The Barry Wolfe Grand Prix has always been epic, but I still welcomed this year’s new race course, which turned out to be exciting and challenging. Barry Wolfe was a greatly respected cyclist, so I’m always honored to be a part of the race. Those who did not personally know him should know that he was a great person.
As a competitor, rolling up to the course, it’s invigorating. Your heart starts beating a bit faster as the excitement increases. Robb Mesecher had his new black Sprinter van on a section of the course with the Breakaway from Cancer (BFC) team tents set up with trainers for us to warm up on. Preparation is key when getting ready for a fast, race course with a slight head wind and a false flat leading to the finish.
The 45+ race was delayed approximately 15 minutes due to a crash in the prior race. A delay like that always gets your nerves up. When they finally got the race off, it was evident that all of the teams were well represented and it was a strong field. Multiple attacks led to a few small breaks here and there. The pressure was on the whole time with not much time to rest with such a strong field. Great competitors means fast racing!
My teammate Roy Knickman and many others were constantly attacking and counter attacking, however nothing was sticking. Forgetting to bring my Garmin made it challenging since it helps me keep track of the race time and monitor my pace. This was the first time I had to race without it but it did seem to make the race go by faster. Before I knew it there were five laps to go. Once I knew the race was almost over, it helped me determine what I needed to do to get set up for the final lap. At that time the speed was high and the riders were all getting antsy.
With four laps to go it was still together with a bunch of small attacks and counter attacks, but from past experience, I knew it would come down to a sprint. On the bell lap, the BFC boys were all lined up with other riders jockeying for their final positions. Down the back straight Bert Glennon came up closer near the front so I jump on his wheel. Then the big man, Steve Gregorios, took us through corners three to corner four, putting me in good position going into long false flat. A headwind finish can sometimes be a death wish. Steve took it into the last corner and then immediately pulled off. I had a split second decision to make since there was no time to hesitate. I Jumped out of the saddle and sprinted like it was the last jump and sprint that I would ever do ever again. I looked over my right shoulder to take a temperature of where everyone else was with the finish line fast approaching. I am so grateful that I was able to keep the speed and the momentum rolling to cross the line for the win. Thank you to all the competitors, fans and my BFC teammates for a perfectly executed Barry Wolfe Grand Prix!