Tim Taylor Rounds out Masters 50+ with 3rd Place!
Patrick Andre Takes 2nd in Cat 4!
Cold, windy, and wet is the best way to describe Tennessee’s version of the Belgium Classics. This year HoS was true to form, with rain, wind, could have swore I felt sleet, mud, gravel, pot holes, and I even heard of a dog entering the course and getting hit. Myself, Tim Taylor, and Tom Gee lined up for the start of the combined Masters category featuring several of the area’s top cycling teams.
The gun sounded at 1000 am and we headed out with the temperature hovering around 52 degrees. As usual for HoS nothing major happened until mile seven where the first long climb ad the the long descent for the run up section to start the first gravel section. Tim was up front while I was sitting around 7th wheel before we entered the gravel. It looked liked they put a fresh coat of white rock on the road but with all the rain from last night and this morning it was slushy. It wasn’t bad at all to ride on but the wheel in front of you was like having a mud water hose turned on you. We came back out onto the main road and I was still with the main pack. I settled in for the next series of lung buster hills. It seemed everyone else was having trouble with these short climbs as well. I moved up front with Tim and drove the pace up to 24 for about a minute when I realized that my gloves were soaking wet, as were my socks. That northern wind was cold, temperature dropped to 44 degrees! I quickly tucked back in the packed and settled in and tried to stay warm.
The second lap started and I was sitting 4th wheel with Tim in front of me. I thought they were trying to get and echelon started since the wind was coming from our right side. Fat chance, imagine a race were people actually work together. So, the second go at the climb and the gravel came up and I was in perfect position. Up to the top and down the back side is where it got tricky. My fingers were frozen and I was having trouble shifting my bike as quickly as I wanted. I got gaped and then cut off and went off road to keep from going down. This caused me to grab some brake which broke my momentum. I had to chase at this point and found myself in a bad position before the gravel, at the back. We hit the main road before turning onto the gravel and I was gassed from the start. The first climb on the gravel was slower this time so, I powered through and got in chase mode. That’s when I saw Tom Gee. He got around me and we both started to work together to catch back up as we were quickly getting gaped from the main group. We both struggled to close down the gap, but it wasn’t happening. We were able to form a small group, but nobody would work together. I finally started pace lining with Tom and Chris Daffin from SVMIC got on board and we worked for a little while with no help from the other riders. All this speeding up and slowing down finally popped me and I was cooked.
I put it in time trial mode and suffered the rest of the way in. Finishing 17th, I spoke with Tim and he got 3rd in the B race and Tom got 10th. Pay day! I was hoping to have a higher finish but I’m happy with my performance. I will be back next year.by Joe Lambert