White Mountains Cycling Classic
June 24th, 2012
I raced White Mountains last year and it was one of my favorite courses of the season. A few punchy little rollers, a fast descent with some fun, sweeping corners, a hard false flat up Rt. 112 and two sharp 90-degree corners into the finishing straight. I’m not going to say that it suits me; I’ve said that about races in the past but I realize I’m still figuring out the kind of riding that I’m good at, and my riding style is constantly developing. I like the course though, and it’s a ton of fun to race it. The free Subway at the end might have something to do with that “fun” feeling. Last year, I got 8th – I was 6th in the field sprint after a break of two went off the front, probably because I was about 6th or a little behind that coming through the two final corners. I had been told by Mike and others that I needed to be first or second wheel through those corners if I wanted to win the sprint. That meant that I needed to be first or second wheel before I hit those final corners, and to do that I should have been top-five up the false flat on 112. So what did I do this year? Pretty much the same thing I did last year.
The race started really slow. Incredibly, lazily slow. I barely puttered up the second and biggest roller one the back stretch and I gapped the entire field. That slow. It remained like that until someone attacked, halfway up Rt. 112, and then it was full gas for about an entire lap. After that, it settled down a bit. A few guys would go off the front, but nobody was too interested in chasing hard. We knew it would be near impossible for anyone to stay away for a long time with the big false flat. If anything was going to happen, it would happen later. That said, I had good legs and I was having fun taking the corners fast up near the front and hitting it hard up the rollers. I wasn’t really being conservative, but it didn’t feel bad, the race was short, and my legs weren’t really protesting. Some guy would go off the front for a lap or two. He’d get sucked back in, then someone else would go off. Repeat.
At the end of the second to last lap, on the false flat, we’re all looking at each other wondering what’s going to happen. We’re playing the slow-down chess game, I’m on the front going probably fifteen miles an hour, when all of a sudden there’s a guy sprinting down the middle of the road. The part of me that doesn’t really like pain was saying: “Hey Noah! Keep going easy! You’ll reel him in!” So for a second, I just sat there, like everyone just sat there during the previous attacks, before the tactical part of my brain kicks in and tells me that there’s really only a lap left, and he already has a massive gap, and everyone’s just sitting here. So I attacked too. Off the front. But my legs weren’t snappy enough at that point, and I knew I couldn’t get him. Bridging wouldn’t work, so I settled back down into the field and I knew the guy who attacked would take it solo.
After we got the bell, the pace got super high. A couple of the guys who were driving tempo the whole time really ramped it up, and everyone wanted to be up front. We’re probably going 27-28 up Rt. 112 (though I lost my computer head – I only know it was fast and hard – other than that I have no idea). I came into the little descent into the last two corners probably tenth wheel, then through the corners about tenth wheel, and surprise, finished about tenth wheel! 9th. 8th in the field sprint. I knew, intellectually, that I needed to be up front to win that sprint. I just didn’t execute. Not that a top ten is bad, but I’m tired of having better legs than the fast majority of the field then racing so stupidly that my result doesn’t reflect that. I can put in the hours, physically, on the bike, but I really have to play the head game and think while I’m racing. Lesson learned, for hopefully the last time.
Also, as this was the last scheduled “team race” of the season, I just want to thank everyone involved in the Junior/U23 Devo team this year, the BOD, and the club as a whole. Both Mike and Cathy Rowell have selflessly given so much of their valuable time to us so that we can develop and progress as racers and riders – we can’t thank them enough. The BOD has been so generous to lend us the club’s support, and I feel like they have truly demonstrated to our team and to the racing community what NEBC represents to bicycle racing in the Northeast. And all of the various club members who we’ve seen around at the races and the rides throughout the season, who have all been immensely supportive and kind, thank you so much. Lastly, to the members of the team, whom I’ve raced with and befriended, all of you are great riders and great people.
Knowing that Lincoln, NH was very far away, my dad and I left the house at around 6. It took us a good 2.5 hours to get up there, but bike racing is definitely worth it. When I got there, I registered, and rode a little around the parking lot to get warm. I then went over to the start line and lined up next to my team mates. The race was started and we hit a little climb in the beginning, it wasn’t anything special, but it was good enough to make us decrease our speed. After the short little climb, there was a very nice descent going through 2 gates. At first it seemed like people were going to hit the gates. after the gates we took a 90 degree turn onto the next hill. This hill was a lot steeper, but still not in comparison to anything I have seen in other races. We then hit the Kanc highway and rode on that to the start line. The course was nice, but I would have liked a little longer hills. On my 24th mile, we were descending after the second hill, and i was boxed into a pot hole. I then had no choice but to hit the pot hole, and my Garmin GPS went flying off. Not just the GPS but also the mount, it was really weird. Coming into the final spring, I should have placed my self a little better. But overall I’m happy with my finish, and hoping for the top 15 result. After the race I went looking for my GPS and it was never to be found. Overall a good race, but the last finishing straight was very weird because of the 2 90 degree turns it had.
