Purgatory – Micah Nelson wins Cat 4

Great job by EVERYBODY racing at Purgatory, Micah Nelson wins the men’s cat 4 and excellent podiums for Jon and Jocelyn with good team support to help them get there. Lots of NEBC presence and it gets noted by other riders and teams which is good for our sponsors. Well done everybody. Reports below.

Micah Nelson

Obviously I had a fantastic race yesterday. The Purgatory course had a perfect profile for me, with Lackey hill being reminiscent of the hills I grew up on in Minnesota. The race got off to a slow start with only one solo break away. Come the second lap the breakaway had an advantage of nearly 2 minutes on the field, and consensus was that it was time to reel the break back in. Unfortunately, only a handful of riders will willing to put forth effort to catch the break. It seemed like for nearly the entire second lap I rotated on and off the front with only five or six other guys actually doing work. Eventually our rabbit was in sight and, knowing that we could catch him and that he was a strong rider, in one of the smartest moves I have ever seen during a Cat 4 race make, we decided to slow the pace and let the lone rider hang in the wind until he completely burned himself out. During the middle of the third lap the valiant one man break had been absorbed by the field and slowly but surely pace began to increase. On the third ascent of Lackey some riders put forth their best efforts to crack the field, but they were unable to maintain momentum after the climb and once again allowed the field to come back together. On the fourth lap, as the race entered its twilight, I focused solely on conserving energy and mentally preparing for the final difficulty of the day. At one point I found myself on the front pulling the group along fortunately Steve Joseph, almost immediately, rescued me by coming to the front and sheltering me from the wind. A few kilometers later as I was trying to make my way back into the top ten riders Steve was once again there holding a position and easily letting me into the group. I think that these are two of the finest examples of team work that I have seen racing with NEBC. It really felt like Steve and I were working together efficiently and effectively. On the flats before reaching the final climb, there were a couple of, in my opinion, foolish break away attempts which were quickly shutdown. When we reached the finishing climb I drafted the lead riders up the first steep pitch, and as we came to the “false flat” there were only two riders in front of me. Once on the second steep pitch I waited until the first sign of faltering from the lead rider and then dropped the hammer. Upon cresting the hill I looked back to see no riders in sight and reached the finish line with more than enough time to celebrate.

Thanks again to Steve for being such an awesome team mate and help towards the winning effort, thanks to everybody who helped me find a ride to the race, and thanks to Peter Megdahl for providing me with a ride. Finally thanks to the entire NEBC community wich has done an outstanding job supporting me as a bicycle racer and a college student, you are all awesome.

Lastly congrats to all the other NEBC riders who race yesterday, particularly Jon and Jocelyn with their podium finishes. NEBC has seen some great results over the past few weeks, and I am proud to see us putting ourselves on the map as a team that can work together and achieve results.

Best regards,


Steve Joseph

NEBC’s own Micah Nelson took a decisive win in today’s Purgatory Road Race for the open Cat 4, and I hung on for a respectable 12th place.

MIcah and I were the only NEBC kids in a young field. (Men 35+ and 45+ had their own races.) My goals were to get Micah on the podium, hold on to a top-15 finish, and improve on my race last year, when I had 2 flat tires during warmups and was stuck in my big chain ring the whole race — check, check, and check!

Our race was fairly mellow. The pace surged on the false flats, but there were no breakaways or attacks of significance. One guy went off the front from the start and built up a 2:00 lead at one point, but he was reeled in on the third lap. A few other guys tried to take fliers, but nothing stuck. Micah kept near there front and took some hard pulls to bring back the escapee of the day. I found myself drifting within the peleton, which only shrunk slightly with each successive lap. On the last lap I took a long steady pull leading into the descent so Micah could get a rest, and then tried to hold places in the field so Micah could slot into a good position.

Heading into the climb on the final lap, I saw Micah drifting near the back and outside of the pack and got a little worried, but Micah played it perfectly and left himself a clear lane up the left side to blast off from the base of the climb. I found myself boxed in and had to dodge struggling climbers as I poured out may last bit of energy. Micah cleared the field and soloed the last pitch to victory. As my sprint power was waning, I saw that Micah had won. I was swarmed from behind as I crossed the finish line, but I later learned that it was till good enough for 12th.

I should add that Micah won this decisive victory after waking up at 4:30 AM to ride ~13 miles to Sherborn to catch a ride to the race. Get this kid a car, and let’s see what else he can do.



Jon O’Connor

Okay, hats of to Micah “Full Nelson” Nelson for storming to a first place finish in the 4U35 by a decisive 15 seconds. Perhaps the most dominant NEBC men’s win I’ve seen in my 3 years with the club: off the front slam dunk.

Hats off to Jocelyn Mauldin for a 3rd place podium in the women’s cat 4

Nice day for me with a 3rd place podium in the Men 4/35+ (Funny, thought I was 4th but I guess we caught that guy who broke away.)

Also, very good finish for Steve Joseph.

Strong performances from Mikey “Respect” D, Tomahawk Coughlin and the Doctor who chased down many of the attacks. BTW, the Charlie has always said he’s king of the downhills and serf of the uphils but he was over Lackey hill with the leaders the first 3 laps. Time to remove that self imposed label! Also a much improved finish for Ryan Tomb who hung in with the pack and raced very well. Thanks to everyone who came out to support a great local race.

Okay, little back story here. In 2012 I did B-kill as a plucky cat 5 and wound up on the podium. Upgraded to the 4’s. Buddy said, good luck, but don’t expect to see the podium anytime soon, 4’s are much harder than 5’s. Soon after I crashed on a training ride (World’s of course) and was off the bike for a month recovering and focusing on my wedding.

