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Crit Times: Gripped in Gresham & Vanquished in Vancouver

Published by HPCCycling on 29 Jul 2014

Gripped in Gresham

Words by Joel Fletcher | Photo courtesy Bre Rue

Riders: Josh Liberles, Carl Hoefer, Joel Fletcher, Stephen Bedford, Robin Wessel and Ryan Jarrell.

With nearly everyone on the squad coming into this race having crashed or had major injuries over the past month, HCH didn't quite know what to expect going into the event and most of the riders were just looking to get their crit legs and sensibilities back. This was Joel, Josh and Stephen's first race back after crashes.

 
Joel went of the front of the race from the gun, trying to get a break to stick. After several attempts, he was finally succesful at prising out a gap with Eric Sheagley (Smith & Nephew) and Andrew Coe (Soraz Racing). This break stuck for about half an hour with help from Josh covering moves at the front of the peloton. Joel and the breakaway were pulled back with about 10 laps to go due in large part to big efforts from cyclocross superstar Ryan Trebon and up-and-coming Junior talent Grant McElroy.
 
Coming back from a broken collar bone six weeks ago, Stephen was active during the race but didn't finish due to a broken spoke with under 10 laps to go. Carl chased back a few late moves to keep the field together. The race finished in a bunch sprint with Josh Liberles well positioned to finish 5th, with Joe Dengel (Dr. Will Bar) winning the sprint with some mean fast-twitch action.
 
Our Masters men James Randall and Patrick Palmer went 1-2 in their race. James started his sprint early and held off the field to take his first win in dramatic fashion. Way to show the youngsters how to do it right!!!
 

Vanquished in Vancouver

Riders: Carl Hoefer, Joel Fletcher, Josh Liberles, Brad Winn and Cort Buchholz.
 
Sunday evening, HCH traveled to Vancouver, Washington, for a technical criterium that's always a racer favorite. Again, Joel went off the front from the gun riding quite a few laps solo, eventually being brought back, only to attack again and again. This tactic was repeated numerous times to take pressure off the team and tire out the big sprinters.
 
While the plan wasn't a bad one, a late crash spoiled any chances for a team party when Scott Gray (Team Oregon) went down right in front of Josh and Joel as they were moving up the field with right around two laps to go. Their "sprint" was simply an all-out effort to make it back to the tail end of the lead pack for the final lap, leaving them in bad position and out of gas -- but with their skin intact! Harrison Harb of Guinness Cycling won the race by intiating a late move, then outsprinting the riders who joined him -- Adam Koble, Joe Dengel, Zac Kovalcik and Jeremy Russell.
 

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