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Sunday, April 8, 2001 -- Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh Spring Road Race Series - Race #4 (iPO Event Id#: 3013)

[Details] [Coverage] [Results] [Series Standings] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]

The racers may have been asking for the temperature to drop a little as the sweat started to roll at the Pittsburgh Spring Road Race Series #4. A three lap breakaway in the Cat 1/2/3 was chased down, the Cat 4/5 racers stayed together and Kelly Yoder flatted in the Womens race. We'll have pictures and more coverage soon so check back again.

iPlayOutside would like to thank all of the riders for submitting reports from the race. What better way to hear about what happend than from those in the thick of it.

Cat 1/2/3 Race Report - Jeff Timinski and Charlie Chulack

Race Pic
The pack discusses strategy (or the weather)
After suffering through three weeks of racing in temperamental Pittsburgh weather while struggling to find some kind of early season form, riders participating in the Pittsburgh Spring Road Race Series were greeted with clear, sunny skies and mild temperatures for race #4. A strong field including some of Western Pennsylvania's finest riders were geared up and ready to hum through the country roads outside of Mingo Creek County Park. But today's race would see a visiting rider from Central Pennsylvania, Brett Bailor (Team Harrisburg), take the victory ahead of series leader Charlie Chulack (TRBC/Trek).

The race was a return to the aggressive attacking that characterized the first two events. With the East Suburban Sport's Medicine team exuding the most prolific presence with five men at the race, they appeared to be hoping for a repeat of last week's win. But the long solo break by Bob Riffle (ESSM) that stole victory in race three was fresh in everyone's mind and no one would be quietly rolling away from the peloton today without a fight.

The action started on the first lap. As the field approached the climb, the riders began cueing up to attack. With the pace nearing 20 mph on the middle section of the climb, Kevin Westover (ESSM) sprung from the pack. Westover established only a 100 yard gap before a reaction came from Jeff Timinski (UPMC/Pittsburgh Cycling) with Chulack hanging on his wheel. The three riders would work fluidly attempting to widen the small gap, but their efforts were in vain and half a lap later the field was once again together.

Race Pic
Standing up for one of the short climbs
Over the next three laps, several riders hit hard with quick accelerations but their efforts were fruitless. Because everyone wanted to get into the winning break, nothing seemed to last longer than a few hundred yards.

With a little over two laps to go, George Yoder (Freddie Fu) attacked hard, opened a gap, and never looked back. With the unrelenting wind, perhaps the biggest challenge of the Mingo course, picking up, no one wanted to put the effort in to bring him back. The peleton kept a steady tempo, content as long as Yoder was still in sight.

John Evanko (Schwinn), looking to ESSM to lead the chase because of their large presence in the field and becoming irascible when there was no response, decided to have a go at bridging up to Yoder during the last lap. With teammate Rob Gaus (Schwinn) still in the pack and riding well, Evanko looked to have a chance.

But as the race neared the climb for the final time, the group exploded. Timinski punched it over the second steep part of the climb taking Gunnar Shogren (Guinness), John Munhall (ESSM), Jason Zimmerman (Greensburg/Jamis), Bailor, and Chulack with him. As the pace peaked at 43 mph down the back stretch of the course, riders dug deep to stay with what was turning out to be the winning move.

After the final 90 degree turn, the pace dipped with Yoder still 200 yards off the front. The indecisiveness of the pack of remaining riders was allowing Yoder to creep closer to the finish uncontested. Dissatisfied with the notion of sprinting for second place, Shogren went after Yoder. Munhall, in the unfortunate position of being left on the front of a group of riders all ready to sprint and looking like a deer caught in headlights, slowed considerably. Chulack shifted down and accelerated hard beginning the sprint relatively far out. Timinski, Bailor, and Zimmerman all went with him. The four sprinting riders timed it perfectly catching Shogren and Yoder with approximately 100 yards left. Bailor would take the sprint (in course record time), while Chulack would barely steal second from Zimmerman. Timinski would cross the line in fourth place. Yoder and Shogren would finish fifth and sixth respectively while Munhall would round off the top seven.

Cat 4/5 Race Report - Henry Dimmick Jr.

Race Pic
Nick Waite leads the pack
Some things change while some things remain the same. Today's change was that everyone was complaining about " hot and windy it is..." (versus cold and windy!). What remained the same was those incessant pot holes and the CycleWorks riders attacking straight out of the gate.....pesky Orange-Men!

