The high-speed final race of the NMFBS season brings out two new faces atop the podium…chair.
The temperatures were into the 20’s, but the course was almost immaculate. The race, with over 70 riders on hand, took off in style, just in front of hundreds of lubricated microbrewery enthusiasts. The road of the crowd went up at the gun (which was a pretty throaty shout from the tiny but forceful throat of Ryan Bolin).
Jason Lowetz took control early, staying out of trouble off the front and forcing some serious reactions from Hagerty’s Craig Webb and Brian Hofstra. It was Einstein’s Sean Kickbush who decided to bridge up, then another teammate, Ryan Kennedy, snuck away as the chase settled on the wheel of Craig Webb. Stuck between a rock and hard place, Webb chased hard to catch initially, but when it looked forlorn, he let the pace. Unfortunately for him, his wheel was crowded with Einsteiners playing perfect team tactics. First, Nate St. Onge tore off, followed a lap later by Ryan Kushman. Webb briefly held Chris Kushman in check a lap later, but ultimately settled in with the final Einsteiner in the group, Cody Sovis, to ride the latter half of the race.
Kim Thomas seized a big lead early, but with some slick off-camber sections and lots of traffic to navigate, she rode a smart race to hold on for the rest of the afternoon. Behind, Beth Collins was tapping out a solid tempo as she lead the Master’s race, putting in consistent lap times and some impressive displays on the course’s short but steep (20% gradient at the bottom) climb out of the start/finish. Craig’s better half, Laura, was also in hot pursuit, plowing a lonely furrow to take second place on the day. Einstein’s Stacy Smith slipped home third, slotting Einstein another podium on the day.
The arrow of doom pierced Jason Lowetz at about an hour and twenty, and Sean Kickbush took over the lead and made a point of laying some icing on rather thickly atop the cake. Chris Kushman was on rails, making up almost three minutes to slot in second place, with Ryan Kennedy, Nate St. Onge and Ryan Kushman filling out the top five. Lowetz held on for sixth, while Webb broke through for seventh. Hofstra and Kevin Wright went past a shot Cody Sovis to take eighth and ninth, respectively.
Dawn Cluchey was second behind Beth Collins in the Women’s Master’s, with Kelly Fisher a firm third place on the day. The Men’s Master’s was 26 hombres strong, with Scott Bury coming out on top, with Dennis Jensen and William Shaver rounding out perhaps the most hotly contested podium of the day.
It was an all-Short’s day in the Duo category, with Mark Mueller pairing with the mustache himself, Joe Short, for the win, with Brian Beckwith and Matt Drake in second. The Crandel/Mussell pain train was third on the day.