Stats: 67.6 miles – 7680 feet of ascent – 12.4 mph average
I found a nice price in an even better hotel (The Shippen Place Hotel) so I drove out Saturday night. Corner room, floor-to-ceiling windows & king size bed. Perfect place to rest the night before a day of suffering. I got to the start/finish around 8:15 for a 9:00 roll-out…it was friggin’ freezin’. No clouds and super sunny – not that we saw the sun very often in the woods. I lined up towards the back of the pack – today was a ride for me, not a race. My goals today were 1) no crashing 2) no injuries – new or re-aggravating 3) atleast finish the 50K loop 4) finish the complete 100K loop – in that order.
We went about 200 yards before I saw the first 3 flats. I have had trouble with my new tubeless set-up so I figured my calamities would flare up soon enough. There is a little prologue loop before hitting the first paved descent – humming along at 48 mph on 38 psi tubeless that you don’t trust – solid! We took a hard right onto a nice gravel ascent to start warming up – all the fire roads out there were awesome! Soon enough we hit some single-track – it was harder to navigate the people walking it than to actually ride it. Eventually we got to the spot that I thought may end my riding for the day – Wigwam. Wigwam is a 300 foot tall hike-a-bike that is straight up – it sucked…totally. It did not tear up my knees/Achilles/ankle as bad as I had feared so I ‘gramd it and moved on.
In the first half I rode hard for sections but would stop & stretch until my marker; Derek with Kelpius; would catch up and then I would start off again. It was fun being the only geared dude with all the Philly single-speeders. This tactic kept injury at bay and the first 50K was complete – intact & with no mechanicals. The way the course is set up you can stop by your car for support at the mid-point. I took a good 20 minutes – had a sandwich, changed my jersey and contemplated being done for the day. None-the-less; I saw Jill Morgan (BikeSport) roll out for the 2nd half, so I got my things together and headed back out. I had done a very good job; in the first 50K; of not pushing the body too hard. I figured if I stayed with Jill that I could keep the effort level in check. There was only one other potential hike-a-bike to fear (on the way up to Larry’s Tavern) but I was told “you may be able ride it”. I gave myself a gap when I got there and was able to get up without getting off the bike. At the top MattyB and the Rapp’s were manning Larry’s Tavern – a makeshift Sly Fox Brewery in the woods. I don’t prefer beer but did down a Helles(?) because it was cold….I am still searching for a beer I don’t hate. The last 20 miles of the ride were just hard bike riding. The topography is a lot like WV. The single-track was complete and the rest was all fire roads. The last 10 miles are pretty much uphill – 6 miles at a constant grade on fire roads (my Garmin hit 15% to 19% many times). There was nothing too killer just constant kickers…I imagine that actually “racing” Iron Cross would absolutely wreck you. Once across the finish line I picked up my Iron Cross socks, cleaned up & changed, ate some awesome BBQ and got on the road heading home.
Iron Cross is probably the best mix of terrain I have ever ridden. It is amazing that someone laid out this route and can pull off the event. The scenery is spectacular. The gravel fire roads are endless. The single-track is beautiful. I hope they can bring it back to Michaux State Forest so I can do it again – hopefully to actually race it.
Men’s 35+ Saturday:
Humid, humid & more humid + lots of dust. Started 50th of 91 riders after the “day ofs” jumped in. Finished 46th out of the 62 finishers. I moved up to 18th and held in for 3 laps until I got hit pretty hard in a corner. I lost all ground I had gained & now only had 3 riders behind me in the race once I could get back in the saddle. My stem was at a 45-degree angle to the left, had a broken right pedal clip (that would jamb inside the pedal OR not clip in at all) and for a bonus – no shifting. I spent the rest of the race picking off who I could to get back to my starting position in the field.
Men’s 35+ Sunday:
Reverse the course; throw in a log and fast, tacky corners! Started 48th of 79 riders. Finished 45th out of the 60-some finishers. I didn’t move through the field quite as well but someone yelled that I was 23rd a couple times in the race. The log gave me fits – worse as the race went on. I felt great and was riding fast. In the final lap (right before the log portion) my chain got jammed behind the chain catcher which was too loose (probably after getting hit the day before). It took 4 good Samaritans to get that K-edge jawn to move and get back on the course. I lost 15 to 20 spots but finished strong.
