For the third year running, the OVC Burley Oak Fun Ride drew yet another record crowd of riders and surely to become a staple of local bike rides, even the chilly temps at the start didn’t deter 80 plus riders from taking to the road from the Burley Oak Brewery on a blustery mid-October morning.
With all systems in place which included rolling ride marshals and a trailing sag wagon courtesy of Continental Cycles bike shop, the 86 rider field began their journey via Main Street in Berlin and the massive peloton would soon be on the back roads of Worchester County to tackle the scenic 53 mile parcours. Cruising along at 20 mph and having to negotiate a handful of stop signs and intersections until making their way in to Snow Hill, the riders pushed by a tailwind out of the north would soon find themselves near the Chincoteague Bay and confronted by a 15 plus mph head/crosswind.
On the march towards Public Landing and the ride's first and only rest/fuel stop, the first sign of aggression among the field of cycling's elite would ensue. With close to 20 riders vying for intermediate sprint honors located just past the small wooden bridge, Dean P would edge out Easton’s Mark L for the top stop.
The march to Burley continued with one last surge by the peloton another high speed finale would ensue. Leading the charge to the finish line at the RR tracks on Evans the blue “Burley” branded tandem piloted by Mike and Maryellen would deliver one heckuva leadout. First to grab the couples slipstream were Dave M and Russ. With the traditional finish line just a kilometer away, it didn’t take long for the rest of OVC’s savvy USAC licensed roadies (and a few from SV) to react and punch their ticket aboard the Black n Blue Train. Zeroing in on the finish and doing his best to thin out the herd, Roscoe would counter the Morris’s effort with a good turn of speed of his own and soon to follow were Scott, Kevin, Chris, Dave M, Mark, Dean, Evan, Demetrius, Martin, Russ and a few others. Rounding the hairpin right on Evans at 30 mph only a few were in contention for the final sprint and on that short list of contenders were Chris, Scott, Mark, Dean, and Evan. Also finding himself tangled up in the mix with the finish fast approaching and in a good position to get a glimpse of who would grab the top three podium spots was our resident ride reporter Russ and with a few hundred meters to go it was Evan on Evan's Rd who would snatch the grand prize at the RR Xing. Mark would grab 2nd and Dean would pick up 3rd. Sorry if we missed someone in the finale. Please feel free to add your name to the mix.
Following the ride most of the 86 starters would remain at Burley for a cold beverage and Domino’s pizza courtesy of OVC and SV. Also treating the gang to some tasty sweets was Maria M. Thanks Maria! Also want to thank Joe from Continental Cycles for providing the all-important sag support wagon and the Green family for providing the riders with refreshments at Public Landing.
And last but not least, a big thank you goes out to Roscoe and Ocean Velo Club/Culver & Pierson Housing Solutions for hosting and organizing the largest and fastest growing mass start “Free” group “Fun” ride on the Eastern Shore. And thanks to all who came out to join us and hope to see all of you at Burley next October!