Project 5 Racing

Durand Road Race – Cat 3/4 – Ron Cook solo’s to 3rd place.

Race Number
Durand, WI is a town about 40min south of Eau Claire, WI where some family live. Every April there is a RR and I always have wanted to try and do this and finally it worked out this year.The course is a 13.5 mile loop out in farmland. Pretty much none of the course is flat. It’s all rolling hills. The long sides of the loop run east-west with the back side having 2 bigger climbs on it. Nothing super steep but by the last time up them I was glad I had my 27 tooth cog.

When I arrived at the race the first thing I noticed was the wind. It was really strong. The forcast said only 13mph but this was way stronger. It was the blow you sideways kind of wind. The wind was coming from the north so it was mostly all cross winds with a nasty headwind on the last 200m climb to the finish line.

On to the race. As i climbed the hill to the start finish I told myself this was going to be the best race ever. I lined up with about 38 other cat 3/4′s. The 1/2/3 race departed before us and about 2 min later we took off. I thought that seemed kind of close and sure enough by the first turn we were catching up to the 1/2/3 field. We already had a break off the front and they caught the field but as soon as we turned into the tailwind the 1/2/3′s took off and order was restored.

I went in with the mindset of saving myself for at least the first 2 laps and maybe even 3 then maybe try something. I told myself that I came here to place and get some tires. Top 3 got bontrager tires. (more on this later)

Eventually there were 3 guys off the front and our field didn’t seem to anxious to reel them in. The wind was brutal and you had to be careful with the gusts. All that considered this was a really smooth race. After 2 laps to go they had a sizeable gap, enough that they were out of sight a lot. Eventually we saw that they had dropped one rider so it was now 2. Somewhere on the second lap my rear hub starts making all this noise. Sounds like it’s going to fall off. Turns out my cassette lock ring has stripped the threads and the cassette is loose now but other than making a bunch of noise it was working fine. I never had any issues shifting.

As the 2nd lap is ending I’m getting the idea that right after the start finish and just before turn 1 into the crosswind would be a good place to attack. After the turn there’s a nice downhill section. Sure enough at the start of lap 3 couple guys gap the field and start trying to chase so I decide to bridge. I do and there’s 3 of us but after trading a few pulls the field brings us back in so at this point I go back and sit in the field and rest up for the last lap.

With 1 1/2 laps to go guys on the front are literally talking about upcoming races. I realize it seems that nobody is interested in bringing the 2 back, who for the most part we can’t see anymore. We are just ambling along and I’m thinking that I will make a move at the start finish. As we approach the line to start our last lap a rider jumps so I try to get on his wheel. Moments later I hear people yelling, “not our group” so I sit up thinking great, now everybody knows my plan. No matter, after drifting back to 3rd or 4th wheel I attack just before the turn. Only 13.5 miles to go.

To my chagrin/surprise nobody went with me. Right away I had a nice little gap so I kept going. The gap grew so I kept going. I didn’t let myself redline cause there was still 13 miles to go but the gap kept growing. I figured that I’d take advantage of nobody knowing who I was. Before long I was out of sight and I could see I was gaining on the 2 breakaway riders. By the time I got to turn 2 the climbs were really starting to hurt and I still had the 2 biggies left. On every climb I started yelling, “shut up legs!”. I crawled up the 2 climbs and could see I still had a big gap to the field. Wasn’t much chance of them catching me now.

While I was gaining on the break during the downhill and flat sections I would loose a bunch of time on the climbs. I ended up getting within 20-30 sec but couldn’t close it but finished well ahead of the field in 3rd.

After waiting around for results to be posted i got my prize. 1 whole bontrager tire. guess i’ll have to go buy a second to match.

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