Texas Canine Ambush   
 Ride Stats
Distance: 50.12 miles Altitude Gain: 1,451 ft Avg Speed: 22.18 mph
Route: Spokeride Avg Grade: 0 % Max Grade: 0 %
Max HR: 170 bpm Avg HR: 139 bpm Terrain: Road: Rolling
Bike: Litespeed Vortex Road Club: Schuyler County Cycling Club
Weather Conditions: Sunny 76 F S wind @ 7 mph
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 Spokerride 2019
Rose very early to make the two and a half hour drive to Sackett's Harbor, NY for another running of the fifty mile Spokkerride race. Course was shortened this year due to some road construction but first half of the course remained the same as previous years. Course is the flattest one we do with only one small climb at the seven mile mark. Forty-Eight riders showed up for the fifty mile 'A' race and there were another ninety for the twenty five mile course. Weather was pretty decent with seventies and sun and even the wind was cooperative today being less than ten miles an hour, which is highly unusual for this race. This is my big event of the year and have focused my training with the goal of getting over the one small climb at the seven mile mark with the front group. Not a big goal but one I've not been able to do in the last three years. Secondary goal was to help Doug and Joe control the race if I was able to get over the hill with them. Last year two of the big teams got riders away in a break and shut down the race. Third goal was to finish with the front pack assuming I was able to accomplish the first two goals. There were several Syracuse teams represented at this year's race with seven or eight Salty Chimp riders that proclaim themselves as the elite racers. The Oswego boys were there but seemed short of their usual large numbers. Race started out into a headwind and unlike previous years the pace was quite slow hovering below twenty miles an hour. Normally the pace is killer to the bottom of the first climb despite the wind. Couple of riders went off the front briefly but eventually fell back without much response from the pack. Hit the bottom of the climb in good position and watched Doug go by up the hill. The monkey swarm pulled him back and I was sucked along in their wake. Legs got a little wonky over the top of the climb but got out of the saddle and crested in a good position. So first goal was achieved and everything else was cake. One of the friendly independent local riders went off the front and I got to the front to slow things up. By slowing things up I hoped to give Joe some time to get back on if he had gotten dropped on the climb. The independent rider soon gave up seeing as no one joined him, and it would be folly to fight another five or six miles of headwind alone. Pack reformed and was fairly sedate until we got to the hard left where we did another short climb and turned out of the wind. The next section was five or six miles of gradual climb up to Adam's Center. I went to the front and set on the wheels of a pair of the Oswego boys. We rode easily and chatted about race situation i.e. pace being so sedate. I told them the word in the pack was that no one was going to do anything since there were so many chimps that the chimps had to drive the pack. Oswego boys said they only had three riders to work with and that my team had as many. They also indicated that I would be welcome on a break if they made one. Seeing as how it looked like the Oswego boys and most of the independents wouldn't be chasing me, and I had already completed my goal I attacked off the front. Got a good gap going but not enough to commit to a do or die effort. Stayed away for a couple of miles before the chimps hauled me in. As soon as they did Doug went off the front. I got behind the lead chimp and hung on his wheel as he pursued Doug and made him do the work alone. He was able to haul Doug in and as soon as he did I went again. I got another good gap and was joined by another independent rider. We started to work together loosely but got shut down going into an intersection in Adams Center. There was a turn marshal but a car didn't stop and we had to and were soon joined by the pack. After we got through the milled streets of the village, and we were back on the open road Doug went off again. And again he was hauled in. Rode along side Doug and asked if Joe was still with us. He said he hadn't been to the back to look, but if Joe was still with the pack he would be up front with us. As soon as he said that Joe motored by and went off the front. Doug and I went to the front and rode leisurely. Joe opened up a pretty good gap with one rider sprinting ahead trying to join him. Nobody was willing to chase Joe and he had a pretty good gap going with a few miles of tailwind and downgrade ahead of him. The elite team would have none of that and used their numbers to haul him back in. Joe told me where to watch a potential jailbreak by the big guns based on last year's winning effort. We did a high speed descent then hit the long shallow climb where last year's event occurred. I attacked on the hill again and thought if there is a big gun attack I'll latch on when they go by. No attack came though and I didn't open up a big enough gap to justify trying to outrun a thirty man pack over ten miles, and so faded back into the pack on the downgrade after the climb. Sat in the pack for the last few miles as the chimps tried to outmuscle the group with thirty mile an hour intervals. Joe wanted to try something, but I didn't think we were in good enough form to hammer the last six miles and told him to just hang on and sprint the pack as it was now two late for anyone to get away. Chimps kept the pace up and strung out the pack but they couldn't maintain the speed, and I was able to jump through the gaps when the speed dropped back into the low twenties. I got caught behind some weaker riders during one of the speed intervals and thought I might not meet my goal of finishing with the front pack. Fortunately another rider sprinted past and tried to cross the gap, and I hopped into his draft and built up some steam and was able to go around him and sprint back to the end of the front pack just before the final turn. I was able to work my way through the twenty-eight member pack into about the tenth position with a considerable amount of shoulder bumping at thirty miles an hour. Pack pretty much went through the final turn before the two block long sprint in a single file as there was a car sitting in the final corner. Race was won by the time I got through the corner, but I was able to weave my way through some traffic and ended up seventh overall. Had lots of leg left at the end of the sprint but couldn't get through bunched riders in front of me. I only lost sixth spot by 0.02 seconds an was less than a half second from fourth spot. Best news was that the chimps didn't win the race despite their elite status and greater numbers. A guy from Bike Loft pulled off the win. Joe's sprint got interrupted by the car that was in the final turn that prevented him from carrying his speed through the corner. He was able to get fifteenth overall and Doug rolled in at eighteenth. Had a pretty fun race and achieved all of my goals. Unfortunately it is the only 'A' race this year that I'll have a chance at finishing with the front group. I might have one more chance if we do the 'B' race at Cooperstown inn September. If it is not snowing.

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Home: Montour Falls, NY 
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