It’s About Time – Tour de Toona Trip Report

3 08 2011

Sunny Gill and Brian Sjoberg went to Altoona, PA to represent Bike Doctor in the Tour de Toona amateur stage race. Sunny raced the category 2 ranks and Brian raced the category 3’s. This race has been around for a long time (although it was off the calendar the last couple of years) and tends to bring out some heavy hitters because of the prize list and challenging courses.

Blair Road Race – On the menu today was a 68 mile mountainous road race through the areas around Altoona with the toughest climb being the one up to the Blue Knob ski resort. This climb is roughly 4 miles long, has sections of 18% grades and near the top has sections of gravel that if one stands up their rear wheel will slip.

Both Sunny and Brian experienced some unique events in their race where some of the fields had ridden off course and had to be redirected. This resulted in neutralization of some fields while the officials sorted things out. Eventually everything was sorted out and the racing action continued.

25 miles into the race the riders hit Blue Knob climb and as expected the fields exploded. Brian managed to keep contact with the main group however 3 more riders slipped up the road on the climb. 2 riders had gone from the gun. Sunny made it over the grueling climb and found himself in the 3rd group. The guys were able to maintain contact with each of the groups they were in. Brian was able to win the field sprint for 5th place and secured solid points for the overall. Sunny rolled in for 33rd out of 80 riders.

Criterium finish, Sjoberg closing in on rider that was off the front. (Photo Credit: Team Traveler)

Downtown Crit – The criterium downtown is a very fun and technical course. There are a few manhole covers to avoid but once the right lines are found the course keeps the riders adrenaline pegged. The category 3 race saw things stay together as the GC contenders and their teammates made sure nothing got away that could jeopardize their standings. With 4 laps to go a rider took off the front and everyone just looked around at each other. With 2 to go the pack started to reel the rider back but even on the last lap it looked like the rider was going to stay away.

Sjoberg giving it everything to catch rider but came up short. (Photo Credit: Team Traveler)

Leading up to the final couple of corners Brian fought for position and was able to come out of the final corner in 3rd position and ignited his sprint immediately. No one came around him and he was a mere half bike length behind the rider that was off the front when they crossed the line. Brian ended up finishing 2nd in the criterium and locked up 2nd place overall in the stage race!

The category 2 race was fast and had a few crashes that Sunny had to negotiate and expend valuable matches reconnecting with the pack. He ended up 31st on the day.

The team would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support, without whom we wouldn’t be able to promote and enjoy the sport that we love. Please check out their great products/services: Bike DoctorCannondale, Bell Helmets, Tifosi Optics.




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