Share |

Sunday, April 1, 2001 -- Houston, PA
Pittsburgh Spring Road Race Series - Race #3 (iPO Event Id#: 3012)
Photos by Jeff Martello

[Details] [Coverage] [Results] [Series Standings] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]
Cat 4/5 Race Recap

Race Pic
The East Suburban Sports Medicine team takes the win
CATEGORY 1/2/3 Race
By Charlie Chulack and Jeff Timinski

Perhaps the sweetest way to victory in road racing is the long solo break; to sneak away from the pack, suffer all day alone, and manage to hold off a surging field of pursuers. In the pro peloton, riders make a go of the "suicide" break just to show their sponsors' name when the live television coverage begins. At a local spring racing season, there is no such incentive...

When Bob Riffle (ESSM) broke from the field within the first mile of the 1/2/3 race the field appeared to be content to hang together for awhile at an easy club ride pace enjoying the relatively warm temperatures and expecting Riffle to burn out slowly.

During the first lap of the race, Mark Nichol (Main Line Cycling, BiKyle), looking smart in his new team colors and coming off some time training over the winter in Florida, repeatedly ensured racers in the pack that there were seven laps to go and chasing could come later. As a result, the first few laps of the race were witness to laughing, talking, and joking in the pack while Riffle gradually increased the gap to a maximum of two minutes. With gap times being called out by the race marshals, the field eventually began to take Riffle's break seriously and attempted to organize a chase. But John Munhall and Chris Mayhew (ESSM), teammates of Riffle's, would have no part of enabling a chase and craftfully slowed the pace at the front of the pack while sitting on the wheels of any rider or group of riders trying to bridge the gap to Riffle.

The ESSM squad, taking advantage of their superior numbers, put their stamp on the race. They blocked aggressively, while still maintaining the threat of a counter attack should Riffle be pulled back.

Despite Munhall and Mayhew's tactics, many riders made fine efforts. Jay Duffy ( stayed on the front for what seemed like laps at a time. In addition, the always aggressive George Yoder (Freddie Fu), after becoming increasingly dismayed with the lack of organization in the field, began lodging attack after attack attempting to break from the field and bridge to Riffle. But the peloton was far from willing to allow any other riders to get away and neutralized any act of aggression with swift, immediate action.

While fingers were being pointed and tempers were flaring because of the field's inability to reel in Riffle, Jeff Timinski (UPMC Pittsburgh Cycling) broke away on the last lap, looking to secure the second spot on the podium. Gunnar Shogren (Guinness) made a move to bridge, catching Timinski's wheel as the two were at the crest of the climb. The two worked together for a short time but Shogren's move provoked the pack into action. The two were caught with two kilometers to go.

Realizing that the pack would now end in a field sprint, riders started jockeying for what they believed to be the right wheels. As an ex-teammate of Nichol and having an awareness of his wicked sprint, Charlie Chulack, of the new TRBC/Trek team jumped early trying to catch him by surprise. But Nichol was on, immediately reacting and streaking to second place. Chulack would finish third, Kevin Westover (ESSM) fourth, and Tim O'Toole (Go Mart) fifth.

With many riders being seen going out for additional miles after the race, the final three weeks of the Pittsburgh Spring Road Race Series will most likely be host to more of the same intense bicycle racing.

Race description taken from individual write-ups of both Hites Bikes/FoxVelo and CycleWorks team members

Cycle Works-over the Cat 4/5 peleton!


With the late arrival of "warm" racing weather in this year's "Spring" Road Race Series, came a series of attacks and breakaways that forced many teams to abandon their pre-race strategies. Right out of the gate, Brad Best (CycleWorks) found himself off the front of the peleton. By the time the group passed the first corner, Brad was joined by Mike Waleski (TRBC/Trek) to form a two-up break that soon put a 25 second lead on the peleton before the half way point of the 1st lap. In fear that this pair would ride away without challenge as the rest of the group enjoyed the beautiful day, Henry Dimmick (Hites Bikes/FoxVelo) went to the front of the group and rode tempo, leading the 2-wide main group up and over the first climb. With an overlap of riders in the top section of the course, the group continued to chip away at the pair's lead. By the bottom of the first descent, the CycleWorks pair was still away, but being drawn within striking distance of the main field. Their efforts remained successful through the finish of the first lap.


Lap 2 continued with pulls being taken by various teams to draw in Waleski and Best. By turn #2, the two had been caught only to light off an immediate attack by Bryan Routledge (CycleWorks) and Ray Russell (CycleWorks) who remained off the front themselves throughout the lap. At this early point in the race, the average speed was at 22 mph.


Just after the start/finish of Lap 3, the CycleWorks duo was caught with yet another breakaway attempt launched by Best and Waleski. These riders stayed away through the rollers at the top of the course but were gathered in by the halfway point in the descent, where Waleski went to the front. Just after getting to the base of the descent, the group slowed slightly, initiating a solo breakaway launched by Dimmick with the only response made by Philip Ball (Fat Jimmy's). These two rode away from the main group down through the start/finish and half the way to the first climb of Lap 4 before the main group again overpowered all who would challenge it.


After coming back together again, the group remained somewhat docile until the CycleWorks tag-team handed over the reign to Russell, Routledge , Ball, Sam Baum (Woody's Workout) and Andy Wiedrich (TRBC/Trek) who lead the group up over the climb. With the main group allowing these 5 to get away, Jim Miller (Hites Bikes/Fox Velo) and Best shook off a few followers as they worked to bridge the gap, just making the lead group of 8 riders at the beginning of Lap 5.


On the climb on lap five, Routledge got away solo near the top. The initial chase was lead by the Rider in the KOM polka-dot jersey. Routledge, built as much as a 17 second gap into the beginning of the descent. Heading down the high speed descent, the chasing group brought a resounding end to his dreams as he was surrounded by teammate Russell, Miller, Baum, Ball, John Oshlick (PCC), and Wiedrich. The seven riders stayed away from the next group clear into the finish. The finishing sprint was started by Ball with Routledge following, hoping for a good lead out. But it was not to be. The other riders, exchanging finishing order all the way to the line with the final order as follows:

(1) Sam Baum (Woody's Workout)
(2) Philip Ball (Fat Jimmy's)
(3) Jim Miller (Hites Bikes/FoxVelo)
(4) John Oshlick (PCC)
(5) Ray Russell (CycleWorks)
(6) Bryan Routledge (CycleWorks)
(7) Andy Wiedrich (TRBC/Trek)