I can hang with these fast old men but need to be more smooth across the terrain. There must have been 50 learning moments over the two days where I benefitted from being behind some super fast/clean riders. The little 3 second mistakes add up and you finish 5 minutes behind the winner – minor mistakes are penal with these dudes! I hope to learn a lot this year. Cross is the most fun you can have racing. Cross is the most painful racing you can engage in. A pit bike might be a good idea. 32psi up front/35psi in rear.
Sunnybrook / Limerick Chiropractic / Bikesport riders won two races at the Philadelphia based Criteriums this past weekend.
Eric Greenberg took his first road win by clinching the Men’s Cat 4/5 race, with a strong sprint from the final corner. His in-video metrics shows his heart rate holding at 199bpm and holding a solid >1100 watts for the finish.
Greg Sherrick then made it a double win by taking first place in the Men’s 3/4 race at the same event. He went in a two man break with around 3 laps to go, and took the victory in a sprint finish.
Congratulations to both of them, and well done to our other racers who were active over the weekend.
Up earlyish on a Sunday morning, with clear skies and temps in the mid ’50s and rising to the ’80s later one. I drove down to the race and walked to the finish line just in time to see the last couple of laps of a earlier race with new member Damon finishing strongly in the Cat 5 pack finish – well done Damon!
I said hello to teammate Jim S who was also going to be in the same race as me, grabbed my race number and headed back to the car to put the bike on the trainer and get warmed up. I haven’t raced in a long time (last August..), and I was a bit nervous about eating/sleeping/hydrating but as the course is a simple 4 corner crit it’s pretty forgiving for all that stuff compared to further/more intense racing. I ate a suitable for vegans strawberry flavour Clif shot before warming up, put on my headphones and spent 20 minutes warming up with some mild and unorganised intervals. In races I generally have 2 or 3 major efforts available, call them ‘matches to burn’ if you’d like to think of it that way – once it’s lit, that match is done. Sometimes I have 3, others it’s 2 and done.. Getting good and warmed up hopefully avoids me using one early on.
Lining up on the start/finish line I was with fellow teammate John, but couldn’t spot Jim. We were the 3 team members racing in the Cat 4 Mens, and we all have quite different skills and strengths on the bikes. A few other buddies were also nearby in the pack, and a few people that I only know from racing said hello and we had a quick catch up with how much we all had or had not been riding/racing.
The whistle goes, and we’re off at what felt like a decent pace. There’s no lap counter yet – we will be racing for 40 minutes and after some seemingly random amount of time they’ll start a lap countdown. This makes it hard for me to mentally pace myself as I normally eagerly count down the laps and can’t quite get used to looking at my Garmin computer to check the time expired.
The first few laps quickly settle into a pattern – 3 to 8 riders at the front in single file, with everyone else fanning out behind. There’s a bunch of slowing and random braking going into the corners, and I’m quickly in the middle or back 2/3s of the pack of 70 or so riders. I hear Ben (who is there spectating) yelling that I need to move up. He’s right, so I try to and that’s how the next 20 minutes go by. I’ll move up slowly and not use a crazy amount of energy but a lot of mental anguish or I’ll move up quickly and use a bunch of energy. Then someone in front of me will brake going into a corner and 10 people will bomb around the outside before the next corner. Just intervals and intervals and intervals, which was not what I wanted with my questionable levels of fitness.
By 7 laps I knew i have to move up into the top 20 or ideally 10 or so riders. By lap 6 I made it there, one match pretty much burnt, and waiting for the surge that the Lap 5 announcement normally brings. We cross the line for 5 to go and nothing happens… … until the long straight between corner 1 and 2. It ramps up, I’m on the limit holding position but the elastic doesn’t snap. Match 2 well and truely burnt. Lap 4 slows, Lap 3 is okay, my heartrate is coming back down and I can sit up and steal half pedals to regroup. I move back a bit as people come around both sides, but I try to maintain my position and composure for the end. Lap 2 – I move up again, final corner of Lap 2, I think I’m around top 10-15 and actually stand a chance – I’ve got my heartrate down and I think I’ve got some legs. But…
Corner 1 on the last lap, I pedal through it with no braking, still top 20 or so. I want to be, and have to be, top 10 into corner 3 and 100% must be for corner 4. Teammate John is ahead and to the right I think, but I can’t see or get to him. I run across the gravel exiting turn 1, but no issues. A little further along the straight towards corner 2 the person one in front and to the right on me suddenly looks like a Salmon going up stream. He’s wobbling and although his trajectory is left and across me, he’s wobbling hard while doing it so it’s hard to know what the hell is happening. I guess he touched bars or front wheel with someone and is trying to stay upright. I hit the brakes while simultaneously trying to avoid him and also not cause a pileup behind me. His back wheel skips across my front wheel but I still don’t know which way he’s going to wobble – I hold my line, watching in seeming slow motion, as he shots left into the corner of a curb. I’m passing him just as he goes over his bars and falls into the grass. If he’d fallen into the road it would have been a much rougher landing and probably right into my wheel. I glance back, he’s alive and the pack is all upright and still right there. 3 corners to go..
