After a nice streak of results that included a solo win at the Bethel Spring Series and another solo victory at the CRCA Orchard Beach Crit, Team Sixcycle-RK&O's Colin Tanner added a third result to his late spring racing with a win at the Lucareli & Castaldi CRCA Bear Mountain Spring Classic.
Bear Mountain Spring Classic Race Report from Colin Tanner
The race didn't pan out the way I had planned. Coming into the climb up Tiorati at the beginning of the third lap I was in a large front group without any teammates. The group seemed strong. The previous two laps had been relatively tame.
The pace up the climb was fast, but the group at the front stayed together. There were a couple flyers up the climb, gunning for KOM points, but they were kept in sight of the pack.
Coming into the third lap, I knew I needed to do some work. I didn't want the bigger guys (presumably better sprinters) getting to the finish line with the front group.
On the descent into the 180° turn up to Tiorati, I pushed onto the front of the group. I came into the climb and pushed the pace hoping to shake up the group a bit and weed out anyone who had been getting a free ride. The effort paid off, but only a bit. The group lost a few off the back but we still had 20 or so strong going over the top of the KOM.
The pace stayed higher on Seven Lakes Drive. With a decent tailwind and the fast pace I knew that attempts at a breakaway would not pay off.... and they didn't.
On Lake Welch the pace pushed again. This time it broke off into a smaller group of about a dozen. Now the attacks started coming. The group kept these in check. With a small group like this, and only 5k to go they weren't going to give up now.
Hitting a rise in the road with about 3k to go a move shot up the left side. I jumped on and gave it a go. I was working hard but the pack was jumpy. They chased it down quickly and as the finish line was fast approaching I settled back into the group to try to recover.
I had killed some energy, but I didn't want this to come to a sprint, so I thought the effort was worth a try. I did my best to sit in as we rolled in fast to the finish. People were tired. They were making mistakes. I grabbed on to the fifth wheel with 1k to go.
As we rolled into the fast sprint I knew I had to go for it. Jacek Boral (Incycle-Predator Components Elite Team) attacked up the left side a bit early. I jumped on his wheel hard. The finish line was coming up on us fast. I was spinning my biggest gear (could have used another one) and I came around him.
I looked to my right and there was only one more wheel in front of mine. I pushed a bit harder. I was gaining on him, but the finish line was gaining on both of us.
With a few meters left, Leonardo Cardona (the sprinter just ahead of my wheel) threw his arms up and swerved towards me. I had to put on the brakes and pull to the left to avoid a crash in the 45 MPH sprint, crossing the line second. I had been content with second place.
Waiting for the results to be posted, however, there were rumors that Cardona may be relegated. Other riders had protested the result to the head official who had witnessed the finish.
When the final results were posted my name was at the top of the list - the officials had judged Cardona's swerve to be a dangerous move and relegated him to the back of the sprint. This bumped my result from second to first.
I can't say that I would have won if Cardona hadn't swerved in towards me. I also can't say it didn't feel good to be on the top step of the podium for the Bear Mountain Classic.