The Season Winds Down in NYC

This is it. The home stretch for road season in New York City. The Rockleigh Crit is done for the season and it's the final innings of the CRCA Club Series in Central Park. Fields are getting smaller as burnout settles in and training routines shift to the looming cyclocross season.

Even so it's hard to miss the opportunity to race in Central Park. So we lined up for another early morning race in New York City with Matt, Friedo and Muscles (Corey) joining me for what was sure to be a fast few laps thanks to strong turnout from the fast men who are still going full gas with GMSR on the horizon. 

It's been a while since my alarm has pierced the darkness of an early New York morning, forcing me from bed as others stumble home from a night on the town. I shove down whatever food I can and head for the door. Waking mind and body en route to Central Park, we share the nearly-empty streets with a handful of taxis ferrying the late-night crowd. 

Still half-asleep, in desperate need of caffeine, I sign in for the race. Corey rolls up, he's been traveling for work and returned home late last night, giving him enough time for what most would consider a nap before the race. I offer an SiS caffeine gel, he might need it more than I. The team meets up, but no strategy is discussed. No race plan hashed-out. We catch up briefly and roll to the start. 

The race lulled into a soft tempo for the first lap after we sprinted from the start. It's been a while since we convened in Central Park at dawn, and we were tired. Or so I thought.

A single rider went up the road, no reaction. Matt sat on the front and slowly reeled in the rider. That's when everything exploded. Attacks flew left and right, counter after counter. I saw my opportunity, chucked it into 53x12, and sprinted across the gap. That was my first, and last mistake of the race. 

The breakaway powered along at dizzying speed and power, as I slipped, unceremoniously, out the back. Resigned to a peloton which never quite organized a chase. Matt furiously chased and bridged to the break as I slipped back to the bunch. But his fate would be similar to mine, though he chose to take these lovely photographs, as Corey, Friedo and I completed the final laps.

It wasn't the race most of us wanted, capped off by Corey flatting on the final lap, but it was yet another perfect morning in the center of New York. From first light to the first bite of a bagel post-race, it's easy to see why we wake up for this.