RACE REPORT: Lake Sunapee Road Race
The road race at Lake Sunapee was moved this year from its original date to mid-June. Fields were condensed which impacted the CAT 3 riders primarily. They had to jump in with the Pro 1,2 field. Not an easy day for our own Christian Verry, who is not quite old enough to race the 40+. Here is his report followed by Philip Beliveau (50+) and Tim Noel (40+).
P,1,2,3 by Christian Verry
The P 1,2,3 race was fast, although there was some sitting up at times on lap 1, and for a brief section of lap 2. I was surprised there were no painful sudden attacks right away. Instead, the group rode together for all of the 1st lap. I think we shed a few guys (maybe 10) on a couple of the bigger hills on the backside. The surges were hard though. Definitely harder than a standard 3 race.
Going into the 2nd lap there was a brutal attack by the round a bout, and it strung the whole field out single file. Hurt like hell, but was great to see. You know everyone is suffering when it's all going single file. About 8ish miles into lap 2, it suddenly and drastically settled down, and I was very thankful for it. But it was a brief respite, as the surges returned again once the hills came back. This time the efforts stayed more consistent, with harder pulls even on the flats and tops of the climbs. By the end of the 2nd lap, we had lost a large portion of the field.
Another hard, but shorter, and not quite so fierce, surge began the 3rd lap, and I knew I would be screwed at some point, as my legs were hurting from all of the hard efforts on the 1st 2 laps. I very seriously considered just pulling out, as I was feeling terrible. I don't often think of DNF'ing, but today I almost did. Instead, I figured I'd hang in as long as I could. Up until this point, all of the attacking at the front was for naught, and much to my surprise, and my eventual demise, nothing stuck, so the attacks continued, and I suffered.
Finally, early into the 3rd lap, a large break got away, but not far. We could see them the entire time. Maybe they had 500-800m on us, hard to tell when your eyes are crossed. But the group would not let them go, and so the effort remained consistently fast and hard. No recovery allowed. When we got to the two big climbs on the back half of the 3rd lap, I was toast, and could not hang on anymore. I soloed it in for the last 15ish miles. Crushed physically, and hardly turning over 200 watts.
50+ by Philip Beliveau
There were a few attempts at breaks in the first lap. None stuck with Bruce, Stephen and I taking turns covering. Good pace but not killer hard! Then Dimitry Buben (x russian nat team) rode off the front solo dangling for a while until the peloton lost interest and he powered away.
Later into the second lap 60 yr old Tom Officer launched off the field. Once again the field started to reel him in but he persisted, bridged to Buben and stayed off to the finish. They finished just off the front of the charging field. Chapeau!
I went with a couple ill fated breaks and later in the second lap pushed solo over the last steep climb with Rick Sorenson bridging up. We got a decent gap held it for a couple miles then were swallowed up as I was sucking big wind. I was happy to slip back in to the peloton and was able to get back up near the front on the corner below the finish. I stayed with the lead group charging up the finish hill. As the sprint started I was moving well but positioned poorly behind 2 guys on either side fading more than me. I had to hold up a bit and ended up maybe top 10 or 15.
40+ by Tim Noel
The pace was relatively steady and fast but the group seemed to be nervous throughout the race. There was some bumping going on but no crashes. We hit the hills hard and no breaks worked until about half way through the second lap. I went off on two separate attempts with some other guys to try and bridge up but we couldn't get ourselves organized.
Except for the break off the front, we came into the roundabout on the final lap as a group. I was near the front but was overtaken on the surge coming out of the roundabout and up the finishing climb. Things got strung out up to the finish and I think I finished about 20 seconds back from the main group.