To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to product reviews and travel diaries, it is all part of the TBD Journal.

Its A #fastboi World, and I'm Just Living In It: CRCA Club Series Race 5

The B Field - Cullen  MacDonald

After my encounter with a bear last weekend, my goal for this local park race was just to have fun. I woke up later than normal, cut the check-in closer than normal, and generally just had a lackadaisical attitude about the whole thing. Peppering in the fact that it was a points race, I really just wanted to get some miles in the legs and chat with some friends while sprinting for a lap or two.

Just before the race, I overheard some folks chatting about the race format. The part that stuck out to me was “the final sprint is getting submitted to USAC as if it was a normal race.” In my infinite quest for upgrade points I hatched a last minute plan. I would not contest a single intermediate sprint; take advantage of everyone else being tired; and nab some upgrade points in the final.

For the first time all year, the B field race seemed extremely hard. Perhaps my legs are still tired from getting ruined at Bear Mountain? No, I think everyone is just getting faster. And with the fun format of a Points race -- points are up for grabs on each lap and the racer with the most points wins -- teams seemed eager to race for their leader. Every lap seemed faster than the last. Pair that with a few idiotic attempts of mine up Harlem Hill and I almost bailed out of the whole thing because it was “too hard.” With two laps to go, I decided I might as well stay in and roll across the line with the rest of the pack.

As we crossed the line to start the last lap, I found myself in the top ten wheels. Last laps are historically terrible for me, even in races where I feel super strong. (Being a true #slowboi means being not strong AND being not great at race strategy.) But here I am, on the wheels of guys who always seem to know where to be on the last lap. I made sure to focus on what was happening all around me. Where are the fast guys going and where am I?

Heading up Cat’s Paw, I was still sitting on the wheel of Max Davis (RCC) who was being led out by his teammate, Alex Buchmann. Both of these guys know where to be for the final sprint, and here I was right on their wheel. As Max wound up, I was prepared and jumped at almost the exact same time as him.  I’ve never contested a sprint before so I had no idea what to do. Gritting my teeth and trying very super hard, I rolled across the line somewhere in the 3rd-6th place position and was eager to return after a cool down lap to see where I ended up.

Well It turns out my plan was relying on #fakenews. The official results being submitted were based on the Points results. So while I am still sitting at critical "#slowboi upgrade points" levels, I can still look back, full of stoke, that maybe, perhaps, I might be figuring this whole bike racing thing out.

The A Field - Clay Parker Jones

52° isn’t so bad, right? And having grown up in the “Pacific Northwest” portion of Northern California, the steady, if light rain seemed...fine. I skipped legwarmers and armwarmers – really, all warmers available to me – thinking that these would just get wet and cold. Not being a fan of embro, I skipped that, too.

Turns out I needed way more than that to stay warm.

My primary goal was to finish my first A-Field CRCA race, with a stretch goal to make the top 10 in the last-lap sprint. Ted got into a 6-lap breakaway, and it felt like the weather-shrunken field was dawdling for much of the race. I figured there was little-to-no chance that we’d catch Ted, so I gave up on my stretch goal and tailgunned. I had Coach Fetty on repeat in my head, and tried to sit in as much as possible. When the field caught the break, though, I found my legs had locked up from inactivity and cold temps. So on the last lap, just after Harlem Hill, I let the field ride away, and that was the end of my race. On the ride back to Rambles, I found a few other cold souls that suffered the same fate.

“My legs stopped working” was the refrain.

Dress warm, kids. Being cold is dumb.