GMSR 2019: the TBD Slack Race Reports
We love GMSR. Well at least the portion of the team that is not allergic to climbing loves GMSR, while other portions of the team just love to write about GMSR. Either way, we feel a strong enough bond with the event that we’re going to do a two part race report for this, perhaps the toughest bike race on the entire East Coast. Part 2 of will be longer format, but for now we are going to kick things off with the most honest form of race report possible: the daily updates delivered direct from the mountains of Vermont to everyone following along back in NYC on TBD Slack. Straight cut and and paste from Slack into the Journal, these recaps capture all of the excitement and all of the disappointment that comes with the biggest race of the year.
All of these photos are direct from Angelica Dixon’s Facebook page - she did an incredible job following this year’s race and we highly recommend giving her a follow on Instagram, especially with CX season about to kick off.
Stage 1: Warren Store Individual Time Trial
550 feet of climbing
The Slack Race Reports
Alvaro: Hello friends. TT was good. Strong field out today, felt good and on the course. In a good spot for stage 3; I can beat a lot of the faster TT guys on the climbs. Somehow I didn't beat my own time up the TT climb from when I was a cat 4 in 2017 lololol (but I did beat my time on the rest of the course)
Corey: I did not pace well, that is all.
Colin: Some New England devo kid (started 30 seconds behind me) lit up the Cat 2's today… would have placed 3rd in the elites. second place was 36 seconds back. then pretty much everyone else 1:30-2 min back. A nice tailwind helped make the speeds spicy today, I paced the climb well but struggled to find the power on the rolling sections.
Russell: This was my first time trial and I kept it true to form of most first TTs, went out a little hard and then settled in at a power that was a under what I wanted to achieve. As I headed up the hill I was reeling in the guy in front of me and felt pretty good. When we crested he realized I was getting close and sped up and I tried to keep pace. He, the guy in front of him, and myself all finished close together. I ended up 1:04 back from the leader.
Stage 2: Robert Armstrong Perry Memorial Circuit Race
Cat 2: 111 miles with 6016 feet of climbing
Cat 3: 74 miles with 4008 feet of climbing
The Slack Race Reports
Alvaro: Hello everyone. Stage 2 was a BLAST. I'm running on the stage race high right now. Things went well overall for us. Corey got 5th or 6th, Russel is in contention for the green jersey after getting 3rd, 5th and 3rd in the sprints. I rolled in 15-20th for the standard time that I wanted. There was a three man break up the road for about 40miles but we eventually caught them -- one got dropped after that and the others are cooked for tomorrow so I'm counting them out of contention for GC cause they'll be paying for that tomorrow. Another guy in front of me on GC flatted so he's out too. I maybe moved up two spots today. I had an easy-ish race. sat in the first lap, followed wheels. I felt GREAT the whole day, except I had to pee like 30mins in. So I was complaining about peeing the entire race, almost did it too. second lap I went to the back but didn't have the balls to do it, and didn't wanna pee on myself. other people were def doing that tho. anyway I held it in and was feeling awesome at the end. I was able to move up to the first 10 wheels or so in the last K, while people were dying and cramping all around me. So I am feeling v confident for tomorrow.
Russell: Hunt for the green jersey went decently today. I was moving up into position and holding it well leading into the sprints. There was a little shouldering on the opposite side of the road as the first sprint opened up, I took 3rd. A few miles after a 2 man break went. I sat in over the KOM and moved into the position after the downhill. Took 3rd in the 2nd sprint (5th from the 2 man break). Rested shortly and moved back up. Took 1st in the 3rd sprint (3rd from 2 man break). Sat up and barely held on over the climb and descended back to the field. Got into good position for the final sprint, Corey nearby. I went to sprint, felt very hard and people started to come around me, when about 8 guys came around me I pulled the chute. Overall I think it was a job pretty well done.
Corey: Rode in the top 15-ish wheels all day to try to keep an eye on things. On the second lap, my legs started cramping a bit after the green jersey sprint point, so I focused on hydrating and fueling as we approached the KOM. I probably burned unnecessary energy to ride the KOM climb near the front of the field to make sure I wouldn’t get popped before the sprint if the field split up. In the final sprint, I had cramps in both legs as I stood to accelerate, so I had to sit back down and just try to hold some power to the line. Held on for 5th and immediately unclipped after crossing the line to stretch and not fall over in pain.
Colin: 10th in the field sprint but 17th on the day. Nothing notable. Was really hoping it would be a field sprint but a break went from the gun and stole 8 minutes. Bunch of hitters burned themselves out trying to chase, but only after the gap was out. I saved all my energy for the last lap to ride the KOM well... stayed top 10 wheels until the last 10km when no one took responsibility. I chose left side and the right side swarmed. Bit of argy bargy to position at slow speeds which was sketchy and made for a peculiar sprint. Really nice circuit though and 110 miles wasn't so bad, granted there were no categorized climbs. Tomorrow should be interesting, 82 miles and climbing at KM 0 with a gravel climb/descent.
