After a tough few days of training in the hills around Nashville, the team moved north to Oxford, Ohio for the second week of MWCCC racing. Miami-Ohio’s course at Hueston Woods was a tough 8.6 mile loop featuring 3 signature climbs, the final two within a mile to the finish. The morning started with the team time trials and then moved into an afternoon of road racing. Highlights include a top-5 finish for the Men’s A TTT and a top-10 finish for newly upgraded B rider, John Caffarelli.
The 52 mile affair featuring David McKenna and freshly upgraded John Caffarelli started slow with Marian riders content to spin out the legs. At the foot of the first of 18 climbs, attacks flew off the front as various teams worked to establish the breakaway. The chaos continued for the next two laps until the 18-mile mark when a 5-man break escaped on the flats. The chase was on for those whose teams were not represented, but soon the pace dropped as the gap became insurmountable. Both McKenna and Caffarelli were content to stay in the field after a tough training camp in Nashville. A group of two pushed up the road mid-race making for 6 men up the road (one of the original 5 dropped back to the field). The sprint for 7th place started on the penultimate climb of the race with a soft attack that worked to wither the field. On the final climb, Case Western took to the front and didn’t look back. Caffarelli followed the move, making the selection for the final sprint. Caffarelli finished 10th, a great showing in his first B race. McKenna finished in 19th.
Sarah felt the training load of the week in her legs and was dropped by the field on one of the early climbs of the day. Sarah was eventually pulled from the race after 34 miles, but could not have been happier about it. Sarah was scored as 10th place, earning points for the team
The quartet of Tony Pratt, James Pratt, David McKenna, and John Caffarelli hit the road with a passion right from the start ramp and started to build rhythm and a sense of flow behind the diesel engine of Tony Pratt. Trouble came within the first two miles as McKenna found himself struggling to hold on after the first climb. The trio of Pratt, Pratt and Caffarelli continued to push on, but moments later James Pratt suffered a front flat. Wheels were swapped, but the race was effectively over, the boys deciding to cruise into the finish, saving energy for later in the afternoon. Thanks to a poorly marked corner and other misfortunes, the team still managed a 5th place finish. Look for great things from this quartet later in the season.
The 68 mile road race with 3,000 feet of climbing was not suited for James and Tony Pratt, both on the very tall side for cycling (over 6’), however they managed well. ND was represented in the early split of the day, but the field came back together during the second lap. For the remainder of the lap attacks were constant, but futile as no group found enough space up the road. However, on the third lap, the pack lost focus and a select group of 9 riders escaped, the day’s breakaway was established. They gained time on the main field quickly, ending the race with almost a 10 minute lead. James and Tony missed the break, and preserved energy for the final sprint. Positioned well, James finished 2nd and Tony 3rd in the field sprint for the line (12th and 13th overall). A breakthrough day for James, as it was his first RR finish in the Men’s A field. Overall a great day for the A boys on this challenging and hilly course.