The Internet of Bikes: 2013 USA Cycling National Championships Masters Road Race Mount Bachelor, Oregon
The USA Cycling National Championships Masters Road Race (45-49) is the last major road race of the 2013 season for Frame and Wheel. The event is held at the Mount Bachelor Ski Area which is near Bend, Oregon. The course is a 55 mile loop through Deschutes National Forest that features a long fast descent off of Mount Bachelor, long straight and flat sections, winding roads through lush forests and long sections of climbing at high mountain elevations. The start is at an elevation of 6,500 feet. Thus conditions are cloudy, wet and windy. Temperatures are in the low fifties (These conditions are an improvement on the wild and dangerous weather conditions of the previous day that produced hail and 60 mile an hour winds and resulted in the postponement of the event). Frame and Wheel is dressed for a spring classic in New England: a base layer, a jersey, a wind vest, arm warmers, gloves and a hat. Frame and Wheel joins a field of fifty riders at the start. Frame and Wheel is riding the Austro-Daimler Superleicht Carbon Di2 and running Zipp 202 wheels with Vittoria EVO 23 tubulars. The bike is light, clean and running smoothly and the Champagne finish provides some cheerful brightness to the wet and gray.
The field sets off at 11:00 am and immediately arrives at the four mile descent off of Mount Bachelor. The road is wet, but wide and in very good condition. Frame and Wheel is at the front and moving at 55 miles per hour. The field arrives at the turn onto National Forest Road 45 and more descending follows, but the grades are not as steep. The field now has the whole road. The attacks begin from the left and the right side of the road. Frame and Wheel maintains position near the front. The sight lines on some of the sections here are very long and straight. All of the attacks are covered. The field makes the right turn onto National Forest Drive 40, which is the back section of the course. The road narrows and winds and the road surface becomes rough. More attacks come and some riders stay away for a few moments before the field closes in.
The field breaks up on the first climb of the race. This is a gradual climb that winds on for three miles. Paul Bourcier (Veloce Racing p/b Smith & Nephew – Eugene, Oregon) accelerates. Frame and Wheel covers the move and soon the two have a gap. Paul Thomas (White Mountain Road Club – Tuscon, Arizona) bridges up and states “This is it!” which suggests that the gap is holding and that the field is not chasing hard. Frame and Wheel lifts the pace and uses the left side of the road to try and stay out of sight. Thomas and Bourcier are keeping up and ready to take turns at the front. The break summits and keeps up the momentum on the following descent. There is a long straight and flat straight away following the descent. The break is visible and the gap is only twenty seconds. Frame and Wheel concentrates on keeping the pace high through this section. Thomas and Bourcier are working hard and pulling through.
The break arrives at the turn onto the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway which marks the beginning of the twenty mile climb back to Mount Bachelor Ski Area. There is a tailwind that helps move the break along. The gap increases to 30 seconds and the break is no longer visible to the field. Frame and Wheel, Thomas and Bourcier continue to work together to stay away. Bourcier has team mates in the field and the hope is that they are doing everything they can to prevent the field from bridging up to the break. The gap increases to 40 seconds. Soon after, the gap increases and holds at one minute. Frame and Wheel dimly recognizes dozens of Model T automobiles that have been halted by the marshals. These cars are lined up on the shoulder of the left lane. The occupants regard the break with muted curiosity. Frame and Wheel, Thomas and Bourcier are keeping a steady pace. The climb by Deschutes Pond is long and it rises more sharply than previous climbs. Frame and Wheel feels the effort. The temperatures are beginning to cool again as the break heads towards higher elevations. The gap is now one minute forty seconds. It is certain that the break will arrive at the finish together.
The break clears the final and steepest climb near Elk Lake. Frame and Wheel is at the front and accelerates up the short rise before the turn into the final one kilometer. Thomas and Bourcier are waiting. Thomas unleashes a sprint at 500 meters. Frame and Wheel slowly closes the gap at 200 meters and is in second position with Bourcier in third position. The three round the final bend and the line is in sight. Frame and Wheel breaks to the left of Thomas and sprints for the line. Bourcier breaks to the right. The gantry is less than 100 meters away, but it seems so far away. Frame and Wheel is producing maximum effort but it is not enough to hold off Bourcier who slowly but steadily moves up to clear the line first. The race is over. Frame and Wheel finishes in second place with a time of 2:10:50. Frame and Wheel is very pleased with the result. It is the second trip to the podium in as many days. It also represents the realization of a sentimental vision to compete at a national level on an Austro-Daimler Superleicht, the same bike Frame and Wheel raced as a sixteen year old youth, and the muse for Frame and Wheel s bicycle company. Frame and Wheel congratulates all the riders on their results and thanks the organizers for putting on a great event and making all of us feel like professionals. The Road to Bend has been exciting, challenging and a great deal of fun, and it represents a deeply satisfying conclusion to what has been for Frame and Wheel a great season of bicycle racing.
|Thomas, Bourcier, Frame and Wheel|
|The descent off of Mount Bachelor|