Grand Prix of Gloucester - Women's Race Reports
Great Brewers Grand Prix of Gloucester
Day 1: Sideways rain, gale force winds and temps hovering in the 50s. In other words, miserable! Sloppy mud was everywhere. Congratulations, though to all of the NEBC women and juniors who came out – especially Elizabeth Pell who participated in her first ‘cross race ever in some tough conditions!
Day 2: Drier – some sun, little wind and temps climbing into the 70s by day’s end. The course was tacked up considerably from the previous day with less mud, and much better traction.
Day 1: If you raced Gloucester on Sunday last year, you will remember much of this year’s Saturday course. The usual uphill pavement start, followed by the grassy downhill turns to the seawall where you were blasted with a brutal headwind. Along the seawall to the “slip ‘n slide of doom” – the run up was DEEP with mud, and really slippery! Once you reached the top, a couple of turns around the playground took you back downhill into the field, uphill over some VERY bumpy terrain and then into the chicanes and barriers. Now we all KNOW that barriers are regulation height, but heading uphill, in the mud, and with deep trenches growing just in front, they seemed to be the size of track and field hurdles! Out of the barriers and it was down to the backside of the course, past the pits and along the ocean – again with a howling wind and horizontal rain driving at you. Lots of twists and turns in the lower field (although no sand), and then into the chicanes on the side hill – most of which were runs vs. rides – before heading back down to the pavement and starting all over again.
Day 2: Sunday saw a departure from ANY course I have raced at Gloucester, and it took most racers quite some time to be able to figure out where the course went, in which direction, and how on earth you got there from here.
The first “lap” was really a half lap of the course, sending racers up the same start hill and onto the grass. Instead of going to the bottom, however, racers, made a few tight turns, rode past the playground and pavilion, and then up the same bumpy hill as the previous day, before turning BACKWARDS on the course from the previous day. My memory fails me as to exactly how the turns in the pit and chicane areas worked, but after riding those sections, we once again came into the barriers, out through the expo area and onto the pavement for a DOWHILL finish. The second lap started on the finish line, turned racers off the road to the right (at high speed), over some bumpy, twisty terrain, and then into the bottom fields by the staging area. An immediate turn into the sand rode you around the perimeter of the entire sand area, back up into the chicanes, out along the water, and onto the seawall. The left turn off the seawall brought you into a giant mud pit, and an uphill slog that turned you eventually onto the park access road, before doing a 180 degree turn back into the grass at the hole shot. Sound confusing? It was, but it was also wicked fun.
Day 1 Results:
Junior 10-14 (14 starters)
Victoria Gates – 7th
Women’s 3/4 (75 starters)
Clara Kelly – 4th
Cathy Rowell – 16th
Teri Carilli – 33rd
Joy Stark – 38th
Jean Cunningham – 40th
Loraine Warner – 49th
Elizabeth Pell – 50th
Julie Lockhart – 54th
Marylou McPhee – 55th
Day 2 Results:
Junior 10-14 (16 starters)
Victoria Gates – 7th
Women’s Elite (37 starters)
Clara Kelly – 28th
Women’s 3/4 (59 starters)
Cathy Rowell – 15th
Joy Stark – 39th
Loraine Warner – 46th
Michele Archambault – 47th
Jean Cunningham – 48th
Karin Turer – 50th
Kathy Graves – 51st
Julie Lockhart – 56th
Janet Ramos – DNF due to crash on start
Kathy Martin – DNF due to flat
After having a very tough week, I simply had two goals for the race: 1) have a great time 2) finish without getting lapped. I had a front row start which made me happy given last week’s crazy start. I had prayed for rain and mud since I hate Gloucester when it’s a fast, dry, grassy crit and my prayers were answered. The muddier the better, as far as I’m concerned. Also, I’m a big fan of run ups and so was pleased to see that it was back from last year. The race itself went as expected. Didn’t have as great as start as I would have hoped and probably should have ridden more aggressively on the first grassy section. Had a rider in front of me crash on the first 180 degree turn which forced me off my bike and lose a few places. Traded spots with Heidi Wakeman the last lap which kept things interesting. All in all, goals were accomplished but am back to feeling like I’m simply surviving and not racing. :( Looking forward to Providence.
Saturday: Despite a dry start to the day, it was raining in sheets by the time we arrived at about 7:15 a.m. I debated whether to try pre-riding the course before the a.m. race or stay warm and relatively dry, and the latter won out. By about 8:15 my motivation had hit rock bottom, and I wondered if I should even register. Nonetheless, I headed over to sign in and bumped into Marylou…seeing her kitted up and ready to go made me feel like a complete wuss. I pinned up, changed, and managed about a 1/2 lap of the course (including the lovely run-up). It was clear that I’d be challenged…no sand, but it was pretty soggy and mushy. I lined up at the back (my favorite spot) and was happy when the whistle blew and we were off. I never saw some of my teammates at the front but know they must have ridden well; for me, one of the great things about cross is being able to have a race-within-the-race. No, I’m not battling it out for 40th, but it is fun to compete against the folks you’re with. This time, it was a Velo Bella gal… I’d pass her on the climbs, and she’d bury me on the runs. I ended up doing 3 laps, which felt like an eternity, but I had a blast – a lot more fun than anticipated. And I finished relatively well, for me – about 2/3 down in the pack. Lesson #1: Rain always sounds and looks worse than it is. Lesson #2: Push on the long straight-aways and recover when you hit the twisties.
Sunday: Despite the better weather and great turnout of NEBC women (many wearing excellent socks), I was hugely unenthused about racing on day 2. Hearing the crash and seeing Janet down took any remaining oomph I may have had, and I basically spent 39 minutes suffering and hoping it would end (but not having a clue when I’d hit the finish line – no luck in figuring out the course). Bright spots: riding the sand (once) and getting more comfortable in slick conditions. My lesson of the day was to keep looking for the ride-able line. The conditions were changing by the minute, and what was pea soup during warm-up was surprisingly solid later. I was able to do the little passing I managed by moving off the “path” that everyone seemed to be riding single file.
Saturday: I was very excited to get called up to the line in 5th place. My goal was to not get lapped by the leaders and protect my position in the Verge series. The race started and I was mid field. We went into the mud and it slowed down. After a few corners some riders and I were dropped. I broke free of the other riders and was on my own. I jogged up the thick mud run up where the people cheered loudly. On the second lap I swapped bikes and continued. I slipped going up the run up but quickly recovered. On the third lap I swapped back to my original bike and picked up my pace. I took 7th place.
Sunday: My goals were to hold my 5th place call up and to not crash. I was called up to the line again. When the race started I couldn’t clip in. I was a bit farther back than I wanted to be. I was trying to hold a boy off that was 10 seconds behind me. The first lap went smooth. On the second lap I sped up and the gap between the boy and I was 15 seconds. On the third lap I ran into a stake and was stuck for a minute. Then when I was going by the pits I slid and crashed into a stake. I got up and kept going and I managed to hold off that boy. I beat him by 35 seconds and I protected my place and points.
This was the first cross race of the season for me and coming off Ironman training, racing and four week off the bike and not much time on my cross bike, knew I was not where I’d like to be fitness wise but cross is so fun I love the challenge. Started next to Janet who I saw fall about 100 yards after the start. Watching it occur shook me and I was distracted a bit. Glad she is healing up okay.
First loop, I find I catch up with women in certain sections..power, and lose in technical sections fell in the mud just before the barrier section.
Loop two I executed better and didn’t fall. Fatigue is building and it is hard, but I know the course and ride it better with more confidence each time through.
Loop 3 I made a big mental error, thinking the end was after the straight away uphill so when I got onto the harder packed gravel area I hammered as much as I could and passed a few folks what I thought was last 3-4 minutes. The clumps of mud from my tires were coming off in chunks so I tried to keep my mouth shut. I passed 3-4 people I was excited and even passed two up hill…get to the top and we have to do part of the loop still…I’m toast and one of them passed me right back..crude..bad planning. I fell in the barrier section but passed her back on the run to top of hill and pushed hard so she didn’t catch me.
I had many incidents where my tires were slipping but able to adjust and stay up right than I did falling. Fun race made better with lots of other out NEBC’ers out racing. I need to improve my dismounts going downhill.
