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Lincoln Plating Spring Classics #1 - "Pioneer-Roubaix"
Pioneers Park, Lincoln, NE, March 29, 2003
Jay Day at Pioneer-Roubaix
LBC/Highgear Rider Jay Thomas takes first Spring Classic
By John M. Lefler, Jr.
The Lincoln Plating Spring Classics felt more like winter than spring Saturday morning as a handful of riders took part in the inaugural "Pioneers-Roubaix" circuit race at Pioneers Park in Lincoln. A strong northwest wind held temperatures in the mid-20's for most of the early morning races, but did not hamper the spirits for the group of local roadies, off-roaders and cyclo-crossers that took part.
"You're going to do this race again next year, right?" beamed Jon Randell, who finished first in the Cat. 5 Men's event.
The 1.5-mile course featured a mix of crushed asphalt, dirt, gravel and paved surfaces, which was an instant hit with those that froze.
"I'm ready to go again," joked LBC/Highgear rider Tony Wilhelm. "This was almost more fun than a cross race."
Cat. 1/2/3: The Power of the unknown factor
Well, the start was certainly like a cross race featuring a blistering attack from Wilhelm as the 17 rider field jostled for position in the opening moments. After the second lap, a strong 11-man group formed including Wilhelm's teammates, Chris French and Tyler Carmichael, all dubbed the "unknown factors" by LBC/Highgear team leader Jay Thomas.
"The course seemed to be similar to some of the cross courses we have raced, so I think it played into the strengths of the LBC/Highgear Team," Thomas explained. "We just wanted to go on the offensive as soon as we possibly could and send some of our ‘unknown factors' out during the race. It was my job to watch the front with Jarrett and McNeill."
The "unknown factor" tactic worked well for the LBC/Highgear squad, which saw Thomas and Teammate Stephen Jarrett grab first and second in the Cat. 1/2/3 contest.
With 3 laps to go, Chris French (LBC/Highgear) attacked on the paved portion of the course opening a sizeable gap. After the confusion subsided, Darin Schlake (NHS/UNMC/Team Kaos) moved to the front setting a searing pace to reel in the escape. The effort was just enough to put NHS/UNMC/Team Kaos teammates Kevin Wilkins and Kevin Burke on the podium, with Mark Savery (Footloose & Fancy/SNORT) rounding out the top five in impressive fashion.
"You know Mark rode a stellar race for being the only guy on his team here today. He's definitely a smart and strong rider," said Thomas.
The victory puts Thomas in a strong position to begin his ascent up the Nebraska Power Rankings where he is currently sixth overall.
Cat. 4/Masters 30+: Attack of the off-roaders
If all it takes is a little bit of dirt to get the local mountain-bikers to try a road event, load the trucks and let's start dumping! The morning's middle event had a start list that sounded more like the one's you will hear at Branched Oak Lake #7 next weekend.
With the exception of Cat. 4 winner Brent Buenger (Red Rocks Velo) of Colorado, the podium featured Chad Headlee (LBC/Highgear) and Sean Craig (Team Revolution), who log the majority of their training hours on the singletrack.
Even more impressive was the Masters 30+ top three, which featured "the man in black" Jim Winklepleck, Jeff Hansen (Cycle Works/Moose's Tooth) and Andy Drake. All of who excel in their respective categories off-road.
Cat 5/Masters 40+/Women: Only the strong will ride
Winning the award for toughest riders of the day, the morning's kick-off event had the harshest conditions. As a fierce wind blew, the (11) racers worked to stay together before the field splintered. The Cat. 5 event came down to a sprint finish with Jon Randell grabbing the win. Team Revolution rider, John Blumer rode well to secure first in the Masters 40+ and Marie Neville (NHS/UNMC/Team Kaos) rode a bumpy time trial to first place.
The official start of the Nebraska racing season is here! And while many riders missed what is sure to become an early season "classic," no one that was present took for granted the opportunity and privilege to enjoy a great day of bike racing.
As former U.S. Marine and Gulf War Veteran, Jay Thomas put it, "I think we all rode today for the troops that are fighting overseas. That is the real important thing going on right now."
Cat. 1/2/3 Men, 60 min 1 Jay Thoma (LBC/Highgear) 2 Stephen Jarret (LBC/Highgear) 3 Kevin Wilkin (NHS/UNMC/Team Kaos) 4 Kevin Burk (NHS/UNMC/Team Kaos) 5 Mark Saver (Footloose & Fancy/Snort) 6 Tony Wilhel (LBC/Highgear) 7 Chris Spenc (NHS/UNMC/Team Kaos) 8 Kent McNeil (LBC/Highgear) 9 Chris Frenc (LBC/Highgear) 10 Joe McWilliam (NHS/UNMC/Team Kaos) 11 Darin Schlak (NHS/UNMC/Team Kaos) 12 Matt Gersi (Cycle Works/Moose's Tooth) 13 David Averil (NHS/UNMC/Team Kaos) 14 John Lefler, Jr (NHS/UNMC/Team Kao ) 15 Craig Schmid (Nature Valley) Cat. 4 Men, 45 min 1 Brent Bruenge (Red Rocks Velo) 2 Chad Headle (LBC/Highgear) 3 Sean Crai (Revolution Cycling) 4 Corey Godfre (Cycle Works/Moose's Tooth) 5 Rick Thompso (LBC/Highgear) 6 David Sofli (Revolution Cycling) Cat. 5 Men, 30 min 1 Jon Randell 2 Brian Drahota 3 Steve Leuty 4 Dan Hansen 5 TJ Carmichael 6 Brian Luciani 7 Frederico Torres 8 Steve Hurless Masters 30+ / Cat. 3/4/5, 45 min 1 Jim Winklepleck 2 Jeff Hanse (Cycle Works/Moose's Tooth) 3 Andy Drake 4 Justin Heckman Masters 40+ / Cat. 3/4/5, 30 min 1 John Blume (Revolution Cycling) 2 Mike Madcharo Women (Open), 30 min 1 Marie Neville