Summer has arrived. If a hot Thursday night of racing at the Rockleigh Crit didn't prove it Sunday's CRCA Club Race certainly did - for the first time the skies were bright for the early morning ride to Central Park, though if anything the city was more deserted than usual thanks to the long holiday weekend.
As for the actual race, despite plenty of other races on the schedule a decent sized field lined up for the 5:45AM start. The pace was definitely slower than last weekend's slugfest but Scuds was feeling feisty and attacked every lap over Harlem Hill. On several occasions dangerous looking groups formed but the field kept coming back together.
On the fourth or fifth lap I decided to give Scud's Harlem Hill attacks a helping hand with a big pull through Lasker. Unfortunately as I pulled off midway up Harlem Hill it was Mike Margarite coming around me while the rider on his wheel hesitated and allowed a sizeable gap to open before the chase started. As it turns out this would be the last the field saw of Mike - and I was very nearly dropped by the effort.
On lap six with Mike long gone up the road I followed some attacks through horse shit alley and soon found myself off the front with three other riders. Weather Channel was apparently content with the composition of the break and so we rolled on with the field quickly fading from sight. The final two laps were a bit of a blur but as our foursome setup for the finish the field was still nowhere to be seen so we left the sprint very late.
The relatively flat lead into the Met is my favorite finish in Central Park and in the end I managed to walk away with second place on the day, while Scuds snagged seventh from another group behind.
After the race was when the real fun started. Joined by some of our friends from CityMD Women's Racing we refueled at the corner deli and cut a path north through the city. Our destination was Bedford, more specifically a pool in Bedford where we planned to relax with burgers and cold beverages. The dirt roads at the end of our route were an unexpected surprise, particularly as we hit the 100 mile mark, but we survived the journey and enjoyed some well deserved naps alongside (and in) the pool.
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/