I sprint to catch up and move into a hole that’s been created. There’s no obvious good wheel, I dig and I’m back on with the leaders. We turn the corner and I keep pedaling hard and suddenly I’m at the front. I look right and there’s a big group going fast behind the person I just pulled alongside who is also going fast. I do NOT want to be here yet – this is where I want to be on 100 feet from the finish line. I panic, I look for a wheel, for help, for anything. There’s nothing. We’re flat out going to corner 3 and I’m just sucking wind. The group to the right pull ahead and I’m start to flounder. The third and final match has been angrily lit and it’s burning me out fast. By the exit of corner 3 my legs and I aren’t on the same page anymore, and we’re not in the same race as everyone else. I try to grab a passing wheel, and then try to get the next one and then the next one. I’ve got nothing.
I’m in the drops, I can’t stand up to pedal so I’m fully ‘on the rivet’ as the saying goes – I’m barely making contact with the very front of my saddle because I’m just a ball filled with stress, doing my best with out of sync pedaling and my head straight down. Half way to corner 4 and I’ve gone from top 3 to top 30 or worse. My legs are aruging and I can’t even handle telling them to shut up (sorry Jens). I let up, consciously or subconsciously, I don’t know. I see the leaders exit corner 4 and I haven’t even entered it yet…
I see how stretched out the pack it, and knowing that I have family and friends at the finish line I have a glimmer of hope that I can buck up and maybe claw back some positions – and then someone just ahead of me exiting corner 4 falls over meekly into the grass on the outside of the bend. I’m done. I finish in I-don’t-know-what-position but it’s probably 40th or 50th. The finish feels like it has a slight uphill rise to it, and people are still trying to get their sprint going for 50th place. I cross the line and pull off immediately, legs and arms spasming and twitching, and I get my breath back as the supporting teammates pat me on the back and wait until I can offer my excuses for being all over the place in the race.
I’m glad to be back racing, frustrated today maybe but loving it overall.
Mark and I met up at the glorious Limerick Chiropractic Center to throw
his stuff in my Outback and head south. We got on the road about 8 with
plans to meet up with John in Front Royal, VA around lunchtime. All
went smooth and we arrived about 11:30 at the entrance to Skyline Drive.
John was still about 45 minutes out so we found a place to meet John to
eat and make a game plan for riding. We found out that it costs $8 pp
to ride a bike on Skyline Drive so we tried to find a nice hike-a-bike
option near the start. We decided it was most prudent to support our
local national parks and pay up. We met John at Spelunkers for some
greasy, cavern burgers – kitted up and drove to our starting point.
After bike assembly, pace discussion and general fitness we headed off
to “pay the man” and get riding….well I didn’t pay ‘cuz I “forgot” my
The first 7 miles is straight uphill followed by a 1 1/2 mile descent.
The next 8 miles is straight uphill followed by a 2 mile descent. Then
it is another 3 1/2 miles to the turn-around point. I pretty much got
dropped right away and conveniently rode about 200 yards behind the (2)
mountain goats the whole way. We swung through all the vista points &
overlooks plus took some photos. It was super sunny, no wind and the
first real ride of the year in just bibs & jerseys without shivering.
Once at the peak of Hogback Mountain; 22 miles & 2800′ of climbing
later; I hiked up the rock faces to snap a few panorama shots of the
valleys below and to actually ascend a hill faster than Mark. Back in
the saddle; sans rattlesnake bites; we started the fun part -
descending. We all agreed that the wattage increased going down the
mountain. Pinging the speedo around 53 mph I think I lead the charge
We got back to the cars; disrobed and headed back to Winchester to hit
up Costco and eat some chow. After gorging at Cracker Barrel we roamed
the aisles at Costco and Food Lion before heading off the grid to RTR in
Mathias, WV. We got to camp around 10 pm, unloaded and planned the
early morning route before the other teammates arrived. Woke up about 8
and rolled around 10. We decided on the Ridge Assault for a flat ride
of 19 miles and 2100′ of climbing….believe it or not this is the
easiest route from the Lost River Barn. The ride starts out paved to
some thick gravel, then dirt, then double-track dirt with some nice
kickers but no long climbs. Mark and John got a nice taste of the
conditions they would be seeing for the next few days in West Virginny.
