Wednesday, July 2, 2008

2008 Masters Nationals, Day 5

Road Race: 55+, 50+

Several masters men road races were contested in sunny, hot, and breezy conditions today, including Bill's 40 mile 55+ race at high Noon, and Mike's 50+ race following at 2 PM, also 40 miles (8 laps of the roller coaster course).

Bill was looking cool and collected at the start, which was a good thing because the attacks went from the gun. After covering several early moves by Kent Bostick, Dave LeDuc and Wayne Stetina (calculate the collective horsepower represented there!), Bill made it into 2 moves that went up the road, but the field was still fresh enough to pull them back. After those major efforts, Bill was somewhat tenderized, and the 3 kingpins were eventually able to slip away, accompanied by 3 others. By the end of lap 3 the starting field of 60 was reduced to 20 riders.

Bill hung tough as the laps rolled by the the temperature climbed. In their wisdom, the race officials have prohibited feeds for races under 50 miles, but there didn't seem to be any rule against spraying. Joe dumped a bottle of water on Bill each lap to try to keep him cool. The break stayed away to capture the podium places, but Bill hung tough with the chase group to finish 15th.

Mike was up next, and lined up early for a front row view of the action. He kept himself safely positioned near the front in the early laps, looking comfortable up the climbs. Then, a Specialized rider threw down an attack up the climb that only one Amgen rider was able to follow. Mike was next up the hill, but no one was ready to assist.

The Specialized rider eventually shed his companion, and appeared ready to claim a stars and stripes jersey. However, Mike wasn't ready to concede, and led the chase up the climbs. On the last lap, a lone rider slipped away on a downhill, and gave all to the chase. Still a few seconds behind at the crest of the last major climb, the chaser closed the final gap in the last flat run-in to the line, and claimed victory.

Mike crested the feed hill climb in fourth, but the fresh legs hiding in the back of the chase group emerged for the final kilometer, relegating Mike to 15th place.

After a day of hard-fought battles, the blue trio showered off and headed out to re-fuel.

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