Killer, Thriller, Chiller… Barry-Roubaix at it’s finest
April 18th, 2016 by Marie Dershem
Early on a beautiful Saturday morning, April 16, 2016, cars and bikes started rolling into the small but incredibly welcoming town of Hasting, Michigan. Before long, the streets were packed with bike-rack filled cars and cyclists riding around the town. It was race day… the now infamous Barry-Roubaix was about to start. At last year’s race, people were huddled together trying to keep warm in sub-freezing temps. This year, it was short sleeves, big smiles and bright blue skies that opened up to the beautiful gravel roads in what was, for many, the first race of the season. With three distances to choose from, Barry-Roubaix has something for everyone.
While riders basked in the warmth and sunshine, the roads had also been basking in the sun, leaving them incredibly rocky and dusty for this year’s Barry-Roubaix. With over 3000 riders on the roads, the clouds of dust, areas of deep dirt and sand, and huge potholes made this always challenging race even more challenging than many expected.
Team OAM NOW/Athletic mentors had a great showing with team members scattered among the many categories of riders. Here is a quick peak into the races of TEAM OAM NOW/Athletic Mentor’s top finishers.
The first race to roll out of town was the “Killer” 62 mile race. Men’s Elite team captain, Daniel Yankus, reported, “Gravel road races take a great deal of focus as drifting back or following the wrong wheel can make or break the day. In the first couple of miles, there were shoulders and tires rubbing more than usual.” Up until Sager road, the lead group, with both Daniel and Cory, stayed together with a few attacks here and there to see if the group would lose some focus. About 18 miles in, with Sager road in sight, the field sprinted for the left hand corner. On Sager road, as always, bike handling skills and positioning weeded out the lead group and Daniel Yankus found himself in a small group of leaders. But, with so far to the finish, the group wasn’t able to unite in purpose, allowing the group swell once again to more than 20.When the course headed south for the final time, the attacks came quickly, and Daniel engaged a counter attack, putting himself into a small lead group. This lead group of about 12 rolled into town. But, Dan, with tired and cramping legs, found the chaotic scramble through the 22 miles finishers too much to mount a sprint for victory. Even without a sprint, though, Daniel earned a podium 7th with Cory narrowly missing top 20, rolling in 21st.
The Men’s “Thriller” 36 mile race is divided into many age categories due to the incredible number of riders. This race is the second to go off with the younger men rolling out first and each age group rolling out in 2 minute increments until the last group of men, the oldest riders, and the fat bike division start their race. We had several Team OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors Masters Men racing the 36 mile race. One team member landed on the podium, taking his place among the fastest Masters men of the day. Rich Landgraff placed 2nd in his age group, earning a coveted podium spot.
The Women’s “Thriller” 36 mile race started after all of the men, which created quite a different race for the fastest of the women. The entire race was spent using bike handling skills to weave through thousands of men, while also managing the dirt, gravel, sand, mud, and potholes. The women started fast and kept on the gas from the start to the end. By 10 miles in, the lead group of women was down to about five riders. After navigating Sager road, there were three. Team OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors, Marie Dershem, was one of the three. To maintain the lead, these three women worked incredibly well together, continuing to build their lead and securing the top three spots on the podium. However, once they turned toward town, cooperation quickly came to an end and they became competitors once again. Pushing toward town, Marie heard echoes of advice given by well-seasoned and highly successful teammate, Amy Kimber. “Act. Don’t react.” With this mantra running through her head, Marie found her opening as she rounded the second to last corner and made her move. She created a gap, hammered the sprint, and won the women’s 36 mile race.
With many other fine finishes among TEAM OAM/Athletic Mentors, it was a fantastic day with great representation in this epic race. To view more pictures, please visit our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TeamOAMNOW/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
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