Saturday: Muddy conditions were good to me. I have the strength to slog through mud. Sections that everyone has to run are even better because when no one is on the bike – poor bike handling is slowing me down. I had a poor start so needed to pass folks as soon as we entered straight sections of grass. Unfortunately a woman fell in front of me, right as I was getting ready to move. I couldn’t avoid hitting her body and had to stop to avoid running over her and/ or crashing. After that, the first lap was pretty much a loss and I had to focus on chasing the 2nd lap. That went ok, no major problems with bike handling as I was dismounting and running questionable sections. The 3rd time up the run-up was a very painful experience. Muscles definitely not trained for that!! On the last lap, I heard that I could get on the podium with just a few more passes. The Two women ahead of me weren’t going fast, so it looked promising. I tried to pass one before the section of turns on the backside. We contacted and I got pushed into the tape. Good for her, back for me, now I was stuck behind them in the turns. I passed them once out of the turns and started the last push to the podium. That didn’t last long because I caught my rear wheel on a spike when I had it on my back for running up a hill. I couldn’t get it off easily, since I needed to lift the bike over my head to get it off the spike. The girls passed me when I was struggling with the bike. A spectator pulled it off the spike so I could head in for 4th place. Ahh, the drama of cross.
Sunday: After watching the elites race on Sat I realized that I would be able to ride at the back of the group even with my history of comical cross mishaps and sloppy skills. When I arrived on Sunday it became clear that the course would be a lot more challenging for me than on Sat because it was dryer. That meant that I was at a big disadvantage to people that can handle their bikes through corners at speed and the up and down turns of the sections we had run yesterday. On the positive side, the course was incredibly long so it seemed unlikely that I would be lapped.
My efforts to pre-ride the sections of turns through mud on a hill had me laughing. I wasn’t making the turns and it was a lot slower to be off the bike in those sections. I was at the back at the start, but was able to pass a few people. Once Anna Mcloon passed me back, I started having Deja vu. Last year, we saw a lot of each other in the races because we have a very similar style: start at the back, power past less fit riders, display poor skills and try not to crash. We were near each other the whole race. Our worst section seemed to be a muddy uphill turny bit. She was entering it too slowly to make it through and I was behind her. I think I ran into her twice there before crashing myself into the mud. Next time, be ready to dismount instead of running into people! I found out two things about the elite race: there are a lot more people standing around to watch you crash yourself into the mud and it can be hard to stay motivated to the finish when they shut the music off and you have a long way to go yet. Ah, well it was fun anyway.
Saturday: Was looking forward to everything but the ‘run’ up. Just the excitement of the day made me feel good for the race, even lining up next to Kathy Sarvary was a thrill. The usual goals of rubber side down, improved start were in my head, and I tried mightily to focus through the shivering. I stayed with the plan to use the paths less traveled, passing people and regaining some of the ground lost in the start. The run up was hard and got worse the nest times. I was surprised to feel very strong, so stayed with the plan passing people where I could.
Sunday: Concentrating on focusing more at the start, I did a lot better, but I ‘felt’/’heard’ something happening and concentrated not to look to see what (sorry Janet) ... again, I was gaining ground in the first half lap, passing people a lot. then ‘IT’ happened … I flatted just before the Seawall portion, riding a flat tire and trying to still maintain position! I did pretty well, but found that falling (several times) finally gave up several places … I did not know exactly how far it was to the pit … my Polar says I ran/rode about 16 minutes including the barriers before I was told I was done. I loved the new direction.
I started in the 2nd row but didn’t have a good warm-up so I sort of took it easy up the s/f hill. Michele A and Janet R were in front of me and to my left. All of a sudden Janet was on the ground, but I didn’t see how it happened. Get well and back to racing soon, Janet! Props to Michele for showing zero reaction to the crash that was inches away – I know that it must have been scary. My race involved trying to get the legs warmed up, riding the sand, passing people as I got warmer, and then – smack! – I was on the ground. Not sure what happened – picked myself up and kept going, but soon realized I could barely keep my bike upright in the turns. I was about as far from the pit as you could get, so I called it a day. My front tire was as flat as a pancake. First ‘cross mechanical and first ‘cross DNF. Oh well – got that over with. On to Providence!
My goal for Saturday was just to have fun as we stood on the start line in the rain I was thinking this is not fun. The race started and I warmed up I was thinking this isn’t as bad; then there was the run up and that was harder then I remembered it in ’ warm ups’. The rest of the race was pretty quiet at the back until a junior passed me like I was standing still. Even with all the rain I actually passed 2 people on the second lap which was a big bonus for me.
It was my first cross race. Not that I’m a racer. I’m not. Have never been interested, but when I saw cyclo-cross race last year at Amesbury, I got excited about how much it looked like being a kid and playing on your bike—going through mud, over barriers, jumping on and off—and winding around on hills and curves. Too fun! So I looked to rent a cross bike and try it out. Turns out there are no bike shops even in greater Boston that rent cross bikes. And I didn’t want to buy a bike to try out a sport. Then a couple of weeks ago, a friend rescued an abused horse and turned to riding that saddle instead of her cross bike. And bonus, she’s my height. I took the one day cross class with NEBC’s Todd Rowell and signed up for the first most local ride. Turned out to be Gloucester and a freakin storm on the ocean with winds so high they posted race volunteers at key points to hold the course markers in place that kept ripping out in the wind.
I’m almost 50 years old so hoped that this age would place me in a protected class of riders, but turns out that there are fewer women than men in this sport so my class (4) was lumped together with 3s and the young riders. At the start, I sat on the back row. And shivered with everyone else. Racers were quieting down, except for chattering teeth. Significant others made their way into pack to take off a jacket or whisper some last minute advice and encouragement. I strained to hear the announcer shout over the wind as I knew nothing—how do you know when to stop or when it over—practical things like that. Heard ‘warm up’ and turned to racer next to me and asked if they were giving us a warm up lap before the race started (in my mind sort of like NASCAR). She looked at me and then looked down without answering. A few moments later she turned to me and said ‘You were serious weren’t you?’ Yes I told her, it’s my first race. She said this was the real thing and to go. Thanks. And then she turned back to tell me, ‘This is the start not the finish. The finish line is up ahead, so don’t stop when you get here.’ Good to know since I assumed start/finish on a closed loop would be same point—especially as bikers were cleaning bikes at the start line which to me signaled end. But at least both genders had the same start and finish, unlike golf where women have a shorter distance to drive.
Got to practice the first dismount on a sidewalk. Nice. Then climb a wall of mud. That was a work out! My remount a shambles. (It was so much easier to execute in my yard in dry weather, not having just climbed a hill!) Some grassy twists. And sucking in air hard with rain. Was I foaming at the mouth? A bit of play with the single rock in the course, hit it and launched for some air—I didn’t see anyone else playing around like this. But then the pack was stretching out. I liked not having to learn how to ride the course and share the trail at the same time. And enjoyed passing a couple of women on the turns. Turns were fun in the mud; mtn biking skills came in very handy and I was grateful that my loaner bike had disc brakes.
And the scenery was great—the choppy ocean, the disappeared demarcation between land and sea, sea and sky. The giant granite rock that all trails spun about. And then the wind hitting you sideways, pedaling hard, harder but am I moving? More dismounts and carrys over barriers on an uphill mud slide. Hearing snippets of the announcer’s voice telling us that first place was wrapped up but a fierce battle for second was going on and thinking that battle was taking place far far away in another time. A second lap. A third (getting even better at climbing the mud wall but recovering worse). The feeling that I would vomit if we had to go a 4th lap, the disgust at myself for not executing once properly a mount. How long is 30 minutes? And then the men are behind me and a junior rider and a course official is chastising them to stay back and let us race. So I think I’m the last woman on the course. I finish and smile with satisfaction. Pleased to have tried out the sport in such conditions. And wonder what it would be like on a nice day.
I heard the rain hitting the skylight in the night, and inwardly groaned – ANOTHER race in the rain, cold and mud. After a season of 7 MTB races in the same conditions, my motivation for the first day of Gloucester – a race I look forward to all year, was gone. A pre-ride of the course confirmed that the race would be slick and VERY muddy. I retreated to the trainer, and actually managed to get warmed up – until we went to stage. The wind off the ocean, the sideways rain, and the cool temps negated everything I had just done. I shivered with teeth chattering until it was time for us to start.
