I woke up a bit before 6:30 to catch a ride up to Townhall . The lady was out crushing Freds at the MS150 ride/race so I was running solo today. I got my stuff together and pedaled down to south philly to meet up with Shaina and Jack & Willem from Bicycle Therapy.
We got there a bit before the Cmen so I was able to get my lungs warmed up for all the heckling that was about to go down. As usual it was fun to watch friends race the 4/5 race and get to cheer/heckle.
Mens C 4/5 Photos:
Next up were the women.
#MikoMiko going all typerwriter on that thing!
Shaina was crushing souls and sitting on the wheel of Robin in 1st when she dropped a chain on the insude under her catcher and couldn’t get it back running for a while.
Women’s 3/4 podium
Ellis getting ready as usual
After another race it was the 3/4 B men. It was a bit weird watching this race as I was battling it out with a bunch of those guys last year. I wasn’t able to give this race quite the attention I wanted to by cheering people on, since I was next up to race. I didn’t realize there is a good time difference between the end of their race and start of ours but either way maybe ill bring a trainer next to heckle from.
Mens 3/4 B Race pictures:
Mens Elite 1/2/3 Race:
After riding a hot lap around the course after the B race I went to the start grid to line up. I was at the back but there were only 3 or 4 rows. Either way I didn’t want to be too too in the mix at the start as this was my first A race and I had no idea what to expect. Plus 60 minutes is A LOT longer than 45 minutes when you are deep in the red.
My game plan was to A) not die and B) take in the race dynamics a bit and make moves eventually with the end goal of not blowing up mid way through. I tried to keep the HR a bit lower than I would usually and follow wheels. The start was more hectic than I was anticipating and I moved up a few spots off the whistle. Right after the straight away it goes into 7 or 8 switchbacks that lended itself nicely to everyone chopping every wheel imaginable. On top of that I wasn’t expecting some seriously slopping riding this early on from a few people but oh well. The front group was already quite a bit ahead of me before the start of St. Luke’s Staircase and the gaps were starting to form.
I was sitting in a group of 4 with a Hudson furniture guy, Garrett Olsen, and Hal from Lone Wolf Cycling. Unlike the B race where one can either be very good technically or just have good legs, in the A-race you need both. Everyone lining up has good legs and most people are somewhat good at cornering. I know I cant outclass a Cat1 roadie out there so my only move was to stay efficient in the corners and not waste energy. On lap 3 or so Hal got to the front of the group and formed a bit of a gap. I made a move in the technical section and got back to his wheel. Coming into of of the zig-zags up the hill he slipped up and I ran into him a bit as he was regaining himself. I surged hard and tried to form the gap that I knew I needed to fend the rest of them off. For the next 2 laps I was creating more and more of a gap on them.
At some point at the start/finish I looked over to see 4 to go… Oh shit seriously?!? Ive been doing this for 30minutes and I have 4 more to go? The slog past the finish line wasn’t as bad as last year but it was still brutal. The cheering helped but I was in no mans land with Jack and Willem pretty far out of my reach. The trouble was you could see competitors infront/behind in the switchbacks which made them seem close, but in actuality they wern’t.
With about 2 to go I kept the legs churning but was just trying to keep my position and not do anything stupid. Nothing really wild happened. No mechanicals. No falling. No wild sprint at the end BUT I had one of my more memorable races ever. Something about doing 8 laps made me feel like I knew what was coming next and could rail the down hill turns that much faster each lap. I ended up 9th/21 and was pretty happy with how everything shook out. 1st elite race in the books and hopefully many more to come. I think the highlight of the heckling from the SSCW pit was Dave Pryor yelling at me to blog something with my GoPro… it made me chuckle everytime even when I was in the red!
Strava Jawn: http://www.strava.com/activities/85967766
After that it was the SS event. I was cooked and just watched it all take place.
We ate and drank way too much afterwards. It was another solid day.