But when I got back on, trained too hard and too fast in an effort to get the power numbers back up and developed hamstring tendonitis. Went into purgatory 2012 with an achey leg and got dropped: something like 41 of 62 that day. Took a whole year of doctors visits to get back to racing. A friend told me “You’ll come back stronger” but I didn’t believe it. Couldn’t go faster than Mary Poppins on the bike without an achey leg. What a lousy year. Just dreamed of getting back into it somehow. But time passed, and it did heal.

Last year got 7th at purgatory but had to watch a cabal of stronger 4s pull away from me at the end. That was the trend of every race I did last year: strong till the end but then overpowered by a few riders with a little more muscle. I ditched the powermeter (for the most part) and focused on hill reps and hard MTB, and got to build low end power and moved to Lunenburg which is a step shy of mountainous in places. Did more cross training and less or the rigid bike programs. Most importantly, I got earful after earful from Tim Dodd which helped expand my racing brain.

Back on the podium today in 3rd place, so things have come full circle. It was a sleeper of a race but when it came down to the final climb up lacky hill I was able to stomp away from the field save two riders (one of roasted me in the TT at Killington, now has over 30 points and may be the biggest sandbagging 4 in history! No sour grapes though, happy with my performance and NEBC’s great showing today.)

BTW: A belated shoutout to Zach Levy who made his debut as a 5 and hammered in a solid 12 place finish in a large and fast moving 5 field. (They actually passed us since our group was napping in between lackey hill.)


Dr. Dow

When Mika Nelson called me last Nite and could n’t find a ride to the race, I hooked him up with Peter Megdahl who got him to the race. Probably the best thing I’ve ever done for the team.i ride with Mika a lot, and have predicted a win for him at Purgatory, Nice Job!!
Also Kudos for Steve Joseph with an impressive 12 th place.

In the M35 plus our goal was to get Jon O’Connor on the Podium and work on his Cat 3 upgrade. Mission accomplished with an impressive 3 rd, considering the guy who won, Eric Nadeau had enough points to upgrade to cat 3.
Purgatory has always been HELL for me, a Boston Street Biker and son of the Flats of Welles ave.My first time here I came in 20 th, last year a flat and DNF, but the hill repeats up Blue Hill are starting to pay off, and I stayed in the front on Lackey Road with the leaders on the climbs today. My goal was to help Jon out and not let him chase down breaks , also stay up front and not let him be isolated. I chased down a few weak break attempts and put in a few pulls.
On the steep descents Jon and I stayed up front and made sure no one got away. On the flats it was a Pansy fest and no one wanted to waste any Watts, saving it up for the hill.
By lap 4 Jon and I went to the front but no one wanted to work . We got to Lackey Road and Jon did what he does best, climb like a MoFo. I hung in as long as I could but the top ten guys got by me. Jon took 3 rd, I got 13 th with the chase pack time.
Notable NEBC moments were Mickey D virtually in front the entire first lap and surviving the climbs. As he said if the race finished on the Downhill it would hAve been a different story .
Tommy Coughlin put his stamp on the race with some strong pulls and chased down a few attacks . Ryan Tomb continues to improve and finished with the Bunch. This guy keeps working and gets better every race . Poor Thom Simmons got a flat and a DNF, but nonetheless could be seen near the front on the first few laps .

I can’t say enough about this teAm, numerically we continue to be the biggest teAm in almost every race, and other teams respect the way we ride. Several guys came up and gave us props, and we continue to improve .
Can’t wait unt Longo for some good Old fashioned Smack Down Crits ( No Hills!)

Tom Coughlan

Yea, this was a fun race. My goal was to stay with the pack, and to do a few chases after any break-away, to see if I could get anyone to expend some energy, while Jon sat in for the finale. I was able to break off the front a few times, and although it didn’t appear to stir things up much, it was a lot of fun trying to contribute to a team effort. Nice job Jon, in the race, and in the pre-race coaching.

I finished “in the envelope” at 17th. Last year, I finished 11th, but this was more fun.



Yes Aiyana, the decent was so hairy and awesome. Tucked in low, one can get to very fast speeds. I loved it!

Mini report: Race was awesome. Legs fresh. Mood up. High hopes after Harvard cluterf*** with my dropped chain. But, I had a stomach cramp today, with puke like feeling at the bottom of Lackey.

Picked 4 girls, ended up a group of three (me and two girls). They were not into pacelining to catch the pack ahead. Facepalm*. So, they sucked my wheel most of the two laps ( and I am a small girl, Geez, hahaha). One finally ended doing some pulls.

I saved my energy on the final lap and dropped them at the bottom of the last hill.

Did you guys notice the “Welcome to 666ft” mark? LOVELY! I think I absolved for all my sins with this race.

Well, chalking this failure again and on to the next race.

I finished 9th out of 22.

SHOUT OUT to Jocelyn. 3rd, in the money. Whooooop whoooop!



Goal was to finish with the field
At the start of the second climb I had a mechanical & needed a new wheel, too much time elapsed, so I was in solo-land
So I TT’s the next 3 laps, picking up 4 girls along the way, but they unfortunately weren’t strong enough to pull with me, so I had to drop them
Nice course, I’m proud of myself for “going the distance”
Had a ton of fun on the descents!!

I smiled at a bunch of cameras…so at least I should get some good photos later!

Nice job teams in the other categories!

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