First and foremost, as the LITESPEED-BMW scribe, please accept my apologies in such an unacceptably late race update. Excuses not needed, I promise not to leave you in the dark so long again!
Not this past weekend, but one before, we fielded a real good group of guys for the Cherokee County Road Race. For those in the know, this is always a hotly contested road race, and that’s for several reasons. 1) The course and preparation laid out by the NGCA is truly second to none 2) By this time of the year, everyone is in good shape and sharpening their blades for the upcoming state championships, and last but not least 3) The race is on the utter verge of becoming institution!
This so called “toothy” course was one thing. What impressed me more was the “toothy” amount of competition on the starting line. Outside of the regular cast of extremely talented characters that we test our mettle against, we also had a ferociously fit contingent of guys from Team Type 1…fresh off of that little bitty race called The Amgen Tour of California. Yes, the fellas you see on the TV, we do get the lovely opportunity to stroll around the country side with them.
Pretty much according to script, the first lap was the usual pattern of moves being made and caught- with the LITESPEED-BMW boys being ever attentive and aggressive to go along with them. Speaking of, in the field we had team captains Chotas and Tyler, Matt, Wes, Colby, Chad, Hank the Tank and the evergreen Benjy. Nearing the end of lap 1, Thomas Rabou from TT1, the King of the Mountains winner in the 2010 ATOC, launched himself a hundred yards off the front in the blink of an eye. Knowing that he had 4 teammates in the peleton with us, we knew very well that we needed at least one of us to be where he was!
At the beginning of the second lap, Benjy hit the Go button and freed himself from the comfort of the group. Quickly, he built a gap and before long, he had crossed the chasm that lay between the group and Rabou. About 15 minutes later, local strong man Jon Atkins and another TT1 guy, Alexey Shmidt, bridged up and we rode together trading pulls. John is a monster and the TT1 guys are bloody fast (and for the record, so is Benjy!). With his HRM hovering between 175 and 180 the whole time- completely maxed out- to be succinct, he felt like death, but so importantly, his presence in the breakaway was protecting the rest of the guys from having to work on the front. This is key. After riding about 45 miles in the breakaway group of 4, with a steady 2 minute gap on the field, Benjy began to cramp and could no longer hold on. This happened towards the end of the 4th lap and the peleton caught up with him. Tyler, so I heard, had to give Benjy a dirty look, because now that we were no longer represented in the break, that meant we had to throw all of our guys on the front.
If you haven’t noticed, it has gotten awfully hot outside, so by way of fortunate misfortune, Wes pulled out earlier due to a mechanical. Showing what it means to be a consummate teammate, Wes began gathering up bottles and water for critical feeds preceding laps 4 and 5. Unfortunately, the field wasn’t ever able to bring to the break back, and TT1 took the first two spots on the podium, with Big Jon rounding out 3rd.
The bunch came in several minutes later, with TT1 again taking the next two spots, 4th and 5th, and our very own Hank the Tank Beaver mixing it up with them for 3rd on the field sprint, 6th overall. Nipping right on his heels, Chad Madan managed 8th and Colby scored 10th place.
So in summary, we put a man in a break (which many consider a victory in its own right) and we put 3 guys in the top 10 (alongside 5 other UCI Continental pros)!!!!
A brilliant ride guys, way to represent the team. Thanks for reading, everybody, and thank you ever more for your ongoing support!