(UPDATE, Sunday, 6:30 p.m. -- The complete Cycling Action OBRA Road Race Championship photo gallery is now posted online HERE).
RAINIER – Shadows of the 1986 Tour de France Lemond-Hinault summit finish fell over the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association Senior Men’s Road Race Championship Saturday as Land Rover-ORBEA teammates Bobby Sweeting and Jim Camut crossed the line hand in hand after shedding the rest of the competition.
Sweeting, who got the win, broke away with Camut early in the first lap of the 80-mile race and held off the field to take the top two spots. Teammate Josh Bartlett won the sprint for third from a three-man chase group to cap the green-and-yellow squad's podium sweep.
“We were both on the rivet the whole time and just giving it everything we had,” Sweeting said of the winning move. “With a couple miles to go, when we knew we had it, we just said, ‘What do you want to do? Do you want to race for it?’ Jim was like, ‘No, let’s come across together and you can take it.’”
Camut, who won the Silverton Road Race May 17, said it was easy to decide how to end the race.
“It was a team effort,” he said. “So I thought it was probably appropriate we came over together. We worked really well together. That’s the advantage of having a teammate up there. You’re not trying to trick the other guy. We were both just going as hard as we could the whole time.”
Sweeting agreed, saying the pair’s selfless cooperation may have been the difference.
“When you’re not saving something for the end, and both guys are just maxed out, you’re going pretty good,” he said, although the pair’s pace didn’t leave them overconfident.
“I was worried pretty much the whole time,” Sweeting admitted. “The gap was really inconsistent. It got up to two minutes at one point, then back down to a minute. So I knew the guys in the field were attacking each other. I knew if something got away and a chase group got established with five or six guys, we could come back”
Attacks in the chasing bunch were shedding riders off the back, but none of the moves seemed to get much permanent traction until Team Oregon’s Kennett Peterson and Cyclepath Racing’s Aaron Sander got away with Bartlett with about one and a half laps to go.
“Aaron (Sander) had been up the road by himself for five or 10 minutes kind of riding tempo,” Peterson said. “Josh (Bartlett) attacked. I got onto his wheel and we bridged up to Aaron.”
Bartlett said his team had been attacking to try and get another group going but not actually bringing back the two leaders up the road. He found success with a lukewarm attack that bridged to Sander.
“It was one of those attacks that’s not really that hard,” he said. “You just go and no one follows you. We worked together pretty well pulling through. Toward the end I was like, ‘Sorry guys but I’ve got three field sprinters back in the group, I’m not going to pull though.’ It’s unfortunate, but that’s how it works.”
Bartlett’s chess move proved to be the advantage on the climb to the finish, as Sander dropped off the pace early and Bartlett sailed past Peterson to take the final podium spot by several bike lengths.
Peterson said he wasn’t sure what happened to Sander in the finale, but he had a pretty clear idea why he didn’t repeat his own performance last week at the Rehearsal Road Race when he snagged the final podium spot.
“(Sander) was on the front and then he was gone,” Peterson said. “And that’s right when I attacked. I attacked for a couple hundred meters and then sat up to let Josh pass me because I thought it would be smart to have his draft coming into the sprint. But that was a bad idea. I should have just kept going because he went straight by me. He had plenty of space for third place.”
Sander just managed to hold off Land Rover-ORBEA’s Evan Elken and a charging field for fifth.
2009 OBRA Road Race Championships
Rainier, Oregon - May 30, 2009
Jr. Women 15-16
1. Sara Slawta (Land Shark)
2. Fiona Graham (Specialized River City)
Masters Women 30-39
1. Anne Davis Usher (Bridgetown Velo)
2. Kelly McKean (Veloce/Felt)
3. Tessa Sugahara (Team Group Health)
Masters Women 40-49
1. Jenny Slawta (Land Shark)
2. Martha Walsh (ZteaM)
3. Debra Stolt-Krichko
Masters Women 50+
1. Mary Ross (Nomad Sports Club)
2. Helen Grogan Sunnyside Sports
3. Debra Windus (Finnegans Toys/Discover Chiropractic)
Jr. Men 15-16
1. Colby Wait-Molyneux (North River Racing)
2. Joe Prettyman (Beaverton Bicycle Club)
3. Andy Su (Hutch's/Clear Choice/Bend Dental)
Jr. Men 17-18
1. George Zack (Beaverton Bicycle Club)
2. Zack Bowden (Fred Meyer/Lakeside Cycling)
3. Michael Burton (Fred Meyer/Lakeside Cycling)
Masters Men 30-39
1. Mark Hibbard
2. Nick Skenzick (Hutch's-OIC)
3. David Gates (Bridgetown Velo)
Masters Men 40-49
1. Chris Haverty (Bridgetown Velo)
2. Mark Steger (Nike)
3. Matthew Slater (ZteaM)
Masters Men 50-59
1. Scott Seaton (Hutch's/ClearChoice/Bend Dental)
2. Peter Serrurier
3. Luis Valls (Fred Meyer/Lakeside Cycling)
Masters Men 60+
1. Terry Brown (Nike)
2. Lance Brigman (Three Rivers Racing)
3. Ron Magnus (Fred Meyer/Lakeside Cycling)
1. Bobby Sweeting (Land Rover-ORBEA Benefiting LAF)
2. Jim Camut (Land Rover-ORBEA)
3. Josh Bartlett (Land Rover-ORBEA)
4. Kennett Peterson (Team Oregon)
5. Aaron Sander (Cyclepath Racing)