We stopped along the mountaintop family cemetery – amazing how old the
stones were and how long families settled on these ridges! Once back to
the barn we chilled until the remaining (7) arrived for the first team
ride of Training Camp 2014.
This was the 3rd year our team had ventured down to West Virginia to stay at Raw Talent Ranch in the mountains and ride bikes all weekend. I knew what these climbs presented and threw on my compact 50/34 and 11-28 cassette to not kill my knees grinding up everything. Thursday morning I packed up the BMW 2002 and cruised up to Pottstown to Jamie’s to carpool down in the Greenland diesel Polo. We picked up another teammate and hit the road.
We got down to the house around 2pm, got things together and took off on a quick ride around 4pm. Descend the front side, try not to eat shit on all the cinders laid over winter, cruise around the valley a bit, then crush it up the dirt ascent back up to camp. It’s a good way to get the legs back up and ready after a 5hr car ride.
4:33 moving time
7,513 ft of elevation
Avg speed = 15.7mph
Max speed = 50.1mph
Avg power = 190W
Max power = 1,051W
Max HR = 194bmp
The next day we woke up to weather in the low 50s with highs in the 70s and a chance for rain. It’s pretty hard to dress for rides around there as there are multiple ridges where weather changes frequently. On top of that rides usually take ~6hours with stops and such. I made the decision to roll with a light weight wind breaker and embro on the legs in order to minimize the clothing in my pockets as there was only 1 general store towards the very end of our ride and I wanted to bring a slew of food. The game plan was to ride the Apple Orchard route which ends up being the hardest day for me usually.
We started the route descending the backside where we quickly ran into very think fog where it became almost impossible to see. On top of that there was more gravel in the switch backs than I had ever seen on the road before. We took it very slow on the top and opened up once the visibility and road condition got better.
We cruised for a while in the valley before our dirt climb first climb up Walnut Bottom. After a quick gravel decent we ended up on a smoothly concreted 4 lane highway that started to climb a bit and led to a straight on 6% downhill. The potential to go fast here is high with the low traffic, nice decline, and proper road surface but being in the valley yields a good amount of wind. This year I was able to put my chin on my stem and pedal enough to get a tick of 50mph cruising down it compared to the mid-30s that we ramped up to the year before.
After a bunch of shit-eating-grins we got back to it and pace-lined to the start of the orchard climb. **Note to self for next year, the asphalt section of this climb hurts more than the dirt/gravel portion!!** The owner of the barn and all around great guy Jay, rode with us the entire day and like usual kept us all entertained with excellent stories. He also does a great job of helping sike you up for the wicked climbs but when he said the start was a gradual 10% and I look down to a constant 15+% my grim turned quickly to a grimace. Shit that is brutal. Around the time we hit the climb the sprinkling rain turned to more of a steady rain and I stopped to put my windbreaker on.
By the time the asphalt turned to dirt it was quite a bit muddy and it was some Rapha type shit… low 50s, slews of fog, and enough rain to make your front wheel scoot around while your shivering on the downhills. At the top of the climb we waited and regrouped for everyone. We climbed just a bit more to get the body warmed up and descended on a fast dirt/gravel/mud ridden double track full of cattle grates and large cliff faces. My fingerless gloves made braking in the drops almost unmanageable so the decent was very fast for the lack of sight I had. The surface was quite a bit smoother than last year with a lot less large rocks and gravel. After the dirt decent the road descends farther with more switch backs and leads into rolling steep hills and continues to dip down to the main road. At the bottom we re-grouped again at the general store.
After everyone warmed up we all sporadically left the store and headed through the valley to the worst climb of the day, the backside. I think it may be one of the hardest climb Ive ever done. The Strava segment tells me it’s a Cat2 climb, ~5miles long, over 2,000ft high with an average of 8%. Unfortunately my Garmin had other plans and transposed all my data a few hundred feet from the actual road surface.
