Between May and August we strenuously avoid any plans for Thursday nights. Because Thursday night is reserved for Rockleigh Crit.
Each season, there are two Rockleigh series and each series are made up of 6 races. Combined with the the roughly twenty mile ride to the race from Manhattan and the return post-race trip it is the best training you can get around here, particularly on a weeknight.
Last night was the third race of the first series. After an opening rainy first race of the series we went home with the leader’s jersey, but unfortunately we lost it on the second round. Tonight we really wanted to get the jersey back we had our four man squad racing and Matthew Vandivort was sitting second overall.
Unfortunately things quickly got derailed - just as we were rolling into the parking lot for the race Matt called out that his rear derailleur had just stopped working altogether. After trying to fix it for 15-20 minutes, Matt accepted the fact that the derailleur was completely shot and he was going to have only two gears through the race. Some debate ensued between which gear to choose in back before Matt settled on his 14 - giving him 53-14 and 39-14 for the entirety of the race to come.
The race was not a typical Rockleigh race. None of the breaks were sticking, and not a lot of people were riding hard. As a team, we did the best we could to control the race - Matt attacked from the gun and spent the first twenty minutes of the race off the front with two other riders and then as soon as his break was caught we counter attacked. Throughout the race there were no breaks without a TBD rider and we were constantly trying to get groups off the front as Matt and Ted claimed one prime each in the process.
Approaching the end of the race Ted and Scudney got off the front together and as they got brought back Matt countered attacked and got a small gap to the field solo. However bad luck struck again and Matt got a flat tire in corner one - just as free laps ended. That was basically end of our race and unfortunately meant we didn't get to see Matt attempt to sprint with a single gear.
As we started riding home, we realized one last time what really makes this criterium special. It is the ride home. You take side roads through Rockleigh and Tenafly, then you get greeted by a spectacular sunset over George Washington bridge:
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