Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...
The Adirondack region team continued its roll through the Empire State Games in today's road race. The men's team swept the podium one-two-three, and the women went 1-2. In the 16-rider women's field, the team rounded out with eighth place, while the men placed our entire 10-man team in the top 30. I finished 14th, about seven minutes behind the winner. I was sixth on the team to cross the line. Matt Purdy, of Albany, soloed in for the win, while Justine Lindine, of Mapelcrest was second, and James Morrison, of Saratoga Springs, was third.
In the women's race, the unstoppable Beth Miller, of Albany, took the win, with Bryna Nestor second.
With today's results, the Adirnodack region now has a lead going into tomorrow's points race over our closest rivals, the Western region team.
The race started with a 4ish mile climb from the valley up onto a ridge. From the end of the short neutral zone, the ADK team went to the front and rode a hard tempo that quickly had riders going backward out of the field. We sent Vinny Scalia, of Queensbury, off the front on the climb, and he had a small gap but was brought back by the western team. So he went again. When we topped out it was a downhill section followed by a long, but not steep, climb. The lap ends with a steep climb to the feedzone, followed by a long moderate incline.
On the first trip through the feedzone I was riding near the front, and picked up a fresh water bottle from coach Bob Pavlik. I grabbed it funny and had a hard time getting it into the cage. When I looked up there had been an acceleration. James, Matt, Justin and Vinia had all made a surge that had split the field, taking about six other riders from various teams with them, including Cory Burns, who were had marked as a potential threat.
Now at the front of the main group, I tried to chase back to the split, but teammate Deiter came up and mentioned that we'd isolated Cory up the road and that another key rider on the central team had also missed the move. So we sat up. The pace immediately eased off, and riding was a lot more pleasant. With all six of the remaining ADK riders still in the now-reduced peloton, we pushed the pace on every climb, leaving more and more riders behind.
The course had one screaming-fast descent with three sharp turns. One the second-to-last lap I hit the front one the descent, more out of a fear of crashing than anything else. Leading through the tightest of the turns, I got a small gap when Nathaniel Ward, of Albany, tapped the breaks in the field behind me. When one central rider got onto my wheel, I drilled it to establish a gap. We had more than a minute going up the main climb. Deiter, who had been on a solo bridge, caught us as we crested the climb, and we worked in a group of three for the next few miles. We picked up a central rider and a Hudson Valley rider in the last few miles leading into the climb to the finish. Unfortunately for me, I was completely gassed by that point.
I worked hard to pull my group of four to the base of the last climb, and then watched the others race up ahead of me. I wish that I could have sprinted to stay ahead of the central rider to pick up the points, but I had nothing left, and was happy to limp in for 14th.
Up ahead, Matt Purdy had attacked the break to get away. Behind him, Justin attacked Cory Burns, who was cramping and couldn't hang. James could, and there was the podium. Vinnie was riding well in the break away when an uneducated person in the feedzone ran into him, knocking him off his bike, and destroying his cable. Stuck without the full use of his range of gears, He "limped" home to seventh.
Behind my move, it was thrilling to see on ADK rider after the next out sprinting riders from other teams, snapping up as many points as we could. What a day.
Following the race I ate a delicious Moe's burrito. Day complete.
Tomorrow is stage 3, the points race, which should see all kinds of mayhem. Stay tuned.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...