Modesto Road Race
Salida – 20 May 2012
Phil Mooney (Jamis-Sutter Home) came out of a six-racer break on the final lap, outlasted his competitors, and took the win in Category 1-2-3 Men at the Modesto Road Race.
The course is a figure-eight having one loop in the shape of an ell and all corners at right-angles. It is flat and it is fast. Category 1-2-3 raced eight laps of the 9-mile loop. The field of 73 racers was a good cross-section of NorCal; top squads such as California Giant/Specialized, Team Mike’s Bikes, Fremont Bank Cycling Team, and Marc Pro-Starva put racers into the fray alongside Junior teams such as Ritte Elite U23 Development Team and Tieni Duro Junior Cycling Team. For some competitors, this event was even the third race in an informal Central Valley Tour, following crits in Modesto and Fresno the previous day.
During the early laps, the field stayed compact then started to stretch out on the third lap. Just before half distance into the race, Rainier Schaefer (Team Mike’s Bikes) and Louis Meintjes (Simple Green) were off the front on a two-racer breakaway; they managed to pull ahead by 84 seconds, at one point, and for a couple of laps the rest of the field outwardly appeared unconcerned. Until two solo chasers, Eric Riggs (Team Mike’s Bikes) and Michael Mulvihill (Fusion Sport USA), struck out after Schaeffer and Meintjes. Mooney and Chuck Hutcheson (Marc Pro-Starva) also decided enough was enough and together they set off after the racers out in front.
“With two laps to go, they gave us a time split of a minute and fifteen and I thought this could work,” said Schaefer, “but then, maybe two turns later, I saw a group of four chasing and thought this could work out better for me because I was fatigued at that point. Hanging on for two more laps would have been hard.” Schaefer admitted this was his personal longest breakaway and he was proud of his accomplishment this day.
All the chasers bridged up to Schaeffer and Meintjes. Taking the bell, the break now had six, about a 1-minute lead, and were working together. Coming back around for the finish, Mooney crossed the line with 24 seconds on the rest of the six-racer break. After his win, Mooney said “It was fun today. I don’t get to race locally all that often so its fun to get out here with my friends. It was good riding all the way around.” Regarding the break by Meintjes and Schaefer, Mooney said there was some concern from the field. “Cal Giant put up a pretty good chase. They put three guys on the front and blew themselves up. I wasn’t too worried about it but then we came through with two laps to go and they had more than a minute. I went back to Chuck [Hutcheson] and said ‘hey man, we gotta make this happen.'”
The four chasers bridged up to Schaefer and Mientjes. “So then we rolled through with six guys.” continued Mooney, “I think everyone was pretty gassed and I still had quite a bit of legs left. All those guys were working, taking equal pulls. Today everyone rode honorably.” The official results show Philip Vrieling (Fun Sport Bikes) in second place, but also 54th; this and the following posted results need verification. Mulvihill just edged Hutcheson sprinting for third (second?) with Riggs taking fifth (fourth?) and Meintjes in sixth (fifth?) place.
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