While the 2016 road season may be approaching its conclusion (#crossiscoming) the Central Park race calendar is surprisingly busy in August, including this past weekend's CRCA Power Points race.
This meant yet another early morning for the squad before heading to Central Park. From that point things went a bit haywire when a significant number of marshals no-showed, delaying the start of the race and downgrading the format from Power Points to a plain old points race (don't miss your marshaling dates people!). Of course that still left a half dozen sprints, which combined with an uncomfortably humid morning meant it was going to be a hard day at the races regardless.
Lots of Sprinting, Lots of Watts
Most of the race was a blur of sprinting again and again as some tough competition made it a challenge to score the points that only went three deep on each lap. Despite that the team rode really well together and one of us was in the mix on every single sprint. Scudney and I also spent time off the front in various breaks but the field kept coming back together for the sprints. Finally as the field came through for the bell it seemed like the field was reaching it's breaking point - the peloton split with a large group that contested the sprint going up the road. Unfortunately having just led out Roger I found myself on the wrong side of that split. I bridged up, where I found Roger putting in a dig to try to keep the separation from the rest of the pack.
Going Solo, Immediately Regretting It
However once Roger pulled off the pack stalled out in horse shit alley. This meant that just like at the Memorial Day Weekend Club Race the opportunity was ripe to attack. I went charging up the right side of the pack and quickly got separation. Of course I pretty quickly questioned that decision when it became apparent that no one wanted to join me off the front and I was going to have to try to hold off the field all the way to West 97th Street. I paced accordingly - steady on the flats and harder on the inclines - while behind me the team was covering any attempt to respond.
Somewhere past Engineers Gate I realized that I was being chased by a solo rider who was making up good time. I decided to recover down Lasker before going all in to maintain separation to my chaser and the field behind up Harlem Hill. The strategy worked and by the top of Harlem Hill I had enough leeway to recover on the downhill before one final push to the line. At this stage the field was still out of sight but I knew they would kick into high gear once the sprint approached. Up the final riser they finally appeared, closing quickly, but thankfully with that last push to the line I was able to stay away by just a dozen or so yards.
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/