June 29, 2005 – The National Road Race Championships continued today with the tandem, men 40-44 and men 45-49 road races. A chilly mountain morning turned into a beautiful day as the sun came out and provided today’s contestants with much better racing conditions than yesterday.
The most exciting finish of the morning came in the form of Robby Robinette (Team Hotel San Jose Racing). In one of the largest fields of the week, the strong 41-year-old powered up the final climb solo for a dramatic ending to a hard fought race. Robinette rode off the front with a group of four that was trying to hold off three chasers.
“We were on the last steep climb. The group of 3 was catching up and I decided I needed to go then,” Robinette explained. “It was a gamble to go from that far away but it worked out for me.”
Robinette’s chasers finished about 30 seconds back and the rest of a shattered field followed in small groups. Making the silver medal effort today was Chris Walker (Labor Power), while the bronze went to Brian Lemke (Landis/Trek/VW). John Hancock (TeamCity) and Joe Savola (BCC/Georges) secured the final two spots on the podium in fourth and fifth respectively.
Although the large field in the men’s 45-49 group split for a while in the earlier stages of the contest, riders were pulled back together for a tough field sprint finale. Kerry Farrell (Wheelsport) went all out in the final yards to make the winning effort and fulfill his stars and stripes dreams. Finishing right behind him was P. David Lepell (unattached) in second place and Lindsay Blount (Simply Fit) in third, while fourth and fifth went to David Beirne (Landis/Trek/VW) and Zan Treasure (unattached).
Also earning national championship titles today were four sets of tandem racers, who all left the start/finish at the same time this morning. Louie Amelburu and Mark Schaefer of Paul Tracy Racing were the first tandems to cross the finish line. With a time of 2:04:59, the duo scored the national title for the Tandem Men 70+. John Simonson and Evan Unger won the Tandem Men 90+, while Jill Gass and Laura Perdew beat out Angela Bell and Julie Kaplan to lay claim on the Tandem Women 70+ victory. In the Tandem Mixed 70+ category, it was Katie Degourse and Bryan Lofton who earned the stars and stripes.
Tomorrow is packed full of road races with the first group set to toe the line at 9am and the final race set to start at 6:30 pm. Stay tuned to www.usacycling.org <http://www.usacycling.org/> for more news from the U.S. National Road Cycling Championship.