The CRCA Orchard Beach Criterium has always been friendly to Team Health Warrior. Back in 2013 it was THW's Corey Morenz winning with a solo late race move. Then in the 2014 edition Colin Tanner took a similar win with a solo move. Last year it was Donovan Clarke's turn with a hard fought field sprint victory that was also the site of Greg Addo's famous "give it to me baby" video.
However this year's Orchard Beach Criterium topped all of these results as the squad took home not one, but two wins in a single day. Colin Tanner started things with his second Orchard Beach victory, once again winning solo after a long three man breakaway. Later in the day Tom Hendry finished things off with a sprint victory in a large field sprint. Throughout the day the team also distributed plenty of Health Warrior bars to racers and spectators alike, making for a pretty perfect day of racing.
Race Report from THW's Tom Hendry (Men 2/3 winner)
Isn't winter over yet? This year's Orchards Beach wasn't quite like Orchard Beach Crits of the past. In past years I've used the race as an opportunity to get some sun and finally toe the start line without arm warmers or leg warmers. This year, that was not the case. An overcast sky and blustery winds made for a feel like temp somewhere in the 40's - that's my own florida blooded interpretation. It was actually probably in the high 50s. Regardless, I was cold and I hate being cold.
This year I partook in the 2/3 race, and prereg'd for the 1,2,3s because you never know. It was a pretty fast paced race and stayed strung out throughout. A stiff headwind on one straight, a crazy tailwind on the other, and a sizable field of overly eager 2s and 3s ensured that any chance of a move sticking was going to be difficult. The team raced well though, Tim Willis attacked from the beginning and stayed away for maybe the first 10 minutes. Once he got caught, Rog immediately countered and then Matt countered and was joined briefly by Scuds off the font. The race played out like that for the whole time. Lots of fast paced short lived attacks with teammates usually involved. Fun times and kept everyone on their toes. Tim then put in a another crazy effort that almost lasted until the finish, but he got caught with maybe 2 laps to go.
At this point the writing was on the wall and we all knew it was coming down to a field sprint. I did my best to find a top 10ish position going into the final turn and knew I had to be in a big gear with the strong tail wind in the final stretch. Thankfully all went to plan and I was able to come out on top with another win for team (Colin crushed it in the 3s earlier).
All in all it was another awesome weekend of racing. The team raced well and we were all able to consume copious amounts of free pizza. Another Orchard done and dusted.
Race Video from THW's Matthew Vandivort
Despite getting off a plane back to New York City just two hours before the start of the race, I felt surprisingly good throughout most of the action at the Orchard Beach crit. It was a fast race with lots of accelerations on the front, which meant lots of jumps to close gaps and attacks to chase. The team was particularly active throughout with just about everyone on the squad getting some time off the front, though I only wound up there because I had no choice but to counter a move by Roger when he was caught (damnit Roger).
In the finale I set up for a leadout with Street and Rog on my wheel with seven or eight laps to go as Timmy snuck away for a second long stint off the front of the race. Unfortunately somewhere in the chaos of the closing laps Street and Rog lost my wheel so I set about patrolling the pointy end of the race, closing down a few gaps and waiting to see how the finale played out.
In the end I went into the second to last corner third wheel and accelerated in the brief gap between corners two and three - as the rider on the front took a brief look back I read that as a signal that his leadout effort was cooked and I went for the fast inside line hoping that with a tailwind I would have a shot at a decent result despite a long sprint to the line. Unfortunately the look back was not the end of the leadout and as I came knocking the inside line was soundly shut. After a tap on the brakes I made an effort to reaccelerate out of the corner by that point my momentum was cooked so I just rolled across the line while Tom put in an awesome sprint to take home the win.
Daghan Perker is a creative director, photographer, and an athlete. You can see more of his work on his instagram handle @dperker He is also a founding member of tobedetermined.cc