A foggy start to the morning
A proper dirt climb
Mark checking his wounds after a little pothole incident
Ryan having more fun than I was…
A very wet orchard climb
Wet backside climb
Eric’s mud face
That night Eric helped get my bike dialed in after the harsh conditions
3:35 moving time
6,962 ft of elevation
Avg speed = 13.7mph
Max speed = 45.4mph
Avg power = 207W
Max power = 925W
Max HR = 191bmp
The crooked was going to be a rough one since everyone already had a solid amount of miles and vertical feet in their legs. This rough has a slew of dirt/gravel climbs & descents. So much so that Jay (who runs the barn) always uses his cross bike with 34c knobbies. The dirt decent from the barn was in perfect shape so we bombed it hard. By the time I got to the bottom of the decent I realized my front bottle was MIA. Welp that’s gonna suck… luckily for me a teammate saw it bounce off a few rocks and snagged it for me. After being pretty entertained by the 40+mph dirt decent we got back into the groove of the paceline until the Breadman got a flat. A few of us went and checked out a damn that was right off the road where a few people fish and hangout.
We tackled a quick climb, hit the wicked winds in the valley and finally got close to the climb they call ‘wicked’. The profile on Strava makes it look pretty intense as it’s a very steep 2000ft peak which drops off quickly. The front side of the climb has slews of switchbacks tracking up the face of the mountain with a couple points of relief in the bottom section. The gravel wasn’t too deep this year so most sections you could down shift a couple and stand to pedal without the fear of spinning out.
Once at the top we all joined up for a couple pictures before the wicked MTB-esq decent. My confidence was high after a couple other dirt descents and it almost took its toll. I cam in hot… some would say too hot into a steep 180 switchback that made me have an ‘O Shit’ moment. It twasn’t that bad as I didn’t even take a foot out of the pedal but I definitely locked the rear up. After calming down a bit I ran into Jay and talked a bit before hitting the bottom.
We cruised back to camp with a short trip to the front side climb. A few of us stopped into a general store to grab a bit more liquid before the 8miles climb back to camp. During such time we spotted something that they call a barbeque loaf?! Never seen that one before.
During the ride up the winds howled and out group of 9 dwindled to a group of 4. Mark and myself were taking some deep pulls while Ryan and Rory sat in. I tried my best to stay on Marks wheel up the climb for as long as I could but just like every other climb during the week, I couldn’t hold his wicked pace. I knew today was the last climb so I would push sporadically as my legs regained their composure. Once at the first crest we descended a bit on the ridge where I was pushing the pace trying to make back time. I eventually reeled Mark back in and rode next to him talking for a bit. As the landscaped kicked again I sat on his wheel hoping NAY praying that I would see the barn soon. I stayed on his wheel for a bit longer until the hellish road kicked again, this time HARD! He rode away from me like I wasn’t even pedaling. I crushed as hard as I could on the next flat but had nothing left. Mark rolled in a solid 20seconds before me and I greeted him at the barn with a solid dare I say fist bump. Solid day, solid ride.
Dirt descent from the barn
Top of wicked
BBW sauce loaf?>!
Simpler Times eh?
Day 4 – Ridge Ride Solo – Strava Jawn: http://www.strava.com/activities/128075666
1:15 moving time
2,493 ft of elevation
Avg speed = 14.9mph
Max speed = 38.9mph
Avg power = 208W
Max power = 830W
Max HR = 176bmp
Sunday morning is usually set aside for cleaning, packing, and watching whatever Classic is on TV that weekend. I woke up early and wanted to take in the sights and sounds. I did a solo #yawnpatrol ride on top of the ridge. It’s a fun little ride with some brutal punchy climbs and ~1/2 of the terrain dirt/rock farmer roads. It was chilly ~30F but felt warm with the amount of climbing and the pounding sun. I was loving life, bombing the descents until I finally got a rear pinch flat where the dirt became littered with exposed rock. I wont complain as it was in the low 40s by then and I was in the middle of nowhere riding my bike… ie the complete opposite of my normal daily bike commute though Philly. I changed the flat and backed off on the gnarly-ness degree as that was my only tube. I cruised back to camp and got to watching Tour of Flanders. The race this year was very entertaining and didn’t disappoint. Ben had gone over to Belgium a few days before and my goal was to spot him on the Koppenberg! Check and mate!
No work + riding all day with a solid crew = the life. 2014’s version of RTR did not disappoint at all.
1st flat/mechanical of the weekend for me.
