Walburg 2012 - 60+ by John Bartle
This may have been the largest 60+ field in Texas bike racing history: 22 gents plus one lady (Donna Lakomski, allowed to race up to two age categories higher).
Most of the first lap was benign, with only a few exploratory forays. The weather conditions were friendly for Walburg, winds about 10 mph so it was easy to move around in the pack. I chose to keep no more than two of the usual suspects in front of me so I was positioned mostly in the front six and did not look back.
The almost inevitable attack came on the “feed zone”/finish hill and Dave Parks gapped the field. No-one went with him, and an organized and resolute chase ensued. He was caught within a couple of miles. It takes a lot of determination and strength to stay away on the Walburg course, and Parks is no fool. At the catch it was Race On. I was able to stay near the front and did not look back. The field came apart; there were eight, then five; Parks, Debarbieris, Armand, Steve James and myself. We formed a smooth-working echelon in the crosswind, which had picked up, and got to work tapping out the last 15 miles.
Everyone seemed content to wait for the sprint. We bunched at about 500 meters to go. No one went for it. Parks took the head of the group – in the leeward gutter, and I had his wheel. At 200 meters he sprinted away from us. I gave it what I had and did not look back. It was not nearly enough but I was clear of the other three.
Second – I had not hoped for anything better, so a fine beginning to my road season. And I will try to continue with what appears to have been a successful strategy: don’t look back.