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Philly Phlyer 2014 Race Reports

By Vince Dunne

I haven't written any race reports for my road race season, so i'm going to put them all into one post here. (I really don't like writing)

My debut to road racing started this year at the William & Mary road race. After completing my first XC mountain bike season as a Mens A racer, and training through the winter, I made the decision to start in Cat C. I was very nervous because i expected a lot from myself, but it was nice to have Tom and Danish there to support me. I didn't have any strategies, except for staying near the front to avoid crashes and conserve energy. There's not much to say about the race except for a bad crash during the middle of the race, a host of sketchy Navy riders, and a constant feeling in the back of my mind that maybe i'm not strong enough to win this race. We went through the laps, and then took the left hand turn for the final mile stretch to finish line. I positioned myself within the top 5 and rode peoples' wheel till short "hill" sprint to the finish. When we hit the base of the hill, I broke off and sprinted like there was no tomorrow. To my own elation, I crossed the line well ahead in first place. I sat up, eager to do my victory celebration by shooting my imaginary bow and arrow, only to crash myself at full speed after I executed the shot. To my shameful and hilarious defense, I was testing out a new time trail saddle that had the front end cut off. I ended up with minor cuts and a torn kit, but i was happy that my foolishness didn't injure anyone. All I have to say to the "haters" is "first race, first place" ;)

My second race of the season was at the South Jersey Spring Series Crit. Being a cat 5, I signed up for the Cat 4/5 race. I Implemented my same strategy of "stay near the front but never on the front," which came in handy because there were multiple crashes and the stronger Cat 4s tore the field apart. During the race, I spent a lot of time out of the draft out of fear from being crashed into by stretchy riders. This effected me on the last two turns of the race where I had enough energy to hold my position, but not enough to sprint for the line. I finished the race in 4th. In a 50+ field i was happy with the result, but I knew i could do better.

The following week was the first race weekend of the 2014 ECCC season. I started the day with the B team time trial with Joey and Neal. I was under the impression that you need at least 2 people to start a race, and the first person to cross the line has their time recorded for the team. Coming from mountain bike ITTs, I was eager to start our TTT full blast, unaware that my teammates didn't have the same mindset. Early in the TTT joey had a mechanical, so I made the call for Neal and I to continue on. Being comfortable with descending at high speed (#mtb) I gained distance on Neal during the major decent, Neal also needed to slow because of huge pot hole. I could see Neal in behind me and slowed up for a little in hope that he would catch back on, but after a few minutes I decided to press on (still under the impression that it was the first person's time who was recorded.) I caught NYU, the team that started before us, and crossed the line by my self. After learning the rules, I apologized to Neal and Joey for not staying with them. Next for me was the Cat C road race, which was a 70 person field. There were many Cat A cross country racers in my field which made me very nervous because they were all super strong in mountain bike season. Once again, I stayed near the front during the whole race and avoided the multiple crashes. I entered the last section in second place before we hit the climb to the finish. We all slowed up looking around at each other, I said "somebody better go..," i guess they were all hoping for a mass sprint finish at the top. At that moment I sprinted of the front, broke away and crossed the line in 1st. That time I opted for the conservative celebration to avoid crashing again. The next day was the circuit race. I conspired with a few of my friends from other schools about going on a break. I had never gone on a break before, but i decided to give it a shot that day. After the second lap, we launched the attach, and stayed away for the whole race. I entered the final S-turn first to avoid the chance of someone crashing, which left me on the front on the back stretch to the finish line. The person on my wheel attached, and I almost managed to pass him before crossing the line in 2nd. I was very happy with my results that weekend. After that weekend I put in an early upgrade for Cat 4 and an upgrade for Cat B. The 4 upgrade is still pending but, I did get the B upgrade.

