The quaint I’On Village played host to the I’On Village Smack Down. The course was a 1.3 mile loop that ducked and dove through the residential streets of I’On. The course included a round-a-bout, several sharp turns with one that included a cobblestone section at it’s apex. In addition to the technical aspects of the course, strong winds whipped across the lake that ran along side the course creating a strong headwind section. However that headwind became a strong tailwind on the finishing stretch. It was obvious that the first one through the final corner would have the tactical advantage.
The Pro 1/ 2 field faced 75 minutes and it didn’t take long for the action to begin. With just two laps completed Globalbike’s Trey Miller launched off the front. Recognizing that this might be the move, newly upgraded to category 1, Justin Lowe of the Hincapie Development team bridged up.
The duo worked together and quickly gained a 20-second gap. Soon it was over a minute and then a minute 30 seconds. The reason that the gap grew so quickly was Miller had seven teammates back in the peloton clogging up the front. There was a constant wall of green Globalbike kits.
With only five laps remaining Lowe and Miller had enough time that they could soft pedal and play games. On the penultimate lap they crossed the finish line side by side. Were they both looking for a chink in the other’s armor?
On the bell lap Lowe was leading with Miller tucked in close. Either rider is known as a sprinter so it looked like it was going to be an equal contest for the win.
On the final straight section before the final corner Miller attacked. He blasted around the tight 90 degree turn for the finish line like a man shot from a cannon with Lowe right on him. However Miller maintained his momentum and crossed the finish line first – but just barely. In fact when Miller threw his arms up in a victory salute, a gust of wind pushed him almost into Lowe who was on his left hip. Fortunately, Lowe’s quick reflexes saved them from both crashing at the line.
The women’s race was the final event of the day. Robin Farina (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) punctured on the first lap. She was able to take advantage of the free lap rule and got a new wheel. Back into the field she soon surged away from the peloton. Bridging up was Giselle Weekes of Team Headstrong. The duo quickly gained time on the peloton. With each lap Farina and Weekes continued to widen the gap to a point that they could see the peloton in front of them.
With two laps remaining the main peloton was only meters in front of them. Farina led the charge and on the final lap the breakaway caught the group. This was going to get interesting. Weekes had two teammates in the group who could help lead her out for the win. Farina was racing solo.
In a situation when a breakaway laps the field they don’t need to be the first person across the finish line – they only need to beat their break away companion to claim victory.
On last lap the speed picked up and so did the tension. The field was strung out with Farina at the front and through the second to last corner Christina DeKraay (Giordana-Clif Bar-BRICA) clipped a pedal. This disrupted the flow of the field and Farina was able to take the final turn, opening a gap between herself and the field. She easily took the win and Weekes crossed the line in the bunch to claim second place. DeKraay was third.
“It was a fun workout,” is how Farina described the race. Prior to her race she did a 45 mile ride with some of her coaching clients and had planed to work for her friend Addyson Albershardt (DIY Music p/b Asheville Youth Cycling). It looks like that pre-ride was the perfect warm-up for the 50 minute race.
The complete I’On Village race results are available at Pre-Reg.com.