2004 Laurel Flyer Road Race

Racer: Joe Kaehler and Bob Zinn
Date: June 12, 2004 10:00AM
Location: Grand Canyon Airport, just west of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
Distance: 23.6 miles


Report by Joe Kaehler (highgear)

Having that first race under my belt from the previous year, I was eager to pick up where I left off for the 2004 season. I was given information about a race in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania from a friend who has a cabin in that area. I knew of this event in mid-February. Winter still had its grip on us but I was riding feverishly on the trainer several times a week since the first of the year. As quick as the weather broke outside, I managed to get 755 miles in before the June 12, 2004 race date. Despite his lighter training schedule than mine, I encouraged my friend, Bob Zinn, to join me in this event. With his recent purchase of a Trek 5200, I assured him he would not finish last and I made that statement repeatedly to him. Bob and I left Hanover early that Saturday morning for the 3 hour ride to Tioga County. Prior to his arrival at my house, I had my usual pre-ride breakfast of oatmeal, toast, orange juice and cereal. This meal has always worked favorably for me in the past for cycling events.

Arriving in Wellsboro, Bob and I quickly registered and drove the course via truck to clue us in on what to expect during the race. The start time of the race was nearing so we went back to the starting area at the Wellsboro Airport to prep for the race. Bob and I ride a few miles of the course on our bikes as a warm-up. Blue skies and 70 degree temperatures were the order for the day. As the starting time of 10:00am got close, Bob and I assembled at the starting line on the runway of the airport. Gathered with ninety-eight other riders, we listened to the brief instructions from the race directors and eagerly awaited the start of the race. The countdown was on and at the mark the group of riders made their way down the runway. The excitement of being in a race created a feeling inside of me that words can't describe. Talk was minimal as the sound of nearly two hundred wheels humming along was music to our ears. We did a u-turn on to another stretch of runway to make our way to the country roads of Tioga County. Elbow to elbow, wheel to wheel. That is how it was for the first five miles at an average speed of 29mph. Changing positions in the pack required a skill I lacked experience in. I was positioned about a quarter of the way from the front so I didn't believe it to be advantageous to get out front so early.

I wasn't sure where Bob was in all of this as I stayed focused on my position to avoid getting caught up in a collision. Coming off a slight downhill the course went into an S-turn that immediately ascended into the first climb of the day. I made an error and got behind some slow traffic navigating the turns prior to the climb. The sound of chains coming off and missed gears perplexed me because most of this is caused by lack of proper lubrication of the chain. I wouldn't be confident showing up on race day with unprepared equipment like that. Despite my brief setback, I was able to push hard on the ascent to stay on the tail end of the peloton. After peaking the summit, I settled in with riders all around hitting a top speed of 54 mph on the descent. That number didn't faze me as far as being dangerous, I was enjoying the moment going that fast and being so close in a pack of riders. Following this tremendous downhill, the course had us on a stretch of flat road before our next climb. The start of the second climb was when I got dropped off the wheel of the lead pack. As good a shape I thought I was in, I simply couldn't maintain that level of riding for another fifteen miles of the twenty-three mile race. My odometer and my heart rate monitor were my companions as I checked them frequently to guide my pace for the duration of this event.

I lost sight of the lead group and was on my own for the remainder of the race save for the last mile. This scenario didn't work well in my favor because of the energy I was using to maintain a respectable pace without being in a paceline. The course had us do a second loop and a few cyclists passed me here and there but I couldn't hang on their wheel as they had offered. I made my final turn off of the loop and started the last segment of the race on a steady but not overwhelming climb. It was here that I was able to pass a few cyclists and as I turned off the public road onto the airport property I went into a sprint to keep my position.

The final tally for me was a 46th place finish out of 98 riders. I finished the 23.6 mile race in one hour and sixteen minutes and 24 seconds for an 18.534mph average. My prediction for Bob was true as he did not finish last but managed to finish in the 77th position with a time of 1:28:57 and an avereage speed of 15.919 mph. Bob had not trained for the race and roke his 100 mile mark for the year during the race. I keep trying to get him out on his bike. The winner of the race averaged 21.166 mph. For my level of riding, I was pleased with the results. I learned quite a bit from witnessing the elevated level of racing and have taken a step closer to knowing what it takes to achieve it!

Note from Bob Zinn:

The beginning of the race was really exciting with the 98 riders traveling down the airport runway with all of the colors flying by. I was right on Highgear's wheel as we were coming off the runnway and through the tight and narrow S-turn path. Once on the road the pace picked up quickly as riders sprinted up hill and over the crest. There was a very long decent and although it was donwn-hill, I was winded during this first section of the course. The riders who entered the race were excellent riders who train specifically for races. devils cork screw was the begining of the first real climb and the separation of riders took place starting at this section. After the first climb I knew I was not going to beable to keep up. I was 30 pounds above my racing weight and carrying that much weight up hills takes a beating on you. Although I finished with an average speed of 15.9 mph, the poor showing was expected with little to no training time prior to the race. Most of the racers put over 100 miles in just a week end.

