2013 Hell of South Master’s Race Report


This is my second attempt at this race. I lined up with the Masters 40+ Cat 3, 4, 5s at 10 am and the race immediately went to 25+ mph at the start. I was sitting around 20th place and noticed one of my teammates up front pushing the pace. I decided to move up to the front and give him a hand. Once at the front I tried to get a pace line started but no one was willing to work. I eased back and noticed a big Treehouse rider moving up on the ride side and several of the SVMIC riders were trying to figure out who he was. He looked like a good wind blocker so I got on his wheel. There were a couple of other riders with him and they seemed like they wanted to worked, until I got on the front and then no one would come around, I kept the pace up 22+ hoping to get some help before the drop off before the big climb but no dice. Once I made it to the downhill section before the big climb, I decided to kick the pace up pretty hard before the climb and hopefully some of my teammates who were sitting in would be able to get a good boost over the climb. I was right, I saw two go by so I hung on and tried to get recovered. The pace slowed a bit on the downhill and I was able to get somewhat recovered. A left onto the gravel and again the pace went up, I hung and got through it and I knew the short steep hills were coming. I finally got popped and couldn’t keep up the chase. Then three of my teammates came up and I jumped on with them and started to give chase to the group, we had them in site but couldn’t close the gap. Several other riders joined us, including my coach, Steve Lewis. We worked together and chased the main pack. On the second lap we had them in site as well as two other groups. Two riders broke away on the turn but I stayed with our group an started to pick it up to close the gap. I know I had to be within 30 seconds but I couldn’t close it, I even got out of the saddle to sprint but nothing. Our group stayed together through another section of gravel and the short hills, we even passed the Cat 4 group that was being held up by the officials. It seems they got passed by the masters group. We continued the pace to attempt to catch the group. We lost one of our teammates, Randy, during the attempt to bridge. So there was me, Octavio, and Tom left, with two other riders. We knew Tom had a good chance to pick up some TBRA points so we stayed with him and worked. During the last kilometer, Steve lead out, with an unattached rider sitting on his wheel. I was third wheel and waited. The unattached rider jump and I jumped as well and a cramp hit my left thigh, I still tried to make the jump but he gapped me just a by a few meters. I gave it everything I had left and told Octavio to go, I don’t think he had anything left either. Tom was able to get second in his age group and 21 points, so the ever evolving plan worked out. Octavio took 12th and I got 13th. Benjie finished 7th, with Randy 16th. Tim and Eddy finished 14th and 19th in the 50+. I felt really good all day, my fitness is definitely where it should be, maybe going out a little more conservative would have probably played out a little different, but oh well, it’s always good to try and test the legs.

Joe Lambert