–By Richard Landgraff, Team OAM NOW Masters Cyclist
The weather looked ominous the morning of the 1st annual Corktown Criterium. Set in the shadow of the old Central Train station in Detroit, the course was just shy of a kilometer and had 7 turns, some of them tighter than 90 degrees. As the field was beginning to warm up, the rain began to fall and continued at an accelerated pace as about 40 of the combined 45/55 Masters rolled to the line for the start of the race.
I knew that a good start and staying at the front of the pack was going to be necessary in order to finish well in the timed 45 minute event. At about 1 minute per lap, the first 20 laps were all about staying upright in the pouring rain and holding the wheels at the front of the field. A few attacks took place as well as a few primes in which I bided my time waiting for a good moment to make a move on the field. With about 20 laps remaining, I decided to make an acceleration out of the first corner. I know that if I could get a gap, that I could take the corners faster than the rest of the pack…and I was right. Chris Donnelley from Team O2 jumped on my wheel and we worked well together each taking a turn at the front each lap. As the laps continued to tick down our lead grew from about 8 seconds to over 30 and I knew that we would be able to stay away.
With two laps to go, I was making a plan of how to beat Chris for the victory as he is a pretty fast sprinter. Coming through with one lap to go I was on his wheel, but as he slowed down out of corner #2 I attacked him knowing that hopefully I could get another gap through the last 5 turns. As he tried to get on my wheel through one of the tight corners, I heard him go down on the wet pavement…so much for having to sprint…I soft pedaled a bit to make sure that I stayed upright and soloed in for the win! Fortunately for Chris he was not injured and because we had such a big lead, he was able to come across for 2nd. Also in the field was Pete O’Brien for Team OAM NOW who was able to secure 2nd place in the 55+ field behind the old pro .