Until 2003 I never considered myself a contender for the Durand Road Race. The course is hard, the conditions can be extreme, and the competition stacked. Early season fitness has never been a strong point of mine. If I can manage a good result in May I usually surprise myself. This race was an exception. Doug Swanson had made a name for himself the season before, Adam Bergman was staring down the barrel of professional racing, GP was dominating the local scene and Dave Metza was a favorite having won on 2 previous occasions. The conditions were cold and typically breezy but it didn’t deter anyone form showing up. The field was modest in size but power packed. The race had its usual quick start with riders fighting for the front to avoid getting gapped off in the crosswinds. The effort to stay up front is compounded when you hit the rollers a couple miles off the line. The race managed to stay together for the first lap but when we hit the first east bound stretch on lap 2 the favorites began to up the pace. I was struggling toward the back fighting for a draft with the field strung out going into the tough rolling section. The packed hesitated and I saw an opportunity to get to the front with minimal effort and took it. I actually carried my momentum past the pack and got a small gap with GP’s Jeremy Sartain. When we hit the descent form one of the tougher rollers I let ‘er rip. I rode Jeremy off my wheel and found myself alone 20 seconds ahead off the field. I got into TT mode but before I knew it I was joined by Chris Flood of Superteam and Paul Ellis of GP. The gap grew quick. When we hit the harder west-bound rollers I could see a small chase had made it clear of the field. They came up super fast. It was Doug Swanson, Aric Harelnd, Dave Metza and Adam Bergman. We were gone. I was the sole representative of Flanders in the break with Metza representing CVCC and wearing a skinsuit. Midway through the race I knew I was over my head and went into survival mode. We were working well but hard and it was taking its toll on me and Flood. With two laps to go Flood came off on one of the south side ‘walls’. Aric Hareland suffered a puncture shortly thereafter. The break was shrinking which made my job more difficult. As we rolled into the feed zone/finish area on the bell lap Metza flatted. Gordy Paulson who had dropped out graciously gave me a bottle for the last lap after which I yelled to Gordy to get a wheel ready for Dave. I needed Dave in that break. The pressure was on us as the pace had fallen as riders came off. Ellis and I were doing what we could which was minimal at this point. Half way down the east-bound stretch I saw Metza clawing his way back. Fearing Metza’s sprint both Bergman and Swanson put in 100% efforts. They had no expectations of me nor Ellis anymore. Metza made his way back just in time to be greated by the back to back walls on the south side of the course. The first of which would take Ellis and myself off the break. I was content knowing that Paul and I could roll in for solid 4th and 5th places respectively. I bombed the valley between the walls and gapped off Paul. I hesitated to see if he would get back on but he was fried. I had only one choice; ride in solo and use what I had left to maintain my hard-earned 4th place. Up the road I could see Swanson and Bergman attacking each other with Metza doing what he could to stay with. I managed to get over the final wall in the big ring and carry the speed into the long downhill drag that followed the walls. Up the road I could see that the race may have been made. Three riders separated by what looked like unbridgeable gaps. This was epic. I got into TT mode again and watched the action unfold. Unbeleiveably they regrouped. The cagey racing was starting and I was going 42 mph and coming up fast. Doug made an attack and got a gap. By the time I got there Dave and Adam were practically stopped awaiting the other’s response. I went right by both and bridged solo to Doug. He said “nice bridge Timmer” and I said “I’m done”. Shortly thereafter Metza and Bergman made their way back on. We were nearing the final turn with about a mile to go and I was just happy to be there. As we made the final turn I offered to lead the sprint out but I don’t think anyone heard me. I rode at a modest pace up the riser before you can see the finish and looked back to see who was on my wheel. No one. I had a 20 bike gap and let loose with a down hill attack. I had gravity on my side and carried my speed into the final 200 meter up hill finish. It was everything I had to get up and over that modest rise but it was just enough to earn me the win.