By Curtis Luckett
We headed over to Eucha, Oklahoma for the annual Eucha Classic Road Race. This year there was a new course, that wasn’t as hilly as in the past. However, the racers make the race hard, not the course. This was no exception with a pretty loaded field anchored by several riders from Tulsa Tough, Evoke Racing and Arapahoe Resources. Both local teams (Three Happy Cows and Fayetteville Wheelmen) were well represented.
At the start line Luis Galaviz called an audible, he was just going to hit out from the start. It wasn’t part of the original plan, but it seemed like a good idea as we were all staged at the front and we would need a miracle to win the race anyways.
With 79.99 miles to go Luis had the gap he wanted. Immediately Alejandro Padilla (Arapahoe Resources) took the shoulder around the field and set off in pursuit of Luis. The two joined forces and created a gap of around 30 seconds as the Tulsa wheelmen took control of the peloton. From their pace it seemed they only wanted to keep the gap manageable and let the escapees fry.
Going up the first climb of the day Rob Bell (Evoke Racing) put in a noticeable dig, causing a few guys to be distanced. However, the chase was soon back to its metronomic nature and the race regrouped behind.
30 miles in I flatted. After a messy wheel change I set off trying to chase back on. I jumped from the draft of the wheel truck to a photographer’s moto then back around the wheel truck to make it back on as soon as the field hit one of the many climbs that litter the Eucha course. The chase only lasted 3 min, but it seemed like an eternity. During the chase back on I had to put down 380 watts to average 28.5 mph. After cresting the climb, the time of 1:40 started spreading around the pack, the break was a little more powerful than initially thought.
Soon after more rumors started swirling around the peloton about the break taking a wrong turn. Soon rumor became reality, as we saw the lead car now in front of us and now Luis or Padilla to be seen.
After a pee break we, snaked our way back towards Eucha and without warning the race started exploding. Using the crosswinds, Josh Estes attacked through an open section of flat road. This set off some kind of reaction that I honestly can’t attest to what was going on around me as I was buried trying to get across the dozens of gaps forming, people were blowing left and right. Everyone who was not at the front was in full panic mode. When I came to, there were 15 or so riders there. I saw my teammate Gerald Drummond there, as well as local strongmen Richard Holt and Will Frank (Three Happy Cows). The rest of the group contained mostly Tulsa Wheelmen and Arapahoe Resources riders, who wasted no time in starting the fireworks again.
Things were chaotic going into the feed zone. The lead group was now down a few guys and there were three distinct groups all chasing each other. Over the next 20 miles there was a constant disarray, as groups were forming and being absorbed. The one constant was the aggression of the Tulsa Wheelmen.
Going into the base of the final climb there was a small regrouping, then Richard Holt attacked on the descent. He was brought back going into the base of the climb, as the group imploded on the initial slopes. The final climb relatively slow as the frenzied nature of the final 20 miles had put a lot riders in difficulty. This was especially true for me as I was toast less 100 meters into the climb.
Janne Hamalainen and Jason Waddell (Tulsa Wheelmen) finished 1st and 2nd while Evan Bybee (Araphoe Resources) rounded out the podium. I ended up 9th place, while Gerald Drummond was the top finisher from NWA with a solid 6th.
My stats (71kg)
Time: 3hrs 14 min
Avg Speed: 24.2 mph
Climbing: 4000ish ft
Distance: 77.4 miles
Avg Power: 243W
Normalized Power: 293W
Total Work: 2815 KJ
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