The NYC racing season officially opened on a cold morning in Central Park. Fields were smaller than normal as many racers choose to skip the cold weather and stay indoors, though Team Sixcycle-RK&O had a few riders venturing out. A quick recap from a cold start to the race season from team rider Matthew Vandivort.
CRCA Race One Report from Team Sixcycle-RK&O's Matthew Vandivort
Landing in NYC on Friday at 6pm after two weeks in Spain, my level of interest in racing in ~20 degree weather twelve hours later was approximately nil. However with a jet lag induced wake-up at 4AM, I figured I might as well give it a go more out of boredom than rational thought. And so a bit before 7AM I found myself lining up with a smallish field of perhaps 30 other A-field riders. Tom Hendry choose to join in the fun, giving us a team of two, with a lot of usual faces in the pack including several BH-Comedy Central riders and the usual assortment of Blue Ribbon, Foundation, etc.
From the whistle I pretty much realized I was in a world of hurt, as the first acceleration highlighted that my legs were toast - not sure if it was the long days of riding in Spain or the long flight home the day before - but it was pretty clear I wasn't in a good place and my only hope was to ride into a bit better feeling. Thankfully Tom definitely had better legs than me and he was active on the front and in several of the early break attempts while I floated around the first half of the pack content to follow any accelerations.
On the second lap, shortly after a break that Tom was in got pulled back and while I was biding my time somewhere mid-pack preying for my legs to start working again, five or six riders managed to sneak up the road, including Zack Koop and Chad Butts, giving the break a fair bit of firepower.
By the time I managed to move my way forward around Engineers Gate I figured there was little option but to go on the chase and at least attempt to close down the gap sufficiently to give Tom a chance to bridge. So off the front I went, with Evan Cooper from BH-Comedy Central coming along for the fun off the front. We scooped up a few dropped riders from the break and eventually became a chase group of five shortly after Harlem Hill.
Unfortunately my legs were only feeling worse for wear with being in the chase group and despite a reasonable pace we weren't making any progress on catching the lead group of four - in fact if anything they were continuing to gain time on us. But on we soldiered in the chase, though my contributions were admittedly increasingly muted as my legs only complained more and more, and on the next lap going up Harlem Hill I pulled the plug and floated back to the peloton.
With the lead group approaching somewhere around 2 minutes ahead of the main pack and the chase group half-way in between, those of us in the peloton set about more or less pretend bike racing for a few laps - no one was particularly eager or hopeful about any attempt to chase, so it became more of a spirited team ride with racers putting in an attack here or there, but with six or seven placings up the road, everyone was pretty content to just ride in circles until the race was over.
After a few circles of pretend bike racing, in the end Tom snuck away from the pack to take the field sprint for eighth, which combined with a crash free day is sufficient to call the season opener a success.
Unofficial Results (Men 1/2/3) - the four man break that stayed away: 1 - Zach Koop, Blue Ribbon 2 - Chad Butts, EnduranceWerx 3 - Charles Altchek, Foundation 4 - Aaron Katin, BH-Comedy Central
CRCA Race One Pictures from Photo Rhetoric