by Michael Hast
Mormon Lake Road Race
This was the first time I raced in the Mormon Lake Road Race. Gary and I pre-rode parts of the course and drove the rest of the course to get an impression and to finalize our strategy. Our plan was to break away in the second lap of 3 on the climb towards Lake Mary Rd. We included Lynn from team Tolero and Dan from team Stone House Group in our plan. For a successful breakaway I wanted to have more than one rider with me. We were the second to last group that started, just 2 minutes after the category 5 riders. Right from the start, one rider took off. A rider from team Mandalay Bay bridged the gap and both of the riders started to work together. About 4 riders, including me, wanted to close that initial gap. At that point riders from Mandalay Bay started to block, which was annoying, but great teamwork. With some strong pulls, we closed the gap on the climb towards Lake Mary Rd, the climb I wanted to break away in lap 2. Right before the turn to Lake Mary Rd., Joe from team Mandalay Bay started a breakaway. I decided to go with Joe, even though this was just lap 1 of 3. Joe had 3 teammates and I had Gary, all in all 4 riders that could help us to slow down the peloton for a successful break.
Joe and I started to work well together. We came up to "the Wall" to complete the 1st lap and gained quite a bit on the category 5 riders. About 4 miles into lap 2 we passed the category 5 riders and shortly thereafter the Masters 50+,60+ and 70+. That gave us a boost of confidence because it will be harder for our group to pass these riders. Joe and I stayed away for about 2 laps but were unfortunately caught by a huge group of riders. That group consisted of category 5, our category and Master riders, even though it is against the rules for different start groups to merge. I guess there were not enough motorcycle referees to enforce that rule. Well, after we got caught we had about 6 more miles to the finish. For me this was the most nerve wrecking part of the race. Now the plan shifted to stay with the group until the base of "the Wall" and then attack on that final climb. At the base of "the Wall", about 1 mile before the finish, there was a huge crash. Unfortunately, Lynn was taken out and Gary was involved as well. I rode up "the Wall" to the finish, finished 3rd. Afterwards I rode to Gary, gave him my wheel, so that he could finish the race. All in all, it was a successful race, with a great team strategy that worked well, especially after hearing the unfolding of the race from Gary's perspective.
Michael gets third!
Williams/Perkinsville Road Race
The Williams/Perkinsville Road Race was an out and back race starting in Williams going downhill for about 24 miles towards Perkinsville and then back up about 20 miles. The strategy was much simpler than the Mormon Lake Road Race. Stay with the group on the initial 24 miles descent and then attack on the way back up. We started in Williams and rode through the beautiful pines of the Kaibab National Forest. After about 3 miles the road became bad with lot's of potholes and a damaged shoulder, so we exercised caution on our descent. Two riders took off on the descent, and this time we didn't chase them down. Rather we pretty much coasted down at about 40 mph. During the descent I noticed that it got warmer when the pines gave way. After we turned around, I followed one rider, passed him because he was too slow, catching the next rider. I repeated that until there were no more riders to catch. There were no real attacks, just a steady push. That was enough to put me into 1st place. After arriving at home, I realized that I had the same race number 612 in the Oracle Road Race 2 years ago where I won. Coincidence? I THINK NOT ;-)
Michael takes 1st and Gary snags third!