Race Reports: The 2008 Palmer & Sturbridge Road Race "Classic New England Cycling" by Joe Azze

We headed up to MA for a two day road race this past weekend.  Saturday's road race was in Sturbridge and consisted of 3 laps, totaling 55 + miles.  Each lap took us up a real solid climb with a few false flats that allowed you to really hammer up it.  Going into the final lap, the Cat 3/4 field of 70 + riders was down to around 30 and as we approached the final bend leading into the climb the pace quickly picked up.  

Riders were being dropped fast as fatigue was setting in.  I kept up at the front end of the group pushing the pace and feeling pretty good for the most part. Once we reached the last little up hill section of the climb the sprinting started and with everyone digging down dip, about several riders went down in a major crash, I was just able to avoid a rear tire from a rider in front of me that flipped right on over in mid air.  I swung far outside to avoid the crash, only to get detached from the front group.  

I quickly started to sprint to regain contact with the lead riders and was just able to hang on for 12th place. Unfortunately as we road back down the climb to the parking area we started from, riders were still down and being attended to.  I wish them the best.

On to the next days race and being sure to start it off with a good days breakfast because this days race was sure to be long and fast!

This race is called the Palmer Library Road race.  Its 60 miles of racing with an uphill finishing sprint.  I tend to feel stronger as the races and the miles go on so with a second day of racing and some good miles still yet to cover, I was confident and focused as ever.  

Heading into the last 20 miles of the race a group of 5 riders were away with about a 2 minute lead on the rest of the field.  We had some work to do in order to reel them back in and give us a chance at a field sprint. I headed to the front and started to work hard to close the gap.  Eventually other riders started to help and before long we had closed the gap to about 30 seconds.

Going into the final bend leading to the finish, which was about a mile and half up ahead, the lead group of five riders were in our site.  The sprint was on and it was a mad dash to the finish from there on.  I headed from the left outside, dashing into the center and grabbing the back of a few riders wheels.  I eventually drifted off of them to the outside and shot up to the finish line neck and neck with another rider.  I was able to hang on long enough and gave it a little more gas in the end.  I crossed the line 1st!