This past weekend, in that part of New York State where once the Delaware, Mohawk and Mohicans all raced their bicycles, an elder from a far away land came to claim “coup” on them all. Young men like Uncas and Magua were to compete against this man who had come to be called “The Flying Fin”.
Soaring through the air is an important medicine to posess, but alas, it was the local standout, Chingackgook who would eventually rule the weekend. The man from a far away place surely tried to shoot straight like an arrow towards the sun – and to that sun he asked for speed as he was Roger, the Last of the MohiFins.
Not even the great James Fenimore Cooper could have scripted a better tribute to the great people who gave their souls to this beautiful part of New York State. The Tour of Catskills was a three stage event with an opening uphill-ish time trial, and two days of road races that would break the mind and spirit of even the strongest warrior.
There were Finkfrafters galore: Roger, Reggie, James, David, Todd, Death Row John, Jerry and lots of others. The elite race was a small field but with some very strong riders. Bruyneel Academy rider Peter Horn, cat2 strongman Cameron, Colavita pro and local boy Andy Gumpthill (straight off of Missouri), and the Bikereg duo of Alister Ratclif and local boy Justin Lindine. Now it is no secret and Justin and Alister used to race for me for several years, and I hold a special place in my blackened shriveled up heart for them, but when the road tips uphill: look out fo the Flying Fin.
Well, the time trial was pretty fast and everyone was within a few seconds of each other going into the first 80 mile road race. Incredibly, the finish came down to a sprint amongst the predicted strong men (the rest dropped like 4th period French class) and the Colavita pro beat the Fin by a hair. The resulting chaos put the Euro based Horn into the leaders jersey.
The next day was a 71 mile road race which included an almost 5 mile climb just 6 miles from the finish. It was no big secret that Roger would put the hurt into everyone on this climb and go for the win. However, a wrench was thrown in when Alister attacked early in the stage hunting the KOM and that forced the leader and others to chase. When Roger did finally go on the climb, he bought back the remants of the break, and although the attack was described as brutal, the tactics of the day allowed others to not work as hard and the group was still six going into town.
As Justin’s teammate was out all day, he was able to conserve and bounce back after Roger at the finale and win the stage. While we all sat around afterwards, a quick math count also saw that Justin’s bonus time netted him the overall win as well. Great. Roger took third for the day and 4th overall. Not too shabby considering the others in front of him were half his age and pretty darn quick.
All of the Finkrafters finished in style with James scoring a top ten. This race was very hard and difficult to complete after such a long season. It should be noted that I did not even kid myself into racing this year: no thank you!!!! Congrats to all of them for pressing on, now it is time to prepare for next year!