Team ProPower/Cycle Solutions May 16 Race Recap

May 12th was the Bear Mountain Classic Road Race. The race is held on a demanding 14 mile course and is considered to be one of the true north east epic road races. Each lap has 1200 feet of climbing but is not really a true climbers course. Rather, it rewards the all-around strong man (or woman!) type that can climb, handle blazing fast downhills, and push the flat sections. This year’s event upped the “hard” with a soaking rain and temperatures in the upper 40’s.

To add to the prestige of the race, this year’s event was also the master’s 35+, 45+, and 55+ state championships for both New Jersey and New Your. This added an additional layer of tactical complexity.

The 45+ had a hugely stacked field. The team had defending NJ Champion Dave Kahl and Garden State Cup leader Scott Steward on the start line. Midway through the race things exploded. Several riders went off the front. The strong FinKraft team had Rob Lyons and last year’s winner Frank O’Reilly in the group. Sensing that the other FinKraft riders were going to close the door on the chase, Dave made a move to bridge on the Lake Welch climb. He was joined by Somerset’s Eric Schlauch. Eric and he traded pulls before they joined another rider on the Tiorati Brook climb. Dave jumped on his wheel and they motored up the rest of the way to the break. By that time FinKraft’s Rob Lyons had gone solo. Dave and the remainder of the break worked together to maintain their gap over the disintegrating field behind them. At the line Dave was 3rd from the 5 man sprint to the line finishing a great 4th place overall. As the first place NJ rider he won the state road race title for the second year in a row! Meanwhile back in the chasing group, Scott Steward hung tough to collect 14th overall and 4th place NJ rider. A truly gutsy ride by someone not really considered a climber! Although those that frequent our Tuesday team ride have seen how much he has been working and improving on the hills. Scott padded his lead in the Garden State Cup and Dave’s performance moved him into 2nd place in the standings!

The 55+ race had team members Andy Buchanan, Mike Karr, Tim Doherty, Tim Saxon and Larry Towner on the start line. The race played out differently from the 45+. There were lots of attacks but nothing stuck. Instead it was a race of attrition with around 25 riders out of the 75 starters eft to contest the sprint for the win. Larry Towner was in the group, having comfortably climbed near or at the front each lap. Not known for his downhill sprinting abilities, he was primarily looking to finish ahead of the other NJ riders in the group. He set himself up in a perfect spot going into the final gallop on the far left side of the lane in around 6th place. As the road dived down it widened out to the left leaving him a clear shot to the line. Larry wound a 52 x 11 out to 125 RPM and 45 MPH, shooting by the riders in front of him to win the race by a clear bike length. Along with the overall win Larry took the NJ State Championship and moved into the lead of the Garden State Cup.

A special call out to the other 55+ team riders that competed today. The race course was probably outside their comfort zones but they all rode hard and made the team proud! Tim D was the 9th placed NJ rider and Mike was the 12th. Tim S and Andy rode their hearts out but succumbed to the cold conditions at the end of lap 2. It was over an hour after the race until everyone warmed up and stopped shivering. It was truly some epic racing on an epic weather day!

Meanwhile, out at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, the Northeastern Regional Masters Track Championships were being held. This event also served as the NJ State Championships. It was cold a damp, but luckily the rain held off there and the racing went ahead. Brian Gristik was the first NJ rider in all 4 of the events! In addition he was 2nd overall in the scratch race and 5th overall of all riders. An awesome result!

Finally, Mark Light and Mark Cowin competed in the Smoketown Airport Crit in PA. Mark Cowen took 20th in the 55+ and Mark Light doubled up in the 35+ and Cat 123 races placing 4th and 8th respectively.