Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Two Jakes and a Piece of Cake
by J. F. Benenate
tenderized the souls of cyclists silly enough to slap down their cash for a 70 mile ride in this 2011 rendition of a March Saturday's "Piece of Cake Road Race" - Stage 2 of the Oregon Cup. A flat farmland circuit considered by most to be Oregon's version of a Spring Classic.
Featuring a controversial three mile gravel section this year, anxiety seemed high.
Jacob Rathe local boy gone Garmin - Chipotle Development Team Pro, was fresh back from his big win in the Rutas de Americas in South America, and maybe the only person who didn't seem nervous at all.
Jake Hansen moved to the front early hoping to choose some good road in the early gravel. He even did some big rolling that turned into an all out attack. Team Oregon had similar designs, and got Romer away with Riffle from HPC and both had their teams blocking.
Donald Reeb, Stephen Beardsley, and Butch Martin's red jersey kids of Hammer/CMG chased that early half an hour break down.
Early in the race Jacob Rathe warned his protege Jake Hansen that Rathe would be marked and if he attacked, all would go after him. His advice was, when they go, you wait and counter attack. That advice would reveal itself later on.
For now Hansen was rolling again, and the next selection of seven formed up. The new group included three Team Oregon men, Bucholz of Therapeutic Associates, Zach Winter of Guiness, and Rathe. Cross wind echelons were the order of the day.
After rolling that group into a three minute lead, Hansen attacked with a tail-wind in the gravel. The move stripped off Therapeutic Associate Bucholz and Team O's Edgerton. Team O actually worked together to help shell Edgerton at one point. When they realized their error, the tried to slow up and eat their gu-packs. So Jake attacked them with the packets still hanging from their mouths. After a monster pull, the pursuers had disappeared from sight.
Now down to five, the breakaway endured another wave of rain, sleet, and sun, and the racers ran their echelons accordingly.
Up onto the rise and into the big wind Rathe went to the front for a little dig. Team O stuck to him like a new tattoo.
When they all sat up after the effort to catch Rathe, Jake H. went himself.
Rathe just watched and smiled.
Like an interior designer organizing his livingroom, Rathe had set everything up.
Elijah Romer looked at Rathe. Chris Swan looked down the road at the gap. Their hearts must of sank. Winter of Guiness looked so tired, he must have just been thankful for the moment of slow pedaling.
Rathe sat and smiled for about thirty seconds, then demonstrated why he is a Pro. He set to work pursuing our Jake like a Panther after a rabbit. Our Jake was pedaling squares. He was all over the road. Rathe was smooth, rolling straight like a missile.
Jake looked back terrified. Jacob kept closing the gap.
"I thought Jacob would come flying by any moment and nip me at the line," said Jake Hansen, "keep pedaling all the way! I kept saying to myself."
Both coach and athlete recognized the fundamental tutelage of the pro to the amateur.
Immediately after the line, both heaped thanks onto Rathe for all his benevolence.
"Afterwards, all I could say was thank you," Hansen said of his first moments after he crossed the line and Rathe crossed 3 seconds later.