This past weekend was the Philly Phyler, and my 3rd consecutive race weekend. Neal and Joey were out for this weekend, and Derek didn't show up to do the B TTT with me. Luckily, Josie, Calahan, and Tom were all willing to do the B TTT with me. Josie and Calahan put in their best effort, but Tom and I had to continue on without them. Tom and I worked seamless as a team: no verbal communication needed, quick steady pulls, and strong pace. We didn't get first, but we also didn't get last. I was very proud of that TTT, and the willingness of my other 3 teammates. Next was the 50 person field Cat B road race. This was my first B race, and I had no idea how I stacked up against all of these riders. It was super windy that day, so I decided to stay in the middle of the pack for most of the race so that i could save as much energy as possible. On the last lap I made my way to the front, avoided a very serious crash, and enter the climb on Black Road in 5th place. I moved into second 3rd before the final straight, and then started my sprint along with the two other people in front of me. I passed the person in 2nd and then felt that I was spinning to much but had no gears left. I forgot that stayed in my little ring before the sprint because of the ridiculous head wind. I tried to quickly reorganize my gears, but at that point I was already nearing the line. I got 2nd place. As Brett Houser would say to me "YOU LOST! HAHA!," all joking aside, that is one loss that I'm extremely proud of. On Sunday was the Temple crit. It was fast, boring, and painful. There was a strong headwind, and Queens riders almost causing crashes on every turn. I didn't enter the last turn in a good position and end up in 6th place. Its a 10 ten result, but I felt that I could have done better.

I've learned a lot these past three weeks. Its difficult to win any race, regardless of what category you race in, and I had a lot of help. I spent lot of time standing in the freezing cold, after long rides, listening to the the wise words of Brett Kielick (he can talk for forever! haha). I got most of my tactics from listening and riding with him. I also got a lot of great words of advice from Alan, Tim, and Brett Houser via many hours of winter road and mountain biking with them. I also owe a lot of thanks to the amazing support from the guys at Philly Bikesmith. Its also important to make a lot of friends within UPenn and Temple, they definitely came in handy during the races when i had no teammates to race with haha. Also, prune juice is the drank of champions. However, the most important thing I learned from myself is that all the tactics and training is useless without the will to win. To me it's not about having's about having fun while becoming the best.


  1. wooder(water) #whiteonwhiteonwhite #wawa #prunejuice

Ps. Thanks Wanya for the new nickname, "Mr. Top Ten."

By Tom Calcagni

-Sweeping, setup, early morning, food

Preparing for the Phlyer weekend was difficult. It was basically my finals week so I didnít have any time to ride and any free time I did have on Thurs and Friday, I went out and helped sweep the course. Hours upon hours of sweeping and using the leaf blower wore me out, but I somehow woke up early enough on Saturday to be there before sunrise.

-Team Time Trial

I was not planning on doing the TTT, but Vince talked me, Calahan and Josie into doing the Menís B time trial. We tried to keep the pace manageable, but with four very different riders, it was difficult to keep everyone together. Once it was down to just Vince and me, we hit the gas. He and I didnít need to communicate much I think we were working really well together. Anytime him or I did need to say something I remembered what Kielick said: keep it to one syllable words because itís easier to understand the person and you donít waste your breath. After getting to Falls Bridge for the second time, I began thinking about the climb up Black Road. Typically, I can climb that no problem, but after time trialing on flat roads at a fast pace, any incline would destroy my momentum. I had to warn Vince to go easy on me up the hill. He stuck with me all the way up the climb as I went further into the pain cave. I started feeling bad because I knew I was slowing him down up that hill, but Iím also really glad he kept with my sluggish pace and motivated me to keep pedaling. We hit the top and thatís when we started picking up speed again and where one team that we passed earlier was gaining on us. As a side note: one rule of team time trials is that the team passing another (slower) team has the right of way. The slower team must let the faster team pass and must be the ones to adjust their speed as to not be within drafting distance. Also, when swinging off the front of your paceline, please make sure the road is clear to your left or right or else you will get in another teamís way and nearly cause a crash. Besides that, everything went really well in the TTT. No need to hold inter-team grudges; we all get competitive when last place is on the line.

-Pre-RR prep

After the TTT, I drank some water and had a light snack. I didnít want to over eat and feel sick before the road race. Eating the right food/right amount of food before a race has always been something I have had trouble with for a long time. I would definitely regret this decision during the road race.

