Texas Canine Ambush   
 Ride Stats
Distance: 23.78 miles Altitude Gain: 2,602 ft Avg Speed: 18.66 mph
Route: Sunbury RR Avg Grade: 0 % Max Grade: 0 %
Max HR: 174 bpm Avg HR: 150 bpm Terrain: Road: Hills
Bike: Litespeed Vortex Road Club: Schuyler County Cycling Club
Weather Conditions: Cloudy\Fog Humid 78 F S wind @ 7 mph
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 Race for the Y
Joe, Doug and I got up early for a couple hour drive to Sunbury, PA for the Race for the Y. We had originally planned on doing the Covered Bridge Century in Lancaster, PA tomorrow and when they announced the race would be today, we figured we could just get up early and do the race and then drive further south in PA for tomorrow's century. Doug and I used to do this race a decade ago but in recent year's it has been scheduled in July on the same day as the Tour de Perry. The Tour de Perry is a shorter drive and had before this year always been a fun and well run event. The course is pretty much a pure climbers race with three good climbs. The only saving grace for me is the last two miles is downhill before a flat section at the finish. Weather was hot and sticky with one hundred percent humidity, It wasn't raining but the area had been earlier shrouded in a heavy fog that left the roads wet. There was not a very good turn out for the event with just forty five people registered. Learned before the ride that PENN DOT is trying to put small bike races out of business in the state. Sometime in the future they plan on requiring turn marshals to be paid $35 and not permitting volunteers to do the job. Since this race has several turns and limited entries it doesn't bode well for organizations like the YMCA, that puts on this race, to use bike races to raise money. Today though we had a good race. The first climb comes about a mile into event and the pace was fast right from the start. The climb isn't terribly steep but it drags on for a couple of miles with a short descent in the middle. Pack shattered quickly with Joe being the first of our group to fall. Doug wasn't feeling well and was suffering over the climb and I actually passed him about three quarters of the way up. By the time I crested there were only two riders still visible ahead of me as several others were well up the road never to be seen again. The gap to the two riders ahead looked to large for me to cross alone, so I waited for Doug and one other rider that was close before chasing on the downhill. We regrouped again after a long fast descent and the three of us started chasing the two riders ahead of us and running from a larger group that was just behind us. There is a four or five mile section of rolling flat before the second climb and we traded hard pulls. The third rider with Doug and I couldn't keep the pace though and fell off the back and was swallowed by the pursuing pack. Doug and I made up a little of the gap between the two riders ahead of us but not nearly enough. The second climb is steeper than the first and is also a couple of miles long. Doug gapped me on the first section but after settling in to our climbing rhythms, I was able to hold the gap enough that he waited for me at the top. Got a little worried on the climb as the group behind was closing on me but near the top the group started to come apart, and it was only a couple of riders that were nearing. After another long fast descent, we had a few more miles of rollers before the final climb. We could no longer see the riders ahead of us, so it was now just try to stay away from the chasing group. I was hoping the following riders hadn't regrouped on the downhill as a large group would have given us problems across the rollers. I wasn't able to see behind us though as there was a support vehicle tailing us and obstructed the view of the road behind. We hit the final climb that is the shortest but also the steepest. Doug gapped me early again on the climb and unlike the other climb the gap grew as the climb progressed. As I neared the top I also saw a single rider gaining quickly on me. I was able to get over the top with a slight gap though and started the final two miles of downhill to the finish. I was gaining a little on Doug on the descent but the legs were spent and wasn't able to hammer and didn't think I could catch him before the finish. I looked behind me and the rider behind was closing fast. I slowed up and let the rider catch me since it seemed inevitable and would rather get caught earlier than later in the descent. I hopped on his wheel as he went by and he kept hammering and pulled me down to Doug. I rode his wheel to the bottom of the climb and he tried to shake me on a couple of sections where the grade went up a little but his legs were now spent and he couldn't do it. We rounded the final corner to the finish and I hoped my legs would react when I asked them to sprint. I came out of the saddle with fifty meters to go, and as I went around the rider he didn't react, so I was able to win the sprint uncontested. Ended up tenth position overall and second in my age group. Doug rolled in in twelve position. Joe came in twenty-third but won his division as he was the only forty year old in the race. Doesn't bode well for the sport when the majority of the riders are in in their fifties and sixties. Still it was fun while it lasted. It was a well run and fun though taxing event. The marshals did a great job despite being non state qualified volunteers.

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