Bad Weather Can’t Stop DBC Race Team at Top Sport Stage Race

— filed under:

Ryan Odell had recently upgraded to Cat 3 and was anxiously looking at the race calendar, hoping to find a local to get his feet wet in his new category. But, the only race coming up was the Topsport Stage Race and a couple of veterans, Michael Claudio and Jason Martel-Dye, were planning to race so he figured it would be a great way to introduce himself to the group. Unlike Ryan Odell, Ryan Malm’s Cat 3 upgrade had been denied due to a few technicalities so he would be racing once more as a Cat 4. His goal was to finish on the podium and get his final two upgrade points.

Day 1 - Knight's Ferry Road Race 

Ryan Malm gingerly takes a corner on the wet roads of stage 1 road race of the Top Sport Stage Race.

Up first was a 77- mile road race with weather forecasted to be 25-plus miles per hour winds with a storm system fast approaching.  At 10:10 with the temperature in the mid 60s, a small group of 27 Cat 3 racers headed off.  

Odell did well during the first lap until the turnaround when they headed into the tail and crosswinds.  He had to close a few gaps and when he finally latched back on the crosswinds started putting the hurt on him before he could fully recover.  Just 15 miles in he was already thinking he would not survive the first lap. Fortunately, 2 riders went off the front, one of them being the vegan badass Jason Martel Dye.  The pack eased up a bit and Odell and Claudio were able to sit in without the pressure of doing anything up front.

As the miles ticked away, the sky got darker.  Martel Dye was more than 5 minutes up the road.  As they made their way to the northern part of the course they went into a wall of cold air and the rain began to fall.  The temperature dropped to sub-50s in a matter of seconds and the wind direction completely reversed.  With a lap and a half to go, Martel Dye had dropped the Chico rider in the break and was now riding solo.  

By the final lap, the rain was coming down hard and there was even a period of sideways hail.  The peloton was closing in on Martel and it was becoming clear that he could not hold off the field. After 50-miles in a breakaway, they were all back together with 10 miles to go.  Nobody can dispute that Martel Dye wins most courageous rider!  

In the final miles there were some attacks but nothing would stick.  Odell couldn't feel his feet or hands and could barely see a thing from all the water being thrown up.   The pace was screaming for the last few km and Odell was sitting 4th wheel by the time they passed the 1km sign.  A couple guys started coming around with 500m to go when Odell put his head down, glued to the nearest wheel.  At 200m he started his sprint up the hill crossing the line for 4th in his first Cat 3 race

For Malm in the Cat 4 race, things were made significantly harder by joining two Rio Strada racers in a break at mile 7. With a small group of 14 Cat 4 racers, Malm really thought the break had a chance to stick due to the high winds.  They built up a 3 minute lead but shortly thereafter lost one of the Rio Strada racers and the headwind was too much for just two of them.  They were caught at mile 50 by a pack of 5 and Malm fought just to survive to the finish.  The small group attacked and attacked dropping two riders before the finish and Malm hanging in for 5th place (two upgrade points) and losing no time on the General Classification.

Day 2 - Rock Creek TT and Coppertown Circuit Race

The news of the day for the Cat 3 racers was that Claudio, despite having a mechanical in the RR, was still in the GC hunt.  Many riders either abandoned, or had mechanicals, and were given a time penalty due to the extreme weather.

The Cat 3s started day 2 with the TT. The roads were dry but the air was very cold.  Without a TT bike, Odell’s plan was to stay low and keep the power steady.  The course had lots of rollers and a headwind on the way out.  Odell could not get his heart rate to threshold without feeling the acid build up in his legs.  He had a rough go on the way out but felt better at the turnaround.  The tailwind helped he pushed too big of a gear as he crested one of the final hills and felt his right quad lock up.  He had to coast downhill for a while until the cramping went away but still managed a good time for 19th place.

Claudio posted a great time but fell just a few seconds short of the podium with only 5 seconds separating 3rd from 7th place.  Martel Dye, also with no aero gear, posted a respectable time for 17th place. 

While the Cat 3 racers were racing against the clock in the TT, Malm and the cat 4 racers were competing in the circuit race. Like most of the racers, day 1 had a terrible effect on the way he felt the next day.  Malm sat in during the circuit race just hoping not to get dropped and be in position for the TT. He didn't, so a pretty uneventful event.  

With Odell cramping in the TT, he was really worried he would not finish the 90-minute circuit race.  Claudio was determined to soften up the field with his numerous attacks off the front.  He did this at least twice per lap and it was fun to watch.  Odell stayed sheltered for the most part. With 2 laps to go Odell could feel his legs getting twitchy and at one point he fell off the back.  Luckily the field slowed and he was able to recover just enough to latch back on.  With 1/2 lap to go his legs completely locked up and he had to get off the bike. Still Odell managed to finish his first Cat 3 stage race. Claudio and Martel Dye each finished strong placing 7th and 9th, respectively, in circuit race.

Meanwhile, the circuit race seemed to awaken Malm’s legs enough to put in a decent TT in the afternoon.  The wind was howling and he took his Cat 3 teammates' advice to pretend it was a 5-mile TT and go as hard as possible until the turnaround where the tailwind would kick in.  The strategy worked beautifully and Malm took 2nd in the TT (and GC), only 4 seconds behind the winner.  

In addition to Malm’s 2nd place GC finish, top GC finishers included Michael Claudio - 9th (Cat 3); Jeff Slaton – 2nd (35+ Cat 4); and Roland Freund – 3rd (55+ 1/2/3).

Document Actions
Personal tools