Riders in other cities may have bigger races. On better roads. With more varied terrain. Races that don't require dodging garbage trucks and other miscellaneous vehicles.
But for those of us racing in New York City there is something special about competing in the middle of the greatest city in the world.
It may mean dodging monster potholes and yellow cabs on the way to the start line, passing by drunken revelers crying out “Lance” - all to race the same six mile loop we’ve ridden hundreds of times before.
But that’s all part of what makes New York City bike racing unique. And it’s why tomorrow our alarm will go off well before dawn and we’ll head for Central Park.
March 31 was one of those races unique to early season racing. With weather conditions that insure a particularly painful variety of racing. Today was one of those races where fields shattered behind hard fought breakaways that ruled the day and DNF's at times appeared to outnumber finishers. Today was brutal, but conditions like that lead to some beautiful pictures.
george washington bridge
The New York City racing scene is constantly evolving. Teams and races often disappear - races seemingly at the whim of the powers that be - and rarely do they return...Amongst this ongoing transformation there are a few constants - clubs like CRCA and Kissena, early mornings spent training in the park and of course the continual flow of riders across the GWB, migrating to the "open road" of 9W. For better or worse, grinding up the West Side to 178th street is a common thread that ties together cycling in New York City. And while the GWB has its fair share of annoyances - crowded bike ramps chief among them - it does offer one amenity that never gets old...wondrous (and sometimes obscured) views of NYC.
the art of the muffin ride
The morning is one of brutality - with the alarm sounding before 5AM, shuffling out the front door and ultimately to a park that remains shrouded in pre-dawn darkness. All of which is a prelude to typically fast racing and a great deal of early morning on the bike suffering. However, when the finish line is finally in the rear view some time around 8AM, and the pace slows to a more manageable speed and thoughts turn to sugar and butter filled pastries... ...the muffin ride is officially on.
trophy winning bike
What does a race winning bike look like? Something like this - in 2012 Team Sixcycle is riding the Litespeed C1R, which Dan Cleiman rode to victory this past weekend at Colts Neck. It was another great result for Team Sixcycle and another strong performance for the Litespeed C1R.
Matthew Vandivort is a New York City based cyclist and sometimes photographer who was also a founding member of To Be Determined. You can follow him online at @photorhetoric or http://photo-rhetoric.com/