2004 Laurel Flyer Race Results

Overall Finish Order

Overall Finish Order Race Number Name Time Race Category
1 55 Roger Edgecombe 1:06:54 Male 30-39
2 56 Thorr Pharr 1:06:56 Male 30-39
3 32 Jay Gaunt 1:06:56 Male 40-49
4 94 John Mahoney 1:06:57 Male 30-39
5 29 John Beers 1:06:57 Male 40-49
6 97 Ron Ziemian 1:06:58 Male 40-49
7 3 Randy Eadie 1:06:59 Male 30-39
8 93 Jason Schiltz 1:06:59 Male 19-29
9 81 Glen Hance 1:07:08 Male 40-49
10 83 Craig Matthews 1:07:16 Male 40-49
11 82 Rob O'Leavy 1:07:34 Male 30-39
12 34 Kevin Andy 1:07:55 Male 40-49
13 28 Ed Munch 1:08:04 Male 40-49
14 66 Francis Craig 1:08:43 Male 30-39
15 39 Larry Henderson 1:08:44 Male 40-49
16 74 Jeremy Wheeler 1:09:23 Male 19-29
17 85 John Hall 1:09:33 Male 40-49
18 80 Carl Whalen Jr 1:09:37 Male 40-49
19 57 Timothy Wynn 1:09:38 Male 40-49
20 2 Phillip Buckwalter 1:09:38 Male 30-39
21 62 Adam Coffman 1:09:38 Male 19-29
22 38 Ervin Blank 1:09:39 Male 40-49
23 21 Robert Davis 1:09:42 Male 50+
24 72 Scott Miller 1:10:51 Male 30-39
25 60 Matt Potter 1:11:03 Male 19-29
26 1 Todd Heckler 1:11:14 Male 30-39
27 69 Steven Beyer 1:11:15 Male 40-49
28 77 Jeff Krupa 1:11:15 Male 40-49
29 58 Frank Herr 1:11:23 Male 40-49
30 68 Jason Laznick 1:11:25 Male 30-39
31 11 Lindley Pryor 1:11:27 Male 19-29
32 35 David Mead 1:11:27 Male 40-49
33 42 Matt Prosseda 1:12:45 Male 40-49
34 78 Tim Morey 1:12:45 Male 19-29
35 17 Pam Gass 1:12:46 Female 40-49
36 40 Brian Smith 1:12:46 Male 40-49
37 33 John Hamilton 1:12:46 Male 40-49
38 25 Jay Endres 1:12:49 Male 50+
39 41 Marks, Randy & Steven 1:14:39 Tandem (One Lap only)
40 43 Mark Newruck 1:15:04 Male 40-49
41 59 Ryan Morales 1:15:05 Male 19-29
42 75 Scott Frison 1:15:29 Male 19-29
43 73 John Pesock 1:15:40 Male 40-49
44 6 Eric Grist 1:16:17 Male 30-39
45 61 Nathan Larson 1:16:22 Male 14-18
46 44 Joseph Kaehler 1:16:24 Male 40-49
47 88 Mike Bartlett 1:16:25 Male 30-39
48 96 Heather Burcher 1:16:25 Female 30-39
49 19 Jane Fyffe 1:16:28 Female 40-49
50 54 Darryl Heckle 1:16:37 Male 30-39
51 98 Joe Allis 1:19:01 Male 50+
52 30 Russell Gombosi 1:19:37 Male 40-49
53 10 Nate Sayre 1:19:55 Male 19-29
54 71 John Weiner 1:20:27 Male 40-49
55 27 Douglas Fyffe 1:21:22 Male 50+
56 24 Jim Hawbaker 1:21:27 Male 50+
57 15 Tracey Covell 1:22:01 Female 30-39
58 37 Mike Butler 1:22:09 Male 40-49
59 49 Gregory Dalton 1:22:42 Male 14-18
60 79 Tom Kaufmann 1:23:41 Male 40-49
61 12 Joseph McCracken 1:23:54 Male 19-29
62 5 Kevin McCracken 1:23:54 Male 30-39
63 9 Thomas Jones 1:23:57 Male 19-29
64 22 Ron Herr 1:24:52 Male 50+
65 13 Dylan Guelig 1:24:53 Male 14-18
66 14 Melissa Stokes 1:25:00 Female 20-29
67 4 Michael Stednitz 1:25:01 Male 30-39
68 76 Mike Mitstifer 1:25:02 Male 30-39
69 46 David Jelliff 1:25:05 Male 40-49
70 91 Trish James 1:25:21 Female 40-49
71 92 Bob Redcay 1:25:54 Male 40-49
72 86 Mike Wall 1:27:20 Male 50+
73 67 Jen Alt 1:27:21 Female 20-29
74 89 Stephen Keck 1:27:52 Male 30-39
75 52 Jeff Finn 1:28:12 Male 19-29
76 47 Marie Landis 1:28:57 Female 40-49
77 45 Robert Zinn 1:28:57 Male 40-49
78 23 Joe Golenski 1:28:57 Male 50+
79 64 Loris Pizzini 1:29:51 Male 50+
80 20 Bill Hoyt 1:30:09 Male 40-49
81 84 Dave Hlaswick 1:31:51 Male 50+
82 26 Donald Wilcox 1:33:43 Male 50+
83 16 Richelle Fessler 1:34:17 Female 40-49
84 50 Pamela Paule 1:34:30 Female 50+
85 87 John Mihalick 1:34:41 Male 40-49
86 7 Matthew Fortin 1:35:29 Male 30-39
87 70 Judy Keim 1:37:34 Female 30-39
88 51 Jack Goodwin 1:46:02 Male 50+
89 90 Wendy Redcay 1:46:24 Female 14-18
90 18 Bridget Fairburn 1:48:04 Female 40-49
91 53 David Dorn 1:50:25 Male 30-39
92 65 Larry Peterson 1:59:03 Male 50+