The last Orr Road before the North Carolina State Criterium Championships in Salisbury, NC this weekend so everybody had the itch to come out and get that last real practice in. The rest of the week will be used to settle down and allow the body one last rest before all hell breaks lose in Salisbury. Category championships on Friday night, age groups on Saturday and good ole City Park Criterium on Sunday.
The start was pretty ordinary in that you had a couple of guys attacking, but as usual nothing sticking. Carolina Flyers were definitely dominant in number with perhaps 25-30 guys accounted for. I tried a few moves but nothing doing, but also watched The Don (JP) patrol the front until he retired from the festivities and turned professional photographer. Remember he had crashed at a Rock Hill time trail a few weeks ago and broke a rib or two, so he is warming up but certainly not 100%. He is still dangerous at less than full capacity. The Judge sat in for a while and you had to wonder what was going on there. Mr. Jenkins was resting for the Lowe's TT on Wednesday night, so no Orr Road on schedule.
I guess "the move" went with about 12 to go or so. AMartz blasted off with MKelly on his wheel and me on Mike's. Not sure how the others came across, but I am sure it wasn't long after because it was a strong move. Alder pulled a 1/3 of a lap, motioned for help and Mike wouldn't pull through. I pulled through and ripped it on the flat stretch and once I came off it was "blow up" city. Then I saw the break come by and left the station. Not sure who all it included but The Judge was there with Alder, MKelly, SMartin, TMiller, DLeatherman, maybe NBoyd and another. They seemed to be working well together, although I can guess 3 or so that probably did not pull through expecting The Judge to carry their weight too. All the major teams were represented, so it was up to Salsarita's, Harris Teeter and most of the unattached to do the work, although we all know that Carolina Flyers has the reputation for pulling their own guys back, so I saw some of that too.
The break was keeping their time gap pretty consistent until 6 or so to go and the pack was inching back slowly. Oh yeah, where was I you might ask... well after blowing up I decided to spectate and enjoy the view from the sidelines with the Patterson family and many others who got popped, thought they might get popped, or just wanted ringside for the drama to come. And remember my lap counts, although I was watching, are at best a guess. With 5 to go, there had been 7 or 8 in the break and the next lap, there was all of a sudden 2, The Judge and Shane. I have no idea what happened, but when you can pop Alder, Trey, etc. then somebody obviously jumped... my guess, The Judge. I thought they would have it with 3 to go, but Shane probably did the best he could, which probably wasn't yielding much for the break. The pack was more quickly pulling them back and with 1 to go, it was about 5 seconds and we all know last lap creates excitement and chaos. They came around for the finish and The Judge had to re-attack on the back side to hold Marcus and the field off. The Judge wins again. Impressive rally by the field. Not sure who was putting in that effort, but I guarantee you it was a mixed bag trying to keep it all together.
I heard we averaged 27.5 for an hour, which is our typical speed these days with a little longer of a session. I think there were some tired cyclists after this heat and humidity has been setting in and some long training rides and races over the past month or so. I know it was my worst Orr Road in quite some time. I still don't think I was over 3 Mountain Madness, but just love the thrill of participating in Orr Road. I remember when I was just starting out I would choose BikeSouth over Orr Road on Tuesday nights and man how that thought has changed.
Hats off to Gordon, Rick and Matt (yes, our rivals) for some consistent and solid results at Roan Moan last weekend in TN. Nice to see our local guys fare well at races when we are not racing against them. :) As well, Congrats to RJenkins for winning the S.C. Time Trial Championship over the weekend too.