For the 2nd year in a row, the CashCall Mortgage Cycling Team headed up to Bend, OR for the 6 day Cascade Cycling Classic. One of the most difficult stage races of the season, Cascade takes the racers up long mountain climbs, through lava fields, and past ice cold glacial lakes.
The event begins with a fast and short Prologue. Not even 3 miles, a time trial-like event, the prologue sets the GC (General Classification) of the racers heading into stage 1. The organizers changed the prologue from 2011 to a less technical course around the Tetherow Gold Course. CashCall rider Devan Dunn had an amazing ride of 5:08 placing him in 8th place only 6 seconds behind the winner, out of 190 riders.
Stage 1 took the riders up into the mountains with over 6,200ft of climbing over in just 74 miles. The McKenzie Pass Road Race began with a long descent which is always filled with nervous energy as the GC is very close and the field so large. After 20+ miles the racers reached the base of the long climb up to the lava fields where the fireworks really began. 5 of the CashCall racers were with the front group as they crested the climb and headed down towards the town of Sisters, OR. Devan, Michael, Dave and Stefano worked hard to get into the winning break and had the team well represented at the front of the race. Our top finisher of the day, Stefano Barberi finished 1:35 behind the winner on the day.
Stage 2 had racers bringing their time trial bikes, disc wheels and aero equipment back out for the 16.6 mile Crooked River Time Trial. The team had arrived at the event early enough to do a recon ride at the time trial so the riders had a better idea of how to tackle the event and what the course would hold. Devan Dunn clocked the best result for the team placing 41st in the stacked field.
Stage 3 brought another long road race for the team. The Cascade Lakes Road Race began at the Mt. Bachelor Ski Area and it felt like a ski day! The sky was dark with drizzling rain and heavy fog. The dashboard of the team car read an outside temperature of 42 degrees at the 10am start! the trick was to not over-dress, knowing the sun would crack through the clouds and make the last climb a hot one. With just over 90 miles to race, the team gathered together and planned their attack to get in the breaks and ride at the front of the event. Although a relatively flat stage compared to stage 1, the fast speeds and crosswinds would pose the largest threat to the peloton. Lee Muse placed highest for the team, 0:38 behind the winners and in 30th position.
Stage 4 Downtown Bend Criterium. The race organizers and city of Bend do an excellent job planning and promoting the most exciting stage of the race, the Crit. The nature of the course requires that a maximum of 150 riders start the stage, which meant we would begin with 6 instead of 8 riders. Michael Weicht, Devan Dunn, Stefano Barberi and guest rider Connor McCutheon traded turns attacking and getting into breakaways. One move of 6 riders stayed away from the field for over half of the 90 minute event, and it included Connor. As the laps counted down and the field chased hard to set up for a sprint finish, the break was caught and the stage finished with a sprint won by Carlos Alzate (Exergy).
The Cascade Classic organizers save the best, and the hardest stage, for last. Awbrey Butte Circuit Race is a fast 17-mile route with short punchy climbs. To give you an idea of how hard this stage was, 144 racers began the stage and 92 finished it. Although the finish came down to a sprint, the 14%+ climb to the KOM shelled racers every lap. The race started at 1:00pm, making it in the heat of the day. Locals were out on the side of the road with their garden hoses, spraying arches of ice cold water for the racers to pass under. On the last of the 4 laps, Devan Dunn attacked after the KOM with 1 other rider. They had 5k to the finish and they gained nearly 30 seconds on the field! The moved looked as if it would stick, only to be swallowed up at the 1k point! Devan and Michael finished at the front of the race with Lee and Dave close behind.
Devan Dunn ended up being the teams highest placed rider for the event in 35th overall. Each member of the team rode very well and did their part in working towards the team goals and learning along the way. Thank you Bend and Casacade Cycling Classic for a great event and wonderful hospitality. We will be back in 2013!
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