I did have a good start to the race, leading the pack about halfway up the hill. Most of the rest of the race is a blur to me – a lot of sideways sliding, more running than I care for, and a lot of thinking about being finished. I did actually pit my bike after a lap and a half – that was good practice for me, and also illustrated how differently my two bikes handled in the conditions. After finishing up, I changed into dry clothes, proceeded to work the pits for Mike’s race, and was soaked through again. It wasn’t until much later in the evening that I felt warm, and dry!
The motivation came back on Sunday. The weather was improving, temps were rising, and the slippery, muddy conditions were tacking up and improving. The big challenge was figuring out the course – most of us couldn’t make heads or tails of which way it went!
I chose NOT to pre-ride the course, but instead, to sit on the trainer to get warmed up. I knew that once the race started, as long as I followed tape, I would find the course and be ok ;). Sunday was more about power, but there were also a lot of turns, which I have been practicing. Got another good start, but was worried when I heard that a rider had gone down. Couldn’t look back to see if everyone was ok though – head was down sprinting for the hole shot. I ended up onto the grass about 3rd wheel, and rode a reasonably clean race. Mike’s advice on not shouldering the bike in the chicanes was good, and let me use the bike as a pivot point to get around those tight corners while running. I was able to ride into the barrier section pretty well, also, and not lose any time there. I felt much better on Sunday, and was slightly upset at losing 3 places in the final turns of the course – and losing the final sprint to my nemesis, Karen Tripp.
The great news for me? I had a better second day at Gloucester than the first, which hasn’t happened since I started racing at that venue! I also didn’t crash at Gloucester this year – another first and a bit of a surprise given the conditions. On to Providence now, and then we’ll see what the rest of the season brings.
Wow, I never knew that getting muddy could be so fun. On Saturday, I arrived at the course early to pre-ride and find out what I was in store for. It seemed like the race would be challenging, but I was encouraged by how soft the landing would be if I took a spill. Loraine and I lined next to each other at the start, and she noticed my tires looked a little lofty. (I checked them before the race, I really did!) Unfortunately, we accidentally let too much air out of the rear tire and it felt like my rim was sitting on the pavement. Luckily, Scott Brooks was standing nearby and came to my rescue just seconds before the start. Lesson: don’t mess with your bike on the starting line. As my goal was to just finish the race, I started slowly, but rode within my comfort level and tried to reel people in along the way. On the first lap, the big muddy run-up was packed with people, making it interesting to get up. I had a heck of a time remounting in the off-camber section after the muddy serpentine area. I think I fell over trying on the first lap then gave up trying to do this with any amount of skill on the subsequent laps. I had a blast passing people by cutting corners in the flatter areas more aggressively, but my cautiousness in other areas slowed me down. Throughout the race, I was trading spaces with a rider from Colby College, which kept things challenging. I was in front of her coming onto the pavement for the finish, but she stood up and sprinted by me, and for some reason I didn’t get up and go.
After having such a good time on Saturday, I was looking forward to racing in drier weather on Sunday and resolved that I would try to have a better start and finish. Also, since I’m not technically proficient, I decided to go hard on the course where I could. Just after the start, I saw Janet go down in front of me, and while I safely adjusted my line to avoid hitting her, another rider on my left bumped me to avoid the crash, and I saw someone else ride right over Janet. Since I had slowed, I was in a bad gear for getting up the hill. I was a little spooked by the crash so I rode the first half lap cautiously. On the sections of the course I had to run, I followed the advice Mike Rowell gave me and pushed my bike instead of shouldering it, and I found that this gave me a lot of stability in the slippery sections. I found the change in the course on Sunday confusing; it was difficult for me to tell where I was in the lap. I heard the announcer calling the finish for my race, but wasn’t sure how far I was from the finish. I tried to pick up the pace, but was reluctant to take the grass to pavement transition too quickly and two riders managed to sneak by me at the end. Overall, I think I win the award for clumsiest and slowest remounts and dismounts, so I’ll have to work on those as well as work up the courage to be more aggressive at the start.
A nice amount of mud on the course made for more running and sliding that the “grass crit” I’d always heard about, so I was psyched! On the down side, we’d had loud neighbor issues the night before the race, and long story short, I wasn’t asleep until well after 2 AM. This on top of having just been sick on Friday, I was pretty woozy on the warmup.
So, I felt a little more nervous than usual, but then had a fun chat with one of the officials, enjoyed my crap staging position, made some friends, and we were off! I felt pretty psyched to be on my new tires (Michelin Mud 2s – a huge difference!) and in general, I had a blast on the course. I swear I was grinning like crazy on every downhill, and I was loving the run-chicanes and riding on the just-packed-enough sand. The whole race was just pure fun (I mean, in that heinous cross way) and it helped to have stretched enough that my back didn’t hurt. I have read reviews since the race that mention a “sketchy off-camber downhill” off the pavement – after mtn-biking all summer, didn’t even feel it.
So it’s sort of exciting, because I’m already feeling as good as I did at the end of last season, except it’s only early October. Not that I’ll get good or anything, but I look forward to seeing how much more I can put into the power.
Saturday: Panic! Lined up next to Joy, I felt her tires and they were rock-hard. I told her they should be a lot softer and proceeded to let air out of the back while she did the front. With gloves on, I ended up letting out too much air before I could get the valve shut. I knew I had just signed a guarantee that she would pinch-flat on the course and was feeling TERRIBLE that I had just sabotaged Joy’s race! Desperate and with the race about 1 minute from starting, I spotted Scott and sent out a plea for a floor pump. From out of nowhere he managed to rescue the day, and Joy’s race. Sorry Joy! And Thanks Scott!!! Joy – I promise, I’m never touching your tires again! :)
Started in the back and didn’t make headway in the hole-shot, was able to pass a few people here and there on the technical sections, but powering through the wet grass and muddy endurance sections was not to be had. Hit the deck 3 times, and generally got in my own way. Despite that, I was relatively happy with my technical performance. These conditions are what cross is all about, it was a fun mud-fest.
Sunday: Almost decided not to race, then figured that I had paid for it anyway, so I should just do it. Glad I did, conditions were dryer, stayed upright through-out and rode the sand, which was satisfying. Biggest issue was not maintaining momentum into the serpentine chicane sections, then being off-balance and trying to remount. The barriers were an embarrassment so I won’t go there… But a fun day in the end :) Best healing wishes out to Janet!!!
Verge 1 & 2 - Green Mountain - Women's Reports
Green Mountain Cyclo-Cross
Day 1: Blue skies, sunny, windy, chilly start (60’s) with temps warming through the day
Day 2: Cold,wet and miserable with temps in the low 50’s
Day 1: In Vermont, there are bound to be hills. This venue has awesome views of the surrounding mountains, but has enough climbing on each lap to make the race hurt. The start of the course was a long, grassy, uphill slog. The good thing was that with the dry conditions, traction was never an issue either up or down. Some of the standard features reappeared for the race – the downhill-180 corner-uphill chicane, the log run-up (ok, for the men it was a ride-up), a screaming fast descent into a gravelly 90 degree left turn, another downhill-180-uphill chicane (that was faster to run than to ride), long grassy power sections, and barriers that appeared just after a hard left turn. I heard there was about 500 feet of climbing per lap, and in between the climbs, you needed a lot of power.
Day 2: The good traction of the previous day was gone with the rain and cooler temps. Instead, the corners were slick and muddy. And if at all possible, there seemed to be MORE climbing in the course on Sunday; the laps were also a full 2.5 miles long! Features like the BMX pump track, a set of stairs, a rock drop and the barriers kept us all on our toes. Getting caught in the single-track ruts claimed more than one rider on the day – riding in the grass seemed to be the safer alternative.
