Race Report by Kal Szkalak
Masters Nationals were held in Augusta, Georgia, this past weekend in the sweltering heat and humidity. The heat index for both of my race days was in the hundreds. Never mind, might as well race since I'm there anyway. First up was the road race, 44 miles and 3600 feet according to my Garmin’s elevation. It was a saw-tooth profile with no flat road at all. Some steeps at 9% with a climb to the finish of 1/2 a kilometer then a false flat and slight downhill for the last 400 meters. First lap of three went at old man’s pace, except the climbs which were brisk. The field broke up each climb, then came together on the downhills, then it ramped up hard beginning the second lap with attacks virtually every kilometer. It came down to 6 riders chasing 4 in the end, I was with the six. We caught the four (no thanks to two of our chasers) with 8-9 kilometers to go. We hit the 1 k marker and I went to the front hard but the rest, or at least most of them, went by hard. I was cooked and came in seventh. Everyone in the top ten came in as single riders, no two together. I finished 21 seconds back of the winner, which was gained in the last kilometer. Very few races in any group finished with multiple riders even close to each other.
Crit on Sunday on a pretty nice course downtown, one block from James Brown’s statue. It was a long rectangle with one brief, technical, section early in the lap and a long sprint section. My meat, so I felt good about it assuming those old men could stay on their bikes. Lots of attacking throughout but it was coming down to a sprint. Last lap I'm staying near but not on the front, we crossed the line and it went hard, soon the technical left, right, left, left, and sure enough some old guy threw himself into the hay bales. I made it by but was immediately gapped. I chased for the rest of the lap (2/3'rd) , dove the last two corners to get back up to 6th position and sprinted all the way in (300) meters. I passed four riders and threw the bike for a photo finish. Missed the win by a cm? Bit of a bummer I'd say. Thanks to the team and sponsors for the help getting out. On a side note I have to get my shoulder repaired soon so I may be out for a while from racing.
A race report from Reed Moore.
Last Sunday, June 3, Jimbo Wimberly, Tony Darr, and I traveled up to the Rosena Ranch Circuit race near Cajon Pass. The course is an out-and-back two mile loop, mostly downhill going out and mostly going uphill coming back. Our race was a combined 55+ and 60+ group, Jimbo in the 55+ and Tony and I in the 60+ group. The weather was warm, but not terribly hot like the last time there.
As usual, Jimbo took off right at the start, stretching the pack out in single file for a long time. I was worried about keeping this kind of pace up for the 20 laps. Jimbo got pulled back, but there were several other attacks that kept the pace high. About halfway through, two riders got off the front, including Cat 1 rider Louie Amelburu. We chased the two for a couple of laps and then let up. That was good for me, not for Jimbo.
With 2 laps to go, I pulled up to Tony and told him the race would end in a pack finish, so just stay locked on the wheel of the 60+ rider who won the sprint last time. But just after that, Jimbo attacked one more time. I was able to cover the chasers and got a free ride down the hill. When there was a counter-attack at the turn-around, I was just in the right place at the right time to go after him. I had to go all out! But the fear of bonking just before the finish and ending up last kept me going. My heart rate was the highest it has been in several years! It was nice going up the hill the last time, knowing I would not get caught.
Tony got cut off in the sprint and the guy he was covering got away to finish second and Tony took third. Jimbo, who had tried repeatedly to break up the field, took 8thin the 55+. His last attack set me up for my winning move. Thanks Jimbo. And thanks to Tony for blocking for me on those last two hard laps. Winning is fun!