Oz Road Race: SM4/5!
The 4/5 Oz RR was the definition of team ownership in a race. I don’t think through the course of the race we didn’t have somebody from our team in the first 3 people from the front. Constantly controlling the pace, holding off attacks, and keeping each other safe. Well done to all.
For myself, the morning started off in a bit of chaos, as I must have read the wrong information and parked on the wrong side of the front range airport. After biking around a bit looking for someone to ask where the hell I was supposed to be, I finally was pointed in the right direction, and had a bit of an “extended warm up” hauling ass over there so that I wasn’t late to the start. I was able to get my numbers and even hit the bathrooms before joining the others on the line, so it worked out well.
From the gun primal was at the front of the race controlling the pace. Welker, Chris, and Nathan were all constantly at the front keeping everyone covered from the wind. Ben was staying in the perfect position near the front keeping safe and saving energy from the wind, and everyone else was keeping an eye on the group and making sure no attacks or surprises were coming. Going into the dirt section we were all where we wanted to be, near the front and away from the possibility of crashes. I believe I heard someone nearly took Orey out by going down off his back wheel in that section, but he was able to keep it controlled and stay up. In the later half of the race, as we expected a few attack attempts came, but all were brought back in. At one point an attack with some promise came and Nathan and I attached to it with the primal team easing to allow a small breakaway with 2 primal members in it to occur, but some other teams quickly broke that up. I was a little burnt from this hard effort and Patrick and Clayton allowed me a spot behind them for some rest in the group before rejoining the front of the race. At this point, Welker and Chris really brought the hammer down at the front in the windiest sections of the race, and allowed the rest of us to keep where we needed to be for the final stretch.
Going into the last 3 miles of the race Primal had 5 people together at the front of the race, ready for any attack to come or a perfect lead-out if they didn’t. There were a few attacks however and the more sheltered of us in the front moved with the attacks to split the group. 2 riders went off the front, and the rest of us kept a close eye on them, and respond with the group we were in which was now limited to maybe 10 riders total and 4 of us (myself, Nathan, Ben, Orey). One rider in the group pressed hard on the front, and nathan was immediately on his wheel. I had to sprint around a couple of riders that died in front of me, but attached myself to Nathans wheel with a nod to Ben to stick close to me. However at this point some other rider nearly rode Ben (and I believe did ride Orey) off the road and broke their chances for a finish on the podium. I looked back when I caught on to Nathan and saw that we had a small gap to the group behind us and knew we had a slight edge with a LONG finish to come. After catching 1 of the 2 riders ahead of us, the person Nathan had chased died off, and then left Nathan launching around him, myself still on his wheel. As we looked up we noticed that the solo rider ahead was losing momentum fast, and as Nathans epic effort caught him I knew the group behind us was catching quick and I had to go then, so I started my sprint and was able to hold off for the win as a hard sprinting rider was just able to pass Nathan who hung on for 3rd.
This was a true team victory and I was happy to be the rider in the right spot on the day and that I had the legs to bring home the W for everyone. If I missed anyone’s effort please reply all to congratulate, but the moral of the story is as a team, we dominated.
–Collin Zimmerman, SM4