This is a great little race. Some grades, some punchy climbs, and a rolling closure that allows us to use the whole road. Kudos to MBRC for this one!
So last year with a similar field I sat back and waited for something to go up the road, finally it did late and I bridged up and was able to work over the other 2 guys for a nice win.
I figured they'd think I'd do that again, so I attacked hard before the first lap was over. Got a huge gap, but also no mates. Got caught a lap later. Marky Mac countered with his entire team on his wheel along with several others. I sat back and recovered. It was pretty much every strong rider up there so it was imperative that I get there.
On the big downhill I dropped it into the 11 and crushed it. Got there. Some looking around ensued. I attacked again at the finish climb. No legs this time. I wonder why?
Several lame attacks followed that never got any real gap.
At about 5 or 6 to go Mark Gunsalis, well known good guy from Fuji attacked. I followed since I needed to be in with a Fuji rider for any chance at all. I got to him and gave him a small push forward to keep him motoring while I took a second to recover, then I pulled through. Near the finish climb I looked back and all the usual wheel suckers were in place.
I was pretty tapped and figured I'd better keep my speed up in order to respond to the inevitable counter attack. I was on the front and kept a good tempo and waited for the move to come. 200 meters to go, nothing, 100 meters....nothing. I looked back and I had a big gap. Really???
I looked back again after I drilled it over the top, having seen the opportunity. Marky Mac was coming alone. I pulled for a while and was flicking my elbow for some help. Mark came through, but I think he wanted one of his other guys to get there, so it wasn't everything he had. But hey, he was helping and that was all I needed to continue. We gapped them pretty good and I was doing the majority of the work, but Mark is the smartest racer around so I just figured even 2nd place is pretty good. Better than letting the spineless sprinters have a crack at it anyway.
At 2 to go I attacked Mark on the finish climb, but guess what? He covered it. I seriously think the highest compliment you can pay a rider of that stature is to attack him. I've never been big on hero worship.....giving or taking.
So having attacked and not getting a gap, it was now my job to drive it for the last 2 laps where Mark would then blow my tired doors off in the final kick. Thats fine, I knew this before I attacked, but I was gonna keep making him suffer if I possibly could. he he he
With a lap and a 1/3 to go I flatted my front tire. AWESOME! I limped it up the grade as the last little breath of air left my tire, and Mark was nice enough to try to get the people at the line to have a wheel waiting for me when I got there. Have you ever seen 5 lumps on a log? Thats what I saw when I came through. But I think they did radio Mark in the wheel car and he was behind the field, the field has the whole road remember.
So anyway I saw him coming and put my hand up as he pulled up behind me. I had the wheel off and he did an awesome wheel change and gave me a push.....as my teamate Sam Morse flew by 5 seconds up on the field. I was caught instantly as I wasn't up to speed. Mark G was on the front trying to bring back Sammy, but Sam was burying himself 100% committed. He Made it!!! By about 2 feet. I received a nice chop from old friend Leo Devallian just before the last corner, Thanks Leo. I gave the sprint a try and was right on Leo and Billy Y when the wheels came off at about 100 yards to go.
I hate bike racing.
I love bike racing.
Sammy saved it for the team. Atta boy Sammy!
Kevin raced up in VT this weekend at Mt. Snow. He won the hill climb on Saturday. He won the cyclocross race Saturday afternoon. And he finished 2nd in the cross country PRO race today. Great work Kev!
Thats it, JB