-Road Race

So this year, since it was not a blizzard, I was hoping to finish the race and do all four laps. I expected to be dropped on the hills, but I also expected to last the entire race (at least by myself). After exiting the neutral start, we descended to West River Drive. It was kind of interesting that everyone stayed on the right side of the road on the descent when using the left side like I did allowed for a faster line. Knowing the course, being familiar with it can really give you some great advantages over many of the competitors. On our first lap as we were approaching the 180 and ramp up to strawberry mansion loop, I was probably the first one to switch into my small ring and start spinning in anticipation of the inevitable slow-down before the 180 and even more slowing going up the hill. I was right and was able to pass a bunch of people who were stuck in too hard of a gear. I even witnessed a crash because one guy was in way too hard of a gear and toppled over. Sheesh, Iím racing ďCsĒ right? Well I stayed near the front for this first climb. I wasnít the quickest up the hill, but I kept a steady pace and just watched riders hammer their way past me. I gained back all of the ground I lost on the descent since I was super comfortable with going down the hill. I hid in the pack on West River and prepared for the black road climb. Everyone stayed on the right side of the road up the climb even when taking the shorter, inside line was quicker. I took the inside and gained quite a few spots, but once I got to the top my legs were basically exhausted from the morning TTT effort. I drifted back and let too much of a gap form on the field. The entire top side of the course I spent a lot of energy just trying to re catch the group, but failed to do so. I drifted farther and farther from the field and some stragglers would catch a ride in my draft, but accelerated too fast for me when it was their turn to pull. Soon I was completely by myself, overheated, and had no energy to continue. I pulled myself just before completing my third lap. As soon as I did I began feeling like I was going to bonk. Luckily my parents brought a bunch of food for me; I had to scarf it down and be on my way to help marshal an intersection.

-After race, marshalling, early to bed

I got changed and rode out to the top of the ramp at strawberry mansion bridge. I basically just held a sign that pointed the racers in the correct direction. As they rode up the climb they turned right up to the hill and as they descended they turned right onto west river drive. I was out there for a couple hours, but I actually enjoyed it. It was an easy job and I got a nice tan while out there. Brett was in the 3/4 race and decided to stop to chat, but really he was just trying to take a shortcut so he didnít have to climb the entire hill. Later on I noticed a black SUV crossing the bridge coming towards the race course. Surely the cops at the other end would have stopped them? When it got near, it lit up with red and blue lights. I didnít know what was going on, but I figured it was important so I lifted the tape after making sure the road ahead was clear for them to continue driving. Brett noticed that in the SUV, was our very own Mayor Michael Nutter. We waved Ďhií to each other and he drove off probably to his house not far away. I thought that was pretty cool. After the all the races were over I helped pack everything back up and move some stuff over to the criterium course for the next day. I didnít get back until close to 7pm and was pretty worn out. Two hours later I passed out in my bed and didnít wake up until 7am the next morning.

-Criterium prep

It was terribly cold when I arrived at Temple and I was so tired I could barely open my eyes. Brendan got me some much needed coffee and I was ready to race. I wasnít able to pre-ride the course at all, so I was also kind of nervous about the conditions of the road. Despite this being my fourth year racing the Temple crit, there are just some things that can only be gauged on race-day; I asked a couple of the D racers their thoughts on the race, about any sketchy corners or wind and the dynamics of the race like breakaways where people tended to speed up or slow down.


Okay, itís race time. I got lined up in the middle of the pack and we started off very quick. Lots of people got dropped and the back of the field strung out. I tried really hard to make my way to the front end of the pack, but there was just a wall of riders in every straightaway. I soon got dropped and worked together with two or three other riders trying to catch back up. I was too tired to do any long pulls so I got dropped from those two also. Then there was a group of about 4 that I latched onto and worked with them for a while. The corners were where I felt like I was strongest and most comfortable. While nearly everyone in the group would stay on the inside (left side) before a right-hand turn, I would swing left and hit the apex of the corner minimizing the amount that I would have to brake. I kept fighting until the end and finished strong. I think I was one of the last people to actually finish all of the laps, so I feel good about that.

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Page last modified on March 26, 2014, at 08:31 AM