Written by: Admin
The 2012 edition of the Twin Bing Classic will be remembered for mild temperatures and the howling, gusty southwest wind that made the hard course very challenging.
The field of 54 rolled out in a neutralized formation until the race's official start at the top of the hill for their 2-lap trip.
The race began in earnest as the peloton stretched out when it plunged down the first descent and across the 5 miles of unfriendly hills into the strong crosswind. The pace increased along Old 141 as the leading edge sought to thin out the herd going into Bronson before the next push into the eastward hills. The side wind felt the most punishing in this rolling section as riders fought just to stay upright while maintaining their tenuous positions in the bunch. By the midpoint of the D38 section, the race had already been reduced to a lead group of about 20. This group remained bunched together on the blacktop to Climbing Hill in anticipation of the first 'live' ascent out of town.
In the middle section of the feared climb, a small gap opened with an acceleration at the front. Just when the gap looked like it would close, Greg Gleason (CPC) pulled out and further notched up the pace. Matt O'Donnell (Team Kaos) and Caleb Vukovich (unattached) saw a good wheel and were able to jump on with Gleason at the crucial moment. This acceleration was enough to immediately stretch out the others as the hardest part of the climb began. By the crest of the hill, the leaders had a substantial gap. The pursuit soon formed to make chase by the top of the next hill.
The chasers decided to let the 3 escapees hang out in the wind for awhile assuming they'd be able to make a steady rotation and reel the break in once they'd tired themselves out. This was a miscalculation.
Although the breakaway remained in sight, the gap was not reduced by the time the eastern stretch of hills began once again. But about halfway across cracks in the lead appeared as Vukovich was dettached. A few hills after that, O'Donnell was seen to go adrift with Gleason now on his own. This was good news to the remaining chase group of about 10 riders- or so it seemed.
Vukovich was picked up a couple hills before the long descent to the southbound blacktop. Now into the headwind, the chasers became more active with a quick-pull rotation. It wasn't a 100% effort but steady and strong. The chasers thought the leader would surely be caught now in the vicious headwind. O'Donnell was caught about 1/2 way to Climbing Hill and Gleason appeared within reach. This was the final miscalculation.
Although still fairly new to road racing, Greg Gleason is known locally as an outstanding time trialist. Now 3/4 of the way to Climbing Hill, the gap was not closing and Gleason was on the last hill before town.
The pursuit fractured at this point and the pulls became inconsistent. The letup was all it took for Gleason to retain about a 300-yard gap. Thinking about their own interests, the pursuers started to look at each other. By the last corner they would all be racing for 2nd. Now with a slight tailwind through town and victory within sight, Gleason went all-out for his well-deserved win.
The survivors with podium hopes started to jockey for position by the lower part of the hill. At the steepest part of the climb, Joe Savoie (EVCC), Lincoln Eppard (Rasmussen) and Bob Greigg (Powerade/IF) surged. However, Greigg soon could not maintain pace and cracked. Savoie and Eppard continued battling on to the line with Eppard taking 2nd and Savoie 3rd. Greigg struggled on but O'Donnell and Vukovich had something left in their tanks and overtook him for 4th and 5th places, respectively.