Rob McHardy and I (Rouler Sportswear) along with the rest of the 30/40+ racers lined up in 20 degree temps with steady 25 mph winds early in the afternoon and raced the Carolina Cycling Associations season opener at ACE Speedway. The turnout was big, Triangle Velo had a large presence and several other teams had 3 or more racers, most notably Team Spoke pb Carolina Ale House. Andy Crater (Finish Strong) rolled up to the start line at the last possible moment and I’m sure everyone’s heart rate jumped up a zone.
It was the typical cat and mouse for the first 5-10 laps until Marc Bauxbaum (Team Spoke pb Carolina Ale House) rolled off after a flurry of attacks and gained 10 seconds within a lap. Initially there were a few moves to initiate the chase but Dariusz Tyborowski (Team Spoke pb Carolina Ale House) was doing a great job of policing the action. The gap kept yo-yo ing and just before we absorbed Marc, Kyle Bush (Team Spoke pb Carolina Ale House) moved off the front to join Marc and the two teammates started riding away. For several laps the gap grew and no one seemed too interested in chasing until finally Andy Crater (Finish Strong) and Rob McHardy (Rouler Sportswear) put in a big move and bridged up to the two leaders. The four worked together and lapped the field which seemed content to ride around at 22-23 mph.
Once Rob and the group got around the stage was set for the finale and with no one else being able to escape it came down to a 3 man sprint for the 40+ win between Marc and Kyle (Team Spoke pb Carolina Ale House) and Rob (Rouler Sportswear). Andy (Finish Strong) had already secured victory in the 30+ once he lapped the field and it was just a formality when he won the sprint outright. Marc and Dariusz came to the front with 2 laps to go and put in a big surge that helped keep the tempo high and with one lap to go, Curtis Staples put in a massive attack and stayed clear of the field to take 2nd in the 30+! Meanwhile with 1/2 a lap to go and Rob on my wheel I continued to accelerate as Andy Crater came flying by for the 30+ Win along with Lucas Livermon (Triangle Velo) who finished 3rd in 30+. Rob managed to stay close and as I sprinted for 5th place in the 40+, it gave Rob the 40+ Victory we were working for.
With all the team tactics and strong riders present, it was a great win and confirmation that the 2014 race season has arrived. Great job by Marc, Darius and Kyle (Team Spoke pb Carolina Ale House) for animating the race and special thanks ACE Speedway, Triangle Velo and Judy Rhyne (Carolina Cycling Association) for hosting the event.
See you at the races!