by Gary Schobel and Michael Hast
Cat 4/5 Masters 50+
The Masters 4/5 road race was a combined race of the ages 35+, 40+, 45+ and 50+. That made for an interesting dynamic during the race. We had to race 2 laps with a total of 50 miles. Each lap had a 1 mile hill climb with an incline of about 4%. That hill climb was in the middle of the lap, so there were still 8 miles to go to the finish after climbing. In the first lap, someone told Erwin from Aggress that he couldn't be second wheel for the entire race. He responded with an attack and rode off the front and was never seen again. I (Gary) stayed tucked away in the group waiting patiently for the hill. On the hill I went to the front to be able to fall back in case there were surges up the hill. Conor positioned himself in the back of the 24 rider group. During the hill climb a surge happened and I was able to hang onto the first group. Conor unfortunately got separated and ended up in a 3 rider chase group. When my group crested, I had 3 riders from categories 35, 40 and 45 and 2 rider from my 50+ category. The group included Joe Lewis from Cyclefit Solutions Racing and Charlie Everett from Bicycle Ranch Racing. I was wondering what I could do to shed my competition. I talked to Charlie if he could help me during an attack to get ahead of my competition. About 2 miles before the 1 mile hill climb on the 2nd lap, I attacked and Charlie followed my wheel. Charlie assisted me with a good pull before wishing me good luck. He dropped back and with Rob's help made sure the other 2 riders wouldn't catch up to me. I rode as hard as I could for a few miles and then settled into my TT mode all the way to the finish. Praise the LORD for the endurance and the help to be able to win the Masters 50+ Cat 4/5 State Championship.
Cat 1/2/3 Masters 45+
The Masters 1/2/3 road race was also a combined race of the ages 35+, 40+, 45+ and 50+ which made for an interesting dynamic during the race. Similar to the Cat 4/5 Master race, we had to race 2 laps with a total of 50 miles. The race started fast. Rich from Aggress took off with one other rider and the chase was on. Once caught, there were various attacks that didn't pan out and we regrouped with about 1 mile to go before the 1 time up the 1 mile climb. Zack from the 35+ category attacked and took Jesse with him. Rich who raced in my (Michael) age group bridged over to them which caused me to follow him. The first climb was brutal, but at a steady pace I was able to close the gap to Rich. Now it was 4 of us up ahead of the group. Paul Thomas who raced in the 50+ group bridged over to us and encouraged us to go on the attack and break away. I followed his wheel right away, Rich, Zack and Jesse recovered from the hill climb and fell back. After the climb we turned right and everyone followed. It turned out, after a long descend that we turned too early. Our right turn was supposed to be 1 mile later. The referee overtook us in the car and stopped us after about 5 miles. We decided to turn back and get back on the right course. Paul charged up the hill, followed by Zack and me. I was unable to take a pull at the front while we charged up the hill. Once we crested, I never looked back, but we had a little gap to the rest of the field. Now the hard part was to settle into a rotation for the next 8 miles back to Duncan. Under Pauls guidance we found a good rhythm, but our break got caught as we entered Duncan. Once we started the second lap riders didn't all out attack, but the group let them ride off the front. It was mostly Jesse who rode away from the group. He wasn't in my age group, so I didn't worry about him. About a mile before the 1 mile climb, Paul bridged over to him and they started working together. Once the climb started, I wanted to bridge over to Paul and hammered up the hill. Rich followed as much as he could, but I dropped him 3/4 of the way up. After I crested I thought I would be able to bridge over to Paul, but he was long gone. I was in no mans land for a little while but waited for the group to come by. Now everyone went into a pace line trying to chase down Paul. I was already a little exhausted from our breakaway and didn't participate as much in the rotation. Once we entered Duncan, the strategizing started who would lead whom out. I had to watch Rich and one other rider who raced in my category. Rich took off and I watched the other rider for a while before it dawned on me that he didn't want to chase Rich down. I took off after Rich and closed the gap and hoped that I hadn't started to late. I came up on Rich and had enough speed to overtake him, but instead of going left in between Jesse and Rich I got caught on Rich's left side, I had to slow down for a bit and then tried to overtake him on the right, but ran out of road. He crossed the finish line half a second before me. Congratulation to our new State Champion Rich for the Cat 1/2/3 Masters 45+. Praises be to our Heavenly Father for the 2nd place and a wonderful day of racing.