As the saying goes there is a fine line between crazy and stupid. With 18 degree temperatures forecast for the CRCA Season Opener - single digit with the wind chill - it felt like conditions were approaching the stupid side of that line.
But with Grant's Tomb looming on the horizon I wanted to get a few race efforts in my legs. So I rolled out of bed at 5AM, threw on many many layers of Garneau kit and headed toward Central Park for the 6:30AM race start.
I assumed fields would be small given the conditions but the opposite proved true as the A field was perhaps fifty riders, confirming that cyclists in New York City have a hearty definition of that line between crazy and stupid. For To Be Determined we had three riders venturing out with Torpey and Colin joining me in the fun.
Unfortunately it didn't take long for the first mishap of the day as five or six A field riders went down coming off the start line, all of ten meters into the race. Luckily our three racers avoided the crash and were able to join in the action as things started to heat up. The first time over Harlem Hill Torpey went clear with Ross Baldwin from Lupus Racing - an aggressive early attack that meant Colin and I could relax in the field covering moves as teams sent small numbers up in attempted bridges.
On the third lap Torpey came back to the field, which meant it was time to go to work with three laps left to reel in the break. With some efforts on the West Side the gap started coming down but unluckily we came through the start/finish to discover that our race was being cut by a lap, leaving us just two laps to close what was still a forty second gap.
In the end the chase was disorganized and that lost lap left too little time to bring the break back - Ross Baldwin held on to win ahead of a breakaway companion from FGX. With Grant's coming up next weekend I decided to sit out the field sprint and rolled across the line just off the back of the field after 77 minutes of cold but fun racing. Not bad for the season opener.
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/