At the Wilmington Grand Prix this past weekend, Pete Warner soloed his way up on Friday to participate in the inaugural category 2/3 Omnium Stage Race. Unfortunately, due to the unique scheduling and timing on the calendar, more teammates weren’t able to make the trek. But, as Pete alluded to during the weekly run-up, “This race is all about having fun. No pressure. Looking forward to spending time with my supportive wife while not racing.” Hmmm…a little mini vacation (of course he had to toss in a stage race into the vacation plans!).
The Stage Race commenced with the 3 mile Monkey Hill Prologue Time Trial on Friday evening at Brandywine Park. Although the promoter mentioned “technical”…”same course made famous during the Tour DuPont”… many riders had no idea what this was going to be like. Oh, man, were folks in for a bit of shock, including Pete. Depending on what letter your last name started with, Mother Nature either smiled upon you with some intermittent sprinkles and sun or she cursed you with a monsoon. We think the A thru C’s and the S thru Z’s captured the brunt of her anger as depicted in Pete’s video below. Yep, that familiar voice is Joe Jefferson rousing the riders up to the finish on Monkey Hill! You may hear the snippet of water bottles floating down I-95. Pete was a bit disappointed to finish 17th, but he was more than happy to make it through in one piece. Memorable for sure!
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/24126317 w=400&h=300]
Wilmington Grand Prix Prologue from Peter Warner on Vimeo.
The Criterium race took place on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in downtown Wilmington. Since EVERYONE knew that getting a prime starting spot is critical on this course, swords were being drawn WELL before staging began. Unfortunately, Pete’s staging strategy backfired when the pace car didn’t rollup BEFORE everyone dashed to the line…whoops! So for the added thrill, Pete ended up at the back of the 90 man field. Yowza! As Pete described it, “The first 20 minutes I was running from the guillotine of riders blowing up, crashes and the bungee cord effect.” Although it was a big effort to work his way toward the front, Pete knew he had time to recover and pace the rest of the race on his terms. Pete’s not a crit specialist, so he just wanted to make sure he finished safely and possibly add some GC points. Mission accomplished with what he says as, “THE most satisfying 14th place I can remember.”
Crit Finish Video (Congrats to the North Tek-Aria team on the win)
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/24126052 w=400&h=300]
Wilmington GP Criterium Cat 2/3 Finish from Pete Custer on Vimeo.
After an evening of probably drinking too many Dogfish IPA’s (this was a vacation after all, right?), Pete was ready to try and work some magic during the 81 mile Road Race Sunday morning. Well, let’s fast forward to the meaningful part and hear it as Pete described it to the team:
“Today’s 81 mile road race was nothing short of something you dream about. A full rolling enclosure with endless amounts of motos & police to guide the field and keep us safe. Incredible organization by the promoter and support from the City of Wilmington! We felt like Pros for a day.
Pete Warner ended up getting in a move around 55 miles into the race which swelled to 10 riders willing to work. At one point, the lead stretched out to a minute on the field. Pete said later that he was really happy to see his buddy Pete Custer (North Tek-Aria) had made the move. It got to be pretty clear that Custer and Warner were the strongest of the group. Around 68 miles in, guys started missing pulls. Warner told Custer it was go time and to follow. They attacked the break and got some room. A Kelly guy bridged up but the others finally reeled them in about 4 miles later. Then naturally nobody wanted to keep working. The moto told the group they had 45 seconds. Warner knew he had to try and get away again (fyi…race was fast, covered 82 miles in 3 hrs). This move was doomed. It was sort of unintentional, but when Warner went to pull on a slight incline, he gapped the group, looked back, [may have said a few curse words to himself], and then just started pedaling harder.
TO HIS DELIGHT, Custer jumped up to him alone. Without a word said, they just drilled it for the next 6-7 miles to the finish…on the rivet big time. Ok, Warner did ask Custer for water since he had lost a bottle and every time he pulled through he saw a damn Deer Creek bottle hanging in his back pocket. Warner is his boss, in the business world, he has to share with him!
Pete described this as an absolutely unbelievable experience. The race was on major highways shutdown with police escorts and the last part had them rolling into a major metropolitan city alone!!! With the glorious downtown skyline in sight, they made the final turn onto the 1/4 mile homestretch and Warner told Custer to “ENJOY IT! WE did it!” Custer rolled across first to take a well earned victory and Warner placed a rewarding 2nd. The field came in about 15 seconds behind. They had swallowed the break Warner knew was doomed. This is what racing is all about!!! Warner said, “that it was made even more special in being able to share the glory with great friend. I’m going to savor this one for a LONG time. A story book ending!”
With Pete’s 2nd place road race result, he finished 5th on the GC. What a great weekend for Bike Doctor!!! Special shout out to our Bike Doctor Sponsor who got Pete up and rolling on his new Cannondale CAAD10 frameset along with some of the new Mavic tires. I guess that bike is fast enough!
Road Race Finish:
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/24121201 w=400&h=300]
Wilmington Grand Prix 2/3 Road Race Finish from Peter Warner on Vimeo.
Bank of America Wilmington GP Cat 2/3 Road Race Podium
Here’s a great write-up by the Delaware Online News Journal: LINK