The Spring edition of the 2013 Lowell 50 was a confirmation of BISSELL’s strength.
Just two weeks after Mike Anderson’s second place overall at the Barry-Roubaix, his teammates joined him in Lowell for another round of gravel roads. The big turnout included some high powered riders and solid teams, but from the gun, BISSELL proved themselves to be in a league of their own.
Riders of the 50 and 28 mile distances were fortunate to avoid the forecasted rain, but the strong winds persisted all morning and gained straight just as riders entered their second hour of racing. With average wind speed nearing 20 and gusts over 30, the wind became a decided factor on the race.
Sure enough, the opening salvos of the 50 mile event were straight into a headwind. After RBS put two riders on the front for the opening mile, the entire field was satisfied to seek and sit on Anderson’s wheel. A few riders, including one from Team TATI and Cody Sovis from Hagerty-TOLaw U-25, made brief appearances on the front as the peloton made its way through the first of two covered bridges on the route.
The ensuing hills broke the peloton into cumbersome pieces. Ahead, 35 or so riders made the most important selection of the day, roughly one minute ahead of a disorganized chase group with some poor saps stuck in no-man’s land early on. One of those riders included Einstein Racing’s Ryan Kennedy, who rode almost the whole day alone, save just a handful of miles with one or two riders at a time. For Kennedy, the second chase group’s lack of impotence made for a long, windy day in the saddle.
Ahead, BISSELL set the race on fire when Mike Anderson and Nate Williams got away with another rider. Up the road and putting on a two-man time trial clinic, the pair pulled away for a 5 minute gap at the 45 minute mark, and just over ten minute lead with fifteen miles to go. Behind, the race quickly morphed to a measure roll, with teams lacking the firepower or the willingness to chase down riders that were too far ahead.
A second chase group formed on the road a few minutes back that included the bulk of the PriorityHealth squad, Freewheeler’s Dan McGraw and two members of Team TATI, along with twenty or so others. With teammates up the road, many of the teams had little to pull for, and the work fell to Hagerty’s duo in the move, Hal BeVier and Cody Sovis. Sovis gave chase to the riders in the 29 and Under age group, while Hal measured a Herculean effort for the paved section of the course, using his road bike and 28mm tires to their best effect. Hal’s move cut the group in half, though the eventual (and brief) regroup led to a ceasefire that meant Ryan Kennedy would stay away for the afternoon. The stragglers that survived battled the headwind to the line and dropped riders over every short climb.
Mike Anderson and Nate Williams waltzed into the finish with a healthy ten minute gap, while the first chase group also exploded in the run-in. In particular, the covered bridge six miles from the end broke the group to pieces, with Matt Acker, Matt Light, Derek Graham, Tom Linck and others left for the bunch sprint. Acker and Light kept Graham from giving BISSELL a 1-2-3, with Linck also in there at the end. Due to timing glitches, the official podium beyond Anderson and Williams couldn’t be confirmed when this went to press.
The women’s race was all over the road, and at the end of the day, no results were available. From what we could determine, Hagerty’s Lauri Brockmiller was second, with Katie Mann third and Chelsea Strate of Einstein Racing fourth, although this has NOT been confirmed from the timing officials. When this intrepid reporter left, not a single 50 mile women had registered on the timing computer’s readout. So, if you had fun, you won.
Anderson’s win also gives him an extra sackful of points for the Top Banana Competition, while Williams is also looking to give BISSELL a 1-2 there, as well.
More photos and some results as soon as they are available. But here is Jason Hall of Over the Shoulder-kolotc.com expressing his deep emotional satisfaction after taking second in the 28 mile SS. Remember, when you see a singlespeeder, you’re required to yell “Shift!”