Shamrock Criterium 2015 Recap

OVC’s road racing season got underway in full force this weekend with several members traveling to Red Wing Park in Virginia Beach for the Shamrock Criterium. The 4-corner .6 mile course circumnavigates an open, flat field, making it both a great venue for OVC-style racing and for spectating. Sunny skies, crisp temps, and relatively light winds made for good racing conditions.

Barry and Matthew P. lined up for the Cat 5 race. According to plan, Matthew jumped out front from the starting whistle. Almost immediately the 20-man field began to fracture. There were a few other strong riders though, and Matthew soon found himself working with 3 others to chase down a 2-man break. The break was captured, setting up the finale. Matthew launched a solo effort with 3/4 of a lap to go at almost the exact place his father took off last year when he claimed 2nd. Fortunately, the younger Pierson was able to hold off some hard charging sprinters and claimed 1st place -- Congrats, Matthew! Barry stayed with the pack and hung in for 10th. By my count, this was Barry’s 8th race, so Cat 4 is just around the corner.

Next up was Rick W. and Roscoe in the 3/4. The race was relatively uneventful, but featured a tougher, more consistent pace than last year’s edition. Rick started in sub-optimal position and soon fell victim to the unforgiving accordion effect dished out by the course’s tight corners. Roscoe stayed near the front all day and was looking for a good result as the last lap ramped up. Unfortunately, a bit of hesitation as the group slowed going into the 2nd-to-last turn was all it took for him to drop 5 places. Roscoe hung on for 9th.

In the day’s last race, the Masters 35/45/55+, Dean and Roscoe jumped into what looked to be (and turned out to be) a top-heavy field. Interestingly, TdF finisher Ben King’s dad was in the race also. Early on, Roscoe patrolled the front, while Dean kept a close eye on the favorites from mid-pack. A solo breakaway dangled out front for several laps finally gained the attention of powerhouse Dan Netzer. As Netzer began to bridge up, Dean jumped on his wheel. Roscoe got to the front and tried his best to block by keeping the pace high, but not closing any distance to the would-be breakaway. Either because of this heroic effort or, most likely because they were just faster than everyone else, the 5-man break stuck and Dean was in it. With about 2 to go, the break lapped the field, but couldn’t quite navigate all the way through before the sprint. Dean was nearing his limit, but managed to score an impressive 4th place.

In sum, it was a solid performance for OVC, with the boys bringing home 3 top 10’s. Also, Rick’s son Gavin joined his father for the day and finished his second USAC junior’s race. Good work, Gavin! Thank you to everyone who made the trip. It is tough to beat enjoying a sunny day of bike racing with your buddies!