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2013 Philly Phlyer Race Reports

Race Report by Dan Gray

I cannot possibly write a full race report for this weekend. There was simply too much stuff :)
So I'll write about the races.
We have an awesome women's team! Maureen is our points leader with 6 points from the Crit, and with the 32 points from winning last weekend!! She has 38 - and Josie definitely is in second with 8 points, and I'm in the rear with 2 points and Joey with 1 point (the lantern rouge!!).
Saturday was one of the toughest days of racing I've ever been to. 35 degrees, snowing. I was busy with marshaling in the morning, and wasn't organized enough in the morning to get the team together for the time trial. So for the road race, we went off in a pack into the snow, and I made it to the first climb with the pack, up the climb, and then stayed with them in the decent. There was a crash, one UMass (I think?) hit the deck and another ended up riding off into the woods and did a front flip!! I started to lose contact a little bit as the pack kept a brisk 35 mph pace on the flats, and only decreased to about 29 mph at Black Road, and I hung in for the climb, but was popped off the back. At this point, a Queens, a UDel, a Princeton guy, and I started working together. I took the climb really aggressively and beat them all to the top, and we reformed at the bottom. By the third climb though, the rain had picked up, and I was cramping from the cold and wet, and I actually had to stop on course. So I booked it back to the start finish, and got out of my wet stuff. Did 3/4 laps, P&P. Felt strong even though I was off the back.
Next time: bring thermal blanket for finish! And also, there's always another race, so no worries :)
Sunday: got a good 30 minute warm up beforehand, and was able to stay in the top 1/3 near the front for most of the race. I really tried to practice moving up in position through the pack, rather than going outside and riding in the wind.There were a few crashes behind me. I thought our pack did a decent job cornering and sticking together. I felt like I could have taken the corners faster, but then I would have been on the front. I finished feeling that I could have gone harder and maybe tried to catch the break. I finished 11th and won 2 points!! woot

Race Report by Tom Calcagni

The Dark Tunnel

The first race of the day was the Team Time Trial. Slated at 14 miles, we knew we were in a tough fight. Joe, Calahan, John, and I joined up for the first TTT of the season. We dropped our first teammate about 3miles into it, but the remaining 3 of us managed to stick together. I was feeling pretty weak and couldn’t take long pulls at the front. I think Joe took the longest pulls which made up for my lack of strength.
The whole course was very confusing despite having a near memorized picture of the course in my head. I knew there were 3 turn-arounds and was absolutely sure we had to ride from the Art Museum to Falls bridge back to the Art Museum, back to falls bridge, then finish with the climb up Black road. Yeah, I guess I was wrong—but we weren’t the only team to mess this up. Some teams cut the TTT short by immediately riding up black road on the first lap, another team went up Sweet Briar, and our team added about 4 extra miles by going all the way back to the Art Museum. I don’t care if we got last place, 10 minutes behind the next-to-last team. It shows how tough we are. We can ride 4 more miles than everyone else and still kick ass.
Joe, Calahan and I stuck together until the final climb. As soon as the gradient kicked up, my legs caved in. It was up to those two to get to the finish. Calahan attacked up Black road chanting Mighty Ducks lines. I lost sight of the two of them, but I knew I had to keep pushing myself until the finish.
There were two things that I learned from the TTT: improve on the 180 degree turn-arounds and eat more in the morning. During the run-in before the last climb, I couldn’t stop thinking about food. There was an emptiness in my stomach that I had only experienced on long rides over 50 miles. It’s extremely difficult to eat a sustainable meal when you arrive on course super early. I was too tired to make breakfast so I settled for some cliff bars before I left in the morning. I also need to work on making the 180 degree turns. I would either slow down too much before it or take it extremely wide and end up clipping the curb.
The next race was the C circuit (26 miles/ 4 laps). Despite the sleet, everything started out fine. Some rider’s wheel skidded on the descent, there was wheel contact along WRD, and I had to nearly slam on my breaks a couple times from the suddenly slowing pack on the flat roads. We reached the 180 turn onto the ramp and someone slid out in the middle of the pack taking down another rider. I made my way around and began the climb. I couldn’t keep up with the surging pack so I decided to maintain a constant pace. I was about 30 seconds back by the time I made it to the top so I bombed down the hill at full speed. I was dashing along the flat section on WRD with a couple other riders. When we made it to Black road I slowed down even more. I just wasn’t able to push my legs any faster. The second lap was marked with more sleet and the roads became dangerously slick. I was now by myself. I kept trying to catch the rider just ahead of me, but I lost his wheel the second time up the strawberry mansion climb. Descending was precarious, but losing time on the descent was the least of my concerns. On the third lap the poor weather deteriorated and became worse. Rain, sleet, and more rain poured down on me. Everything was soggy and it got tougher and tougher to move my legs. I averaged about 4 mph going up Strawberry mansion the third time and had to stop about halfway up. I felt dizzy, I felt cold, and I wanted to fall asleep on my bike. I felt I had to at least get back to the start so I clipped back in and continued with the climb—I was determined to finish this lap. I couldn’t keep a straight line going up the hill and with each pedal stroke my bike swayed to the opposite side. I could barely keep my head up and had to focus on the ground below me. Everything felt like a dream at this point. I had no food, I was out of water to drink, and I was completely numb. Before the left turn on the descent, I pulled off to the side of the road next to two marshalls. Liz and Colby provided me with water and a cliff bar which helped me regain some clarity. Luckily, the broom wagon was close by. I hopped in to find I was not the only casualty of the day.
I took a seat next to a pizza box and began my feast. With a huge grin on my face I devoured four slices in less than a minute. Finally the van began to drive back to the start so I closed my eyes and took a nap. When the doors opened I was shivering uncontrollably. I got frustrated and annoyed at the littlest things—simple tasks became very difficult to handle when everything is numb. I got changed, ate lots of food, kept hydrated and stayed warm. I continued watching the races unfold as the weather worsened.
This day was a great learning experience for me. I have a better idea of what my physical limits are and more importantly, how far my mind can take me after I have crossed that limit. There’s no way anyone could have properly prepared for the weather that unfolded on Saturday; however, I did learn that even if the weather isn’t bad, I need to bring enough food and water while racing to sustain my efforts.

Facing Fears

Another early start to the day, yet “brighter” in a way. The roads had dried, the sky was clear, and the air was crisp. “Today I face my fear: the Temple Crit”. For those who do not know, 3 of us Drexel people crashed at the same corner (in different races), and claimed many other casualties too. The course did not feature the same corner as last year, but the road surface was the same—holes, garbage, gravel, and glass. We swept as much as we could in the morning, but it is impossible to clean it all. Time to start.
My race began and I was in the back. We started at a mild pace and the group took the corners carefully. After about 3 laps I got caught behind the wrong people and the back of the field split. For the next 30 minutes I was chasing on my own. Occasionally riders would drop back and work with me, but they were even more exhausted than I. I was determined to keep a constant pace to not get lapped, but no one else seemed to care. One, two, three riders got dropped—none wanted to work with me to stay away from being lapped. With about 2 to go, the field passed me. On the final lap I had to pull over to the far left side to clear the way for the field-sprint.
My placing was yet another disappointment, but I did feel that I pushed myself to stay in the race. Although I am not able to stick with the group yet, I am able to work hard and put power into every pedal stroke. I plan to use this upcoming week to get my fitness back on track and to prepare my legs for the multitude of climbing weekends ahead.
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Page last modified on March 27, 2013, at 06:04 PM