Saturday Ride Report (March 6, 2015):

40 degree temps, a handful of the main roads free of snow and ice and a mild case of cabin fever was the only motivation needed for OVC’s Dean P, Barry, Rick W, Mario, Bruce, Rick B, Russ and Caleb to get their late winter training on two wheels back on track. With a noon start, the group set out to tackle the same route as last Saturday and to take advantage of the relatively mild temps, the route organizer threw in some bonus mileage for safe measure.

The opening miles and effort were almost identical as last Saturday’s ride as the field wasted no time getting into their well drilled single file formation. Leading the group and setting a nice tempo in the early going was Dean. After making the right onto Mt Hermon, the SW breezed did challenge the group’s echelon skills and the field instinctively split into two groups to avoid pushing riders too close to the center line. The first 8 mile leg of Mt Hermon was covered in less than 20 minutes and the 24.3 mph average speed was pretty stout considering the unfavorable wind direction.

Deciding to make a right at the Williards/Whiton Rd and head to Whiton and back was the bonus mileage the riders were looking for, but what they didn’t expect was the return leg of the segment to be an old fashioned OVC hammerfest. Making the U-turn at Whiton Xing and just past the Powell School Rd, Dean with a tail/crosswind (and hungry for a Strava segment), put the pressure on and with just a few tucked in his slipstream, a serious move was starting to unfold. Meanwhile a second group was keeping tabs on this formidable lead trio comprised of Dean, Rick W and Barry, but Russ stuck back in the 5 man chase group, decided to leap across to the leaders before too much of a gap was established. Successfully making the capture, the three escapees now had one more ally to push the pace and push the pace they did. Screaming towards Powellville and pushing the speeds in the upper 20s, the small select group of 4 started to splinter and with less than a K to go, the original break was down to two and with the popular 2 mile segment coming to a close at the corner of Burbage and Williards/Whiton Rd, Dean and Russ would pull away from the rest and cross the imaginary line side by side. From Powell School to the corner, an average speed of 26.7 mph was laid down for the 4 minute group interval.

With the HR’s elevated into upper zone 5 on the first segment, it was now time for a nice cool down spin back down Mt Hermon which only served to refuel the engines for another round of group threshold training. Making the right onto Sixty Foot Rd, the long 3 mile straight stretch of smooth tree lined tarmac was made for speed and once again the Black n Blue Train did not disappoint. This time around the attrition rate was nil, and with the stop sign at Rt 50 beggin for a sprint finish, a handful of OVC’s finest went at toe to toe. First to start the high speed spirited action was Russ, but the prez’s aggression in the final few hundred meters only served as a decent lead-out for Dean, Rick W and Barry. Dean grabbed the intermediate sprint “W” and holding off a late charge by Rick W and grabbing the number two spot was Sir Beauchampi.

Crossing Ocean Gateway in Pittsville, the group would make a right onto Old OC Rd and before the riders made it past Pittsville Motors, Caleb would quietly take a flyer and with the third of five segments up for grabs 3 miles down the road in Williards, the rest began to take Caleb’s offensive seriously. Chasing in earnest, the field would pull back the lone leader and with the capture made, Dean would launch a counter offensive and this time only an attentive Barry would snag Mr. Pierson’s wheel. Steaming towards Williards at race pace and with plenty of daylight between the duo and the 6 man chase group, Russ apparently not saving anything for the 60 miles that lay ahead on Sunday, went for broke and his well-timed bridge attempt paid dividends as he, Dean and Barry held off the rest to the corner of Old OC Rd and Main St. A nice soft tempo pace followed the run into Williards and as the field fully intact approached Powellville for the second time, a little flurry ensued and vying for bragging rights to the pond sprint, Dean edged out Russ, Rick W and Caleb to capture the forth segment.

After a chance to refuel and relieve the bladders at the Pville fire station, the group would begin their final march to Salisbury. The SW breeze that blew over their right shoulders earlier, would now hit the field from the left and like earlier the road savvy veterans would wisely divide into two echelons to efficiently combat the menacing left to right crosswind. Rolling across the open undulating landscape of Mt Hermon Rd in two formations reminiscent of a scene out of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the 8 rider field safely made their way onto Mt Hermon Church Rd to begin their final gallop to the finish line at Rt 12. After safely negotiating the stop sign on Johnson, the first man through last week, was the last man through this week. After checking to see if all cleared the intersection, Dean gave the command to put the hammer down and just over the top of the Johnson overpass all but one of the starters was present and accounted for. With Dean, Rick W, Barry, Caleb, Mario, Rick B and Russ punching their ticket aboard the Pain Train, the final segment was shaping up to be a dandy. Soaring over the smooth recently paved pavé of Johnson, a surge by Dean would separate the Cat 2 from the main bunch, but once again Russ would escape the clutches of the chase group and claw his way up to the lone leader. The two would work well together in the closing meters and with the SHR stop sign coming into focus, the pair of seasoned master’s racers would hit the finish line almost in unison. Strolling in just a few seconds in arrears were Barry, Mario, Caleb and both Ricks. Good finish fellas and great ride!

The upper endurance paced ride with 5 hard segments garnered the 8 man field a respectable riding time of 2:25:34 for the 47.1 sixteen corner parcours. The nearly 150 minute journey through Wicomico and Worcester counties cost each rider nearly 1500 calories, but a post ride meal and beverage more than compensated the boys for their hard work in the saddle. Thanks Beauchamp Bros Construction for picking up the tab...Team OVC as always is certainly grateful.

OVC would also like to wish Barry's lovely wife Susan a Happy Birthday.