We watched the race and got to see friend & teammate Ben on TV repping hard! #PHLCX
Jamie, Eric, Ben and our friendly insider from Trek Bikes visited the last ten days of the Tour de France, and just returned. Rides and stages included Mont Ventoux, Alpe d’Huez, Col du Galibier, the Champs Elysees and more.
Here’s a video covering a bunch of the hi-jinx (you should probably go ahead and click the HD button for full enjoyment..):
Jim rolled up to my house at 6:05am with a cool Sunnybrook cycling cap pulled tight on his head. I was out the door and rolling my bike towards him before he looked up. Three min later and we’re off….
The usual stop for Coffee was in order, and before long we were taking the exit off the turnpike and pulling into a parking spot in Bethlehem PA. Now the break for the Porta Potties…
The course was fast with four full speed turns! There was a slight climb on the backside of the course that could pose a problem if the speed kicks up and you’re not in position to maintain the break. The first two laps were a blistering 17 mph… Riders were actually talking and cracking jokes.. John from Skyland’s Cycles in NJ whom I met the day before at Brownstown actually started calling my name and asking me to take the next pull…
All joking stopped at the start of lap 3. Someone decided to increase the pace from 19 to 26.. Single file racing began and Jim and I were right at the front. With six laps to go, the pace was hot, and we were losing riders off the back at a quick clip. Jim took a pull and easily maintained the pace that had been established, just before another attack came from the right. It appeared to be strong but not a single person jumped.. Jim sat up and waited while one rider dangled out front for a lap and a half.. He came back when his own teammate pulled the entire group across to him….
At this point, Jim and I had not discussed how we would race or if we should try and break at a certain point in the race. However Jim noticed those two teammates planning to make a move with two laps remaining. If either of them pulled off another strong break it could hold… Jim moved to the front rather easily and left me near the rear of the lead group. Without warning the pace was extremely HOT with 3 and a half to go, I was dangling off the back with little hopes I could bridge back on… In turn three I could see who was causing the pain and it was a Sunnybrook kit… I first thought maybe Greg or Glenn cat’d down to 5… But not the case… It’s got to be Jim. He had a nice gap on the field, but without doubt burned a box of matches with that effort. I was detached from the group by two bike lengths with one to go… Jim was now off the gas and heading back to me quickly… The pace had slowed to 22 just before we hit turn two and the uphill section in the final lap… Jim screamed at me to get up there and I said I’m cooked and he told me to get on… He got me to the nearest wheel and I gritted my teeth with half lap remaining and pushed to the line with everything I had left. … That effort got me 8th and Jim to 11th. First time I actually had help in a race and now I’m itching to return the favor to someone soon!
I would estimate the start at 20 racers, only 16 finished!
2013 Brownstown Race – (Spoiler – Greg won the Mens Cat 4!)
Attendees: Earl, Glenn, Greg, Ida, Jim, Joe, John, Maria, Mark
Men’s Cat 4/5 Race Recap by Glenn S
I jumped in with Kegstand and Earl in Bucktown so we could carpool to farmland and race bicycles. We arrived in plenty-o-time to take a couple practice laps. Corner 1 was a left-hander 100 yards after the start/finish then flat-out into a straight, downhill section. Corner 2 was 90 degrees left with a slight rise in the middle. Through a couple rollers into a quick left/right “S” turn followed by a long downhill stretch leading uphill to corner 3 which turned left 90 degrees through a farm. Following a quick right and sweeping left you arrive at the only real sketchy corner – 110 degree left-hander with a little gravel and corn all around. There was one more 90 degree lefty before the final 1 ½ mile straight stretch. The final stretch had a .30 mile uphill, followed by matching descent – across a bridge to the final .40 mile uphill sprint finish. Warm-up discussions had Joe, Greg and I thinking we would re-group in the final lap and attack with 2 miles to go at the trickiest left-hander on the course. All-in-all the course layout was pretty cool. It was starting to get pretty humid and hot! We lined up ready to get this thing going – pretty nice because the 4/5 field, the Cat5 40+ field and the women’s field would all start/finish within minutes of one another.
Early into lap 3; Greg and I jumped with 4 other riders in what appeared to be a break attempt. Rumor has it that when you break; you actually have to work – shocker! Paul from Simmeria pulled, then me, then Gregg and then we went back to the lead pack.
At the end of lap #3 and through most of lap #4; Joe, Mark and I pulled the field around while Greg napped back in the field.
