This was the second year for the UCI race and I had to decide whether to volunteer or to go and be a spectator, a.k.a., fan boy. I chose the latter.
Last year I volunteered and it was chaotic. I’m still not sure if I went to the right location to be a course marshal. Communication to the volunteers was awful and I did not give them a second chance. This year I went as a fan.
My location last year was on a corner at Prettyboy Dam Road and Falls Road and I found parking right beside the corner at Bushland Road. I drove back to the same spot.
I had mapped out an outer loop that would take me into Pennsylvania and an inner loop that would simply circumvent the Prettyboy Reservoir. I miscalculated the amount of time to drive to northern Baltimore County and did not leave myself enough time to ride the outer loop. That was okay. In a perfect world I was going to ride the longer route before the race went by and then the shorter one after the race passed.
When the course hit the Prettyboy loop they would pass by my location twice as they also would ride the inner loop twice. I thought that was the best place to be without being on a long steep climb.
I left my car and rode one mile on Prettyboy Dam Road when I realized something was amiss. My radar wasn’t displaying on my Wahoo head unit. That was because I forgot to put it on my bike. I never ride without a helmet and rarely ride on the road without my radar light. I went back for it and started over.
I then only had time to take the short loop. It is hilly and is used by the race to start to break it up. As I came upon an intersection at Beckleysville and Gunpowder Roads I saw the large MDOT trucks and wondered if there was a construction job nearby. Then it became apparent. The trucks were there to block road access and they were blocking me from going through. I told a Baltimore County cop that I needed to get to my car that was parked down at the reservoir and he waved me through.
I went up the KOM climb thinking all along at the Tour of Denmark they call it they KOH, or King of the Hill, because they don’t have mountains. Maryland does, but not in Baltimore County. You have to go to Western Maryland to Garrett and Frostburg to find mountains in Maryland. It was nice to see the people gathered here to cheer the riders for King of the Hill.
I descended to the dam and entered the green zone. This was in conjunction with a feed zone and was where riders could discard their trash. But if they were taking on fresh bottle or food in a mussett, this is where once they have the items in their pockets or on their bikes, they discard these as well. A mussett would especially be a nice souvenir.
The crowds were starting to assemble in the feed zone. But crowds here were nothing like in Europe. Maybe 50 or 100 people or so. Still, I wanted some place were I could be alone.
The hill coming out of the reservoir was perfect. I had carried some yellow chalk with me ans stopped to write T-O-M-S on the road. This was for Toms Skuijins, a Latvian rider and one of my favorite riders in the peloton.
Last year Toms was at the front of the breakaway when they went past. Today he was in the pack but would breakaway aftewards. He was in a solo break but caught and passed bu his teammate, Matthias Skjelmose, on his way to victory. Toms took 5th.
Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) won in a dominant fashion the second edition of the Maryland Cycling Classic in Baltimore on Sunday. The Danish champion attacked from a five-rider front group inside of two laps to go and crossed the line with over two minutes on the chase group.
The first major selection in the tough race, made even more difficult by the hot temperatures, came with 65 miles of the 121 mile race to go as the field splintered leaving around 35 riders in the front. More aggressive racing led to a final group of six battling for the win on the first of four city circuits. The group also included Toms Skujiņš (Lidl-Trek), Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech), Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) and Lucas Hamilton (Jayco-AlUla).
Using team numbers to their advantage, Skjelmose and Skujiņš launched multiple attacks until the Latvian managed to get free in the final 20 miles. Skjelmose waited for his moment to make his countermove when his teammate was reeled in and left everyone behind.
Powless launched his sprint with 200 meters to go to take second place, ahead of Houle. Hamilton finished fourth and Skujiņš, held on for fifth. (Source: CyclingNews.com)
NOTES: Forget sticks of chalk. They actually make a spray chalk. There are a number of roads around the reservoir that beg exploring on a bike. If I go back be sure to map these roads. And wear a potato costume for Toms.