I counted 35 riders snaking their way to 446 and Knightridge tonight for the opener of the 2012 edition of the Bloomington Wednesday Worlds! It was a large group for a spring break evening and time was short as the clocks just switched. We hoped for 6 laps but a quick math check indicated that we’d be riding home in the dark if that was attempted. So we elected to complete 5 laps of the notorious 4 mile clockwise circuit with two big ring rises on the front side.
We hit the start line at speed, having the run-up to it powered by Chris Kroll (Joe’s Bikes), Jon Atwell (Scholars Inn Bakehouse and UHC Georgia) and Ryan Shanahan (Scholars Inn Bakehouse). The speed escalated from there and we settled into a 26mph average for the 20 miles. There were several lead changes and a few did most of the work on the front. In addition to those already mentioned, other engines included Tom Cox (Aldefer), Fred Rose, RJ Stuart, Graham Dewart, Gary Palmer, Ryan Preske, Cameron Johns, Aaron Stanley, Chris West (Scholars Inn). Several Little 500 riders made appearances near the front of the group. But today was to be for the veterans.
The first test came as the midway prime, contested after 3 laps. Local pro rider Atwell, fresh from a US Pro criterium in Florida this weekend was able to make good use of a long lead out train from Cox, Rose, Kroll and Shanahan (with a solo attempt!) to grab the coveted Bakehouse granola! The elite group attempted to stay away but, the chasers now down to 18 was able to latch on before the bottom corner.
A few more attacks were attempted by the strongest of the group, now dangerously picking up lapped riders as the peleton began to swell. But the speed would prove to be a decisive factor as we hurtled single file into that final lap, climbing the final rises at 30 mph! Once through the final turn each rider was trying to position themselves on the right wheel. With Cox (a well known factor), and Rose (recovered from a successful cyclocross season), the always powerful Shanahan, Masters Champion Kroll and pro Atwell, there were plenty to choose from. As the train was leaving the station, a few inexperienced lapped riders were caught unawares in the crosshairs in the final kilometer causing a few brakes to chatter from the approaching leaders, eliminating half the field. But, no harm was done and Atwell was able to find his was to the line first with a strong showing from Kroll, Cox and Rose near the line.
Next week: get your climbing shoes on. It’s the Forest road course, down Beanblossom.