28 miles, 2,083 feet, 22.9 mph average
Sunnybrook racers: Mark Detweiler, John Mullen
On the books for today, four seven mile laps with approximately 500 feet of climbing per lap. The hilliest of the Lancaster road races, Mount Joy has a decent kicker around the half-way point of each lap and a few other uphill sections that can be done in the little ring.
The sun was shining already when I left my house at 6:30 for a 7:40 arrival at the start location. This gave me plenty of time to check in and ride a quick recon lap with John. The wind was extremely high for the time of day, and John and I discussed the chances of a break staying away as well as our overall strategy of taking it easy today to save our legs for Tucker County the next day.
Arrived at the start for a quick lecture on the yellow-line rule and it’s merits (we were told it would be enforced even on left hand turns…which is hard to imagine, and predictably it was not enforced on these left hand turns). A few teams (most notably CS Velo with about seven riders) had big representation in the group. After a short neutral roll-out from the staging area to the official start we were racing.
Straight into a headwind for the first half of the lap, so not much serious action going on. The pace is low and the effort required minimal. There are a few predictable surges around the various short climbs, but nothing serious and certainly nothing to put anyone into difficulty. Finally around mile 6 a three man break formed and got maybe 100 yards on the field. As we entered the single stretch of the race with no yellow line rule I completely forgot the plan to save our legs and sprinted across the gap; three were now four.
Unfortunately, four almost immediately became two as a Green Mountain rider and myself rode away from half of our group (unintentionally I assure you). We worked together for half of the second lap, but the writing was on the wall and the gap we had grown to 20-30 seconds seemed destined to shrink. However, on a long gradual descent three other riders broke free and bridged to us. Two were now five.
Joined by two more Green Mountain riders and one from CS Velo we felt a lot better about our chances and worked well together for the last mile of the second lap and all of the third lap. Having someone from CS Velo and half of Green Mountain gained us a lot more blockers (John was doing his best for me back in the field, but one man does not a field block) and a lot more people to share the work.
I was pretty gassed by this point and skipped a few turns on the front during the third lap. Rotating was wearing me down and at this point I just wanted to stay away from the main pack for duration.
Our advantage was up above the 40 second mark and we were mostly out of sight for the third and fourth laps, although we did feel some pressure at the top of the hills on the third lap. This helped rally the group and we got back to business.
The finish couldn’t come quick enough for me, so when the CS Velo rider tried to go for the win at 1k to go I let him pass me and hoped to hold the wheel of whichever of the three Green Mountain riders went after him. Unfortunately two of them passed me quickly and I couldn’t hold the wheel. Suddenly it was down to me and my original breakaway companion for fourth place and I had just enough to finish in front of him.
We all caught our breath and waited for the bunch sprint to come. The main group had whittled itself down to a much smaller group from surging as they had attempted to catch our break and the tailwind helped to make the sprint a very fast one for the well rested blockers.
Caught up with John and saw Maria M at the finish. No major mishaps in any of our fields other than me burning all my matches in the race that was supposed to be the warm-up for the main event in West Virginia on Sunday