Today’s Strasbourg, Pennsylvania road race described itself as a “circuit in the style of a European kermesse.” Between the rain/snow/sleet, the farms, the narrow roads, and the overwhelming essence of cow dung, I really could have mistaken it for a morning in rural Belgium, save the Amish buggies along the road.
Here’s the thing: I love to race in terrible weather. The crappier, the better, really. I realized long ago that about one in three bike races occur when the weather sucks. It’s going to happen. Embracing it gives you an ever-so-slight advantage over those who decide to let their guard down just because it’s 34 degrees and ice is raining down from the sky. (Jason Gay was not just being cute when he wrote in the WSJ last week that “bike racing is a sport that fetishizes suffering.”)
Which brings me to today: It was a women’s 3/4 race consisting of 35 km over a rolling 5.5 mile circuit. The weather went from a sprinkling of icy rain to thick wet snow as the race progressed. As we came around at the end of the first lap the pace was comfortable. As there was no money on the line and my sole purpose in finishing the race was to train for another, much harder race coming up, I spent most of the rest of the race pulling the pack around with me, not really worrying about conserving energy until the last half lap or so.
Over 35k, some things happened. Someone broke away alone. People chased her. Some caught her. By the last lap, there were five women at the front (sort of) working together. I tried to teach those in my group that pulling off the front of a pace line and then continuing at the same speed next to the new person on the front is actually not helpful at all for anyone in the group. However, they appeared unconcerned with basic aerodynamics. Whatever — it’s not like that’s the whole key to bike racing or anything.
With 2k to go, I figured it would be a match sprint between me and one other category three in the field, which I was dreading (but also excited about) because she’s THAT GIRL — the one I’m always near in race results, but never in front of. She’s kicked my ass on the road and on the track for the last three years. So, 500m to go and I’m following her wheel, ready to come around, when all of the sudden the woman who was off the front for two whole laps, who I wrote off as totally exhausted and also not a sprinter, gives a killer kick and leaves everyone in the dust. I missed her wheel, but in chasing her totally gapped everyone else in the group for a respectable second place finish.
After the race, I found out that because of the large number of women signed up to race, there was unexpected cash on the line! My winnings went entirely to gas/tolls for the drive. But hey, it’s still cash $$$.
(There are no actual pictures of me racing this race because, have I mentioned? Ice was coming out of the sky. I strava’ed it here though.)
My team #pinkrhinoracing will be throwing Intro to Track clinics at Kissena Velodrome this spring/summer. We are selling these sweet socks to raise money for these events. Support NYC track cycling & snatch em up at http://www.pinkrhinoracing.com/buysocks They come my favorite color too: black.
Keep those ankles lookin’ fly with Pink Rhino socks AND support track development in NYC - WHAT?!? Check out the “Buy Socks” page for the details.
A few Rhinos headed to Grant’s Tomb this weekend! This was our first crit of the season; Mark raced the Men’s 4 while Roz, Shane and Jen raced the Women’s Open.
Group photo: Tad, Roz, Mark, Jen, Keith, Genisis, Brean, Shane.
Photos by Anthony Benavides
Mad respect to our teammate Roz for racing in the Stupor Bowl this weekend in Minneapolis! We hear the high was 5 degrees! WOOF!
Baby, it’s cold outside. But that’s not gonna stop us.
Photo by Phil Garofolo
5th Ave with Angelo
DAT RUMP #pinkrhinoracing #latergram
Jen & Genisis raced at the Second Life Bikes roller races last weekend too!
MARK WINS! #pinkrhinoracing
Creative podium style…
Announcing the newest members of the Pink Rhino ladies team:
Roz Patterson and Genisis Dancer!
Horns were up, hammer was down tonight @RideBrooklyn. #PinkRhinoRacing #Computraining
Check the pink bartape!
Now that the cyclocross season is coming to an end I figured I ought to find time to post an update. While most of the team has been hitting the gym and racking up base miles for next season a few of us have been traveling the northeast every weekend to race our bikes in the sand and mud.
I spent my last few weeks as a Cat 4 bouncing around the top 5 and rounding out my final cat 4 race with a first place finish at BubbleCross in West Milford, NJ.
After that, I submitted for my upgrade and took a rest week around Thanksgiving.
Next up was Horseshoe Scramble. Fellow Pink Rhino Teammate (who races Cross for Continuum Cycles) took first place in the Women’s 3/4 Race!
Here’s her getting rad off some of the rollers:
I raced later in the afternoon in the Men’s Cat 3 Race. The front side of the course was really thick grass that only got wetter and thicker throughout the day. The entire backside of the course was long stretches of thick mud divided in half by a technical downhill off-camber into a steep run up that was also covered in thick mud. One section was so thick with mud that I don’t even think Sven Nys would ride it. While running with my bike, I took the opportunity to try and pull out as much mud from my brakes and rear triangle as I could. Races like these make me wish I had a pit bike. As I sprinted towards the finish I ripped my rear derailleur off the frame and it broke apart inside of my rear wheel. I had to run the final 200 meters with my bike covered in 10lbs of mud on my shoulder. Luckily the exact same thing happened to the guy behind me (seriously, at least 20-25 people must have broken their rear derailleurs that day). I finished up in 10th place.
This past weekend was Super Cross Cup, a 2 day race held out on Long Island, just 40 minutes from the city. This race was supposed to happen the 2nd week of November, but due to Hurricane Sandy the park was taken over by FEMA as a staging area and postponed a few weeks.
Jen Nordhem brought home 6th place on Saturday in the Women’s 3/4 Race and battled it out for 1st place on Sunday.
Is that the raddest podium shot, or what?!
I brought home another top 10 on Saturday with a 9th place finish. Sunday was going good for the first 4 laps. I was sitting 4th or 5th for a few laps, racing with people that I know are much faster than me. I wiped out on relatively easy turn and lost any ground I had put in on the group behind me. From there on out my race got progressively worse as fatigue and back cramps started to settle in. I finished in 12th place. Not awful, but I was hoping for another top 10 to round the season out.
As sad as I am to see it go, I think my cross season is over. There are still a few races here and there over the next few weeks but it’s time to start racking up some base miles and focusing on my goals for next year. Although I might head down to Philly this weekend to get rad at Bilenky’s Junkyard cross race. After that, I swear that’s it!