When nobody was leaving the pack behind during the strategic portion of yesterday's Fort Meade Cherry Bomb Criterium, Joe Deaton reasoned that he had a strong chance to win.
It was all coming down to the final sprint, the mad rush of bicyclists to the wire, and that's show time for Deaton, a 34-year-old veteran of 20 racing years.
"This was my type of race," he said. "I'm a sprinter, fast at the
finish, and there weren't any breakaways. Here, there is a big straightaway to the finish and I was able to maneuver and get in a good spot."
Deaton, of the Mid-Atlantic Velo Club in Northern Virginia, also received some help from another's misfortune en route to the $400 winner's share of the $2,000 purse.
Just to Deaton's rear, Dan Stimpson of Annapolis, went hurtling through the air about 150 yards from the finish line.
"Somebody blew out right behind me," said Deaton. "And it was kind of like a sigh of relief for me. I knew nobody would be coming from behind."
Stimpson suffered abrasions to his arms and legs but was not seriously injured.
Of the 103 starters, 78 were still around for the final -- in the 30-lap race around a mile-long course at the Fort Meade parade grounds. The annual race is sponsored by the College Park Bicycle Club.
The senior 2/3 field featured the top amateur riders in this area but was not as strong as the 1991 field because it is an Olympic year.
"This year it was more amateur style," said David Pro, who finished 18th. "Nothing like last year. A lot of tough guys weren't here."
"There weren't any like pre-Olympic riders," said Deaton.
Pro, from West Chester, Pa., collected $120 in "prime" money, incentives offered during the running of the race -- like leading a certain lap.
"There's more of a chance of getting to the front earlier," said Pro. "With five laps left, the race gets real crazy and there's a rush for first place. I'm happy with the way this worked out. It's safer to go for the prime money and this definitely made it worth getting up at 6 a.m."
L The field averaged 29 mph overall and 40 mph in the sprints.
Normally, teammates help each other in jockeying for position, but Deaton, who was running independently, said that was not a major factor in this race.
"There wasn't a lot of teamwork," he said. "Teams were doing some good blocking, but they weren't able to put anything together. That helped me.
"I had a bad start, but with 10 laps left, I was exerting myself to go. I settled in right at the end."
The cyclists enjoyed ideal weather conditions, including overcast skies.
Top 20 finishers:
1. Joe Deaton, Mid-Atlantic Velo Club, Vienna, Va. 2. Jon Birdenbaugh, VC Baltimore Specialized, Baltimore. 3. Dwayne Clinton, Pa Keystone VC, Lancaster, Pa. 4. Roger Lomshek, Allegheny (Pa.) Cycling. 5. Robert Spencer, Md. Cycle Libre, Towson. 6. John Heath, Va HDK Schwinn, West Point, Va. 7. Craig Mattern, ACA Tm Sports, Coroapolis, Pa. 8. Gene Petrella, Md. NCVC Metro, Ellicott City. 9. Tim Rapp, Va Conte, Reston, Va. 10. Chris Henry, Tm Extreme, Hyattsville, Md. 11. Corey Fisher, HDK Schwinn, Virginia Beach, Va. 12. David Black, BCRC. 13. Alan Repp, Heilig Meyers, Richmond, Va. 14. Todd Butler, Pa. Alarms BCC, Harleysville, Pa. 15. Roger Carter, Md. CPBC, Catonsville. 16. Carey Steelman, Md. South Mtn Velo, Denton, Md. 17. John Santoro, Md. ABRT, Annapolis. 18. David Pro, Pa First State Velo, West Chester, Pa. 19. Douglas Davies, Md. Chesapeake Wheelmen, Towson. 20. Brad McHose, Pa. Wooden Wheels, Philadelphia.