Sunapee Race Reports

Men’s Cat 4
Jon O’Connor

Good day for NEBC in the Men’s 4 Field: we were well represented out there and did a great job controlling the front.  Cast of characters included Cujo, Russ Holden, Dr Dow, Micah “Full” Nelson and myself.  The hope was to get Micah a top ten, and he wound up with a nifty 6th place in a shootout on the final climb.   Initially we had discussed a possibility that he might be ushered into a break.  He jumped a few times and though nothing stuck but the Doc and I were able to snap to the front and open gaps on multiple occasions as well as shut down attacks by other teams.

I slated this one as a B priority race for myself looking over the fence to Killington. I went in pretty tired after a busy work week and lots of hard riding: no days off.   Legs were super sore and found myself being pushed around by guys I normally annihilate on hills.  Not much left for the final climb to the finish though I did stomp hard enough in the drops to pass a few folks at the end for a mid pack yawn.  Despite sticking to the plan and knowing this would be a chance to serve and get fit, I must admit its an ego check to be on the ropes in the fours.   This was my first real road race of the year since I couldn’t do b-kill or quabbin, so some of the deeper hard-wiring for punishment may not be there yet.  But this helped get me back in form and was decidedly fun with a team.
Dr. Dow
After 5 days of traveling and flying in Friday Night, I woke up at 500 am to get to Sunapee in the rain in 49 degree temp.So much for the “warm up” I planned. I did 3 mock sprints up the hill to the finish and realized ( like Jon) I had overtrained all week and did not rest enough.
The race started auspiciciously with the front 15 guys making a wrong turn!We had to turn around and chase down the field . One match burned.

Two years ago , a group got away on the first hill.We discussed launching an attack here, but agreed we should wait.Nonetheless, I was taking no chances and stayed near the front.It was clear that no one was going to launch anything serious on Lap1. Sunapee is deceiving, while there are few steep climbs, there is 2600 vert of climbing and a lot of ways to get hurt if you waste energy.

I felt like we had control of this one. I managed to stay in the front 10-12 spots on all climbs and actually felt like I could accelerate to the front at all times. Captain Jon O’ Connor showed good form on Lap 1 KOM ing the steepest climbs and going off the front , but it was clear that no attack would last this early.
On lap 2 the pace picked up and a few surges / attacks spiced things up. Micah Nelson had a nice 2 man breakaway which lasted for a while and sent a message that he should be taken seriously . We blocked the best we could, and I told the guys in the front not to chase, they bought it for a while until they noticed he was my teamate, and caught him. In the last steep climb a few guys tried to go but Micah chased them down and Jon did his usual work welding gaps and taking the wind.i felt good and managed to stay in the front on the climb.
Now came the final turn and downhill sprint to the rotary before the uphill finish. My plan was to move ahead and launch Micah to the hill ahead of the pack, but there were too many guys and it looked like a pack finish.
Micah did not need our help, he launched up the final hill and took 20 plus places in 2 minutes and took 6 th. If the race went another 10 feet uphill he would have won. I had nothing left and despite being top ten around the rotary dropped to the mid 20’s. Jon came by and passed a few guys. Chris Cugo came up and finished with the pack.
We were happy with this one. A lot of guys came up and said “Good Race, nice Job”. We had 5 guys in this race and I felt like we made a statement . Most importantly we saw the emergence of Micah. After hiding in the pack at the flats of Ninigrett, Standish , he was able to showcase his climbing talent. This bodes well for Killington which has much steeper climbs.
Great as always to see all the red and white jerseys out there!

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