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2009 Jefferson Cup
Posted on 4/2/2009 1:06:00 AM

Not the finish we were hoping for.


The stage was set for a great day on the bike. 70 degree weather, sunshine, 120 close friends you hadn't seen since September, and your bicycle. I don't think I have ever seen weather this good for Jeff Cup. By the end of the race everyone even had a suntan. Lot of new faces and a few new teams out there.

Harley started the race with 11 guys and contrary to popular belief, I don't even think we had the biggest team in the race with LSV, Immediate Mortgage, NCVC, and Haymarket all fielding some pretty impressive numbers. 120 guys is a pretty big field though and as much as we wanted it to turn out like last year, you could tell things were going to be a little different. Chuck, Dewald, and Jose were all pushing some big gears at camp and the rest of the team wasn't far behind. Team plan was pretty simple and not really different than last year...play it cool first half, stronger riders hold their jet fuel (Ramon) for later, numbers in the break, and if it came to a sprint...well, we had a plan for that. We followed it to a T...almost.

First lap Sean O'Rourke was out with a swift spoke kick to the derailleur hanger that left it laying on the ground. Expensive. The next 3 or 4 laps were kind of uneventful. There were some good attacks and it definitely took some energy to stay toward the front but it seemed like everyone was waiting. When it did come crunch time there were a lot of strong guys in the race who were eager to try and get away. Mike Githens was ridin' his bike like he stole it. Ryan Dewald made a good move on lap 4 with a solo lap that was pretty impressive to bad he didn't have someone else with him, it would have stayed away, guaranteed. There never seemed to be that right combination or perfect timing that would launch a break. A break doesn't come with one big attack, sometimes, but it will always come after three or four attacks and there never seemed to be that relentless attacking, even when the break did come.

Last lap you got to be at the front. If your not on the front your race is over. Simple. A lot of racing is knowing where you have to be and then getting there. You learn pretty quickly where you should be, but the hard part is pulling up those panties and putting yourself in that position.

Mark Warno rolled off the front before the start of the last lap in a pretty impressive move. It was starting to look like it was going to be a field sprint with Mark getting picked up some time before the finish. Last time up the climb, John Delong, pushed the pace and I followed his wheel. We caught Mark as we came over the top and there was a small gap. On the way down the hill another rider from the Hershey Cancer Institute bridged. After the downhill we had a good gap and I started to think it would be short lived, but we all worked hard and pulled away.

The feeling of being in the break is pretty cool but not nearly as cool as being in the break and realizing you are going to stay clear to the finish. Then you have to start thinking about the finish. Just like telling yourself where you need to be and then getting there, being able to think, at least semi-clearly at the end of a race, is all a part of the process and only comes with time. I was getting tired in the break. We were going pretty hard and I was having trouble pulling through. At that point I sat on for the last 2k. If I kept pulling through I was going to burn myself up for the finish. If we got caught, Harley had a slew of itchy legs for the sprint.

This being said and despite having sat on, I couldn't come up with the finish. I didn't have the legs.

Much worse luck back in the pack though with Dave Fuentes and Ken Johnson crashing, and Jose getting stuck behind. Dave broke his frame. Expensive. Luckily, that was it though because by averaging all of the reports he was no less than 6 feet in the air...off his bike and upside down. Mario got a flat tire from some of that special send off confetti/glass welcome.

Chuck and Dewald killed it in the sprint so much so that I think you have to call it the second break of the day.

All in all it was a pretty tough day. It'll get better.


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