Day 1 Results:
Junior 10-14 (11 starters)
Victoria Gates – 7th
Women’s 3/4 (21 starters)
Cathy Rowell – 6th
Julie Lockhart – 20th
Day 2 Results:
Junior 10-14 (11 starters)
Victoria Gates – 6th
Women’s 3/4 (17 starters)
Cathy Rowell – 9th
Julie Lockhart – 16th
Day 1: The race started and I had a good position. We went up the hill and down it. On the second lap I felt tired and my back was hurting. Another racer and I kept going back and fourth for our places. When he went ahead I tried my best to maintain my place. On the third lap I tripped on the barriers but I caught myself. I sprinted to the finish and placed 7th. I wasn’t to fond of the amount of hills but I just kept going. The reason my back hurt was because my stem was to long. We went to a shop and got a shorter stem.
Day 2: I was called up to the line in 7th and had a good starting spot. The race was off and I was behind every one with two other racers. We made our own pack and worked together until the second lap. One of the racers and I rode away from the other rider. Half way through the second lap the other racer fell and I sprinted ahead. I held him off and I finished. I crossed the line in 6th.
Day1: This was my first ‘cross race of the season, having missed out on the Suckerbrook season opener. In pre-riding the course, I felt good, but knew that the climbing would give me some trouble. My start was ok, and I quickly moved into having to pass riders ahead. In the first down-180-up, several riders had issues, and one crashed remounting her bike directly in front of me! This put me back behind a place or two, and I knew I needed to move back up. I passed Christine Fort (Quad), and for most of a lap couldn’t get her off of my wheel. I finally buried myself in one of the uphill power sections to create a gap that stuck. After the race, Christine told me that one of her goals for the season had been to chase me, and now she could cross that off her list ;). I had a decent race, and practiced ensuring that I was smooth in the corners, and took long strides into, over, and after the barriers before getting back on my bike. Haven’t had that hard of an effort for the entire year! Finished up with 13 mins of anaerobic effort. Man – I forgot how much ‘cross hurts!
Day 2: I heard the rain start in the night, and with the forecast, knew that the conditions on Sunday weren’t going to be stellar. Quite frankly, after all of the MTB racing I have done in the rain this year, my motivation for another rainy, cold, muddy race was pretty low. It was tough to even get warmed up on the trainer, and by the time we went to staging and waited to start, I was cold again anyway.
I’ll admit that I approached this race with a bit too much caution. I was nervous about the corners and the slippery conditions, and that nervousness cost me. In a 2-3 hour mountain bike race, time can be made up – not in a 39 minute ‘cross race! In hindsight, I should have done two things: 1. Pitted and used my other bike – the tires would have provided better traction; 2. Planned to run the pump track each time instead of getting bogged down TRYING to ride it. So why didn’t I do either of those things? Everytime I went by the pit, I was either just ahead of or just behind other racers, and I didn’t want to take the time necessary for a bike change. I also didn’t know that I COULD legally do that since my bike was working (shifting) fine, I hadn’t crashed, and nothing was broken. And approaching the pump track each time, I THOUGHT that I could ride it – I really did! Good lessons to learn early in the season ;)
Day 1: Having seen the venue only in my first year of Cross, I was thoroughly intimidated by the potential hilly-ness. Riding the course on Friday convinced me that it would be tough but doable. At line up I received some instructions from our intrepid leader, so knew what to do for the start. My goals were simple, good start and steady riding, picking up the pace toward the end. It was a lovely day, great cheering sections, and some passing and being passed … all in all better than I expected.
Day 2: Drizzling lightly during warmup (did I say warm? ... well, course preview) the course was reversed, and featured stairs and a part of a BMX course. There was not much mud, but I did figure out how to fall anyway (so relieved that I had ‘cleaned’ the mud). Decided to do as much of the BMX as I could and run the rest. It was strange that people fell where lease expected (I could hear the fall behind me). Goals for this day were to keep the rubber down and enjoy the course. Better start, wet grass saps strength. Still trying to figure out the right tire pressure for different conditions.
Blunt Park 'Cross - Women's Reports
Blunt Park Womens Open
Teri Carilli 9th
Kathy Martin 12th
Michele Archambault 13th
The course had a small amount of pavement, some nice muddy, single track trails through the woods with 4 natural barriers (logs – one was easily rideable on a cx bike), a very twisty section on grass including what I called the “Death Spiral” and a set of three barriers on off camber hill. The start was a 100yd sprint on pavement with a 180 left turn onto grass/dirt/mud. It had rained all morning and the women’s race was the last of the day. The rain had ended by race time but the course was pretty much all mud – all the grass had been scrubbed off by the previous racers. This was a course designed just for me. I hate dry grassy crit type courses.
My goal for the race was just to remember what a cx race felt like. ;-) My head certainly wasn’t in it as I ended up in the second row and on the wrong side of the road (left) for the left hand turn hole shot. The master men 55+ would be starting 10 sec behind us. At the whistle, the woman in front of me blew getting into her pedal and totally spun the bike 180 degrees on the wet pavement and ended up facing me! (a neat trick I’d never seen before.) Trying to avoid her while she was riding directly at me was also a neat trick I never had the pleasure of trying to attempt before. By the time we got that sorted out, the whistle blew for the master men’s field. Total swarming resulting in what felt to me like total chaos. As we hit the grass, I found myself at the back of the men’s field. I spent the rest of the race just trying to ride smoothly and concentrate on passing people – pick one off, aim for the next, repeat. I had biffed it on the “easy” log in warm up so was a little gun shy every time we came to it but happily rode it each lap without incident.
Fun race. Glad it was available as an alternative to VT.
Wow, that was the muddiest race I have ever done! Since it was an Open Women’s race, we were the last race of the day and the course had turned into mud soup. Race goal: Stay upright.
I got a decent start and took a good line into the first corner and from then on out it was mud for the rest of the lap. There were at total of 6 places where you had to dismount, some big logs, the one set of off-camber barriers (3 barriers!), and a muddy uphill/downhill chicane. There were also three very large watery mud puddles (I swear that half of Michele’s bike disappeared into one). I wasn’t handling the muddy chicanes and 180s very well and soon found myself near the back of the race and on my own.
Not much to report, since I was just trying to stay upright, except that on the last lap, I decided to go a little harder and came screaming into one of the log dismounts, preparing to do an awesome running dismount, only to find out that I was actually clipped in with my left foot and I went down HARD! As I got back on my bike, I could hear Todd R in my head saying, “You can stay clipped in if your coming slowly into the barriers, but definitely not when your riding fast.” Yep. That took all the wind out of my sails and I went into self-preservation mode for the rest of the race.
Lessons learned. 1) Find out if there is a bike wash and wash the mud out of your brakes before you race! Both Michele and I started the race with our bikes caked in mud and while everything still worked, it would have been much nicer to start with clean equipment (especially the brakes) 2) While it’s awesome to clip into your pedals even if they’re caked in mud, beware that you might actually be clipped in even if you didn’t try to clip in, therefore, always unclip left foot before coming fast into a dismount 3) Good equipment is a wonderful thing. I had zero mechanical problems in spite of the horrible conditions. A fall in warm up and later on falling in the race resulted in both of my shifter mechanisms being submerged and encased in mud. The bike shifted perfectly with no issues at all for the entire race and as for my pedals, I could clip in every time.
I sort of enjoy riding through mud, but that was rather ridiculous! Hopefully it’ll be drier for Gloucester next week.
Nittany Lion's Cross - Julie Lockhart
Nittany Lion Cross UCI C2 – MAC SERIES
Masters Women 45+
Julie Lockhart – 40th overall, 4th in 45+
A friend challenged me to ‘come’ to his race. We arrived on Friday in time to ride the course. Fast and flat with chicanes to introduce technical interest, as well as short banks to climb. I had the goal to stick nearer the middle of the pack of 11:00 riders (all 3 groups) ... I felt really good, having used my track bike at the velodrome for a great warm up. It took most of the first lap for the strong 3/4’s to start catching me – I was psyched, I continued strong in 3rd of my group for 2 full laps having passed one early on. I had missed two early pileups ultimately I was passed by another of my group, my remount skills still need work. Gorgeous sunny day, and the Velodrome announcer kept announcing our races as well as t he Track races. Highly recommend for Masters Women.
Suckerbrook - 9/20 - Women's Reports
Congratulations to Joy and MaryLou who both participated in their first ever cyclocross races at Sucker Brook! We’re hoping to see them both out at more races as the season progresses.
Bright and sunny, 60’s.
