Gaslight Criterium and Cherry Roubaix Fondo – the summer’s hottest races
August 20th, 2015 by Marie Dershem
This year’s Gaslight Criterium racers tackled fast paced races in the heat of the summer. Even with temps in the 90’s, every category of racer was met with high speeds, fast corners, and that killer slight uphill to the finish. It was a perfect day of racing and Team OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors hit the streets in full force.
The first race of the morning was the Juniors 9-14 race. TEAM OAM NOW Junior racer, Christian Dershem, was eager right from the start. Hitting it hard from start to finish, he sprinted to a 3rd place finish as one of the youngest riders in his race. His podium smile… priceless.
In the Junior 16-18 year old race, Nate Fraizer placed 2nd and Carson Lowell finished 10th in the Cat. 4 race. What great representation from our junior riders!
The Pro CAT 1/2 men raced right in the middle of the day when the sun was high and the humidity even higher. With 90 minutes on this 1 mile circuit, the biggest challenge in the race was the heat and humidity. Remaining well hydrated during the 90 minute event was key. The race started out quite fast with numerous attacks and groups trying to get away. Based on the conditions, the team’s strategy was to stay patient and wait a bit, hoping that the conditions would deter early breakaways.
Unfortunately, that plan didn’t pay off. The winning break did get away quite early with no representation from Team OAMNOW and no sustained organized chase from the peloton. Midway through the race, several other groups also managed to detach themselves as the field split apart. TEAM OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors finally were able to get Dan Yankus away in one of the later breaks, while the remaining three teammates were planning on setting up Cory for the group sprint in the field.
While the race did not go quite as we had hoped, everyone on the team was riding very strong. Unfortunately, sometimes that just doesn’t show up on the results. Some races, the team just has to look back on the race, talk and learn from each other, and look forward to the next race. Although everyone was a bit disappointed in the end, this group of guys all coming out with good spirits, which speaks to the quality of men we have racing for TEAM OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors. As teammate Peter Ehmann said, “It’s great being with such a great group. That positive attitude fuels a hunger for the next race.”
The Pro CAT 1/2/3 women had a 50 minute race, also facing a hot and fast race.
With a field of 20+ women, the team knew it was going to be a good race. Jenny, our newly minted CAT 3 racer, is an incredibly strong rider and even better sprinter. Knowing she was the team’s best chance at a podium spot, the plan was for a good lead-out for her. Marie spent much of the race covering attacks, with Jenny’s assistance as well. Even with many good attacks and a strong field, no breakaway stuck and after 50 minutes on the course, it came down to a sprint. Laura led the field out on the last lap. Unfortunately, she was swarmed by eager riders on the long back-stretch. Laura and Marie both got caught in the field, but
Jenny managed to work her way toward the front of the pack as the peloton rounded the last corner. Without a lead out, Jenny still managed a very strong sprint, crossing the line with two other women. With only a hair separating them, she landed a 4th place finish. Like the men, the women were able to walk away knowing that they rode strong, learned more about racing together, and can look forward to future races.
In the Men’s 45+ Masters race, TEAM OAM NOW had Rich Landgraff, Jon Morgan, Chris Abstain, Mike Wyzaleck and Mark Olson all working together for this 30 minute race. Given the short amount of time, the team took an aggressive stance, attacking hard and often. Finally, Chris was able to make it into the winning break, placing 4th overall, Mark followed with a 7th place finish. Great race all!
Some of these same men decided to race in the Men’s Masters 35+ race as well. Rich Landgraff and Terry Ritter took on this challenge and found themselves once again in a fast field with many attacks. With both Rich covering attacks, Terry was able to bridge up to a potential winning break. But, with only a few laps to go, the break was brought back into the peloton and the race came down to a sprint. Exhausted from the fast pace and attacks, Rich landed 8th and Terry 19th overall.
The masters 55+ squad was represented by Glenn Dik and Loren Simons, a race that was combined with the 45+ masters field. Glenn rode strong, attempting to control the peloton as Chris Abston and Jon Morgan took turns going off the front. At the end, Glenn was right on the wheels of Fred Anderson and Mark Warner but, lacking sprint legs, he was not able to come around them. Both he and Loren finished in the midst of the combined field at 5th and 9th respectively.
Far from the Gaslight Criterium, Mike Krywanski represented OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors at the inaugural Cherry Roubaix Gran Fondo held in Traverse City and featuring all the most challenging climbs in Leelanau County. In what proved to be an absolutely epic adventure, Mike finished 6th overall in the 80 mile event despite the 92 degree temperature and an untimely crash on the gravel section of Miller Hill Road which separated him from the lead pack Along the way, the course traversed the legendary climbs of Inspiration Point, Hlavka Road, Shomberg, Dufek and Herman Roads in addition to the aforementioned Miller Hill Road, a brutal 15% climb on loose sand and gravel.
The race (and it was definitely a race) started on Front Street in downtown Traverse City with a neutral rollout to the top of Grandview Road at the 5 mile point. From there it was full gas with Einstein Racing Club at the front followed by the entire Haggerty squad and OAM NOW’S Mike Krywanski happily sitting in. The climb of Inspiration Point split the field roughly in half with a few riders catching back on the descent. The real damage was done on Miller Hill where those riders who knew the climb were able to pick the solid line up the gravel ascent. After that the field spread out with those riders who had punctured or crashed losing contact. It was a fantastic race and a fantastic finish party afterward. After the ride, awards were given and food and drinks were shared along with stories from this epic ride.
Another fantastic weekend of racing as the summer nears it’s end.
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