The final race of the Cascade Cycling Classic was a preview of the Masters Road Nationals course that will be held early September. The race starts/finishes at Summit H.S and consists mostly of rolling hills on the backroads of Bend with 2 short steep climbs (one that climbs out of Tumalo State park, and the other up Archie Briggs Rd.). Completing 4 laps for a total of 67 miles makes for a difficult race.
The pace was pretty high the whole time, with a few attacks each lap. The team of Iron Data/ThirtyBear Cycling; which has a rider in the leaders jersey, did a good job of pulling back attacks and keeping the yellow jersey safe.
Going into the final lap I had to try at least once to get away. Knowing that I won;t have a chance in the sprint, I made my move on OB Riley Rd about 1.5 miles before the Archie Briggs climb. I figured if I could stay clear to the top of that climb that I would have a good chance of holding off the peloton. When I hit the climb my legs felt like lead. By the time I reached the top of the first steep section I was caught. I had to do everything I had left to stay with the lead group to the top of the climb. Once we crested the climb we descended Mt Washington Blvd. which finished with a few small rollers and 2 round-abouts before making the right hand turn into the High School for the sprint. I was sitting in good position, and if I could finish a sprint I might have had a chance to win, but I cannot sprint for the life of me.
After a hard day in the saddle, just under 3 hours, I finished in 11th place. There were 18 of us in the lead group which had a 1-minute gap on the chase group. I didn';t move up in GC as most of the riders in the lead group were all in front of me in the overall placing. I finished 12th in the final GC standings. There was a few other Bend riders who cracked the Top 20; including Ben Thompson (11th), Kype Wuepper (14th), Mike Larsen (17th), and Bart Bowen (18th).
With Nationals just a month away, I;m sure most of the riders in the CCC will be on hand competing for a chance at the Stars and Strips jersey. Hopefully by then I will have improved my sprint :-).