The course started with a long stretch of road and continued on to a very flat area with large grassy switch backs. The switch backs led in to downhill with a quick uphill with stairs. This continued on to a bridge and up a short power hill. After the power hill there were two barriers. Then it proceeded in to the woods and up a rocky hill, down a hill and out into a large sand pit. After the sand pit, there was another power hill and that led back to the road.
Junior 10-14 (14 starters)
Victoria Gates – 3rd
Women’s 3/4 (34 starters)
Jean Cunningham –21st
Joy Stark – 22nd
Loraine Warner – 26th
Julie Lockhart – 28th
MaryLou McPhee – 31st
The day before the race I had gone to Todd Rowell’s cross clinic. I learned a lot of helpful skills there. The greatest resource I had was my grandmother who lives in Auburn five minutes away from the race. I slept over her house the night before and was able to sleep in. Once we got to the race I got my number and pre-rode the course. The conditions were cold and the ground was hard. By the time we started it had softened. At the start, I was shocked at how many kids there were. Moments before the race Jim Lockhart came over to me and told me to take the hole shot and act as if it was a start at the velodrome. A minute later the race was off and I went into the first corner in third position. The two leaders rode away and I was still in third. I pounded the flats and went up the stairs. I powered up the little hill and went over the barriers. In the woods I passed a bunch of women and some struggling cat 4 men. I ran the bike through the sand pit and went up the little hill. On the second lap I settled in and everything went good. On the final lap I went as hard as I could up the stairs and over the barriers. I sped up in the woods and ran across the sand pit. I sprinted up the small hill and gave it all I had at the finish. I crossed the line in third place. That race is one of my favorites.
Sucker Brook was my first ‘cross race and I registered eager to find out why people seem to love it so much. I’ve been preoccupied with training for rowing this fall, so I hadn’t been able to ride my new ‘cross bike at all until I showed up to the excellent clinic that Todd, Chris, and Justin gave on Saturday morning. The clinic convinced me that I might be able to survive the race, even if I had to step over the barriers instead of run them. On Sunday, I arrived 2 hours before my race which left plenty of time to pre-ride the course and identify all of the spots where panic might set in. I convinced myself that I didn’t want to try riding up the little run-up after the wooden bridge, that I would definitely be taking fee-fi-fo-fum giant steps over the barriers, and that I would be running the first sandpit (I had determined that the second one was, for some reason, less objectionable).
I was feeling pretty ill on the starting line, but once we were off I resigned myself to getting through it. And once I got going, I forgot to be nervous in all of the spots that terrified me in the warm-up. I managed to dismount before I could face plant the stairs, and by telling myself to, “Commit, commit, commit,” I rode the little run-up on each lap without any problems. The barriers…let’s just say that they weren’t well executed on any of the laps, and will have to be a work in progress along with all of the other skills I learned on Saturday. On the first lap, after a particularly clumsy dismount, I ran the first sandpit and realized halfway through that I was suit-casing the bike instead of gracefully running with it on my shoulder. Oops. After that, I decided I would ride the sandpits on the next laps and did so without any problems. On each lap, my tires slid beneath me on the 180 degree turn after the second sandpit, which was an unsettling feeling, but it was good to learn that I could slide and still stay upright. Eventually, I started passing people and realized that I was probably going to finish the race without major incident, and I began to have fun! At the end of the third lap, I saw people ride off the course, but I wasn’t positive my race was over, so I kept riding until I noticed that no one on the course was racing. Then I tried to exit the course as nonchalantly as possible.
I was disappointed that the race was over so soon! I was also disappointed that I missed out on the cupcakes that were supposedly handed out…I guess the beer in Gloucester will have to make up for it.
My goal for this race was to jump-start my fitness, and try a new strategy, knowing that my fitness is sub-par. I usually empty the tank at the start and then quickly fade and fight the demoralizing as I get passed again and again. This time, I eased into the race, but of course that meant that I started already being in the back of the field. There was a great showing of women, but so much so that mass congestion at the first few corners made it near impossible for me to move up at all. So I just settled in and focused on good technique while operating at a high sustained level. I cheered on Jean and Joy who passed me in a blur, looking strong and collected :) I looked up and saw lap cards for the first time at 2 to go, and about half-way through the lap I got passed by the men’s leaders. At this point in my oxygen-deprived brain, sound judgment and simple math skills failed me and so I was thinking that I had 1 lap yet to go (2 laps to go, men pass me, removing 1 lap, means 1 lap to go), but I failed to remember that the men would’ve seen 1 lap to go where I had seen 2, and so I was actually on the last lap. Instead, thinking that I still had 1 more to go, I kept watch on the woman just in front of me thinking that I would conserve, and then empty the tank on the last lap, and pass this woman. When I crossed the S/F and there were no lap cards, I called out asking how many and they said I was done. Oops. I consider this race a success as I had fun with it, and I managed to ride the sand every lap :) Great job to all the ladies who came out for the race, and I was so happy to see Joy smiling at the end of it! :)
Stellar course with some little changes to add interest. Start was OK, somehow had less energy on lap 1, seems like too little warmup. As I warmed up felt better and was closing in when I decided to try and ride the 1st sand – wrong word: try – fell, and lost some places, made two back up, but … ahh well: gotta work on the sand and decision making. Cross is too much fun! %-)
This was my first cross race and I had one goal to finish the race; I finished and was not dead last which was a bonus. It was a good time and now I can call it fun. Racing was definitely harder than cheering on the sidelines
Quad Cross - Women's Race Reports
Sunny, mid 70’s.
This race was at Middlesex Community College. The course was grassy with a single barrier and a bit after, a set of double barriers. There were tight switch backs and a small dirt run up.
Victoria Gates – Juniors 10-14 – 2nd
Kathy Martin – Women 3/4 – 18th
Jean Cunningham – Women 3/4 – 20th
Kristen Luckach – Women 3/4 – 23rd
Julie Lockhart – Women 3/4 – 25th
Karin Turer – Women 3/4 – 26th
Clara Kelly – Women P/1/2/3 – 8th
My goals were to finish the race, keep the shinny side up, and to podium. My start was great and I was up front very quick. I went over the barriers in first place. The second place girl was close behind. I finished the lap and on the second time on the barriers I dropped my chain! The second place rider passed me and became the first place rider. I managed to get my chain on and keep going. I suffered on the finishing strait. I crossed the line in second place. Lessons learned: always stay calm when you drop a chain.
As my first cross of the season, my only goal was “to have fun” (considering that I had been off the bike most of the previous week, and I was out quite late the night before at a bachelorette party).
On lap 1, I decided to run the spongy uphill woods section after the first barriers even though I had been able to ride it in my warmup. Being in a group, running seemed safer and less of a gamble. It was a good idea since I did not give up any places there. Yay!
In the men’s Cat 4 race, I watched practically the entire field wipe out in the turn leading to the final barrier, so I knew to watch out. I remembered Todd R’s clinic instructions to “dismount and coast as long as you can”, so I glided down the slope and stepped off in the apex of the turn, actually passing the rider in front of me with that technique. Alas, I had to wipe the self-satisfied smile off my face when I crashed in the mud of the next hairpin. Argh! The girl I had passed passed me back, along with at least one other.
On the second lap I was more or less on my own and I just concentrated on being smooth and steady, tried to take deep breaths on the downhills to get my heart rate under control, and rode the spongy woods section (still faster for me than running). On the third lap I passed the girl in front of me (in the barriers!) and on the fourth lap I passed another girl (the one with whom I had dosie-doed in the first lap) right before the finish. I even managed to get out of the saddle and sprint to the line to make sure she didn’t come around me.
That was a nice improvement over my first two years of cross racing, because it was the first time that I’ve had enough energy left at the end of the race to pass anyone. In previous years, I’ve been the one being passed in the last lap or two. I am happy with the my result and looking forward to the next race!
I arrived at the venue late enough to miss warming up on the course…the Men4 already were lined up and preparing for the start. That may have been just as well, as it seems everything really dried out in the intervening hour and sections that might have been sketchy weren’t so bad later in the day. I registered, pinned up my jersey, and hopped out on my bike to watch the first few laps underway and get a sense of the course from the sidelines. I’m not a big fan of scary stuff (e.g., nasty off camber sections or steep rocky descents), and this race suited me fine. Long grass sections, lots of twists and turns, but nothing too horrendous. After sympathizing with Jason about his missing derailleur, I went out on the roads for a spin.
