On Saturday, OVC kicked off the 2016 road racing season with the Tidewater Classic near Williamsburg, VA. Making the 3 hour drive south were a fine contingent of Eastern Shore riders, including Brian F., Steve J., Dean P., Alex, Frankie, Caleb, Matt P. and Roscoe. OVC had riders in every race and posted some solid results. Even better, everyone stayed rubber side down and had a great time.

The 10-mile, tree-lined course consists of generally flat or rolling terrain, but features one pitched climb (the “KOA”) on the backside of the course that can toughen up a race. Although the roads are narrow in some places, there are plenty of places to move up in the field. Finally, for the finish, racers get the whole road for the last mile with the final 200 meters being uphill.

Cat 5: Making their road-racing debuts in the day’s first race were Steve J. and Brian F. Also, joining from Virginia Beach was Dean's son, Matthew. They endured cold temps and 50 squirrely riders, but survived unscathed by staying up front. The rookies finished solidly mid-pack -- 19th for Steve and 22nd for Brian. Matthew went for broke with a solo attack in the last mile, but got swallowed up by the pack and finished 28th -- with a few more races Matthew will be lining up with the Cat 4s. Congrats to Brian and Steve for pinning a number for the first time!

Cat 4: Alex, Frankie, and Caleb rolled out next for 30 miles of racing in the largest field of the day, the 60-rider Cat 4. Although there weren’t any major breakaways, the field gradually fractured a bit as the race progressed. It came down to a field sprint, with Caleb and Frankie getting caught in traffic and finishing mid-pack at 18th and 19th, respectively. Alex finished a little off the main group and was rudely omitted from the official results.

45+: Dean P. and Steve (in his 2nd race of the day) joined the Masters 45+ race for 30 miles of action. The 20-man field mostly stayed together until the final lap. A lone rider went solo off the front and stayed away, leaving it a race for second. Dean was not deterred and dominated the field sprint to secure a podium finish for OVC! Great work, Dean! Steve hung with the pack until his fifth trip of the day over the KOA climb caused him to lose contact on the last lap. Nevertheless, he finished, getting two races and 50 miles of training under his belt.

Cat 3: Under slightly warmer conditions, Roscoe lined up for the 40 mile Cat 3 race. A strong two-man breakaway formed up early and stayed 30-60 seconds off the front for nearly 30 miles. The catch was made on the last lap ensuring a field sprint. In the last 2.5 miles, speeds averaged close to 29 mph with some riders literally shoving others for position. In the final 200 meters, Roscoe picked a slow wheel, but managed to nab 6th place of the 26 rider field.

Cat 1/2/3: Dean and Roscoe also doubled up and jumped into the 50 mile Cat 1/2/3. Right from the whistle, riders went off the front and established a 10-man break that got out of sight quickly. The pack didn’t panic and kept up a steady, tolerable chase. Occasionally, however accelerations strung out the 30 chasers into a single-file group, leaving Roscoe and Dean to wonder whether they were going to survive this one. But once they got over the final KOA climb at about Mile 44, the pair of OVC riders knew that they’d finish with the main field. Two of the breakaway riders survived to win, and Roscoe and Dean came in at 26th and 29th. Not bad for 80 and 90 miles of racing on their legs!

Thanks for the great Saturday of racing, OVC!

Mark your calendars for a 60 mile ride from Burley Oak on Saturday March 5!