Great Results and Racing At Lakefest for CNYC

Have you ever gone to a bike race....then got home in the evening....and asked yourself why you just
paid $25 to roll around at a medium pace...and then sprinted the last 1/4 mile? Bike racing is an incredible sport. But sometimes there are too many guys ( or girls ) that just wanna sit in and fight it out the last 100 meters. Yeah, you gotta race smart and play your cards right.....but we are bike racers ! Racing should be exciting, fast, aggressive and fun. The 26 miler Whitney Point Lakefest Road Race was all that and more.
Having looked at the radar before I left New Lisbon my thoughts were that we'd be racing in decent weather.
As I drove into the parking lot for the race a steady rain was falling. Oh well....at least it wasn't thunder and lightening like last year. You gotta keep positive. Registration was made more of a challenge by the rain and the lack of cover. I got to the race an hour early....but by the time I got my number we had roughly 15 minutes to post time. No worries.....I can warm up the first couple of miles which are a neutral start.
On the line was a good number of racers representing most local clubs. Ommegang, RUUD, Corning, Chris Cookies and CNYC. We were given our pre race speech....and told about the neutral start. Evidently, one rider in the field and the pace car did not understand what a neutral start meant. I won't say we were going flat out up the hill out of the park.....but I was happy I clipped in fast....and am basically a rider that can hop on a bike and go without much of a warm up. Fine....it's raining and we are gonna keep the pace brisk. Down into town and past I 81. The trooper car pulls away and the race is officially under way. Again, not flat out single file dying to hang on pace....but a steady 20 to 28 mile per hour pace with a few small attacks here and there.
By the time we reached Marathon the rain had stopped. The main climb in the 26 mile race is tough enough to always break the race apart. No one rode like Marco Pantani up the hill....but it was the fastest average pace up the climb I can remember for years. At the top things were looking good for CNYC.
In the mix was me, Scott Graham and Emory Creel. As we crested the climb a group of 9 racers had made the split. Over the next few miles and a couple of rollers the pace stayed good and hard. Somehow a group of 4 riders got a gap.....with no CNYCer in the front. It took 3 or 4 miles....and lots of hard chasing but by about mile 19 or 20 we were all back together. CNYC was instrumental in chasing down the leaders. At one point or another I thought the 4 riders up the road....2 Ommegang riders, 1 RUUD racer and one other guy had the race won. Smart pacelining and a determined effort brought the 4 leaders back into the fold. After the catch we sorta doodle around for about an mile. The chasers were tired. The lead group was disappointed they had been caught. After a few minutes rest I decided that it was time to get back into racing gear. I got to the front and upped the tempo. One rider wearing a Sonnes jersey was particularly fast on the flats. The last few miles of WP are not killer ...but not easy. One small 1/3 of a mile climb with about 1.5 miles to go. Cory from the Ommegang team set a fast pace up this little hill. A few riders were suffering....no one gave up. A small downhill section...a few hundred yards of flat and you are onto the finishing climb. The climb to the finish is doable in your big ring. I'm near the back watching the Sonnes' rider. I had a feeling he was going to take a flyer. I was right....but he didn't go quite as fast or as hard as I expected. About a 100 yards up the hill I got impatient. Hmmmmn....we're a group of 9.
The worst I can finish is within the top 10. Sprinting out of a very small group of 4 or less....I'll take my chances and rely on a drag race for the last 100 yards. Sprinting out of a group of 9......better go early and string things out. ( There is nothing worse than sprinting out of a group of 8 or 10 and picking the wrong wheel or having someone mis-shift in front of you. ) I pop out of the group and head for home.
I hear a set of wheels on my heels and know I'm in for a fight. Happily it's my team-mate Scott Graham.
Too bad we both misjudged our efforts and started to wind things up way too soon. The finishing climb crest and then there is another 100 yards of flats before the finish. Mike Kumiega timed his sprint perfectly and got past Scott for the win. I faded a bit but held on for 5th. Emory in his first race of the season claimed 9th. So 2nd, 5th and 9th in the 26 mile race for CNYC. 4th place overall for Ad Stabel in the 50 miler.
Great racing by everyone. Thanks to the WP Rotary for putting on this race. PJM