One of the last races on the Texas road race calendar is the Chappell Hill Bank Classic Road Race. 2017 was the 21st year for this race…wow! It’s well supported by the sponsoring club, @NorthWestCyclingClub (NWCC) & race director, Val Tiemann. And proceeds benefit the NWCC Junior Racers: NWCC does a phenomenal job with their Junior Racers, so it’s great to help to support such a worthy cause by racing a bike.
Chappell Hill typically draws large fields because it’s a convenient location for riders from Dallas, Houston & Austin. This year’s event took place just a couple of weeks after Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coastal areas. This translated into a lot of hard work by Val & the NWCC in the days leading up to the race.
Fields in 2017 were understandably smaller than normal because so many riders were impacted directly or indirectly by Hurricane Harvey this year. But it speaks volumes for the commitment of the race director team & sponsoring club to pull together so many people to pull off one of the biggest road races on the Texas calendar under challenging conditions.
Chappell Hill is an out-and-back course with a loop that’s raced 1-5 times depending upon the racer’s category. I entered the Women’s 40+ 3/4/5 event, so my race was just 1 loop, which translated into 38 miles.
Chappell Hill takes place on rolling hills that typically don’t see a lot of traffic. There are rolling climbs & it features a KOM/QOM hill on the back side of the loop.
My field raced in a combined start with the Women’s 4/5 & the Junior Men + Junior Women. So, we had a fair amount of newer (and younger) racers in the field, which can be a test of the nerves at times. But I also got to race with some awesome 40+ ladies: Kathy Garrett, Margie Monroy, Yulie Johnson & Robyn Poulson.
It was great to see so many racing friends at the Chappell Hill Road Race. And it was great to have Ino Sofjan riding in the lead vehicle: seeing Ino wave the QOM/KOM jersey from the roof of the car gave us all motivation to sprint for the QOM/KOM.
I felt great during this race even though I was growing a bit weary of the yo-yoing of some of the riders. Because of some missteps on my end, I found myself in a not-so-great position for the QOM/KOM sprint. So I had to carefully thread my way through 2 of the Junior Men during my sprint, only to finish a hair behind the winner of the QOM. But I have to admit, it was pretty cool to see the photo finish of the QOM: Robyn did a stellar job of timing her sprint for the QOM jersey.
We finished the rest of the race mostly as a group & it seemed like it wasn’t a long time later when we were heading to the uphill finish. I’ve had good luck at Chappell Hill over the years, so I was really happy to have a strong sprint finish as I pulled away from my competition on the last climb of the day and finished in 1st place.
Having a strong race at Chappell Hill told me that my legs were ready for the challenge of the Ft Hood State Championship Road Race weekend the next week.