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Columbia Race Report

March 14th 2009


Saturday – Columbia Criterium, Drexel Team 21st out of approx. 50 teams

  • Men’s A (51 Starters)
    • Tim Manzella – 33rd
    • Dan Lavelle – 34th
  • Men’s B (55 Starters)
    • Matt Schoman – 8th
    • Ashley Doane – 34th
    • Adam Leman – 45th
  • Men’s C (70 Starters)
    • Dave Casale – 6th
    • Doug Markgraf – 55th
  • Men’s D (49 Starters)
    • Brent Heverly – 44th
    • Ryan Morcrette – 45th (missed the start)
  • Men’s Intro (32 Starters)
    • Brett Houser – 18th
  • Women’s Intro (34 Starters)
    • Sarah Grogan – 4th
    • Victoria Hanks – 14th

Race Report

Well another race in the state of New York, but the first one I think I’ve been in where there has not been a death threat issued from somewhere within the field. It was nice to be back on a safe course in NYC, cause this is probably one of the nicest crit courses out there, not as technical as I would like, but it does have the sweet g-force turn in it.

After taking the so familiar drive up the NJ Turnpike at some godforsaken hour of the morning (actually I can’t complain since I make up the travel schedule), we ended up in the city, with 2 of our cars getting lost and then finding their way back. The parking was the usually problem of trying to find a spot on the street, though this year it was worse with the USAC races in the morning. With only one race on our schedule, which turned out to be about an hour behind, our D racers had plenty of time to relax. After riding a little bit of the course and noticing how there was a car that was never towed in one corner (its NYC what’d you expect), we all went back to the cars and the warmth. Our D riders started warming up and getting ready for their race while I got ready for coaching the intro riders. I can’t say I remember much of the race, but what I do remember is Ryan chasing like crazy after missing the start. It was pretty impressive to see him just racing against himself for a couple of the laps, and enough of them to actually pass a couple of people and place.

I then got ready for the intro coaching. Which today was called having the riders ride around a bottle of water a couple of times in each direction to work on handling and turning and then picking up the bottle to work on balance. I have to say the previous times I’ve tried to pick up a bottle off the road I couldn’t, luckily I was able to pull it off a couple of times. After riding behind the Men’s Intro field (never got to see Brett in the pack, though from his placing he looked like he did good) helping out the dropped riders to form a small group to work together, I finished with the usual jeers from the Temple and Penn teams of sandbagger. Ah, if I only actually raced against more than just one of their riders. I then joined in with the Women Intro to witness our 2 women racers in the pack. It was the first time I rode behind the pack instead of with dropped riders, its weird watching and helping the people that are about to get dropped from not getting dropped. One observation, Sarah is a BEAST. She can be on the front of the race the whole time and still not expend an ounce of energy, it’s incredible. While watching the whole race, all I see is her and Victoria at the front. One other observation, when you go through the G-force turn, you don’t have to brake, it’s a wide enough turn to take at a little under 40mph, I don’t know how many times I said, “don’t brake just pedal through the turn, its not that sharp”.

The C race came next and Dave had another good race with a 6th place, again I missed most of the race chatting with a couple of my USAC teammates. The B race I did catch while warming up. It was a good race, with a couple of people getting dropped, mainly a certain Lenny from Penn. I think Ross from Penn summed it up best, “what describes Lenny as a racer, he wins a cookie prime and then gets dropped the next lap”. In stark contrast to this racing by our racing neighbors from Chestnut St., all of our guys stayed in the race the whole time. Ashley was at the front of the race for the beginning testing his legs and trying for an attack, with Matt and Adam hanging in the middle to back of the pack. Matt is probably one of the best pack riders in the B field and moved up to the front of the race half way through and stayed there to finish 8th. Adam and Ashley both finished up in the middle of the pack.

Dan and I then line up for our A race which was shortened to 50 minutes. The race started out pretty fast with a break comprised of a Columbia, Rutgers, UVM, and UNH rider in it. This basically meant that the break was going to stay away the whole time. I ended up attacking early on with Nick B. a UVM rider, and a believe a UMass rider but that only lasted for about a half a lap. Dan and I both tried to do a couple of attacks through out the race, but when you have a Columbia and UVM rider in the break nothing is really going to happen. The only attacked that seemed to work was when me, Austin from Princeton, and a UMaine rider got in a break for a little over a lap. All said, it was stupid to attack that much, but it showed that if it wasn’t for the break up the road, we probably could have stayed away a little longer, and my legs are coming around. Dan and I ended up sticking together in the middle of the pack for the majority of the race, and tried to move up for the finally lap and the finish straight, but with a rider sitting up in the middle of it, we were doomed to another pack finish. I have to say, it’s a lot of help to have all of you guys around the course cheering us on, you have no idea how much it helps(unless your Steve B, in which case I’ll shout at you while racing for calling me Timmy every lap of a race)

So sums up the Columbia weekend, with everyone getting geared up for the Delaware Road Race and then the great Philly Phlyer, in which there will be many great finishes by our now experienced racers.

-Tim Manzella

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Page last modified on October 24, 2009, at 08:31 PM