OVC wanted to continue to show off our brand new tent on Sunday so, we hauled it up to Boyds, MD to set it up in Black Hill Regional Park (just outside of Gaithersberg, MD). Turns out there was a bike race going on so Dean P., Ted, Mark L., Frankie, and Jason joined in on the fun. Unlike Saturday's Shamrock Crit., this 1.4 mile circuit was anything but flat, the highlight being the finishing hill, averaging 10% grade.
Cat 5 Race:
Frankie, Mark and Jason were first to roll at 9:30 for what turned out to be a fast, 7 lap, Cat 5 race. Starting in the way back of the 50 rider peloton, it took about 6 laps of hard racing, pushing, shouldering, throwing elbows and all, for the three of them to finally reach the front. Going into bell lap Jason attacked the finishing hill (full disclosure: I wasn't sure what lap it was so I went all out for the finish only to hear a bell). Reaching the top, Jason and Mark found themselves on the front of the, now very small, peloton. After confirming with Jason that there was indeed one lap to go, Mark hammered the front for 3/4 of a lap with Jason happily sitting 3rd wheel and Frankie not too much further back. Mark stretched the field out until just before the final descent continuing to shed riders off the back. In a "bunch sprint" to the line, Jason crossed in 5th position, Mark in 11th and Frankie in 19th making all three OVC members within the top 20!
Cat 4/5 Race:
With a very brief 15 minute recovery between races, Jason, Mark and Frankie hit the start line again for their second race of the day, which turned out to be a lot different from their first. Again, starting in the way back of the 75 rider peloton, it took some fighting to get towards the front. Once Jason got close, he dropped his chain and quickly slid to the back of the race with his OVC comrades. Working together, they fought their way up to mid pack and were feeling great, until another rider took out Jason's front wheel, resulting in him hitting the pavement with 4 to go. Luckily, it was on the 14mph ascent of the finishing hill and not on the 35+ mph descent beforehand. Mark and Frankie were caught up behind the incident and were able to stay upright, despite getting bounced around between a bunch of other racers. With a sacrificial effort to get Mark and Jason back up to the tail end of the peloton Frankie threw down the hammer only to have it bounce off the pavement and into his rear derailleur, knocking it clean off his bike (this actually happened due to the pin-balling that occurred beforehand). Unfortunately, that concluded Frankie's day of racing. With just a few laps to go Jason and Mark gave it everything they had to hang on to the back of the group but it was only a matter of time before the elastic snapped. Mark suffered from severe cramping and Jason was left to crawl across the finish line alone, way off the back. But thats racing and the whole reason we go back for more!
Masters 35/45/55+ Race
Next up was Dean, flying high after his superb performance the day before in Virginia Beach. What an exciting race to watch! Lots of attacking and reeling in didn't interest Dean for the first couple of laps so he sat mid pack and let the teams with numbers do all the work. Early on, a 4 man break got up the road, and up the road they would stay. Dean missed the break of a 9 man chase group and was stuck in a field of riders who had no interest of reeling them in. Out of the the 4 lead riders, one attacked the finishing hill with 2 to go and ended up soloing to victory. Two riders tried bridging the gap between group 1 and group 2 but were unsuccessful, they finished 5th and 6th. Group 2 stayed in front of the main field, securing places 7 through 13. Our man Dean Pierson won the field sprint, beating out SuperDave Osborne at the line. Beast.
Cat 3/4 Race
The final OVC race of the day was the Black Hill and Cat 3 debut of Ted "The Hammer that don't Rust" Harris. This race was an all out brawl right from the beginning, shedding Ted off the back of the main field early on. If you ask him, he won't agree but, his friends and teammates on the sideline can tell you that his efforts were probably the most hard fought ones of the day. I'm talkin' teeth gritting, stomach churning, mouth foaming, snot flying, quitting ain't an option, efforts all the way to the finish. BEAST.
All in all, it was another great day spent with a couple hundred people who love riding their bikes just as much as Ocean Velo!