Article by Travis Dixon (High Desert Masters Cycling), Photography by Angelica Dixon
On June 22, 6 laps and 68 miles of the Sedillo Hill Circuit would decide the 2013 New Mexico State Road Race Champion. This course has been used as the site for the New Mexico State Road Race, for many years now. It’s a challenging course but unlike most NM courses, there’s not a lot of climbing. It’s primarily rolling terrain with one short punchy climb, a main road climb and, oh yeah, wind. It’s the wind that can really take its toll and makes this more sedate appearing circuit, very tough. Field sizes slimmed down slightly this year but the quality of riders was there. The common theme across the categories was that there’s no place to hide. The wind and terrain would make each race a painful day for the riders.
The mens Pro 1/2 field was strongly represented by Sports Systems and Scalo Veloce, as well as some strong out of state riders. Attacks began on the first lap with a break establishing itself. The following laps further decreased the peloton and the break was caught with around two laps to go. Chris Abbott of Scalo Veloce, describes the final lap, “With one lap to go, I had some tunnel vision as I did my best to hang with the dwindling peloton as our race turned into a battle of attrition. The last time up the finishing climb, the final digs did not happen until the very top of the climb and reduced our group to five riders that would go on to contest the finish. Kip Taylor (Sports Systems) put in a very strong jump with one kilometer to go and managed to hold off an impressive Sean McCarthy (Champion Systems p/b Stan’s No Tubes). Fortunately for me, second through fourth place were from out of state, and I managed second place among the NM racers.”
Kip Taylor of Sports Systems echoed Chris’s account of the race, “it was a race of attrition. The wind made it pretty hard. I was able to get away at the end and get the win.” It was another win for the impressive Sports Systems rider. He’s had quite a year and his talent should not only be displayed in NM, but on a national level.
The women’s 1,2,3 race was 4 laps and 46 miles of the Sedillo Circuit. Sarah Lough of NM Spokettes Racing Team described the race, “the terrain, wind direction, and strength and size of the field didn’t lend itself to a very aggressive race. Although Irena Ossola (Team Kenda p/b RACC) and I traded attacks and surges a few times, we never got a break to stick. It came down to the final few kilometers. Irena really pushed the pace but I was able to stick with her and it ended up a sprint finish.” Sarah was able to out kick Irena for the win.
NM Spokettes took first and third place with Irena Ossola of Kenda taking second. Irena shared her thoughts about the race, “The course was well designed and had lots of volunteers along the road to direct traffic and pass water bottles. After racing many NRC races these past couple months, it’s nice to be on home roads and riding with some fellow New Mexican women to have a good race. The field was small but with growing interest in woman’s cycling, I look forward to larger races in the future.”
The men’s master 35/45 + race was 5 laps and 57 miles of the Sedillo Circuit. It was another strong field, filled with guys who had been racing bikes for years and who have been racing together just as long. In New Mexico, only in the state championships are there 35/45+ categories. Otherwise masters racing starts at 50. It would be a tough race and it became clear even before the race started that my team, High Desert Masters, had the big bullseye on our back.
The race started at a good pace with many attacks which were all neutralized. The peloton seemed to be watching High Desert to control the race. I told my teammate, Gavin Kennard, that our initial strategy, wasn’t going to work and we can’t race this way. To which Gavin said, “we have to force the attack and break it up.” I rode to the front and told my teammate, Al Senf, to get off the front and make other teams work. Immediately the pace dropped and Alan Clark of The Bicycle Company, made a strong attack. I quickly followed. I looked behind to see Gavin coming with two others, Bill Dahl of Sports Systems and Dave Shoenhoffer, racing unattached. Both riders were strong and I felt that this break had a chance. As we worked together and kept the pace high, Alan was dropped and then Bill had a mechanical which left three of us. The gap hung around 30-45 seconds for quite a while until it went to 1 minute and then 2 minutes. With Al controlling things in the peloton, I felt we had a chance of making it to the finish. Gavin drove the pace hard and kept telling me to save my legs as we all rotated through. Dave crashed out on a fast right hand turn, which left Gavin and myself with over two laps to go.
Gavin and I traded pulls, but with just over a lap to go, Gavin told me that he was starting to cramp. He had driven the break hard with long pulls, telling me to save my legs. Well, now it was my turn to drive it home. We crossed the line 1-2. Al was able to break away and take 3rd place. As we congratulated him he shook his head, “Those guys are tough, I had to destroy myself to get away.” 1,2,3 for the team, a very very cool day.
Olev Rapido Racing Team put on a great race. As race organizer and long time member of the NM racing scene, Richard ‘Woody’ Woodruff handed out medals, he gave his sincerest thanks to all that came out for the race. Volunteers, race supporters, racers, and officials were all mingling after the event and it was refreshing to see the mutual appreciation for a great day of racing within this tight knit cycling community.