When it came time to set the 4:30AM alarm on Friday night the forecast was still predicting just a 30% chance of rain. So rising on Saturday AM to an absolute downpour was a less than pleasant surprise. With teammates dropping like flies via email ("rain? what is everyone thinking?" "I'm just not feeling it") it was a relief to see Chip, Scuds and Street among the riders huddled under tents and trees and any other form of cover at registration. A touch of last minute drama around race format and the potential for a thunderstorm aside, we rolled off the start line close to on time for a seven laps points race in the rain - which anyone who has raced in Central Park for long enough knows involves a great deal of horse shit. Physical horse shit. On your bike, on your kit, on your face, in your mouth if you open it in the infamous horse shit alley. With zero warm-up it took a while to get a bit of rhythm: on the first lap I went for the futile solo move from the south end of the park, getting caught in time to watch Street freelance his way to a fourth place finish - one place out of the points. As it turns out this would be a theme for the day. For the next few laps Scuds looked for the breaks - sneaking off the front several times but always getting brought back before the sprint - while the rest of us lined it up for the sprints. In the end out of the six intermediate sprints we finished one place out of the points on three of them while successfully putting Street across the line for 2nd once. On the final lap a group of three snuck up the road - we managed to catch one of them before the field sprint but with three left up the road I freelanced to fourth in the field sprint - once again one place out of the money. This left Street as our best placed rider in 7th - a tough day but also one of the most fun races of the season.
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/