It was great to see so many women at the start of the 3/4 race, including good representation from NEBC. The first lap, as always, was a bit of a blur for me. I started toward the back and planned to use the first go round to get a feel for the course. It was hard…I’d forgotten how tiring riding on the grass can be. There were a few sections where I was pleased to find that choosing a different line worked to my advantage – grass rather than gravel, or off the beaten path to try passing a rider.
Overall the race went pretty much as I thought it would… it was good to be finished, as I’d been very nervous at the start. Nothing like the first race of the season to get the butterflies worked out of the stomach (I hope)! Now I just need to work on remounting, fitness, and handling, and I’ll be all set.
Happiness is arriving at the first cx race of the season and seeing miles of stakes and tape for the first time in 9 months. It’s like being a little kid on Christmas morning and seeing a tree full of smartly wrapped gifts. I wish you could bottle that feeling and save it for February when it’s grey and slushy and gross and you’re sitting on your trainer hating life. Momentary euphoria was replaced by utter panic though, and I literally ran to registration and ran back to the car to get ready. That, and half of a lap on the course was the entirety of my warm-up. Not ideal. I was just about the last person to reach the staging area and so was relegated to the very back of the pack with the juniors. Also, not ideal. Then we sat in the sun and waited. And waited and waited and waited some more. It was pretty hot and I was starting to regret chucking my water bottle under a nearby bush so I unclipped and went to reach for it and hear “3,2,1…” DOH! Scramble to get back clipped in and am already chasing 27 people who had the common sense not to unclip at that particular moment. Congratulations NEBC, the village idiot is one of your own.
Being that I wasn’t anywhere near the pack in the first 15 yards, I decided to take the path of least resistance around the speed bumps and picked up some spots on people who tried to sprint through them and failed. When we reached the grass I was sitting in about 17th place which I held onto for about 6 seconds, getting passed on the first climb which hurt way more than it should have. Didn’t I just race mountain bikes for 5 months straight? Something is wrong here… Instant, horrifying realization struck that mtb fitness and ‘cross fitness are not the same thing and that the next 29 minutes are going to be full of pain and unpleasantness.
The course was the same as last year, except not as muddy and they moved the first set of barriers farther back to try and force a run-up in the section that weaves through the pine trees. I’m sure the section after the barriers was actually ridable but it seemed like it took less energy to run…unless of course that you haven’t been doing much in the way of running with a heavy POSCB on your tender, beginning of the season shoulder in which case running isn’t just energy-zapping, it actually really hurts. I really wanted to stick on Kathy Martin’s wheel because she beat me by 2 or 3 places every race last year but I kept loosing ground and by the end of lap 2 she was gone for good. Jean dropped the hammer on the uphill by the finish line at the start of lap 3 and I didn’t have enough left to match it and watched her ride away as well.
I was pretty much alone on the course until the last lap when the woman behind me started gaining ground. I had nothing left and more or less had to walk the run-up and by the time I remounted (gracefully and with skill may I add…pretty proud of that) she was right on my wheel. I held onto the lead through the switchbacks, across the parking lot and around the muddy corner but once we hit the gravel before re-entering the pavement she had pulled though. I passed her back on the pavement and was first up the hill but she pulled up alongside me after the first turn, dropped me on the next hill and rode out of sight around the bend. I thought, “well, that sucked, game over” but there was one last climb up to the finish line and upon rounding the corner I was surprised that she was only about 10 yards ahead. OK FINE, I’M GOING FOR IT.
I tried to stand up and sprint and spun out. By the time I clicked up a few gears there were only about 8 yards between her and the finish line. I gave it everything I had, plus some. By this time the officials and everyone hanging out at the finish line had caught on and were yelling for her not to get caught and for me to catch her. It was slow-motion chaos. It was awesome. I threw at the line but in the end she had me by 1/8 of a wheel.
Yeah, all this for 23rd place…whatever. It was glorious. I love cyclocross.
What a fun race/ and a beautiful day – still the mud at the single barrier after the parking lot, but two sets of fun chicanes to remove some of of the grass crit effect. Easing into the season, I set goals that took into account the fact that I spent the better part of August and early September off the bike, in a car, traveling across the country on US highways going from Sr Games to Track Nationals and visiting friends and family. My start could have been better, so I did some do -si-do-ing with several different riders then settled in to catch a rider and target Karin … passed her, only to have her pass me back … in the end I re passed her and another rider (practicing my spinning) ... very satisfying solid first race.
We just had a very active mtn-biking vacation, so I thought I was in pretty good shape. But nothing prepares you for 30 minutes of cyclocross hell like actually being there and doing it. The course in Bedford is deceptive too – it has no major landscape features, but it is lots of slow bumpy energy-sucking grass! Had a nice 10 mile ride to the race (yay for races in riding distance!), where I remembered my cross bike is quite uncomfortable! In the race I got a lousy start whereas I’m usually pretty good at that, then it basically went downhill from there. A few fun back-and-forths with other racers, as I’m definitely better at the run-ups/barriers than I am at the power stuff. I couldn’t get into my big ring which killed me on the pavement. The crowning moment was dropping my chain after the barriers – I was breathing so hard that I was having trouble getting it back on. To add insult to injury, that extra fiddling time was the difference between getting lapped and not, as I got nipped just before the final straightaway. But hey, the first race is out of the way, now it gets fun. And I totally won the all-important sock competition.
CBTT ending 9/2
The Charlie Baker Time Trial will conclude on September 2nd. A huge thanks to our long list of volunteers and also to CCNS Wind Tunnel for sponsoring the series competition.
Tuesday Women's Ride Finished for 2009
Thanks to everyone who made this ride possible. We had another great season and are looking forward to starting it all over again in May 2010.
2009 NEBC Central New Hampshire Road Race
Join us for the NEBC Central New Hampshire Road Race in Bow NH, Sunday, August 2nd, 2009. The race is sponsored by the Cycle Loft, Devonshire Dental and the Bow Rotary Club and features a challenging course provides great warm-up for Green Mountain Stage Race. 10.6 mile rolling loop with one major climb. The starting hill is neutral on the first lap. 39×25 gearing recommended. Feed zone near start.
Register Online (BikeReg.com)
Download the Race Flyer (PDF)
Registration opens at 7:30 and closes 15 minutes prior to the start of each race. Registration will take place at the front entrance of the Bow Memorial School. Entry Fee includes $3 USA CYCLING insurance surcharge. $5 late fee for late or day-of-race registration. Register online at bikereg.com .
Or by mail: send a 2009 USA CYCLING standard entry form, a USA CYCLING Standard Release, and a check made out to Northeast Bicycle Club to: Central NH RR c/o Les Bethel 30 Lothrop Road Acton Ma 01720. Mail in pre-registrations must be postmarked by July 20th. One-day licensees will be available for $10 on site.
NO REFUNDS FOR NO-SHOWS. NO TRANSFERS OF REGISTRATION.
SRAM Neutral Race Support provided for Men Cat 4, Men 5 Under 35, Men Master 45+ Women P/1/2/3, Men P/1/2; and Men
Master 35+, all other races are wheels-in/wheels-out.
KOM/QOM competition for Women P/1/2/3, Men P/1/2, Master 35+ and Men 3 races. Points awarded to top 3
on all laps except the first lap. KOM/QOM prizes 3 deep.
No separate junior races. Juniors race their category but pay a discounted entry fee of $5.
Women 4, 35-45, 45+ will race in the same field but will be scored and awarded prizes separately.
Men 55+, 65+ will race in the same field but will be scored and awarded prizes separately.
_Promoter reserves the right to combine fields and reduce the prizes if necessary due to limited registrations in a
particular race. _
Interstate 93N to Interstate 89N, Take Exit 1 for Bow.
Turn right at end of ramp and go 1 mile and turn right onto White Rock Hill Road.
Bow High School is 1/2 mile up White Rock Hill Road on the right.
From Interstate 89S, take Exit 1 for Bow, turn right at end of ramp and go 1 mile and turn right onto White Rock Hill Road.
