Wednesday, April 24, 2013

GVCC Spring Classic - Bloomfield April 20, 2013
Nick Leonard

The day started early with team Dorschel / Reed Eye Associates volunteering to handle rider check-in for the premier spring classic in upstate NY.  The CAT 4’s would be going off at 10:30AM and completing 4 laps around the 11 mile circuit.

Temperatures ranged between mid-30’s to lower-40’s, with strong winds coming out of the west at 20MPH and gusts up to 40MPH.  The wind turned out to be quite scary on the North/South sections of the course which had open and exposed road.

At 8:30AM, just as the CAT 5’s were heading out, Mother Nature decided to throw out a little teaser and it began to flurry.  Last year conditions were cold and wet, not pleasant; so when I saw the flurries I knew we were going to be in for tough day.

We rolled out on time and the group of 31 strong rode the two miles up hill to the neutral start and the race was on.  About a mile after crossing the start finish line a group of 6 riders attacked and got off the front of the main field.  As we approached Baptist Hill Rd a short time later, I made a futile attempt to bridge up to them on the on the downhill heading into the turn onto Tilton.  I was soon joined by a UR rider and one other guy.  As we hit the 90-degree turn, I came in too hot and overcooked the corner nearly sending the other guy into the ditch.  Not exactly a good sign at the start of the race, but what the heck, I’ve seen the likes of Thomas Voekler overcook a corner in the TDF, so it happens to all of us.

The group off the front had a 30 second gap on us at this point and we were joined by a larger contingent of riders, which turned out to be a great help as we were heading directly into the wind.  After the rollers on the first lap and heading into the second lap our larger group quickly got whittled down to 5 riders, including Phil Nesbit from Towpath and Eric Giehl from Quality Care Pharmacies among others.  We started to get a good rhythm going in our paceline and attempt to cheat the wind.  On the rollers of the second lap, one of the riders in the break got popped off the back and joined our group.  This gave us hope that we could eventually catch the lead group which had a minute into us at this point.

As we got past the rollers on the third lap and headed north, our group was 100 yards off the leaders.  We would become one heading into the fourth lap.  There were one or two solo attacks on the last lap that didn’t stick on account of the wind, but the most decisive would come just before the long stretch North on Baily prior to finish.  A rider from the UR team launched himself off the front, and continued to put time into our group.  A couple of us, like Eric, Phil and I, put forth some hard efforts to try to close the gap, but without the entire group taking the same tenacity, it would not be so.  As we turned onto Gauss and hit the false flat, I decided to turn up the heat and everyone quickly followed suit.  We turned onto Oakmount for the final climb prior to the slight downhill heading into the finish and I had good position at the front of the group, giving what I had to road beneath me.  As we crested the hill I stayed close to the yellow line so that I wouldn’t give shelter to the wind for my competitors and was now in third position.  A large gust of wind hit me like a wall and shoved my bike three feet to the left.  As I struggled to right the ship, a rider from Cornell overtook me and this would set the placing for what turned out to be a very difficult day.  I hit the line in fourth place glad to have survived the wind.
Team Dorschel / Reed Eye Associated had four riders out in those conditions and thankfully everyone made it home safe and finished all four laps, something not everyone can claim.

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