Saturday Ride Report (04/04/2015):

With good ole Mother Nature not willing to relent with the wind this spring, OVC with Easter Sunday off decided that avoiding the treacherous wind conditions on Saturday and taking two days off was not an option. Shoving off from Gravity 11 riders strong Saturday, the 50 mile parcours that lay waiting would challenge each rider with gale force winds and some race pace segments that would test the fittest of the fit and the fasted of the fast.

After a neutral roll out through downtown Salisbury, the first leg of Pemberton was already causing a split in the bunch even before the group reached the West Little League complex. No worries, the heads of state pulled back the reins and it wasn’t until Dean P, Dean S, Rick W, Caleb O, Barry B, Maria M, Freddie G, Wes S, Eric P, Roscoe L and Russ reached Athol did the peloton start to unravel again. With less than 2 miles to go to Mardela, Roscoe went on the attack dragging a few others with him. With a nice gap on the rest of the field, a series of chase attempts were implemented. First it was Eric of NY. Sensing Eric was not going to make the juncture to the three leaders, Russ tried his best to close the small gap. Before Russ could chicken wing his chase companions through to take over, Dean P launched in went solo in pursuit of the leaders. Dean would catch which was now a two man break, but Roscoe would reload and launch again leaving behind Dean and Rick W. Russ caught in no man’s land would haul back Rick, but for Dean, Rick and Russ it was too late as Roscoe grabbed the first intermediate sprint. Nice work Roscoe!

The mandatory regroup after the high speed gallop into Mardela would allow all 11 to reconnect at the stop light on Rt 50. Heading east on 54 would provide the main bunch with a nice push from the WNW wind and somehow what was to be considered a subdued tempo section, would turn into a full blown OVC hammer session. Russ launching mid pack would grab what was left of the main group in the closing K’s and with the stop sign less than a mile up the road he and Rick W would hold off the rest for the “unscheduled” intermediate sprint victory. Rolling past the stop sign, Rick and Russ would get the command from Dean P to keep going to the left turn on Susan Beach Rd and for the next mile Dean, Rick, Russ and Barry would maintain a 27 mph pace until making the left on SBR. With only a few catching back on, the leaders circled back to pick up the rest only to find out that Sully punctured just before the Delaware line thus explaining his and Roscoe’s absence.

With the repair of the flat made and all 11 principals back in the fold, the next rendezvous would be the open windswept plains of SBR (Susan Beach Rd). Handling the left to right crosswind with multiple echelons, the bulk of the field held their positions until a surge by Roscoe opened up daylight between him and the rest of the field. Chasing hard were Rick and Russ and after picking off Caleb, out of nowhere came Dean and not about to let Roscoe snag another segment, Dean caught the lone leader and shucked him in the final meters to grab segment number 3. Roscoe held on for second, Rick third, Russ fourth and Barry fifth.

Following segment 3, the field would start their much awaited trek south and after battling gale force head and crosswinds for the first 31 miles, the time for relaxation in the saddle was well deserved. A little pressure on the group on St Georges did split the field, but no worries as all 11 slowly regrouped on 54. Throwing a spanner into the regroup zone and with a quiet acceleration up the road was Caleb. With the next few miles of adverse wind conditions and not worrying about wheels to follow (or the riders still trying to catch back on), Caleb would continue hammering to Jersey Rd. Not sure where to turn, Caleb would park his CAAD 10 at the corner and wait for the cavalry.

With all eleven back together for the final run into the finish, a casual side by side conversational pace would ensue. Again an impetuous Caleb would roll off the front for a second time which would set up one of the most intense chase scenarios in recent memory. Because the field spotted the lone break such a large lead, the sense of urgency enveloped the handful of chasers and from Waller to the 4 way the remnants of the main field consisting of Dean P, Dean S, Roscoe, Russ, Rick W, Wes, Eric and Barry would fracture with each and every mile per hour. Hitting speeds of nearly 40 mph, Dean and Roscoe would separate themselves from their third dancing partner leaving Rick in no man’s land, but close behind Wawa was Russ. The pair would have their work cut out for them from the 4 way to the finish on Lake and despite doing their best to haul back Dean and Roscoe, their capture was unsuccessful. However up the road a hard charging Dean and Roscoe would succeed in their pursuit of Caleb and the duo would snag the top two spots (and the Lake St Spring Strava segment) relegating an exhausted Caleb to third. Rick and Russ rolled in side by side to share fourth and Sir Beachampi a few seconds off the pace would round out the podium in fifth.

Highlighting the last few miles of the 50 miler was the Jersey Rd STRAVA segment. The 3.3 mile segment was covered by the Black n Blue Train (aboard their human powered 2 wheel conventional road machines) in less than 6.5 minutes. Grabbing the Strava KOM was Roscoe (31.8 mph)…rounding out the top 5 was Rick W 2nd (31.6 mph), Dean P 3rd (31.4 mph), Russ H tied for 3rd (31.4 mph) and Barry B 4th (30.5 mph). 5th was Caleb “the carrot” O with an impressive solo effort of 29.9 mph. Rolling in a minute or two off the pace were Wes, Dean S, Maria, Eric and Freddie. Nice work everybody especially our lone lady comrade Maria…..definitely a talented rider to watch this season.

Following the half century journey through northern Wicomico and southern Sussex counties, most of the road tested warriors would reward their Easter Saturday effort with pizza and beverages which was paid for by the ride/race’s “most aggressive rider” Roscoe. Thanks Roscoe! OVC and your families please have a safe and Happy Easter Sunday. Weather permitting we’ll see y’all Tuesday!