With the threat of secondary roads still littered with snow and ice, OVC once again had to reluctantly stay on the main roads to guarantee smooth pedaling for the 8 starters. Shoving off from Specific Gravity just before lunch, Dean P, Matt P, Mark L, Rick W, Ted H, Mario, Barry and Russ comprised a good solid group that was able to maintain a brisk pace throughout their 41.7 mile trip through some of the more popular well-traveled roads of Worcester and Wicomico counties.
The first few minutes of the ride consisted of your typical subdued double paceline, but as the field made their way onto Mt Hermon Church Rd, the command was given to single up and for the remainder of the day that would be the status quo. Maintaining speeds consistently above the 21 mph mark from start to finish, all 8 riders did their fair share of work at the front and despite the distance (relatively short by OVC standards), the majority of the group was starting to experience the effects of a hard day’s work. Preceding the final march down Mt Hermon Rd to the Bury, a brief skirmish coming into Powellville via Whiton/Williards Rd was led by a hard charging Dean and Rick W, but before the duo would reach the imaginary line at Adkins Millpond Park, Dean’s son Matt would get the jump on the pair of seasoned racers to grab intermediate sprint glory. A brief break for a snack followed the flurry of high speed action.
With a light tailwind pushing the speeds up on the run into the finish, the Black N Blue Train began to build steam on Mt Hermon Rd and by the time they cleared the corner of Mt Hermon and Mt Hermon Church roads (and avoiding a slight traffic jam), the ride had switched into race/TNR mode. Soaring over the smooth pavé of MHCR at 25 plus mph, the once cohesive group began to splinter. Making it to the stop sign at Johnson and preparing themselves for the final gallop to the new Fratellis restaurant was a select group consisting of 5 of OVC’s licensed roadies (Rick, Russ, Mark and the Pierson clan). Anticipation of a fast and furious finish was dealt a blow by an approaching motorist at the Johnson/Nutter’s intersection, but the sight of the lily white heavy duty van didn't halt Dean and Matt’s momentum as the Pierson pair began to set their sights on the 2 mile finale without the aid of the remaining 3. With the rest of the lead group stalled by the fast approaching commercial vehicle and with a gap of more than 5 seconds to the 2 man break, the opportunity of joining the two leaders was starting to fade.
As Dean and Matt were hammering their way to the stop sign at Rt 12 and with the potential for an organized chase attempt starting to unravel, Easton’s Mark began to chase on his lonesome, but was caught out in no man’s land and his solo attempt to reel in the two escapees proved unsuccessful. Also in a similar circumstance was Russ, but the ride leader spotted a hard charging tandem in his rear-view in the form of Rick and Barry and wisely decided to sit up and wait for his teammates which would now unite a formidable chase trio. With the top two spots all but wrapped up and with their chase effort now concentrated on the third rider on the road, the three would work well together but would run out of real estate. Mark would hang on for 3rd, Russ 4th and Rick and Barry 5th and 6th respectively. Nice work Mark…way to hang tough. The remnants of the 8 rider field would stroll in just a few seconds off the pace and hats off to Mario and Ted who reached into the hurt locker a few times and managed to dig deep and finish strong.
With a few regroups, a snack break and fifteen 90 degree turns (and held up twice by westbound traffic on Rt 50), the field still put in a solid ride completing the rather unconventional 41.7 parcours in 2:06:35. To replenish the lost 1500 plus calories, Ted, Mark, Mario, Barry and Russ scarfed down some pizza and wings at SG compliments of sponsor Beauchamp Bro’s Construction. Thanks everyone for ditchin the indoor trainers and coming outside to play on two wheels. Good freakin riddance February!