The Tour de Nez is a race I look forward to every year because of the fun downtown semi-techincal course, good crowds, and the opportunity to race in front of my family and friends. This year was no different and the team was especially fired up because we had a full squad that included Nate Freed, Justin Rossi, Chuck Hutcheson, Nick Schaffner, Art Rand, Jonathan Teeter, Joe Innarelli, and Dustin Hahn.
Under clear skies and mild temps the race started with the typical furious pace. As I tried to settle into my hypoxic state I wasn’t surprised to see Chuck and Justin at the front attacking like crazed pit bulls and causing some serious pain throughout the peleton, including to me. A few laps into the race I was trying to work my way to the front heading into the small climb on the back side of the course when I clipped my inside pedal in the turn, nearly crapped myself, caught air, and managed to hang on without crashing myself and 20 other guys out of the race. Once I worked out the jitters I was able to get to the front and throw in a small attack with a racer from Full Circle. Our move off the front was short lived as the peleton chased us down after a couple of laps but shortly there after Justin attacked and created the break that would animate the whole race. The break included pros Alex Candalario and Patty Bevin which meant it had a great chance of staying away. Chuck, being the sneaky savage that he is was able to get across following the wheel of a Mike’s Bike’s rider.
With the team in perfect position to place Justin and Chuck on the podium I got to sit in and watch everyone else chase. I was thoroughly enjoying not working when the group rode past Chuck on the side of the road after he had crashed fairly hard. At this point we still had Justin up the road and were in great shape for a spot on the podium. Although Chuck was able to jump back in the race with a SRAM loaner bike he couldn’t get back into the break and was now with Nick and I in the first chase group. We sat in, covered attacks, and prepared to set Chuck up for a strong finish as we all thought the break would stay away to the finish.
To our surprise with 2 laps to go the break was brought back and we lapped the main field simultaneously which caused quite a bit of confusion. The pace then picked up considerably and I had nothing left in the tank to finish the race with. Luckily Chuck and Justin still had something left and finished 6th and 9th respectively while Nick and I cruised in for 14th and 15th. Not the result we were looking for but the beer was still cold at the finish and it was fun finally getting out for a race with the team.