Considering that the race began the exact same way last week, the pack was not so quick to chase the early CycleWorks initiated break knowing that CycleWorks "punch & counter-punch" M.O. would do nothing more than ignite more of their riders. As a result, Jarl Skogsholm (CycleWorks) and Mark Bold (Cycleworks) acted as today's catalysts with Mike Walewski (TRBC/Trek) jumping in to followed carrying Todd Copeland (CycleWorks) on his wheel.

Faced with defending their 2000 Mingo 4/5 Championship, Hites Bikes/FoxVelo sent riders Henry Dimmick & Doug Frost to the front of the main group to control the gap of the leaders and was able to slowly draw one of the pairs in by the midway point of the first lap climb. This left Todd Copeland (CycleWorks) and Mike Walewski (TRBC/Trek) still away over the top but they too were re-adsorbed just past the bottom of the descent by the charging pack led by Mike Rytel (East Suburban Sports Medicine) and Stephen Marx (Western Pa. Wheelmen).

Race Pic
Is that Lance in the USPS garb?
These first lap attacks were not the only attacks during the race, but were definitely the most successful, as the strong head and cross winds on the first part of the course, combined with the relentless "answering" to each attempt by Hites Bikes, foiled all chances for a successful solo sojourn. What the attacking was successful doing was raising the pace to the highest average speed of any race so far in the 4/5 series.

Coming off the descent and heading into Lap 5, Hites Bikes again went to the front to attempt control of the pack, and was forced to answer a continued onslaught of attacks from CycleWorks riders Ray Russell and Bryan Routledge as well as attacks from a handful of other riders. As the group hit the climb, the standard scattering of riders were shed off the back, leaving less than a dozen riders left to hammer across the top and down the descent to contend for the victory.

Approaching the finish line, one last breakaway attempt was made almost 1 mile out but was swallowed up, like so many before it. In the end, this 22.6 mph-average race climaxed with Sam Baum (Woody's Workout) outreaching John Oshlick (UPMC) to the line with Steve Kundman (Hites Bikes/FoxVelo) one length back taking third.

Baum's victory, combined with low points scoring from the previous week's overall contenders, catapulted him into a 1 point lead in the 2001 Series to date.

Women's Race Report - Barbara Grabowski

Race Pic
The women keep the pace
The good thing about the small women's fields in the Pittsburgh road races is that they can have a friendliness and camaraderie that may be missing in larger fields. The bad thing about a small field, made up of both experienced and novice riders with a hilly course, is that when the group splits apart, individual riders are left to "time trial" the rest of the race since there are so few extra wheels to grab onto. Sunday's women's race brought together a field of women (ranging from a seasoned Cat 2 rider to a Cat 4 rider in her first full season) who've both raced together and come to know each other as well. At the start line, the field included Susan Law (Trek/Cat 4), Jennifer Shogren (Team Guinness/Cat 3), Kelly Yoder (Team Talgo America/Cat 2) myself (Barb Grabowski - ACA/Cat 3) and Betsy Schauer (East Suburban/Cat 4 - Current series points leader).

The five of us rode the first lap at an easy tempo and made it up the most substantial climb of the course intact. The combination of head winds, crosswinds and a rough road made it difficult to hold a steady line at times, even with the small group. We had to constantly maneuver and adjust as we were blown sideways and tried to seek the best lines around potholes. At the beginning of the second of four laps, Kelly Yoder flatted and Susan Law fell off the pace. Susan, starting her first full season of racing, was happy to have succeeded in staying with the group of more experienced riders for the first lap as she continues to gain both experience and fitness.

I dropped off Shogren's and Schauer's wheels in the last couple of meters a climb, but was able to catch back up along the backstretch. At the beginning of the third lap, Yoder rejoined the front group, having replaced her wheel. Unfortunately, lacking my usual early season form, I again fell off the pace at the top of the climb but couldn't catch back up with the group. Schauer, Shogren and Yoder (1 lap down) continued ahead. On the final lap, with Yoder one lap down, a determined Shogren and 2000 ACA "Rookie of the Year" Schauer would have to fight it out in a sprint finish. At the line, it was Schauer taking the win by a couple of inches. I finished 3rd ( just about a minute back), while Susan Law took 4th and Kelly Yoder 5th.