I lined up Saturday morning with 39 other riders and on cool start to the 45 mile RR. I have raced this course before and knew the course well. I was able to move about in the pack and it seemed like some of the Cat 4s have cleaned up their racing skills over the year. I started with 5 teammates and the plan was to have two guys watching the front for any early breaks and then on the last two laps everyone was to move up front and get Richard Murphy up the hill for the sprint.
The first 5 mile lap, nothing really happened other than a high speed climb, the second lap, Seth Rider tried to breakaway, I was all over him! I offered to work with him but nothing doing. I fell back in the pack and Murphy took my place on the front and ran down another try on the front. On this one about five guys formed a split and I sat in and watched. The other teams reacted and chase them down before they got through. I moved back up front and lead a lap at an easy 22 mph pace and then fell back in letting some other teams do some work. We ended up catching up and passing the Cat 5s. Nothing else significant happened until the last lap when the breaks started to go. Rider tried again to go before turn 3 and we were all over him and I had Murphy and McKinnon on my wheel while I sat about 6th wheel watching Rider. We started the climb and really nothing major was happing until Rider tried to go and that caused a reaction from everyone else. I don’t know who the rider was, I will call him Lurch, because he was huge. He started rocking back and forth and came over on me and forced everyone to the right, the side we were on. This guy caused several guys to fall behind me, including my two teammates. At this point, while I was cussing him, I pushed to get over the hill and try to recover before the sprint. There was no time, there was a short downhill and then a right turn as I sprinted for the group of riders that got away in the front, by the time I caught them they had already opened it up and I knew I wasn’t going to have anything left.
One of my teammates, Octavio, came up flying around me and got in the mix. He got 9th and I pulled out 11th. Murphy had a pretty good scrape on his elbow and knee, other than that, nothing broken. McKinnon actually fell into Murphy so he was okay. I’m real happy with the team because we are finally starting to think tactfully and work as a team. I later found out that Octavio got pulled from the pack because of the centerline rule and was held back a 100 meters from the pack and then let loose. He still picked his way through the carnage and pulled out a 9th place spot. Pretty awesome considering what had happened. I look forward to the next race.
by Joe Lambert
Just an added note. I was super proud of how everyone rode as a team yesterday. I saw everyone at the front of the race at some point or another working and staying active. Even bobby was up there in his very first cat 4 race until he flatted on lap 7 I believe.
We had talked pre race about trying to get myself off the front. I tried a few times. Once around lap 3 Seth rider and just myself but the other teams quickly brought us back. Another time around lap 6 when 4 guys went up the road and I bridged across to them. We stayed away about 2-3 miles but could never get a gap much bigger than 30 seconds. Every other move was well covered. Octavio went off around lap 7 but the other teams were motivated to bring him back pretty quick.
It all came down to the last few miles and for the first time we actually all found each other at the front of the race. I moved up and found Joe’s wheel. I let him know I was there and I could tell he either got some extra motivation knowing I was on his wheel or he just dug deeper cause he lifted his pace and brought us to the front. Randy got on my wheel and we had it lined up. I told joe to mark Seth rider on the last hill about 1 mile from the finish. joe moved right and got in Seth’s wheel. So that had joe sitting 4th, me 5th, and randy 6th. Octavio had been relegated to the back of the pack and was working his way back up. I was starting to grin because we were in perfect postion to take the win. I knew Joe was going to bury himself up the climb to stay with seth as long as possible and there was no way i would let a 130 pound 15 year old out sprint me. The pace slowed for a second and things bunched up. An attack happens up the right side and to our right. We move far right to follow and “Lurch” from our left (who had no business being near the front) decides to gets crazy and swings over right into my left shoulder. About the same time I’m trying to get this guy off me this causes Mine and Joe wheels to touch and I couldn’t correct it cause a rider was in the way. As it usually happens the moron who caused the wreck didn’t fall but only those behind him. Being the great team mate I am I decided to break Randy’s fall and sacrificed my body and let him land on me. Am I a nice guy or what? Haha.
We could not have riden a better race as a team. We were in right place with a mile to the finish, You just can’t account for all the inexperienced riders or their stupid actions from other teams. The good news is we weren’t seriously hurt and since I was riding my cyclocross bike it wasnt damaged either as it is pretty beefy. I thought after the Rockabilly races I had used up all my bad luck but I guess there was a little bit left.
by Richard Murphy