Piece of Cake: Live Race Thread

The Team Oregon Master’s 50+ contingent is ready for the Piece of Cake road race this weekend in Canby! The guys kicked off their pre-race prep last weekend with a strategy session at – of course – Laurelwood Brew Pub in Portland’s Hollywood District. Read on to learn more about the race from O racer Tony Dirks, and check back to see how it all goes down.

The calm before the storm: Friday, March 17 

“This early season race presents a great opportunity for some of the guys to work together and execute a plan. It’s a relatively flat 53-mile race that lends itself to a successful breakaway or a bunch sprint finish.

Team O will be in the right places at the right times in order to try to put our riders on the podium. The team looks to be 10 guys strong, which should outnumber any of our rival’s teams by a factor of two, and you bet we plan to take advantage of that.

Not only will it be fun, create more team chemistry and show how good planning works, but we’ll all be able to gauge our fitness level and strengths as the season opens. More to come!”

The first run through: Saturday, March 18

“Awesome pre-ride this morning. It’s a beautiful course, and I’m smelling a breakaway tomorrow. Should be an amazing race. Better yet? It’s 50 and sunny!!”

The aftermath: Monday, March 20

Well it was a beautiful day for the first road race of 2017. It became obvious that the wind would play a role, as most of the folks from the morning’s races reported that there had been some sort of fracturing of their fields from the wind and speed.

We warmed up for our noon start, and I counted 8 Team O faithful in our 50+ field. That’s an amazing turnout, and it’s so good to be with all the road racing friends again. We had discussed a plan that would be fairly straightforward to execute on and took in to consideration the weather and field size; around 40.

The first 5 or so miles were fairly straight forward, as us old guys tried to get warmed up; through a series of rollers (really the most hilly part of the course, but that’s not really saying much), then turned in to the wind which was crossing from our left. Things started to get a little heated as began what was to be a couple laps (we were racing 4 laps/53 miles total) of attacks, counterattacks and fast-paced racing, putting most of us under stress; but we took it and gave it out!

At one point, John Kenney and Perry Lund of Hutch’s were off the front together, with Alan Whitney and I on the front with another Hutch’s rider. This turned out to be the best opportunity of the day – these two guys could do it; and they both had lots of friends in the peloton.

As we approach the end of the first lap, John and Perry turned right when they should have gone straight, and once they recognized their mistake, found themselves chasing for their lives. Unfortunately, we didn’t see them again. This crowd wasn’t letting anything develop off the front after that.

We were successfully countering moves and taking shots ourselves. As we wound in to the third lap, it became apparent to most that there would be a bunch sprint finish…which we had also planned for, and our go-to guy had stayed safe most of the race. We brought in one last break attempt and sort of settled in for the posturing of the last lap.

As the miles ticked away towards the finish, there was some aggression and surging, as everybody wanted that just right spot. We ushered our guy up near the front where he now needed to earn his keep. We got separated from each other during the final couple miles and couldn’t quite lead him out as we wanted to. Alan – who is in great early season form – got a good wheel and found himself just off the podium in 4th!! The rest of us were all close on his heels as we sprinted it out up a slight hill to the line.

All in all, a really great day of bike racing for Team O in the 50+ field. We got to know each other better and successfully practiced some tactics and saw the results of our hard work. Bring on 2017!!!”