And Justice for All at Leesville
Leesville Gap Road Race
Williams – 30 June 2012
The Velo Promo web site provides a warning about the 103Km course – “Tighten all your bolts.” Many a racer had efforts dashed by flats even before the first climb. The latter itself was another challenge at an elevation of over 500m above the start line. It was upon this backdrop that Women 1-2-3 rivals in the 2012 NCNCA Bikereg.com Premier Series, Steven’s Bikes presented by Pactimo and Metromint Cycling, contested their race. In the mix were Touchstone Climbing as Heather Nielson joined Steven’s Bikes pair Heather Van Sickle and Nicole Justice in the lead group up the first climb. Molly Van Houweling (Metromint Cycling), Elle Anderson (Touchstone Climbing), and Lisa Mueller (Metromint Cycling) came on after the first hill to form a six-racer lead group approaching the second climb. After attrition up and over the final hill, the race came down to a sprint between Van Houweling and Justice that the Steven’s racer won “because my team mate Heather Van Sickle attacked two times in the last 10K [and it] allowed me to sit back a little bit,” said Justice. Van Sickle secured third place, 17 seconds off the the winning pace. The Touchstone Climbers Nielson and Anderson were fourth and fifth, respectively as Lisa Mueller took sixth.
In the race for Men Pro-1-2, it was Chuck Hutcheson (Marc Pro-Starva) going out early to pick his line through the treacherous road. Hutcheson rode his pace and went solo over the first climb but was eventually caught. Included in the chase group was Adam Switters (XO Communications p/b CISCO); Hutcheson had to settle for second place behind Switters just a few weeks ago and so Hutcheson had his motivation to avenge that result. With help from team mate Kris Lunning and Ariel Herrmann (Metromnit Cycling), Hutcheson was able retain energy for the final kilometers and eventually take the win over Switters by 6 seconds. Herrmann finished third whilst Kevin Metcalfe (Team Specialized Racing Masters) took fourth place ahead of Dana Williams (Team Mike’s Bikes) in fifth.
Dirk Himley (Echelon/Charity of Choice) was the winner for Master 45+ 1-2-3 to add to his recent first and second place finishes in as many Premier Series events. The race was “easy and hard,” said Himley, “The hard [parts were] the pot holes and keeping up with Kevin [Klein] on the downhills.” Himley gave credit to Kevin Klein (HDR Racing p/b Lombardi Sports) for setting the pace up the first climb that left Klein, Himley, and David Passmore (Berkeley Bicycle Club) well out front. “He’s an amazing climber,” continued Himley, “All we did was follow him up the hill, turn around [to] look, and there was no-one behind us.” Klein’s effort earned him second place in the race and extended his lead in the Premier Series. However, it was Himley’s finish deserving of an extra accolade. Himley reported, “In the final here I got a flat. I announced I had a flat hoping that [Klein and Passmore] would tow me in.” But no help was in the offing. “I thought ‘The only way I’m going to do this is to be off the front. I can’t sprint on a flat tyre.’” recalled Himley, “I took off as hard as I could [and] I just hammered it in.” With neither Passmore nor Klein giving chase, Himley took the remarkable win with the flat. Passmore finished in third. Fourth place went to Mike Castaldo (Chico Masters Cycling Team). Rick Martyn finished in the fifth spot.
The race for Master 35+ 1-2-3 was won by Jason Boynton (Folsom Bikes/Mercedes Benz) as several racers contested this competition to the final sprint. Nick Theobald (SAFEWAY/GA PRC Group/Bicycles Plus) finished in second to consolidate his third position in the series standings. Brenon Daly (IronDataThirstyBearCycling.com) took the third step of the podium as Daniel Bryant (Folsom Bikes/Mercedes Benz) finished in fourth. Current series leader Chris Phipps (IronDataThirstyBearCycling.com) finished in fifth though he and fellow series contender Andres Gil (Michael David Winery Cycling Team) lead going up the big climb. Gil unfortunately flatted and failed to finish. Phipps said he “was happy to see Jason Boynton win because last year we had a five-man break, [with] me and three of my team mates. The four of us worked him over and went one through four and he [Boynton] got fifth. So I was happy to see him win today.”