Grant’s Race Report, 35+
The Team sent five guys to Hanes Park… Grant McAllister, Joe Hathcock, Gordon Stiel, Mark Jellous and Matt Botting. Joe went immediately to the front and stretched out the field single file. Grant was about 15 back and started moving up closer to the front. By about turn 3 of second lap, about 3 guys were a few bike lengths ahead of pack. MOB were chasing and Grant was directly behind the chase about 3 guys back. They were close to catching the break as they crossed finish/start line. Grant sensed the field slowing just a bit because they were catching the group and he jumped just before turn 1 and then hit it hard going up hill. He looked back and saw one chaser following. Wasn’t really thinking they’d let it go so soon, but by turn 3 they had maybe 5 seconds on group. Thomas Smith then came through to pull and he put the hurt on. Grant looked back and saw a veloshine guy, Creed, and Harper at the back. So there were now 5. However no one came through to pull. Thomas and Grant were doing all the work. As they pulled up the hill, Creed was about a bike length back. He fought to get back on. On next lap Grant went to the front just before the hill and hit it hard. Looked back and Creed was 2-3 bike lengths back. Hit it harder and the elastic broke. Harper never tried to go around Creed to catch on. Another pull that was lightning fast and we were gone. Built up a minute lead in about one lap. On second to last lap, Thomas jumped Grant on the hill after a hard pull. Grant thought he would be able to catch him on flat, sprinted to catch him, but he was gone. By last lap he had multiple seconds on me. Grant crossed the line 2nd.
Gordon’s Race Report
35+: We fielded a 5 man team (Grant, Matt, Joe, Mark J and Gordon S) in a 38 man field. Great circuit race over an undulating 2 mile course. Pressure came early and Grant made a hard move that became a 2-man with Thomas Smith. A hard chase ensued by Rick Creed and Darren Fuller who make the junction. Former pro Rich Harper tried to cross solo but Grant put in extra pressure to prevent that from happening. That extra pressure actually dislodged Fuller and Creed as well; nicely done Grant. He and Thomas were never to be seen again as their lead grew to 45, then 60+ seconds. The 4 of us patrolled the field, covered moves and thwarted any dangerous moves from materializing. The strong field finally accepted that they were racing for 3rd-beautiful;!! Matt tried an earlier solo but was brought back. As the laps neared 1 to go it became a positioning war for set up for the semi-technical turns leading to the finish. Matt and I stayed near the front and I tried to jump with the explosive Harper while keying off of Knetsche and Fuller as well. Not too much shifting after the jump on the final soft left hander to the finish line. I hit the line 4th (6th overall) with Matt 3 spots back (9th). Thomas had apparently jumped Grant inside 2 to go on the main hill to take the win. Matt heard from the home town team (Mock Orange Bicycles) that Carolina Cycling Team put on a race clinic. Now that’s a huge compliment from a strong adversary! Average pace was 26.4mpg.
45+: Raced conservatively because of the heat and physical strain of a double on this old, and still recovering, body. Field was stacked and had some super hitters that skipped the 35+ (Patterson, Charlie B. and 3x National Champion Randy Parker). Charlie launched early and build a modest lead that never grew over 25-30 seconds. Patterson and others did some steady chasing but the Judge hung tough for about 25 minutes of the 45 min. race. He was finally caught and I felt confident I was not going to cramp so I launched a hard effort after surfing wheels for most of the race. Move only lasted a partial lap as I was being marked. All moves had been brought back and we entered bell lap as 1 field. I launched a bomb out of the 1stturn on the main hill. Creed, Brown and Parker fired their jets and reeled me in. I was able to slip into 3rd spot for turns 2-4. Then got swarmed and pushed back into 9-10th spot. Fought back through the sweeping turn section and again went for the far left side of the course. Jumped hard after Knetsche and finished 5th behind Brown, Parker, Knetsche and Fuller. Good day and the official start of my return!