Lap #5: I was 3rd wheel coming up the sprint in the end of the fourth lap through corner 1. The KB rider up front decided to ride himself into the grass on corner 2 so Paul (Simmeria) and I traded pulls for a mile or so. Right before the left-hander in the farm; a KB rider passed us but the body-language lead us to stay put. Next I hear “Glenn” and Greg is full on the gas coming up the left side. I threw out the grappling hook; him and I quickly gapped the field and before long had bridged to the KB rider and passed him fast. I paused around the 3-mile mark – hoping that we would take a slight breather (atleast around the next corner) and then attack again – we had a big gap. Greg passed me hard again after the tricky corner – I had 3 seconds to decide what to do. I knew Greg had some energy pent up and was going to go full throttle. I was pretty tapped (interval training needed) so I yelled “go” decided to rest a few seconds. I was hoping that if all else failed I could control the field attack and atleast be our number 2 man if Greg blew up. Greg had a long haul ahead of him but he is a snot-blowing BEAST. I tried to only ride fast enough to keep others from passing me and if they did I just grabbed their wheel waiting for the next elbow flail. A couple times we began to gain on him quickly. Coming across the creek it was 100% apparent that he would hold on for the W-I-N! The field fanned out and started to sprint – riders everywhere PLUS one lone photographer.
I was on the right side and all of the sudden we came to a stop about 15 feet before the finish – a couple riders were down. After eventually realizing “o-ya we have to cross the finish line” I was wondering who would have crashed, after the finish line on an uphill finish. My teammate Mark – on his cursed Eddy Merckx – was taken out by an apparent blind woman trying the ‘gram the event. She stepped out right in front of him and he clipped her with his elbow/shoulder, spun him around and down he went – hard. Trashed kit, cracked frame, busted fork, cuts, bruised ribs, tweaked shoulder BUT no said woman to be found to offer an apology or anything. Joe took the mangled Merckx back to the car while Mark got bandaged up. We checked results and said goodbye to Maria while Ida was already in the car planning her lunch menu. Jim, Earl and I loaded up and we were on the road by 11. Joe drove Marks’ car home for him so he could ride with Greg – after Greg collected his gift cards from Bike Line and Moses’ Carved Butter Emporium of course. It was pretty cool to have a few riders come up and acknowledge that we controlled the race and that the team effort paid off. It is a blast to race with so many guys in Sunnybrook Racing kits!
Women’s CAT 3/4 Race Recap by Maria G
The day started with a road trip to Leacock Leola Bareville, PA about an hour and 20 minute drive. Carpooling was Maria, Ida and our junior rider Ersilia. Conversation on the drive up was about how nervous Maria was and how not nervous Ida was which was surprising since this was our second road race of the season after Ida’s bad crash at the end of the season last year. Our first race was SoYoCo which only had 5 women in our field Maria finishing 2nd and Ida 3rd. We knew we had our work cut out for us at Brownstown with over 25 starting in our field.
As we arrived we were greeted by our men’s 3/4 teammates proudly sporting their gray and orange jersey. As they were preparing to do their warm up laps Maria and Ida went to sign in and pick up their numbers. Once we got our number pinned on it was time to roll and shake out some nerves by doing one warm up lap. We have forgotten how absolutely beautiful this course was.
After our warm up lap we met up with the Sunnybrook boys at the start and we were able to meet some of our new teammates. Not before long it was time to line up. Wishing the guys luck Maria and Ida made their way to the back of the line. As the waves started Maria inched her way up to the front with Ida not far behind. With that said it made for a great day of racing!
The race started with a nice flow for the 1st lap the second lap had a few attacks which did not shake anyone loose. We all managed to stay together for the majority of the race. We were very happy with the way our fellow female competitors were racing. Everyone was holding a nice tight line and calling out if they were passing or next to you even at the crazy uphill sprint finish.
Maria finished 9th overall and 1st in cat 4.
Ida finished 16th overall and 5th in cat 4
Men’s Cat 4/5 Recap by Joe H:
The course layout was typical rolling Lancaster. Glenn was Glenn and spent more than his share in the front. Greg was up there as well. Mark, John and myself spent most of the time in the front group. I lost track of the lap count and didn’t partake in the final hill sprint for like the only lap of the race…duh. Greg broke away with amazing speed with around 2 miles to go. He gapped several hundred feet from the main group. Glenn then was in the front blocking a hesitant counter by the pack. Mark was victim of spectator faux pas when she stepped into the course, took a picture then turned her back while still on course ~ forcing an evasive move. Very unfortunate! Mark has a shoulder and rib injury some deep wounds. His bike has a cracked frame and fork.