Bow High School is 1/2 mile up White Rock Hill Road on the right
Address: 32 White Rock Hill Road, Bow, NH
View Larger Interactive Map
View Larger Elevation Profile
The course is a 10.6 mile circuit that runs counter clockwise starting from Bow High School and features 1076ft of climbing every lap.
Plenty available in the school parking lot, carpooling is always preferred.
Rest rooms located in the school and porta-johns outside the school.
View Larger Map
_Part of the New England Bicycle Racing Association Ranking System, the 2009 New England Women’s
Category 3/4 Race Series, and the MCRA Points Series_
All USCF rules apply. Approved helmets are mandatory. No mtn bikes, straight bars or aero bars. No tank tops. Jerseys must have sleeves.
NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental Men's Elite Team News
These past two months of racing have been a huge mixture of good and bad luck, I think we last left off w/ a brief mention that Alex Dossin had won the Great Falls Criterium in Auburn, ME. That was a largely successful weekend for the Cat 3s as the day before NEBC pulled out a double podium (just missing out on the top step) at the Auburn Road Race as well.
The Auburn Road Race was 6 laps of a 11 mile loop, we had good representation from Scott Brooks, David Chiu, Alex Dossin, Jay Robbins, and Keith Reynolds the plan was to sit in for the early laps and try for something later in the race, purposely keeping the plan a little vague, as super detailed grandiose plans rarely come to fruition, especially in the Cat 3s. Throughout the early parts of the race everyone was super jumpy in that negative-racing manner chasing down everything that moved but never really wanting to move much beyond 20mph when we were all together. Around the half way point in the race, Scott Brooks made his signature counter attack, which is really less of an attack and more of a list-fully rolling off the front. This “attack” has worked for him in the past on several occasions, probably the most successful being his win at Sunapee in 2007 in the freezing and driving spring rain , Scott also always manages to time this perfectly when the field is absolutely fed up with chasing and always lets him go. Former NEBCer Mark Theeman went with Scott and the field just let them roll up the road and disappear over the horizon. Jay and I went into blocking mode sitting around 4th and 5th wheel as eventual winner Jurgen Nebelung of Base36/SMCC/Gorham Bike called his team to the front to work to bring the break back. Going into the last lap the field split apart through the start finish line and the little kicker that is right after it, fracturing into small groups of 3 and 4 with the break mostly caught, Alex was in good position in the front group which had re-absorbed Scott, and I was stuck behind a spent Base36/SMCC/Gorham Bike chaser a few groups back. Surfing wheels, I was able to get up to the front group w/ Alex and Scott only to see Theeman still up the road but this time w/ Jurgen and Miro Koulnis of Bikereg.com, taking a quick glance back there were still small gaps and most everyone was pushing hard to get the field back together, I took advantage of these natural splits and motored off to join the reorganized break. The group of four worked well together, Theeman eventually dropped from the break. I unfortunately got dropped from the break just before the final straight to the final climb but was able to stay in no-man’s land and roll in ahead of the field. Back in the field, confident that the break was away for good, Alex launched from the bottom of the hill, on the finishing stretch Alex actually caught and passed an utterly spent shell of myself and the two rolled in for 2nd and 3rd for one of the most successful Cat 3 team races of the season!
The next day was the Great Falls Criterium also in Auburn, ME. In attendance was: Alex Dossin, Dave Chiu, Jay Robbins, Keith Reynolds, Brian Campbell, and Eric Brassell. We went into this race with the same game plan, wait till the halfway point to do “something”. This course is a basic four corner crit with a nice hill in it, a steep wall of a kicker, just enough to really hurt the legs and kill your momentum. On the other side of the course was a screaming fast downhill that fed you back into the wall. At about the half way point, a red and white (non NEBC) rider started things off by launching a solo attack that lasted for about a lap and a half, the field took it’s time to bring him back to within a few dozen meters, at that point I countered on the wall got up to the solo rider and just kept motoring for a solo move that eventually got a gap as large as 1/3 of a lap thanks to teammates blocking in the field. Once again Base36/SMCC/Gorham Bike goes to the front and nails it to bring the move back, I was caught on the wall at 4 to go, just as a solo rider with no team thanks the chasing team for all their work, Alex jumps up the road. Tired of chasing me the field hesitates before trying to chase again, there were a few times Alex was brought back close to the field but the field always sat up before the final catch was made and Alex never gave up, always nailing it right after the wall to keep moving, that in combination of me getting back to the front to slow the field down during the fast downhill let Alex’s gap stick, giving him his first solo victory! Along the way, in various breaks and moves, NEBC had also taken all the cash primes on the day, not too shabby. Alex had commented earlier in the weekend that he’s never won a race before, I don’t think he can say that anymore!
Landen was the only Cat 2 that came up to Maine for the weekend and had a bit of bad luck as he touched wheels with another rider in the Crit and took a tumble forcing him to pull out of the race about 1/3 of the way in. Landen is a durable kid though and bounced back w/o any issues.
The following weekend was a New Britain and New London criterium, nothing of note happened in the New Britain Crit in the Cat 3 race. Roy Van Cleef contested his first Master’s race in the 30+ category though and picked up some primes as well as third in the field sprint, the P/1/2/3 race saw Peter Chiu, Jim Thomas, and Rebecca, and Brooke of the Women’s team. Jim survived 6 crashes in the last 2 laps to finish 11th and Peter rolled in just behind him for 20th, not bad at all considering the bombs going off in the peleton in the last 2 laps.
New London is a fantastic race course, a bit of a figure 8 with 7 turns and one sweeping turn that almost takes the riders 180deg before a sharp 90deg right, and a bump through the Start/Finish to make the legs hurt a bit. Easily one of the most fun Criterium courses in New England. Jay Robbins and I were the only NEBC riders represented in the Cat 3 race. The race was much more aggressive Jay Robbins found himself in a good move that didn’t stick, I made several attempts that were never as successful as Jay’s, and it all came back down to a field sprint. I found myself on the front going into the last corner (oops), the eventual winner squeezed inside of me and got the jump on the rest of us, Jay was very well positioned and came around me on the finishing straight for 4th on the day, two places ahead of my eventual placing. Another good effort by the team!
In the P/1/2/3 race we saw Jay Robbins (again), with Peter Shapiro, Peter Chiu, Landen Wark-Acebo, and Jim Thomas. Jay only lasted a lap before calling it a day, but it was a good lap, as Shapiro was able to get in one of the first moves of the day. After that was brought back another group went, but NEBC missed the break and Jim began his barrage on the field to try to bring it back. In the end though, it wasn’t to be, there were 7 people up the road in 2 groups, and the field was all back together, Shapiro made a strong move on the back side which no one followed and rolled across the line solo for 8th.
After the Connecticuit Crit Weekend was the Giro di Jersey. A nice low-key stage race in Southern New Jersey, in and around the Princeton area. Scott Brooks had won this in 2008 and we were looking for a repeat. Landen and Shapiro, were contesting the P/1/2 5 day Timed GC Stage Race with Scott and Dave in the 3/4s 3 day Omnium. This race had lots of potential, but a huge string of bad luck between a newbie officiating crew, weather, road conditions, and more weather it was actually kind of a disaster. The promoter tried the best he could, and a lot of the problems were completely out of his control. In the end, Scott was only able to pull off a 7th on the GC.
But, on the bright side, AFTER Giro di Jersey, Landen hauled it up to Central Harlem to contest the David Walker Memorial Skyscraper Cycling Classic. A flat as a pancake 4-corner criterium around Marcus Garvey Park on Manhattan. If you’re a crit fan, this is definitely one of the races to do. Lower key this year than last when it was the Rock Racing Harlem Rocks big money crit, the race saw smaller more local teams. But the weather couldn’t decide if it wanted to rain or be sunny, so it did both. Raining just enough to soak the course and make the painted lines extra slippery and then stopping so that the sun could come out. Peter avoided another 6 crashes on the day, including a spectacular one man slide-out right infront of him as he was jumping across to a break that was a little up the road. Landen got caught in the tail end of a crash in Corner 1 where all the “action” seemed to be happening. Eventually a very strong group of 4 got up the road, Landen and Peter got in some groups that tried to bridge but it didn’t happen. Peter and Landen rolled in with the field for 29th and 32nd respectively. While we didn’t win, it was a great motivator to have Peter and Landen duking it out in a super aggressive and super strong field, a good step in the right direction for the later-season Criteriums we’ll be targeting, like the Crossroads Cycling Classic 5x Criterium Series in North Carolina, Portsmouth Downtown Criterium, and the Boston Downtown Criterium.