I felt optimistic coming into the race after all the extremely fast racing I have been doing in the p/1/2/3 field at the Northeast Velodrome in Londonderry, NH. I had stayed the night at Noah’s house, because he lives further north, allowing for a shorter drive to the race. We got the the course around 8:30ish, and got reg’d, and kitted up. After a few miles up the Kanc for a warmup, we turned back and Noah actually slid out and crashed at a low speed because apparently he had flatted but didn’t realize it and when turning was riding on the rim and slid out. The rest of us headed back to grab him a tube, and got a few TT efforts and some sprints in and finished our prep for the race. At the line, I was in the second row, and they blew the whistle and the race began. The course started with a slight downhill into the first climb which lasts about 30 seconds when really gunning it. After the first climb comes a steep downhill, into a tight left hand corner, after the corner everyone always seems to accelerate up the second climb which is much longer then the first, and steeper. After the second climb, is a longer twisty descent, a very tight right hand turn, and into a windy bridge, then onto rt 112 where it was a windy false flat all the way till the right hand turn before the finish.
We did 9 laps, the first 3 I hit the front 5 or so, riding very aggressively, covering every attack, and wasn’t letting anything get away. During one of the first laps, coming into the tight left hand turn into the first climb, the rider in front of me had swept way right, and nearly took out my wheel, so I had to ride off the course, over some grass, but maintained my speed through it, and was right back with the leaders, no big deal. After lap 3, I was really feeling the effects of a lack of climbing from all the racing I’ve been doing at the track. I decided to race much more conservatively, and sat top 15 for the next 5 laps, and finished the last of my bottles, and had a gel. Coming into the last lap, I was hurting pretty bad, and was hoping to hang on for the finish. I got through the climbs at the start, and did my best to recover on the descent, and then made my way top 10 or so before going onto rt 112. As soon as we hit the false flat, someone attacked, and I covered, but the legs didn’t have it, and found myself near the back of the pack. I moved up, and found myself on Noah’s wheel coming into the tight corners before the finish. I came in about top 10, but after lots of climbing, and being over threshold for the previous 5 minutes, I didn’t have enough gas to make up much ground on the finish. Finished 18th, in the same time as the rest of the pack. Not too disappointed because the last month has been all for preparation on the track for this July, where I’ll be heading to Junior Track Nationals.
Thanks to the race promoters for putting on a great race once again, can’t ask for much more then a great course, great food, lots of volunteers, and a t-shirt. Also, best of luck to Emil who is heading to Denmark within a week or so for boarding school.
My dad and I woke up at 7:30 at a campsite because it would have been a three hour drive for us. We got to Loon Mountain at around 8:00 but it was still very early and no one was there except the hand cycles. We got reged and got ready to warm up. Our race was five minutes apart with the cat 4’s going off first and the the cat 5’s. I warmed up with Aidan, Noah, and my dad by going up 112 for about ten minutes. When we were turning around Noah kinda of slide out (we weren’t going fast) because his front tire was flat because the valve was coming off somehow. Some guy who was also riding went by us and asked if we needed help. He gave Noah a tube and he also had a pump with him which was perfect timing on his part. We rode back and went to go line up. The cat 4’s went first and then the cat 5’s. They said the the first climb was neutral which was good because the won’t be any attacks right off the back like there usually is in a cat 5 field. Once we were on the decent I spun out with my junior gears also for some reason I couldn’t get into my smallest gear which would of helped a lot. I moved back a lot on the decent but was still in the pack. On the second lap decent I pulled of the back for the same reasons as before. Luckily I didn’t have to ride alone because there was two other guys I knew behind me. I rode with them for the rest off the race. When we were on the climbs I would get ahead of them but they would pass me on the decent’s but we would stick together on 112. On the last lap we were still together and on the turn with the cones one of the guys pulled of and the other guy sped up and I stuck on his wheel until the last turn where he took the turn very wide while I took it tight. I started to sprint and I got a lead on him and won our little sprint. After the race we got to have a free lunch because with everyone who registered got one which was amazing. I liked the coarse other than the cones which was crazy. Other than the cones I loved this race, they did a great job with this race.