Men’s Masters 40+ Cat 5 Recap by Jim S :
Hurray! I don’t get to ride in many Cat-5 races that are made up of riders close in age. There were no teenagers showing of their fast twitch fibers. Mostly older guys who’s stare reads, “We’re gonna keep this slow, right?” Earl and I lined up with about 32 competitors at the start. Just ahead of us were Glenn, Joe H. and Greg in the Cat-4/5.
We were looking at a 4 lap race of about 5 miles per lap. The finishing stretch had two little kickers with one of them being at the finish. Other than that, it was fast course. It would have been faster if not for the center line rule. We were only allowed to cross the yellow line on the finishing stretch. The marshal was there with his motorcycle the whole time keeping everyone honest.
The race quickly got up to speed coming out of turn two. The first lap was either single file, or two-by-two. My goal was to stay in contact with the pack. Knowing full well that I could easily get dropped on the small climbs, I tried to move to the front at the base, race to the top, and then recover after the crest. I held this strategy for the first lap. While I was recovering on the wheel of the biggest guy I could find I looked up and notice he was being gapped off and the pack was pulling away. I didn’t wake up this early and drive this far to have my race end after the first lap, so I yelled to the guys around me to help chase back on. I took the first pull and about 3 or 4 other guys came with me. I think it took about a mile, or more, but we finally rejoined the lead pack. During this chase is where I caught up to Earl. Unfortunately, that was the last I saw of Earl until the finish. It turns out that coming up the hill near the finish; the wheel Earl was following made a sudden stop. This forced Earl to take evasive action. In doing so, he clipped wheels with another rider and they both went down. Earl bounced back up and got on his bike, but by then the pack was gone. He and his group of riders were too far back at this point to close down another gap.
With now two full laps complete, the race half over, and me fully recovered and back in the pack I was feeling very proud of myself. I thought, “Hey, I may be able to stay with this group for another lap!” So, I kept my strategy with only one modification. I was hanging at the back of the pack and get strung-out through every corner. That meant I had to burn a little extra energy coming out of each turn. I fixed this problem by moving further up in the group. This allowed me to easily stay with the group for the full third lap and the entire final lap.
About halfway through the final lap I would say were riding in a pack of about 15. Suddenly the rider to my right and about a half bike length ahead touched wheels with the rider in front of him. Remember this is halfway into the final lap, so the pace is up at this point. He went down and the rider behind him went straight into him. That second rider went over the handle bars flipping his bike so high in the air that it was above my head. It was so close that I literally ducked to avoid being hit by the flying bicycle. These two guys sprawled on the ground took out a third rider who could not get out of the way. The riders pulling at the front heard the mayhem, but someone yelled, “GO -GO” and we just kept moving.
When we reached the finishing sprint I never expected to be part of it, but there I was, sprinting uphill. Now, if you’ve ever watch me sprint uphill you’ve probably said to yourself, “Hey, shouldn’t he be sprinting?” I tried best I could to hammer it to the finish and ended up with 14th place. For me, this was a fantastic result. I finished with the pack and even had a chance to sprint for the line. Most importantly, I didn’t get dropped.
Afterwards, I had a great time swapping race stories with the rest of the team while Mark and Earl licked their wounds from their crashes and Gregg collected his winnings. I watched the girl’s finish. While Maria was pushing hard to reach the line Ida was smiling and waving to the cameras. Priorities!
Note from Jamie (le président):
Racing and riding bikes (perhaps life in general?) can be dangerous, which is something we choose to accept. Accidents can also happen, as can racing incidents which we also accept. However, manners and responsibilities should not be optional. One of our racers was ‘taken out’ in this race by a mindless spectator stepping out into the finish straight, facing away from oncoming riders, to take a photograph.
As quoted by the race officials the crash was exactly as you would see on television – bike and rider flipped immediately and went down hard. Hard enough in fact to destroy the top tube of the bicycle, and leave him with shredded kit and skin. Again, accidents do happen but this appears to have been a ignorant and easily avoidable one. Thankfully there are no broken bones to heal (and our title sponsor is a very good Chiropractor if work is needed). This leaves the worst part being that the person disappeared without a suggestion of a apology or checking that the rider was okay, nevermind even being alive. Perhaps they didn’t realise their error, but I for one certainly hope they did so that they won’t repeat it in the future.
Ride safe everyone,
Sunnybrook Racing President.
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