This brings us to Fitchburg, Landen Wark-Acebo contested the pre-Fitchburg warm up race, the Exeter Twilight Criterium in Exeter, NH. Landen was in excellent position going into the finish following the CRCA/Empire lead out when Empire’s Sprinter blew his front tire and had to slow and exit the race, boxing in Landen for the finish. Landen was able to pull out a 20th place finish, but frustratingly could have been much higher.
Fitchburg for us was a four days of Bad Luck. Especially for the Cat 2s. The Cat 3s only fared marginally better. In the Cat 2 race, we had a guest with us from Edmonton Canada, Shaun Adamson, as well as Roy Van Cleef, Jim Thomas, Peter Shapiro, Peter Chiu, and Landen Wark-Acebo. The first day was the Time Trial that saw us on a very nice Time Trial course, of course the weather had us time trialing through a dense fog with a strong tail wind on the way out, which became a crushing head wind on the way in. Jim and Shaun pulled out strong performances as our top finishers in the TT at 16th and 19th respectively. The 2nd day we wanted to try to defend Jim’s position and were thinking of going after the Points Jersey. Right away after a leadout into the hill for Jim in the first lap, Peter Chiu was caught behind an early crash and was split off from the main field. Later in the race Shaun hit a pot hole funny and crashed in the chicane after the hill. A break got up the road with all the points and placings, so the guys packed it in to finish with the field and try again the next day. In the road race, Jim got in an early move that got as much as 2min 30sec on the field, soaking up many of the points towards the Points jersey. Unfortunately Jim bonked hard and got dropped from the break, then from the chase, and then from the field. To the point that going through the feed zone in what would have been the last lap, he got a push and some cookies from Tyler Hamilton. Absolutely spent, Jim actually took a break in the feed zone for a bit before deciding to go again and finish out the day to start the crit tomorrow. Only to get hit by a car that blew through a four way intersection without stopping and without looking. This was a fast section of the course and Jim couldn’t do much but was able to scrub some speed and hit the side of the car at an angle and minimize any damage. He’s okay, but did need to get a few stitches on his finger, unfortunately was DNF on the day. The final stage was the Crit. Plan C for the team was to try to get Roy a stage win, as Crits are his specialty. But after 3 hard days in the saddle, and a strong break of 2 up the road, the guys had some difficulty setting it up in the end, Roy and Peter Chiu ended the day in 17th and 18th. No luck at all, but lots of good racing for the guys.
The Cat 3s had their share of difficulty as well. Alex Dossin, Dave Chiu, Brian Campbell, and Keith Reynolds were the guys who represented for NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental. Alex rode a fantastic time trial, placing 30 seconds ahead of Dave for 16th overall, I was 32nd, it was another 30 seconds back to Brian, and Keith another minute back from Brian. Going into the Circuit race, we wanted to keep Alex towards the front, as these uphill stomps really suited him well, and hopefully move him up into the top 15 on GC or even the top 10. Unfortunately, Alex had a mechanical issue the first time up the hill where his rear wheel came out of the dropout, stopping him dead in his tracks. Not good, he finished the day a lap down. I became the team leader on the road w/ my 32nd place on GC being the highest for the team, a bit far from contention of anything. In the last half lap, I found the wheel of the eventual stage winner only to lose it in the last swell of the field as it reorganized before hitting the final turn onto the finishing hill. I had a lane open up infront of me on the left of the finishing climb and took it, went all out in too much wind but was able to come in 12th on the day, not bad, not great, but it didn’t do much for GC for the team either. The Road Race the next day the plan was to just sit in and maybe get Alex up the road, as the finish was once again an uphill stop that seems to be favoring Alex as of late. Half way through the race, the Cat 3 field is actually neutralized 3x in the same lap! All the starting and stopping was no good for me as I got popped out w/ 1.5 laps to go, and rode in solo about 10min down. Alex, Brian, and Keith finished out the day in the field. The last day was the Crit, all Cat 3 NEBCers were present and accounted for, I pushed himself to the front and got a first row start and started things off, jumping off the line wanting to see who was still attentive after 3 days of racing. From there I slid back from the very front of the race to about 10-20 wheels back and stayed out of trouble for the crit, any thoughts of a break sticking in the Cat 3 race were silenced after experiencing the head wind going up the finishing straight-away. New plan, sit in for the finish. The race saw about 2 or 3 crashes, always in the same spot, at the bottom of the course in the straight away in between the double left hand corners. People would take the corner too wide and just hit the curb. In one of these crashes I saw a rear wheel swing by my head, I had to do a little body english to avoid getting smacked in the face, but made it through clean. Going in to the finish, I jumped on the Cambridge Bicycle leadout who dutifully kept the pace high in the closing laps keeping everyone at the front of the race out of trouble. Exiting the last corner I was in good position but I hesitated a bit as Morgan Hiller of CL Noonan jumped up the left side starting things off and holding it too the line. Everyone else followed suit, I got caught up in a little traffic, having to re-start my sprint and maneuver around riders, came across the line in 5th place. A good result to cap off a less than lucky stage race.
So, with all that bad luck the Team’s been experiencing we have some good news to report, Alex Dossin and I both applied for and were granted our Category 2 upgrades! The team has grown to 7 regularly-racing Category 2 riders, a huge step forward since the Elite Program’s founding in 2007, when we only had 1 Category 2 racer (Todd Rowell, who decided to take a break from racing this year, and we hope to return next year!) with the promise of more on the way! Both Alex and I have been racing with NEBC since our Category 4 days (for me, it’s been about 5 years), and it’s great to have move up through the ranks learning and growing as racers and team mates, learning the virtues of racing together as a team and not just for ourselves. Bike racing, after all, is a TEAM sport, and we can not emphasise this any more. Look for more to come as in the coming weeks a portion of the team travels down to North Carolina to contest the Crossroads Cycling Classic, 5 nights in a row of Twilight Criterium racing; the team also plans on hitting up the Hanes Park NRC Crit in Winston-Salem, NC on the way home to make it a complete 6 crits in 6 days! After that we’ve got GMSR, Prospect Park, Portsmouth Downtown, and Boston Downtown! Amazing how quickly the season goes by.
We’ve had our share of ups and downs so far this year, and there’s still plenty of racing left to go, we’re hugely grateful of the fantastic support we continue to receive from not only our sponsors but the club members as well. Men and Women racers that support and cheer us on, we are all a part of NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental.
If you guys missed it, double check your emails, as Jeff from the Cycle Loft has some FANTASTIC deals on 2009 Specialized gear that he’s clearing out to make room for the 2010 line. We may say it’s not
about the bike, but our results certainly could not have come without being on some of the best production equipment available on the market: Specialized Tarmac Pro framesets, SRAM Componentry, and Optics by Tifosi.
In case you forgot, the 2009 NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental Elite Men’s Team Consists of: Roy Van Cleef (Cat 2 – Weston, MA), Peter Chiu* (Cat 2 – New York, NY), Peter Shaprio (Cat 2 – New York, NY), Landen Wark-Acebo (Cat 2 – Waltham, MA), Alex Dossin* (Cat 2 –
Durango, CO), Jim Thomas (Cat 2 – Chattam, MA), Dave Chiu (Cat 2 – Brookline, MA) and Brian Campbell (Cat 3 – Waltham, MA); * denotes U25 riders.
As always, we are hugely thankful to all the NEBC club members and our sponsors for making this possible: Jeff and Anthony at the Cycle Loft, Dave and Althea at Devonshire Dental, Bank of America Mortgage, Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C., Attorneys at Law, CCNS, Core Structural Therapy, Lester’s Roadside BBQ, Natural Wellness Clinic, Performance Lifestyles, and Workwell Massage Therapy. Until next time, stay healthy, see you at the races, and thanks for reading.