A New Classic
On Sunday, 25 March the MABRA road racing season started in earnest with the 2nd annual Black Hills Circuit Race. A twisty, challenging 1.5 mile lap with a short, small ring climb on the finishing straight, it set the stage for the first chance this year to size up the region’s competitors. The Bike Lane sent 10 racers to the party, covering multiple fields. Here’s how it went down:
Men’s Open Masters: the first year The Bike Lane has fielded a team of players in this hotly contested event. With the new additions of powerhouse James Studebaker and seasoned vet Mike Kingery, long time member Aric Line had all the company he needed. At any given time, 1 of the trio could be seen keeping an eye on things near the front of the race. Lacking in absolute firepower relative to some of the region’s more established institutions, Kingery was delivered to a very respectable 16th place (which was good for 2nd amond the Cat 2s). Studebaker rolled in for 29th (2nd of the Cat 4s) and somehow Aric didn’t make the results sheet. But there’s no doubt he was there and surfing the front all race.
In the 3/4 Men’s field, Pierce Schmerge, Andrew Steele, Bruce Buckley, and Marc Genberg took the start. The field separated by a crash, Andrew and Pierce were isolated and missed the day’s decisive break. Lead by an on-fire Pierce, they swept the field sprint for 5th and 6th places.
Alistair Hastings and Jason Ray struggled to match the accelerations in the 4/5 field, but their work was rewarded with a very strong 11th place finish by doubled-up James Studebaker.
Another new development of the off-season, two ladies lined up in Bike Lane kit for the Women’s 4 race. Karen Talley Mead and Mary Tyson represented in a surprisingly well populated peloton, bringing home 6th and 12th place finishes, respectively. Their road debuts complete, watch for these 2 to make waves.
A long standing tradition in the region, the Jefferson Cup Road Race was held on Sunday, 1 April. Somewhat gloomy in the morning, the sun came out for the afternoon field, but good weather for bike racing all day long. The event was held in 3 waves: 9:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m., with Bike Lane jerseys rolling out all day long. Your recap by wave:
At 9:00, Alistair Hastings and Jason Ray started the 50 mile Cat 4 march. A heavy block of training behind him, Alistair’s legs got the better of him. Jason stayed with the field until 1 lap (10 miles) to go when an ill-timed break attempt saw the field accelerate and eliminate his chances. Both guys made big advances over the winter, so there’s no doubt we’ll see more out of them as training and racing tunes up their legs.
The lunch time races saw Ben Blanton, Matt Pickworth and Mary Tyson roll out with the Men’s 5 and Women’s 4 field, respectively. Ben caught the nasty end of a crash, unable to avoid a rider that went down in front of him about 3 miles from the finish. Luckily unharmed, he rolled in behind the group. Pickworth split the difference with a solid 26th. Mary posted a very solid result to nab 3rd out of a field sprint and get the 1st Bike Lane podium of the day!
Last wave: Mike Kingery again lined up among the Open Masters, but this time alone. Pierce Schmerge and Andrew Steele went out to play in the Men’s 3 for 60 miles. Active in the field, Mike made the most of his isolation and surfed the breaks all day. Unfortunately, the lottery didn’t pay out and he missed the winning move. He finished 26th (15th Cat 2) with an absolutely shattered field. Pierce suffered the worst luck of the afternoon with a flat at the halfway mark. The wheel truck was over a minute behind the race and the field made a rapid departure on a very fast section of the circuit. After 20 minutes of chasing, he pulled the plug, unable to regain contact. Andrew held on to the finish, taking 2nd in the field sprint and landing another Bike Lane podium with 3rd place.
With no racing for 2 weeks, the gang will be regrouping for the Carl Dolan Circuit race on Sunday, 15 April. That same weekend, the less tarmac-inclined will be testing their meddle against the area’s best mountain bikers at the storied Bakers Dozen endurance race.