Although the Morgantown Road Race is a relatively young race, its previous editions have garnered a loyal following, especially for those seeking the thrill of a challenging, scenic and HILLY road race. JR Petsko and his ABRA Racing crew have this event dialed in to perfection…flawless execution. Yes, it’s a good drive to get there from DC, but well worth the time and expense. 12:10 pm start…perfect!
Representing Bike Doctor p/b DigiSource in the P/1/2/3 were Nicholas Taylor, Pete Warner & Andrew Shelby. The fellas hit the road bright and early. Taylor was well equipped to get the team there on time with multiple navigation devices calling out split times, as well as his lead foot on the pedal!
After Warner finally woke up from napping during the first half of ride, the crew got down to SERIOUS business to hatch a race strategy. Their understanding is it went something like this:
Warner: “If you guys don’t mind, I’ll look to go in an early move. Hopefully you guys can chill until the climbs start and we’ll reconnect after the fireworks on the first climb.”
Taylor & Shelby: “Sure, that’s sounds good.”
…end of race strategy session.
Following a little 20 min warm-up and JR’s pre-race talk, the race commenced with a nice .5 mile neutral roll-out through the quaint little staging town. After hitting a few small rollers and noticing that the 55 rider field wasn’t at all antsy to expend any energy until the climbs started, Warner goosed it up a little roller at mile 1 and brought Stephen Cummings (GPOA), Andrew Seitz (Panther) plus another rider (Carbon Racing?) up to his teammate just off the front. Immediately, the five riders worked into a hard, smooth rotation. Warner mentioned afterward that it appeared right from the start that this was a strong move. Everyone was committed and the speed stayed high. No BS’ing around.
Back in the field, Taylor stepped up and did a great job riding tempo at the front grinning from ear to ear as the quintet rather quickly rolled out of sight. The move was given a long leash and according to Warner, somewhere before the first climb, the moto-ref said 3.5+ mins. It was too big for him to wait and see precisely. Yowza!
Photos courtesy of Fred Jordan (thank you!)
The break on climb 1:
Warner on climb 1:
Taylor on climb 1:
The break of five soldiered on. Steady up the climbs and working the flats in a smooth, deliberate rhythm. The first glimpse of the field came at the top of the third climb. It appeared a select group was moving quickly in chase mode. Time splits were coming down, but the break was inspired to keep things together and moving. At the top of the final climb, the gap to the chasing group appeared sustainable to the finish.
Warner recalls thinking to himself, “Ok, now I have to figure out how to win this thing!” As the miles ticked down during the fast descent to the finish, the moto ref gave the break an update, “One rider at 15 seconds and a chase group at 50 seconds”. Uh-oh.
Shortly after the break made the final right hand turn toward the finish, Warner glanced back and his heart skipped a beat at the sight of who was coming. Tim Rugg! Warner swears it looked like a human fireball headed right toward them. He was flying up. Warner instantly knew he had to go before Rugg connected. Warner took a few glances back, took a deep breath and launched from the back of the break with approximately a mile to go. After doing the 30 second prayer, “I hope this worked and I’m not going to look back and see EVERYONE on my wheel”, Warner was clear and alone for the longest, most grueling mile of his life. The move stuck and Warner got the opportunity to raise his arms in victory as he crossed the line with only seconds to spare!
Victory Salute (courtesy of Team Traveller Thank you!):
Thank you to JR Petsko, ABRA Racing and the many volunteers who made this day so wonderful! Team Bike Doctor appreciates all that you do to keep racing alive and well.
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 Doctor, DigiSource Discovery Solutions, Elite Endurance Training Systems, Cannondale and CycleOps Power.