After being derailed yesterday due to the rain, OVC rolled out of Gravity some 13 riders strong on Sunday and the advertised “B”/Endurance ride pace was quickly developing into a brisk tempo effort before the field made it to the end of Johnson Rd. With riders starting to feel the pressure from the surges, the ride leaders quickly sprang into action to the halt the aggression.
With order restored, the 13 rider field comprised of OVC’s Sonny, Wes S, Barry, Jamie, Matt, Melissa, Rick B, Rick W, Jim Berkman, Roscoe, Russ, Steve J and Ted would continue northward towards Laurel, DE fighting the next best thing to a 15% gradient…a 20 mph Eastern Shore block cross/headwind. Continuously putting the brakes on the high wattage efforts, most of the 13 starters would stay within the confines of the main bunch and it wasn’t until Waller and Jersey roads did the remaining 11 riders begin to prep their legs and lungs for the swift run into the Bury. Off on another route and not content to ride at the prescribed pace, Steve and his sidekick Rick chose to battle the final 10 miles as a tandem.
Left to contend with the traditional OVC fast and furious finale on Jersey Rd were Sonny, Wes S, Barry, Jamie, Rick W, Jim Berkman, Roscoe, Russ, and Ted, but not before a handful had warmed their legs on Waller. After making the right on Jersey Rd, Sonny, Rick, Barry, Wes, Jamie and Ted were expecting a nice brisk spin after their little impromptu drag race on Waller, but those 5 and the rest would get surprised by a counter-offensive by Roscoe. With plenty of bodies to haul in the impetuous Roscoe, it wasn’t until just past the Adkins Rd/Jersey intersection and at 37 mph were the 6 remaining chasers able to pull back the lone leader. With the capture made and only a fraction of the field left, it was now down to a select group of 8. Sensing the impetus was fading from his teammates and despite 60 miles under his belt from Saturday (and 46 so far on today’s ride), Roscoe would accelerate away for a second time and for a moment it looked as if he had the motivation and the momentum to go it alone to the finish.
With a howling 20 mph crosswind buffeting the riders from the right just past the corner of Jersey and Connelly Mill Rd and not much ground being made up on the lone break, Russ after a day’s rest on Saturday, hurled himself (and his new Ultegra 6800 equipped Tarmac Pro SL4) from his fellow chasers and rocketed his way up to Roscoe. With only a handful of miles separating the lead duo from the finish on Lake and Booth, the two leaders buried themselves and with the chase group looking a bit disheveled, the gap was starting to grow at least until the 4 way at Jersey and Naylor.
Clearing the 4 way and waiting for the chasers to do the same, Roscoe and his dancing partner sensing their pursuers were inching closer, would launch one last time. The two would hold the gap steady until the overpass, but once the pair completed their ascension of the overpass, the distance between them and the rest had grown and the separation on the road was now too much to overcome. Playing nice and working well together in the closing K’s, the only order of business left for Russ and Roscoe would be to decide who would cross the line first. Being the perfect gentlemen and appreciative of Roscoe’s hard work in the break (and his metric miler on Sat), Russ deferred to Roscoe for the top stop. Rolling in only a handful of seconds back in third and never surrendering was Sonny. Rounding out the finishing order was Jim B, Barry, Ted, Jamie and Rick W, but not necessarily in that order. Despite a slow start on Jersey and a predominately quartering tailwind, the average speed for the final 5.5 mile gallop was 27 mph and somewhere on that smooth flat stretch of Jersey, the group would almost hit the posted speed limit of 40 mph with a max speed of 37.5 mph. Nice finish y’all!
Battling dangerously high winds throughout the day, none of the 13 starters would throw in the towel and as they rolled into the parking lot at Specific Gravity, the entire group of starters could proudly say they put a good day’s work in the saddle with nearly 3 hours of good late winter endurance mileage. Kudos to Melissa for hangin tough in the echelons went at times it was hard to hold our bikes upright. Following the 53 mile journey throughout Wicomico and Sussex counties, Steve J would treat his teammates to hot fire brick oven pizza at Gravity. Thanks Steve!