapee, CCB, Team Fuji and Corner Cycle among others. They went fast from the start but that didn’t discourage the attacks. It did keep any of them from staying out there long until three of the more powerful teams were represented off the front. Ciaran Mangan (CCB), Pat Ruane (Sunapee), and Tobi Schultze (Team Fuji) took off. With three big teams up there, it fell to the guys from Corner Cycle to chase. They would put a rider on the front and try, Dave Foley-style, but either couldn’t break the strong blocking of the teams in the break or just didn’t want to commit enough legs to it. Kevin Hines (Corner Cycle) pulled the longest at the front but the blocking couldn’t be beat. Johnny Bold (Corner Cycle) then tried to go solo but couldn’t get across. Surprisingly, Mark McCormack (Team Fuji) didn’t try to go solo, but he did take the sprint for fourth place. Ruane won the sprint of the three breakaways followed closely by Schultze and Mangan.
This one was the Hot Tubes show from the start and no one else ever really had a chance. Gavin Mannion (Hot Tubes) and six team mates took the line using this race as final preparation for their trip to the Red River Stage Race in Kentucky, the only UCI stage race for juniors in the US. And they didn’t waste much time getting it going. Gavin, being on home turf, went first and then was joined by one, then another, then another of his team mates to make it a four man team time trial off the front. They easily lapped the field with 34 to go and plowed right through. Meanwhile, Peter Bradshaw (Embrocation), Skip Foley (Landry’s), and Peter Bell (Met Life) had formed a chase group off the front. Mark McCormack bridged up to the chase to make it four. But it all finished together after Hot Tubes set tempo for the last 20 laps or so and caught the four. They didn’t need to do that but it was probably good practice for the upcoming stage racing. Nathan Brown (Hot Tubes) took the field sprint to make it 1st through 5th places for the Hot Tubes team. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, they are all less than 19 years of age and riding on restricted junior gears. Mark McCormack was the best of the rest in 6th. Thanks to Mark for donating a big box of Clif shot and Fuji products for primes for races throughout the day.
This race was the only sleeper of the day because once Bill Yarbrody (NBX) took off up the road solo, no one really seemed to try. Tim Unkhert made a brief effort to chase but realized that studying for his graduate degree hasn’t helped maintain his cycling fitness any. He went back to the field and Yarbrody continued building his lead over a scattered field. Yarbrody lapped and then went through the field, then Unkhert broke away to join him. Unkhert just can’t help himself. The two worked together and stayed clear to the end. Just to confuse the spectators, Unkhert came across the line first to claim second place leaving it to Yarbrody to win the race solo a couple of seconds later.
Ben Wolf (Mystic) and Chris Bailey (Pedro’s) got away right after the start and built an 18 second gap before being joined by Mathew Spaits (Cambridge Bike). That break fell apart with 7 to go but Bailey carried on with a ten second lead. The field was lead, Foley-style, for four laps by Leo Deforges (Threshold Cycling) who then tried the solo bridge move. It’s tough to bridge after four laps on the front and unlikely to surprise anybody, but it kind of worked. He made it to within about 10 seconds at two laps to go with just Spaits on his wheel. Spaits and DesForges apparently talked on the back side of the course and had some arrangement that apparently one of them misheard. It was clear that DesForges was not pleased with the outcome when Spaits rode around him to take second place. Spaits said afterward that there was a misunderstanding on the road but it got worked out after the race and that all is now well with both of them. Hopefully DesForges had the same understanding.
It was the Scott Simmons story until the finish when he was beat by Steven Owens (Green Line Velo). Simmons ground a monster gear throughout the race to take all the primes and second place. He told me after the race he was turning a 56x11 most of the time, including the flat finishing strait. There was a slight tailwind on the finishing stretch, but 56x11?? Maybe if he didn’t mash such a huge gear his solo effort wouldn’t have gotten caught on the last half lap. It is amazing he held on for second.