Stop 1 was from WV to Dulles Airport on to Burlington, VT for the Green Mountain Stage Race. I am the director for the US Military Endurance Sports (USMES) Elite Cycling team and decided to ride with the guys in a helper role and also since GMSR is just such a fantastic race. In the P/1 race, our primary GC threat had to knowingly depart the race a day early in order to meet a duty commitment so our primary target was stages. 4 of us lined up for the Stage 1 time trial, in addition Otterhaus athlete and USMES club member Stefan Zavislan lined up in the Cat 2 race. We all threw down as best as we could, but the highlight of the day was Stefan pulling a solid 8th in the TT.
Stage 2 was a circuit race that generally finishes in a field sprint, I spent a good part of the day ensuring our top guys stayed in good position and ensuring they had bottles. We gambled on the finish being a field sprint and of course a break got away and stuck. All of us finished safely in the field and had our eyes on Stage 3 which suited our stronger guys.
Stage 3 is the "queen" stage of the race, 93 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing and a finish on the infamous App Gap. The beginning of the race was met with showers but thankfully fairly warm temperatures. We weren't the only team that missed the break the day before and the field, well, she was angry that day. My job was to try to get in the likely early break and hopefully be up the road when our stronger climbers caught us. Problem was, it was all the other team's plan as well. Break attempts were pretty not stop for the first 20 miles and finally I got into a 3 man move before the first climb. We never got much leash but it calmed the field a bit and allowed me to get over the climb on my own terms. The race continued to be aggressive (and the rain continued to fall) over the next 20+ miles. I did what I could for our guys heading into the first of the last 3 climbs and then came unattached from the field about 3/4 of the way up. Turns out I had a slow flat, but was pretty much out of gas anyway with my job done. Our top climber, Dwyane Farr, stayed with the leaders through the grippiest part of the race and went on to finish 12th on the day.
Day 4 was a crit in downtown Burlington, VT. A solo rider from Cal Giant stuck a solo move from about 10 laps in for the win, and the majority of the race the field was busy launching ill fated counter attacks. Jay ShalekBriski from USMES used his great positioning skills and patience to pick up a very respectable 8th on the day in the P/1 race! Stefan Zavislan hung solid through the last 3 stages and ended up 15th on GC in the Cat 2 race.
We also got to visit Ben & Jerry's of course along with American Flatbread and the Skinny Pancake, all fantastic VT eateries. All and all not a bad trip.