Appalachia Visited for Epic Battle of GamJams Cat 3 Cup

23 08 2011

Appalachia Visited was the final race in the GamJams Cat 3 cup series. The surrounding area of Rowlesburg, WV provided the battleground for the series finale to be played out. Dan Netzer from Celerity Cycling and Brian Sjoberg from Bike Doctor were separated by a single point going into this race, with Brian in the lead. In store for them was a 58 mile road race with 4000+ feet of climbing. There were two significant climbs near the middle and end of the race that would decide the race and Cat 3 cup victory.

Course profile for race

This race was promoted and executed by the Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association. JR Petsko, runs the association and certainly knows how to put on races for those that enjoy going up. It was a picture perfect day and the riders amassed at a park that saddled right up against the ever inviting Cheat River. The riders were already eye-balling the river for post race bathing.

Both the category 1/2/3 and 3/4 mens fields were a little light on attendance so they were combined to make up a field of roughly 45 riders. Brian’s plan going into this race was to keep an eye on Dan and make sure he didn’t lose contact with him at any point in the race and then out sprint him on the flat finish. As the riders tackled the first of two major climbs a small group peeled away and left Brian in a position to keep control of his effort and let some of the 3/4 riders go up the road. Dan had lost contact mid way up the climb and Brian just needed to make sure he didn’t blow up.

As Brian crested the climb he found himself in a group of four that immediately upped the pace and caught back onto the lead group after 3-4 miles of chasing. The tempo in the lead group slowed when they caught on so Brian just looked to conserve as much energy as possible knowing that Dan would probably catch back on. Well after another 6-7 miles, Dan was able to reconnect however he had noticeably expended a few more matches because he had to do the effort solo.

Pack tackling an early climb. Photo Credit: Fred Jordan

The lead group continued to swell and as they hit the bottom of the final climb Brian moved up to front with Dan glued tightly to his wheel. The pace was lifted by Patrick McKeegan of HPC List and then Ian Spivack of DCMTB. Brian was able to match their first couple of accelerations but Ian’s last acceleration was too much and he went up the road with one other 1/2/3 rider. Brian eased onto another wheel and settled in for some good quality time with the pain doctor.

Midway up the climb Brian still noticed Dan stuck to his wheel and began to worry because he was starting to break and didn’t know exactly how much more climbing was left. Luckily Brian was able to embrace another pain level and not long after he saw the desirable sight of Dan’s shadow slipping off his wheel. Brian and the other rider would eventually bridge back up to Ian and crested the climb with a good size gap over Dan.

Brian being the heaviest guy in the group by 20 pounds took the downhill leadership roll and bombed the descent. Once the riders came off the descent they had another 3 miles of flat to rolling roads to the finish. Ian and Brian represented the lead group of 3/4’s. Because Brian needed Ian to work with him they discussed a plan to make sure they kept the pace high without having to worry about the cat and mouse game to the finish line and Brian would lead out Ian.

Cat 3/4 Podium (Sjoberg 2nd). Photo Credit: Fred Jordan

The plan was executed to perfection and their group ended up catching all but a breakaway of two 1/2/3 riders. Ian walked away with the victory. Congratulations Ian! Brian placed 2nd and secured the GamJams Cat 3 cup individual victory and also 2nd place in the team competition for Bike Doctor. Dan rolled in about 30 seconds later to capture 3rd on the day. He put up a very hard fight and will be 2nd in the cup and Celerity Cycling will be walking away with the team competition. Congratulations Dan and his team!

Post race the guys that had been battling it out during the race, grabbed some frosty beverages and beelined it to the Cheat river for a very refreshing dip. They reflected on the day’s racing action as well as the season long battle for the GamJams cup and were looking forward to the next season racing as category 2 riders.

Additionally 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.

This awaited the riders after the race!

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2 responses

23 08 2011
JR Petsko

cool write up!

23 08 2011
yahcycling

its been fun watching Brian and Dan duke it out! See you guys next season!

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