David August Trimble’s NEVERSINK
Words by David August Trimble / Photos by JP Bevins
Thank you to the team that made the 2014 Neversink Invitational successful. Without our friends who donated their time we would just be riding around the country with empty water bottles.
Women’s race director: Hannah Trimble
Men’s race directors: Pavel Marosin, Johnny Hsu
Timing and scoring: Pavel Marosin
Event logistics coordinator: Al Barouh
Support vehicles: K.O. Campbell, Mary Trimble, Sarah Gearhart, Stephanie Thompson, Megan Wachter, Rachel Mauro, Vance Trimble
Broome Wagon: Ben Miller
Moto: Kai Ando
Creative Director: Jonah Birns
Course Markings Support: Sarah Gearhart, Julian Darwall
Photographers: JP Bevins, Izzy Cohan Francois Lebeau, Katie Friedman, Donalrey Nieva
BBQ Team: Dave Sheinkopf, Fiona Ryan, Sergei Tiourine, Jenny Lee, David White
Trophy fabrication: Jenny Lee, Alma Madlener, Evan Murphy
Beer: The Other Half Brewery
Paramedic: Barry Rausch
Race Venue: Claryville Volunteer Fire Department
DJ: David White
Cleanup Crew: Everyone
I began the day on my bicycle as a competitor in the race. I was already tired from the stress of organizing long before Pavel Marosin dropped the green flag, but I still was happy to roll out with everyone.
The tactically baffling trend of attacking from the gun continued this year with Colin Tanner, Roger Parmelee, Evan Cooper and Neil Bezdek (again) disappearing during the first mile. John Kniesly, James Mahlmann and Eugene Boronow escaped a few miles later to form the chase group. The peloton flirted with the idea of riding fast before settling into a slow grind up Frost Valley Road. The legendary motorhead Jack Drury rode off the front until Julian Darwall appeared at the head of the peloton and pulled him back on the early slopes of Slide Mountain.
The ascent up Slide Mountain was gentle enough that nearly everyone remained in contact over the top and down the long descent to Big Indian. I led the race downhill, which was better than my usual position of having to frantically chase back on. The field stretched in a long line on the steep grades, but compacted as the road flattened.
When we turned onto Highway 28, the leaders held a four-minute lead with the chase group at two minutes. A coordinated pursuit was needed with so many dangerous men up the road; everyone’s team tactics malfunctioned instead.
First, eight out of nine the 5th Floor guys were unwilling to take a pull unless a camera was present. 5th Floor rookie Mark Hagan spent significant time on the front, but everyone else was happy to save their legs instead of setting it up for Ryan Fisher who, with some help, could have won the race. Simply because Bezdek sported a matching Red Hook Crit Milano jersey, Al Barouh claimed his teammate was up the road and wouldn’t pull. Top favorite Jonathan Retseck rode in the pack without breaking a sweat while the remaining Sixcycle teammates were convinced it was their duty to annoyingly block anyone who attempted to take a pull as they had two guys in the breakaway. None of these tactics can be faulted because at Neversink no one is under instructions from their DS to ‘affect the race’.
The race came alive on the Peekamoose climb right as I flatted on the first steep slopes. I made it slowly up on my rear rim and was greeted by the race crew who were offering support. JP Bevins took a break from shooting at the peak to help fix my puncture. I laid out a new tube on the ground, and he placed the ruined one next to it. When it was time to reinstall the tube, I had lost track of which one was good and replaced the wrong tube. I gave up at this point and adopted my second role as a photographer.
After Peekamoose groups scattered over many miles of beautiful Catskill roads. The real picture emerged on the new Red Bush Road climb as tired members of the original breakaway slid backward while the stronger riders in the peloton bridged to form new groups. At the top, Bezdek had dropped all of his breakaway companions while Retseck joined Boronow, Kniesly and Cooper. Meanwhile, Barouh, Fisher and Robert Constantino steadily made up ground.
Neil Bezdek enjoyed a coke along the reservoir as he waited to be joined by the chase group of Kniesly, Boronow, Retseck and Cooper. Once united, this five-rider group soft pedaled as they prepared for the showdown on Sugarloaf.
The coke didn’t work well enough and Bezdek cramped early on Sugarloaf and let the leaders go. Cooper fell back quickly while Retseck broke his rear wheel. This left a man-against-man fight between Kniesly and Boronow.
Kniesly typically never loses the massive smile on his face, but during the steep ramps on Sugarloaf a mean grimace was ominously in its place. This rare look of death corresponded with an ever-increasing gap on his only remaining competitor. Kniesly led the race at the top with a 10 second lead and looked set for victory.
Five tough miles cruelly remained at the top of Sugarloaf. On Red Hill Knolls Road there is a short yet steep climb that is ignored in the KOM standings. It was on this climb that Boronow caught the leader and glued himself to his rear wheel down the wide-open descent and onto the last gravel climb. The final ascent was a pure duel that pitted experience versus brute strength. Kniesly had forced the pace the entire day and appeared the stronger rider. However, Eugene has decades of experience under his belt and hid a little energy in reserve for the final sprint. The final meters ticked down, and the riders matched each others pace closely. With 100 meters remaining Boronow wound up a sprint, which immediately pushed Kniesly’s tired legs past their limit. After 75 miles and many thousand feet of climbing, having the competition boiling down to the last moment is racing at its best. Eugene Boronow is the new Neversink Invitational champion with a final time of 3:39:37.
Ryan Fisher, who had a fine ride back from the peloton, took third place. Robert Constantino, who flew under the radar all day, finished fourth. Al Barouh edged out Neil Bezdek for fifth and Evan Cooper ended a long day in seventh place. Thomas Conti, Denis Desgagnes and Malcolm Rollo completed the top 10. Neil Bezdek led the race over the first three climbs to win the KOM standings. James Trimble was the last of the 35 total riders to complete the course.
-David August Trimble : Trimble Racing
I’ll be publishing more of my photos of the race before the weeks end, and will provide a Flickr link to a gallery of photos too numerous to put on the site.
Thank you for another amazing racing experience David, you’re really setting a new precedent.
-JP Bevins : No Life Like This Life