The wet stuff cleared out and OVC was blessed with mostly dry roads, warm temps, and light winds for the most important evening of the week. The pleasant conditions drew a deep field of cyclists from 5 counties -- Sonny, Rick W., Dean P., Alex, Caleb, Roscoe, Barry, Brian J., Bruce, Dean S., Steve, Jason B., Mark, Frankie, and Wes -- all of whom were looking to make their mark this evening.
A light headwind did little to slow down this crowd and the 15-man train rolled to Furnace Town at 26 mph. A car stopping for a pedestrian disrupted the flow and allowed Dean P., Mark, and Jason to get up the road. The trio worked their gap for a few minutes, but ran up the white flag when the course opened up on Scotty. Shortly afterwards, the ride claimed its first casualty as Wes’s legs locked up on him. Moments later, a couple of whitetails were apparently hunting for Strava KOMs and rudely buzzed the field.
As usual, the open fields of Dividing Creek prompted some attacks that strung things out a little. The speeds stayed for the next few miles, causing Barry, Dean S, and Alex to fall off the pace somewhere in this vicinity (I think). Several breakaway attempts were launched on the run up Whitesburg and on Meadowbridge, but the survivors had too much grit to let anything stick. Unfortunately, the offensive moves eventually got the best of Rick with about 7 miles to go.
The surviving 10 riders’ march to the finish was relentless -- tapping out a 26.5 mph average for the final 7.5 miles. With the overpass in sight, the leadout ramped up, with Steve and Roscoe taking turns at the front. Next up, Jason and Mark made their charge with hopes of dragging their fellow Cat 5 and budding sprinter Frankie to glory. Unfortunately, they also brought race-savvy Dean P. with them, whose well-timed acceleration carried the day. Special kudos to elder statesman Bruce, who finished only seconds behind the leaders, avenging a tough Tuesday performance earlier this season.
Overall, it was a great finish to a great ride. The 37.4 mile overpass to overpass course was completed in about 1 hr 29 minutes for an average speed of 25.3 mph. Nice work, OVC!