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Mad River Riders Time Trial: Racing Arizona

You might think that more than 18 miles of heavy-breathing, red-line riding and battling the vagaries of twisting, rolling terrain and patches of occasionally bumpy pavement would have been challenge enough for cyclists riding in Tuesday evening’s Mad River Riders time trial through Granville Gulf. 

But the challenge that had all riders talking in the post-race confab was the harassment presented by some knucklehead driving a decrepit green van. Beeping, swerving toward riders, belligerently declaring his opposition to any kind of share-the-road principle and in general indulging in behavior that fell somewhere between obnoxious and injury-threatening, the guy was an absolute standard-bearer for total idiocy. If you are that driver reading this, shame on you, and, more positively, thanks to the vast, vast majority of drivers who politely respect cyclists’ right to the road. 

But we digress . . . and so back to the drama of the race itself. Ideal weather conditions – upper 60s, windless, partly cloudy – resulted in uniformly outstanding times; in fact, every participating rider averaged over 20 miles an hour. That’s a first for this, the longest course in the summer-long series.

The pre-race script appeared destined to play out as so many others in this series have with Taylor Hubbard winning and everyone else grasping for whatever glory might be left in the dust of the fast fella from Fayston. This time, however, Hubbard’s hegemony faced an interesting twist – former local boy David Glick, now living in Arizona and riding nationally in the pro ranks, was back home for a family visit. At the start line, Hubbard admitted having qualms about Glick maybe being a bit too quick.

Meanwhile, Glick was playing a crafty, pre-race mind game, trying to entrap Hubbard in artfully spun web of complacency. No reason to worry, Glick assured Hubbard. He (Glick) was out of shape – a declaration that, given his manifestly lean and sinewy bod, was a self-evident falsehood. He would be riding a regular road bike, not an aerodynamic time-trial rocket like Hubbard’s. He was aging, having now reached the oh-so-superannuated age of 30. Worst of all, he was behind schedule in the leg-shaving ritual that is part of a pro cyclist’s life, and the stubble on his legs would undoubtedly cause excessive wind drag.

 No one was buying any of it, least of all Hubbard. Even so, when all pedal strokes had been completed (and encounters with the evil green machine had been averted), Hubbard again stood at the top of the podium, with a time – a personal best – of 44:49. That was more than a minute and a half better than the second-place Glick, with Steve Utter filling out the top three with a time of 47:12.

Meanwhile, after a big female turnout in the opening race of the time-trial series three weeks ago, Marilyn Ruseckas alone showed up to carry the banner for womanhood. As a multiple world and national champion, this was, of course, a role she was eminently qualified to play. So in the women’s division, the winner was . . . Marilyn Ruseckas. And a shout-out also goes to Devlin Shea, the youngest rider in the field by 13 years. In an admirable ride, Shea ensured that youth was served.

Next up in the series is the 4.2-mile ride from Warren Village to the top of Roxbury Gap on Tuesday, July 31, starting at 6:30 p.m. With the recent repaving of the top of Roxbury Mountain Road, times should be wicked fast. And it is not too early to make a prediction: Taylor Hubbard will not win this one. The big guy doesn’t fancy his chances on uphill time trials and – do we hear chickens squawking? – is getting as far removed from this race as possible, escaping with the family on vacation to Africa.

All race results and details are at madriverriders.com. Remember: Race entry is free and anyone with a bike, a helmet and a need for speed is encouraged to participate.

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