The Trooper Brinkerhoff Memorial Series is one of the highlights of early season racing in the New York City region. In exchange for a two hour drive North racers are rewarded with full length road races on a rolling and exposed course that really shines when the crosswinds start blowing. And thanks to its location - roughly equidistant from Boston and NYC - racers are also treated to a break from the usual mix of the New York peloton, with teams like Greenline Velo making the trip south. Team Sixcycle-RK&O's Matthew Vandivort reports on the series opener.
Mixed Bag at Brinkerhoff
With unexpectedly warm temperatures blessing the NYC area for all of 24 hours between two separate cold fronts, we had a good crew of eight racers headed north to Coxsackie, NY for the opener of the Trooper Brinkerhoff Memorial Series. Loading up on the prerequesite coffee and breakfast sandwiches from a convenient street cart we hit the road with our Louis Garneau Dream Factory bikes in tow.
In the A-field things started off fast, with the neutral rollout feeling more like a crit start with the race to clip in and hug the bumper of the lead vehicle. The initial portion of the race featured relatively modest winds and a variety of attacks, leading to a Boston v. New York debate on the merits of attacking into a headwind as the peloton rolled through the opening twelve mile loop. Eventually the debate came to an end, and a modest sized group rolled non-threateningly off the front, only to ultimately disappear up the road.
Ashley tried hard to bridge for half a lap, but couldn't cross the gap, and shortly thereafter I gave it a go as well with an ENGVT rider but when we received word that the break was a minute up the road we saw the writing on the wall and drifted back to the pack.
We spent some time contributing to the chase, only to lose Tom to a flat tire and a resulting long wait on the side of the road until a follow vehicle finally took pity on him and gave him a lift back to the finish line. Shortly thereafter Rog was crashed out (and into a puddle) just as the crosswinds put the peloton single file and the pace picked up. Despite a hearty chase, that was the last we saw of Rog until the finish line where he had the pleasure of pulling gravel out of his elbow (pictured below).
And so the race rolled on, until on the last lap my legs started to cramp - I suppose my pre-race hydration strategy of coffee and Diet Coke was poorly thought out - and I pulled the cord, leaving Ashley as the lone survivor when the pack eventually rolled home.
In the B's we enjoyed more success with Josh Rovner following up on his double win opening weekend with another result - snagging fourth place as the peloton came home with two riders off the front. Somewhat of a mixed bag overall for the squad on the racing front, but a post race trip to the diner more than made up for it.
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/