What's Cool In Road Cycling

Life in the Gutter – Cascade Classic

Something changes when you arrive in Bend Oregon. Not sure if it’s in the air or the mountain water, or maybe the cheaper gas prices, but everything just slows down a bit. The whole vibe is just a polar opposite from Los Angeles. That atmosphere was very noticeable at the start of today’s 100 mile Pacific Power Road Race. The riders showed up late looking relaxed and happy, and the officials were all in good moods with smiles on their faces.

The start list was impressive. Michael Creed, Tony Cruz, Damon Kluck and Pat McCarty from US Postal, Gord Fraser leading a full squad from Health Net, local favorite Chris Horner leading a massive Webcor squad and what looked like at least 12 Sierra Nevada riders. Kirk O’Bee and Henk Vogels led a full Navigators squad and there was a surprise appearance by Tim Johnson of Saunier Duval. Everywhere you looked, there were National Champion Jerseys and World Champion Stripes on sleeves.

The stage started with a 22 mile gradual climb up and over McKenzie Pass. A small group got away to take the K.O.M. points, and the pack was content to sit and wait. Sierra Nevada set tempo at the front along the long downhill and flat middle section of the race, eventually bringing the group back together.

The last climb ascends the steep nine mile long Three Creeks Road. I had decided a couple days ago, that if there was one place in this race where I could make something happen, it would be here. I rode off the front at the bottom of the climb and heard orders from the Health Net team who were riding tempo to “just keep it steady”.

I rode hard (but not over my limit) for the next 20 minutes, never quite getting out of sight. Meanwhile, back in the pack, the group was splitting unfortunately causing two of my teammates, John and Mike to fall off. With about 1 k to the KOM, I caught the single Webcor rider who was off the front and we started to open a bigger gap. Knowing that there would be no way to hold off the group on the 10 mile long screaming descent to the finish, I decided to take a souvenir for myself. I wanted that damn KOM. I pushed it across the line leaving the Webcor rider dangling off my wheel and took the last KOM sprint of the day. This the first time I have even gotten a point in a KOM, let alone maximum points! I thought to myself, if I get dropped tomorrow, this will have been a worthwhile trip!

Sure enough, the remaining 80 or so riders left in the pack caught us midway through the descent. We flew along at over 40 mph for the next 20 minutes, finally crossing the line in a blazing fast 50 mph field sprint. I dodged through a few holes finishing 17th, just behind teammate Geoff Rapoport who placed 16th. Two top 20 finishes and a KOM. Not a bad result from an amateur team in a fully stacked NRC race.

Results

1 3:49:49 @ 00:00 134 Elken, Evan Broadmark Capital Cycling
2 3:49:49 @ 00:00 164 Candeloria, Alex Jelly Belly/Aramark
3 3:49:49 @ 00:00 103 Fraser, Gord Health Net

Others
16 3:49:49 @ 00:00 227 Rapoport, Geoff Velo Club LaGrange
17 3:49:49 @ 00:00 217 Horowitz, Josh Velo Club LaGrange

115 3:56:11 @ 06:22 233 Hackman, John Velo Club LaGrange
116 3:56:11 @ 06:22 218 Zagorski, Mike Velo Club LaGrange


About Josh:
Josh, our man deep in the US peloton, is a Cat1 pro and licensed USCF cycling coach from Southern California. He has previously reported to us from races in New Zealand and is also our Power Cranks long-term tester. Check out his website at
www.liquidfitness.com
.

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