Thursday, May 17, 2012

Smoketown Airport Criterium

Causing trouble.
The Smoketown Airport Criterium was a stretch for a busy weekend.  Between seeing family and going to a Bar Mitzvah, I was somehow able to sneak away to Intercourse, PA where a small private airport was kind enough to host a very well put together cycling event.  Races were of all categories, and the race was even well organized enough to allow planes to land and take-off between races.  On top of some fantastic organization, the venue itself was just unique.  Not many times can you say you've racing on the runway of airport or watched the races from inside a private hanger.   I was also lucky enough to be accompanied by my cousin and his wonderful energetic troublemaker of a son (who now knows the joy of wet willies).

Opening up the legs a little...
The race was held in warm conditions, just under 80 degrees.  I warmed myself up doing laps around the airport hangers while my cousin and his son checked out airplanes and tore up the runway on a razor scooter.  While airplanes took off, we lined up and were rolled out for a neutral lap.  The course started on an uphill straight away with a headwind and took two 90 degree left hand turns before entering an S-bend to a gentle slope of the backside with a tailwind and completing a lap with a full 180 degree corner which from the second I saw it, knew someone was going to hit it too hot and either go into the grass or just wipe out on a hotter lap.

Legs opened with a can of WHOOP ASS on the side
The race started with eager racers making small breaks off the front.  Including myself, I was able to stay away with another rider for 3 early laps, which was a good chance to open up my legs and really get a feel for the course.  Throughout the remainder of the race some team blocking was involved to help riders stay away for longer than 3 laps, but with 5 laps to go any breakaways were reeled in and the field stuck together until 2 laps to go when a crash in the 180 degree corner split things up.

Legs still open... yee haw
Coming into the final lap I was sitting in a fantastic place.  I was the third wheel of an unintentional lead out train, next to many other riders jockeying for position.  I could see my sprint line when two riders cross wheels, went down and took out enough riders that forced me to make a quick maneuver into the grass.  After pulling myself back onto the pavement, there was enough space to sprint back up through some slipstream action and finish in 9th place.

All in all, this was an awesome race and I hope I can do it again next year.  Next up on the calendar is Watertower Hill in Colchester, VT on Tuesday May 22nd.  A fun local criterium for some #localglory

Arc hard, ride fast, go plaid

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Quabbin Reservoir Road Race - Ware, MA

The Quabbin Reservoir Road Race started early, even possibly the night before, but most likely early in the morning.  We left the humble abode of self proclaimed Master of the Universe, Bobby Bailey's house at 5am, to find freshly fallen snow on the car and eventually the road before us.
Bikes got to sleep the whole way there...

Races started early, between 9 and 10 and took racers around a 64.9 mile course starting and ending the Quabbin Reservoir State Park.  The 64.9 miles had lots of small hills, nothing larger than a category 3 according to Strava, but nothing larger than a category 5 according the Map My Ride.  Having only looked at the Map My Ride profile before the race, I went in thinking that the hills were no larger than anything we would come across on a Tuesday Night Worlds loop.  That said, I made the mistake of making some larger digs early on in the race and had to recover and hang in tight until the end of the race.  I am proud to say that I was able to make moves and play cards throughout the entirety of the race.  While I felt tired about midway, because of proper fueling I was able to rally and pull through to the finish and sprint for a 23rd place result.
Feed zone provided by BONK! Support.  Thanks guys!
Arriving at the final finishing climb back in the park and up towards the tower, I put in a large dig thinking the finish was near by.  Had I been correct, the victory could have been mine, however because of my premature attack, I cramped and was not able to recover with enough strength to pull off my goal of a top 10. The strength is there, but the tactics clearly need work.

My next race with be May 8th in Colchester, VT at Water Tower Hill.  This will be the first of the newest Vermont Criterium Series, one which I am very excited to be a part of this season.  Local races will make the season much more enjoyable, as they will not require anything more than a 2 hour drive, as opposed to the 3-4 hour minimum of any other race in MA, NH, CT or ME.

Arc hard, ride fast, go plaid!