Great Race Weekend

The Indiana race calendar has traditionally been reserved for the Great Race over Memorial Day Weekend. However, many new events have popped up on the schedule, all within reasonable driving distance, so the 3 or 4 hour drive to Indiana’s northern border is less appealing. Nonetheless, a handful of Tortugans made the trip and a few enjoyed podium success.

Geraint and Adam Fryska represented in the Category 3 events. I’m sure Geraint will provide a fine recap of their performances. GP also handled the mic duties for Sunday’s criterium and received many compliments from the locals who always come out to watch the racing.

The two Tim’s, Davis and Heffner (T2), along with myself and Karim, entered the 30+ Crit. As expected, the pace was quick from the get go. T2 and myself patrolled the front for the first 15 minutes, shielding Karim from wasting any energy so he’d be ready for THE move of the race. Sure enough, when the elastic snapped, Karim was there, making a 12-man selection.

Weaving thru riders who couldn’t quite make the bridge, I found myself between the break and the peloton. Realizing that Curtis was not in the break and lurking somewhere behind me, I shut down and let the 12 go. The 12 quickly dwindled to 8 and our man was looking good.

However, the CT factor hadn’t been played yet. After having already lapped the 40+ field twice earlier in the day, CT pounced from the pack and easily made the bridge to the break. Once in the break, the outcome was inevitable. CT won yet again. K-man, meanwhile, capped a fine ride with a strong sprint to claim 3rd place. Known for his savvy riding, K has added riding in the breaks to his multi-faceted repretoire this season. Who says an old Puff can’t learn new tricks? Nice job to Karim.

T2 entered the 30+ RR on Monday, 58 miles of heat-sapping, rolling terrain agony. I’m not sure how the T’s fared other than I know Davis finished in front of the final small group of finishers. A battle of attrition, the race saw over half the field drop out, so Tim did a nice job of finishing the race.

I opted for the 40+ event, which was dominated, in numbers at least, by two teams. The Road Dogs of South Bend fielded about 17 of the 33-man field and Koehlinger of Ft. Wayne fielded 6. The Indy Masters entered 3 and a smattering of others comprised the rest of the field.

It was a frustrating race in that the two teams with large contingents controlled things by not only sending riders up the road, but by also chasing down any breaks that contained thier own riders! Nonetheless, Greg didn’t-catch-his-last-name from New Zeland, Kent Menzel of Indy Masters and myself kept the race in check by realing in the breaks throughout the 45-mile race.

At about the halfway point, two Road Dogs and a Koehlinger escaped the field. I took a chance and bridged to the three-some, looking back several times to be sure the pack would not chase. We had about 10-seconds and were out of view thru the many twists and turns of the forest-lined route. When Iย came to the front to take a pull, I glanced back to see none other than the Road Dogs bringingย us back.

Occasional attacks were launched by the aforementiond squads, but no serious threat escaped the field and as dictated by the numbers, a field sprint ensued. The two riders with no teammates finished 1-2 with Greg claiming the win and myself snatching up 2nd place. For his efforts, Menzel was rewarded with a 4th place finish. It was a welcome return to racing after time off for some knee issues and a gratifying finish after battling the numbers throughout the race. Next up is the Louisville Weekend.

1 comment

  1. BTW – Although there was no Pro I/II racing at the Great Race this year, the 30+ field was moving at a good clip. Our break ended up lapping the field in the 30+ crit on Sunday. Kudos to my mates for controling the 50ish-man field as best as they could (in spite of other teams with greater numbers present).


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