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Hugo Road Race
Hugo Colorado, May 3, 2003
Not just another windy day in Colorado for Andy Clark
By Nathan Busch
"We did this same exact race last week, except as a training ride," Andy Clark told me before the start of the 80 mile Hugo road race. The previous Saturday, Andy and I, along with a few of the other usual hammerheads, had done what amounted to an 85 mile TTT workout with an almost-set of attacks at the end. So for Andy, who would be winning this race from nowhere to nowhere about four hours later, the way he had trained really paid off.
When the race started, it appeared as if its first 30 miles would be ridden while fighting a direct headwind - without any real big hills or crosswinds to break it up. I slyly told my teammate, Jim Copeland, before the start of the race, that I thought maybe a few riders would be able to sneak away before the race would take a right hand turn and force the riders into a straight 30 mph gutter wind that was sure to decide the outcome. Jim, in his infinite wisdom and 2 lifetimes of racing and coaching experience, told me that one of us should try to get into this pre-side-wind move.
As it turned out, that's exactly what happened. Jim and I took turns following attacks into the wind until a break with Jim in it magically stayed away as riders had become sick of chasing. But then something unexpected happened: the wind shifted. At just about the time the breakaway with Jim , Andy Clark (Team Rio Grande), Kelly Ruddick (Pro Peloton), Cody Waite (Excel Sports), and a rider from Team Stealth had garnered a 1:30 second lead, the wind threw the riders onto the left hand side of the road. Hot Tubes rider Zak Grabowski, who was both concerned about the advancing breakaway and aware of the changing wind, attacked hard and long. His effort shattered the 50 rider field into little echelons of 10 or so.
The breakaway began to come back a little bit. Some of the riders in the echelon immediately behind the breakaway had teammates up ahead and refused to rotate through. This actually hindered them, however, as the rotation was fully operational in the echelon, and failing to rotate through meant being doomed to die in the wind.
Then, just as the breakaway's lead was down to only about 20 seconds, the Gods decided to mess with us a little more and generate a direct headwind; like the one that had existed before the break got away. Everyone in the echelon stopped working, and our group was caught by one or two other echelons chasing from behind. Vitamin Cottage rider Christian McCarthy, who had no teamates in the break, tried a long shot effort to bridge the gap. He got very close but didn't quite make it. The rest of us in the pack could feel his pain. Subsequently, the breakaway opened up a 3 minute gap.
As the road approached the right hand turn, riders raced each other to be the first ones to take that turn in order to secure a wheel in the side wind. Once in this side wind, the pack rapidly disintegrated. After only 4 miles, the pack consisted of only 12 riders; all fighting for a place in the rotating echelon. The Breakaway's lead had come down to 45 seconds by the time the road took another right hand turn a few miles later.
Following that right hand turn, we were riding into a straight and speedy tailwind. The riders in our group seemed to sit up and be content to relax a little bit following their ordeal in the side wind. I knew from experience that this would be a good time to attack, so that's what I did. Sure enough, I got a gap. GS CIAO rider Travis Baugh bridged up to me, and the two of us pounded away. As we rolled up a long, gradual hill, we scooped up first one, then another, and then a third rider from the break away ahead of us. Each of these riders only managed to hang on for a short while until coming out of our group -- except for Cody Waite, who hung on to the finish.
Jeffrey Hartmann (Big Shark) and Jon Seehafer (Pro Peloton) bridged up to us from the group behind, and we established a good pace. The break hovered about 1 minute ahead, Andy and Jim working together smoothly.
At the finish, Andy managed to out-sprint Jim for the win. In my group, I attacked on the final side wind portion of the road with Hartmann, who later beat me in the sprint for 3rd place.
As we discussed the race after its conclusion, we all decided that, whence in a breakaway, it is never a good idea to give up until there are riders from the pack who are actually on your wheel. "Andy did such a good job of motivating us to continue on, even when we were nearly caught at the beginning and then again in the middle of the race," Jim Copeland said. "I was so tired, all I could do was to sort of nod and grunt [when Andy was being motivational]," he added. Andy, who also works as a personal trainer at a premier health club in Fort Collins, attributed his motivational skills to his years and years of practicing the art of getting people to just do that one last squat, or that one last sit-up.
Men Pro/1/2 1 Andy Clark (Team Rio Grande) 3.11.17 2 Jim Copeland (Jimmy D. Racing) 3 Jeffrey Hartman (Big Shark Racing Team) 0.42 4 Nate Busch (Jimmy D. Racing) 5 Travis Baugh (GS CIAO) 1.11 6 Cody Waite (Excel Sports) 7 John Seehafer (Pro Peloton Velo) 1.53 8 Joseph Siciliano (Team Rio Grande) 5.40 9 Todd Berger (Pro Peloton Velo) 10 Christian McCarthy (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team) 11 Torsten Lyon (Twin Peaks Racing Team) 12 Kelly Ruddick (Pro Peloton Velo) 7.26 13 Ryan Starr (Cicli Casati Cycling Team) 8.24 14 Jami Shipley (Cody Racing Team) 15 Joseph Taddeucci (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team) 16 Unknown Rider 17 Chad Moore (GS CIAO) 18 Zak Grabowski (Hot Tubes Cycling Team) 19 Brand LeMaitre (Cicli Casati Cycling Team) 20 Brian Hludzinski (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team) 21 Nicholas Traggis (Twin Peaks Racing Team) 22 Michael Gibson (Pro Peloton Velo) 10.48 23 Mitch Westall (Cicli Casati Cycling Team) 24 Stephen Prokopiw (Summit County Cycling Club) 25 Albert Moraska (Excel Sports) 11.48 26 Kindler Chase (Cicli Casati Cycling Team) 27 L.T. Sandvik (Twin Peaks Racing Team) 19.06 28 Derrick Nickel (Cody Racing Team) 25.56 29 Ross Delaplane (Valdoro Mountain Lodge Cycling Team) 30 Aaron Small (Valdoro Mountain Lodge Cycling Team) 31 Tim Bryant (Summit County Cycling Club) 31.21 32 John Cimbura (AST Cycling Team) 31.35 33 Ben Hexft 34 James Englert Women 1 Renee Eastman (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team) 3.01.50 2 Missy Thompson (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team) 1.19 3 Jenn Wangerin 4 Angela Graf (Excel Sports) 2.13 5 Kate Furze (La Forza) 6 Martha Meyer (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team) 3.33 7 Ann Schofield (Team Rio Grande) 4.35 8 Jennifer Martin (La Forza) 9 Shari Hausbeck (Trek/VW) 10 Jilayne Lovejoy (Excel Sports) 5.20 11 Leslie Lowery-Abate (Valdoro Mountain Lodge Cycling Team) 8.45 12 Beth Jordan (Boulder Women's Cycling Team) 11.22 13 Cynthia Brown (Laurel Street Racing) 14 Cindi Lehman 12.57 15 Carla Davis (Boulder Women's Cycling Team) 16 Deanna Koryczan (La Forza) 17 Alisabeth Thurston-Hicks (SEAR/Cont'l Homes-Campus Cycles) 13.05 18 Jennifer Scott (Bike Doctor/Cannondale) 14.12 19 Laura Danley (Team Rio Grande) 17.20 20 Alicia Voss (Boulder Women's Cycling Team) 23.54 21 Karen Dlouhy (La Forza) 25.59 22 Colleen Fallon (Boulder Women's Cycling Team) 34.15 23 Nancy Fox (La Forza) 36.34