Grant's Tomb Criterium
The CRCA Grant's Tomb Criterium is both the first big race of the road season and one of just two races left in New York City that takes place on city streets. As such the race plays a special role for the local cycling community, as highlighted by the biggest turnout for any race in the region - nearly 700 racers for the most recent edition.
This special role continues despite at times brutal early season weather - in recent years there was one edition that took place in what was almost certainly a hurricane and another frozen year that was perhaps the most frigid day many riders had ever experienced on the bike.
More recently the 2015 and 2016 editions of the race are a perfect study in contrasts, exemplifying the challenges of training and racing year-round in New York City. As we look forward to the 2017 edition of the Grant's Tomb Criterium in just a few weeks (register!) we also take a look back at the past two years of racing at the intersection of Grant's Tomb and Riverside Church.
Grant's Tomb Crit 2015
While we hesitate to use the e-word there is little debate when it comes to the 2015 edition of the Grant's Tomb Criterium: it was an epic affair. Throughout the day temperatures hovered in the high thirties and with steady rain for much of the day riders were soaked and covered by muck just a few laps into their respective races.
The rain did eventually break later in the day, but only for a deep fog to roll onto the course. During the elite Men's race it was impossible to see the length of the finishing straight as riders would emerge from the fog onto to dive into the first corner.
While it was a messy and at times miserable day at the races, it was also a race that we won't soon forget, perhaps on par with the 'racing in a hurricane' edition of the Grant's Tomb Crit from a few years prior. Here's hoping that we have nothing but blue skies and shunshine on March 11th for the 2017 edition of the race.
Grant's Tomb Crit 2016
Last year's edition of the Grant's Tomb Criterium was the polar opposite from 2015. Instead of rain and fog riders were greeted by perhaps the best weather you can hope for from New York City in March. Skies were blue and by the time the early morning races were done many riders were going with bare knees for the afternoon races.
With record turnout for the race - notable against the backdrop of modest declines in USAC membership - the race village was packed throughout the day as the race community came together for the first time since the conclusion of the 2016-2017 cyclocross season several months earlier.
For To Be Determined it was a particularly successful day at the races as Roger Parmelee scored a podium finish for the squad in his season opener. The odds may be against it, but this is exactly the type of day we're hoping for when the 2017 edition of the Grant's Tomb Crit rolls off the line in just a few weeks time.