Over the Sunday and Monday of Memorial day weekend a band of Tortugans made the trek up to Elkart IN to participate in ‘The Great race’ This weekend long festival of competition includes a downtown crit on Saturday afternoon and then a rolling road race on Sunday morning. The crit course is wide, safe and whereas the racing was competitive a doubling of competitors would have really made the event ‘Great’. The RR in Bonneyville Mill Park is an up and down challenge on a overly sinuous 14mile route that one might think would be amenable to breakaways. However every race on Sunday ended in a bunch sprint but the abiding thought is one of thankfulness that no-one was injured as the route and the especially the finishing straight could be greatly improved upon!
The prime Tortugan performer was Sarah Rieke who finished second on both days. In the crit Sarah was part of a four girl chase that battled all race long with eventually winner Kendi Thomas of Morris Trucking. In the finale Kendi maintained her advantage but Sarah dispatched her break mates in the kick to the line. The RR also finished in a bunch sprint and once again Kendi took the victory but in fairness to Sarah her opponent is better suited to a downhill big gear sprint!
It was I think a frustrating weekend for the Masters 40+ team of Gary Palmer and Tims Heffner and Davis. The crit didn’t fit to their skills and the due to some confusion over the length of the RR, Gary was priming myself for a last lap assault just as the rest of the field sprinted for the finish line!! Tim Heffner’s final sprint was not helped by the 40+ group sprinting into the Cat 3 squad as they began their final lap! Catastrophe was fortunately avoided but it didn’t help Heffner’s sprint any!!
The Cat 3 crit team of Purvis and Parry rode sensibly in an attacking race and were certainly pleased with a top ten finish by Purvis. The RR squad was significantly bolstered by the presence of Myron Lewis and he rode a great race at the front of the bunch pretty much at all times. Purvis retired after burning his matches early in the race helping the team cause and Parry probably could have finished the event but the recent development of a strangely sore leg meant it was not worth risking the coming weeks. The bunch sprint certainly favored those riders with the large quads yet Myron sprinted to a position around the top ten.
All in all a decent team weekend as we now move onto the hilly St Crispian and Pikes Peak events that finish up the ABR ‘Spring’ Series!