Tour de Rock. Week 7. Escape from Ft. Delaware. Flat and fast

24.85 miles, 1:04:13 time.

I rode with the C group last week on Tuesday. My Gunner Team was Philip, Luis, Cheryl and me. The Pedal Pusher team was Bob, Hank, Nicole and Gregg. Seven of us stayed in a pack for about half the ride. It was flat and fast. We slowly started dropping guys. At the sprint line at mile 15 there was Gregg, Philip and me. I slingshot by them and held on for 1st sprint line. After the sprint, Philip and I dropped Gregg. Philip and I worked together to finish 1-2. Fun times.

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Bill’s Ride Report – C Group

Ooooh…things are heating up. The “C” group went at it hard tonight, resulting in a big time gain for the Gunners.  Riding for the Pushers were Hank, Bob, Gregg and Nicole; while representing the Gunners were Joe, Philip, Luis and Cheryll. 

Off the start, all went hard for a minute or so, but that was enough to drop Nicole who ended up riding alone the entire night. The rest of the group stayed together for miles, and miles, and miles….until Phil, Gregg, Hank and Joe made a group surge and managed to drop Bob, as well as Luis and Cheryll, who were drafting on Bob.  Luis made a short attempt to pull back the receding lead group, while Bob made a longer attempt, but in the end, the four leaders, having seen their chance, were working together and were too much for the chasers, so made their gap stick. 

And thus it stayed until the run-in to the intermediate sprint.  There were, of course, a spate of attacks here and there, but nobody could get away for good, and all riders managed to recover and rejoin their group.  That is, until those lead riders started getting serious about the sprint somewhere around Mile 14; then the attacks started to get real.  Riders see-sawed back and forth until Hank was dropped off in a moment of inattention.  Once again, as soon as the lead group saw the gap, they accelerated hard and worked together to make that gap stick, although this time, Philip and Joe did the lion’s share of the work. 

So, it looked like there were going to be just three riders contesting the intermediate sprint points; Joe, Phillip and Gregg.  As the sprint point loomed, Gregg went first – a bit too much first, in fact.  He started to run out of gas before the line, opening the door for Philip and Joe.  Joe sat on Philip just long enough to get a good launch, beating Philip to the line by a couple of seconds.  However, by the time they got to the line, their acceleration had gapped Gregg by about 150 feet, which they recognized after sitting up for a few seconds.  Seeing that, they went hard enough to stabilize, then expand that gap.  Gregg fought hard for a bit, then surrendered to the power of two vs. one and settled in for a long ITT to the end. 

At this point, Gregg had a gap of about 1,000 feet on Hank, which he gradually expanded to about 1/4 mile over the next 10 miles. Hank was alone behind Gregg, and about 1/2 mile behind Hank, Cheryll and Luis were relentlessly riding Bob, who was doing virtually all the work for his chase group.  The gap from Hank to Bob (and Luis and Cheryll) stayed almost unchanged until the end. 

While all this was going on, Joe and Philip worked together smoothly and powerfully, gradually bringing their gap up to almost 3/4 mile over Gregg by the end.  At the final sprint, Joe recognized Philip’s contributions on the night, allowing him to take the final sprint uncontested.  Even so, Philip put in a massive sprint after all that work, staying near 600 watts for almost 15 seconds to win going away in 1:04:30 (before bonus time). Joe crossed at1:04:32, while Gregg took third at 1:06:27.  Hank, having spent almost half the race in no-man’s-land, finished next at 1:07:07.  Luis and Cheryll out-sprinted Bob after all his work, with the final order Luis, Cheryll and Bob, all in 1:08:45.  Finally, Nicole finished up in 1:28:29. 

Adjusted for time bonuses, the Gunners picked up almost 25 minutes tonight. Joe and Philip split the sprint points with 8 apiece, while Gregg took the other 2.  Tomorrow night is the “A” group, and I guess we’ll see just how briskly this course can be done!

Bill’s Ride Report – B Group

Tonight’s fast course added up to another big night for the Gunners.  Riding for the Gunners were Ben, Bryan, Peter & Jeff, while the Pushers presented Tyler, Jason, Jonathan & Tony. 

The stage started out incredibly hot, with all the riders maintaining at least 400 watts for about 90 seconds.  During this blast, Tony got dropped off the back, but all the others remained together in a pack.  The racing was fast and nervous, and it only took until about Mile 1.5 for Jason to get dropped off this group, but he made a big surge and got back on.  Then, at about Mile 4.5, Ben saw his chance and went off the front.  Tyler chased like a champion and got within about 45 feet, but just could not pull back Ben, who sailed free off the front while Tyler fell back into the arms of the chase group. 

Action continued hard and nervous with first Jason, then Bryan making bids at breaking away from the group.  Both got close to getting away, but were eventually hauled back into the mix.  Tyler was the next to try, also almost getting away, but the hoard was a bit too much and the group came back together and stayed that way until the intermediate sprint. 

Ben, having broken away, went across the sprint line at Mile 15 alone in first.  About 45 seconds later, the group came thundering through, with Jeff holding off a surge from Tyler to take second place.  In the run-up to the sprint, Jonathan got dropped off the chase group, and ended up in no-man’s-land for the rest of the stage. This left a chase group of Peter, Jeff, Bryan, Tyler and Jason. 

Once again, the group started surging, and the next men off the back were Jason and Tyler.  Tyler worked his way partially back then held off, waiting for Jason.  When Jason was unable to bridge up to Tyler, Tyler left and made a strong move to rejoin the chase group.  By this time, the chase group was composed of Ben’s teammates and Tyler, so they let Tyler do all the chasing from that point forth. 

Tyler made several strong moves and almost got away from the three of them once, but they were always able to bring him back, then sit on some more.  Having saved themselves for the end, the Gunners made a strong sprint at the end, with Jeff nipping Tyler and Peter & Bryan at a dead heat just a few feet back. 

Ben’s winning time (before bonuses) was 58:33. Jeff crossed about 1/2 mile back at 59:55, the same time as Tyler, Bryan & Peter.  Jason finished in1:00:46, Jonathan came across is 1:03:35 and Tony’s time was 1:11:27. 

Overall, the Gunners picked up roughly another 18 minutes tonight, pushing their overall lead out to a bit more than 90 minutes. Ben swept the sprint points with 20; Jeff got both second places and scored 12; while Tyler picked up the last 6 points. 

Tomorrow night is the last race of the week, with the “B” group.  The schedule for this weekend, if any, will be announced as soon as possible.

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