May 24, 2010 (Pelham, ON) – Last weekend the Mazur Coaching/Wheels of Bloor team ventured to the U.S. to race in the annual Bear Mountain Road Race at the Harriman State Park. The course was challenging with virtually no flat sections in 30km circuit. Furthermore, with a long technical high speed decent and a hard 180 degree turn right at the bottom, positioning was crucial. The race was 130km in length – given the course’s rugged and technical nature it was an event that was also mentally taxing as riders were forced to be mentally alert and focused for the entire race.
Conditions were almost perfect for a bike race. There was very little wind, temperatures were never too warm and the tree-covered roads provided just the right amount of shade.
As for the race itself, there was a strong field in attendance including riders from Trek-Livestrong, Jamis-Sutter Home and Kelly Benefit Strategies. The racing was aggressive right from the start and a break-away formed about mid-way through the race. The long 4.8km/3-mile climb proved to be the most selective portion of the course as that was where the break-away establish itself.
After some hard chasing by the Bike-Reg Team, the break-away was brought back. The last time up the major climb forced the final split. The Mazur Team did well to survive the plethora of attacks up the climb. After about 20 riders regrouped, Ryan Dewald of Mazur Coaching took a flyer. It was quickly brought back. Aaron Fillion then countered that move and quickly gained 10 seconds on the remnants of the peloton. Charlie Bryer of Mazur Coaching recognized the threat and jumped across. The two worked together to gain 55 seconds in the last 20km. Fillion managed to pip Charlie at the line on the downhill sprint. Nonetheless it was a successful day in New York for the team!
The second major race on the Ontario Cup calendar was the Niagara Classic! With a full squad in attendance the Mazur Coaching/Wheels of Bloor team was looking to have another good showing. The team’s hope was to be in all the major moves and be present at the front of the race.
The day’s conditions were hot! However, perhaps the most challenging factor was the humidity. The weather conditions, combined with the Niagara Classic’s tough circuit resulted in a great race, one that forced riders to push their limits.
Right from the beginning and early break went with Derrek Ivey taking a flyer for the Mazur Coaching Team! Several others joined him, including teammate Mark Walters. With two Mazur riders in the break, the team could relax a little in the main field. The break gained four minutes over the peloton by the midway point of the race before the Louis-Garneau team organized a strong chase.
With the assistance of Ryan Roth of Team SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy, the pink Garneau team slowly brought the break-away back just in time for the final two laps of the race. That’s when the attacks started to fly. Justin Steeds of Mazur Coaching made a huge effort with Andrew Bradbury of the Darkhorse Flyers. That move in all honesty was looking really good! But the Jetfuel and Garneau teams didn’t like it so much and quickly the Steeds move started to come back. Finally on the approach towards the infamous Effingham climb, Roth took off, and Walters and Jan Zak jumped on the move. Steeds and Bradbury were still up the road, not by much however. Also in the Roth move was Ryan Atchison of Jetfuel.
However on the climb up Effingham, Walters, Zak and Steeds lost contact with the lead of the race. As this occurred 15 seconds in front of the remnants of the peloton, Bryer attacked the group in a desperate attempt to get across to what was surely the winning move’s formation; Atchison, Roth and Bradbury. Over the top of the climb, Steeds and Bryer were together and drilled it to catch the 3-man break.
It was a true “slug fest” of sorts! With about 6km remaining in the race, Steeds and Bryer managed to join the three leaders. In the finale – Roth attacked over a roller heading towards Effingham – Bryer attacked the group trying to catch Roth, but blew up in the process. Meanwhile, young Atchison had a little more left in the tank to place second in the “slow-motion” uphill drag race to the finish. Bryer finished 3rd on the podium, while Steeds placed fifth ahead of Bradbury.
Overall, the Mazur Coaching Team raced well – managing to get three riders in the top 10 with Jan Zak placing 8th.
The Team’s next objectives are two-pronged. Half of the team will head to Belgium on Tuesday, while the other half will travel to Killington Vermont this coming weekend to race the Killington Stage Race.
Thanks for reading and to all of the team’s sponsors.