Stage 3: Cutaway Mad River Road Race
Cat 2: 82 miles with 8003 feet of climbing
Cat 3: 65 miles with 6357 feet of climbing
The Slack Race Reports
Alvaro: So I raced a very good race today and big thanks to Corey and Russel for helping out. I sat in at the back until the sprint line at 21mi in. Russ went for it and got 4th? After that, Middlebury gap started at 23mi. My goal was to finish a full big bottle of sis before we got there, and then move up to start Middlebury with the front group. Two guys tried to get away after the sprint and got a bit of a gap before the climb. Russ went up and shut it down like a boss, as I looked for the GC leader. Russ finished the job and I was on GC's wheel up Middlebury, as Corey took us up the first part of the climb. I focused on holding GC's wheel, and I crested Middlebury with the top 5 guys on GC. We sent it on the downhill, I hit 57.9mph today. That was super fun. A group had gotten away before the top of Middlebury and they were away, but I didn't know it. Eventually, Corey and Russ joined my group with a few other guys and we were a big pack going into the second KOM on Notch Rd. It's short but steep and we hit it hard, right into a gravel descent. Very glad I didn't flat there. I had focused on feeding after Middlebury and kept burning thru the gels and rest of a big bottle. We got to Baby Gap eventually and lost some more people. But we were also picking up a bunch of guys who had been shelled from the break at Middlebury. We picked up quite a few before App Gap, and I started the climb second wheel in a group of 10-15. We went up at a good clip and shelled a bunch of guys. I stayed with the GC top 3 and a few others. At that point it was clear it was gonna be a battle of climbers, and about halfway up GC#2 turned up the heat and I followed. We dropped the leader and #3, and were in a group of 5. Last K was insane and gaps formed. I didn't have enough in me to win out of that group and got I think 3 or 4 from us. There were a few dudes up the road from the early break, and the 2 guys who took it had 3mins on everyone else. 8th in the stage, we'll see what the GC standings look like soon. Big thanks to the teammates for helping me out today.
Corey: Today was fun despite me being allergic to climbing. I probably went a little too hard early on middlebury (I looked down and saw north of 450 at a point) but was hoping it would at least prevent attacks from the base. Got dropped. Chased back on with a group that kept picking up riders on the way down middlebury. We made it back, but then I suffered cramps again on the 2nd kom and spent the last 17 miles alone with my thoughts. Thought one: that course is great from a riding standpoint. Thought two: why didn’t any of the families on the side of the road take my beer request seriously. I basically rode to stay within the time cut without going too terribly deeply. (My goal for today).
Russell: Today was a crusher. Started brisk, I sat in for a bit and then moved toward the front around mile 15. There were multiple small break attempts for the sprint, I worked with a few guys to make sure it all stayed together. I knew we were getting close to the sprint but had not seen any signage. We were then told by the moto that we were 1k out, no signs today. Paced picked up nicely but I didn’t see the line in time and sitting about 7th wheel the green jersey jumped off with another guy. I took off but it was a little late, came 4th in the end. I sat up for a minute only to find a few guys trying to pull away. This is where my duties switched from the green jersey to helping our Alvaro and GC contention. I went to the front and helped pull back the two riders before Middlebury gap. Getting over the gap was tough and I was dropped from the field. I descended back to the group with Vince from GF. I got my legs back in a bit, talked with Alvaro, and went back to the front to pull more as there were a couple riders up the road. Helped pull two guys back and then continued to try to minimize the other 2 min break, hoping this would help. Going into baby gap I was dropped off the back. The group left and I held on, alone, pedaled for dear life. Baby gap ended, I rode on. App gap appeared. I worked my way up, slowly. Could hear the announcers 1k out, the road flatten, I began to feel hope, then a final wall appeared, 20%. I did all I could to make it to the top without getting off the bike. I made it, totally crushed. It was an epic saga, what an awesome race.
Colin: New course this year, shorter by a good 20 miles but harder in my opinion. We had a steep climb just a few KM after racing began and the leaders hit it hard. The group splintered on the lower slopes and exploded on the gravel section. The sketchy, washboarded gravel descent didn’t allow for things to come back together even though I was only a couple of seconds off the front group. I could see the leaders on the long straights but my group had no firepower and I couldn’t close solo to 20 riders. Another kicker saw that group fragment more and then it was the long road to Middlebury gap. I had missed the front and was relegated to swapping pulls in a group of five. Some of us were stronger than others, so the gap grew and grew. By Middlebury I’d already done well over 1,000 kj of work and pedaled 60 rpm on the steep slopes as car traffic flew past - a far cry for the security of a peloton. Over the top, I was alone with Adam from Dave Jordan Racing and we descended well to make contact with a group up the road. By the time we hit Baby Gap I was pretty cooked and felt my legs failing on the steeper pitches. I came unstuck before App Gap and made my way, slowly, to the finish. Though I did take a two-up sprint with another rider who I came upon up App Gap - so that’s a win? Immediately fell to the road after the finish as my legs had nothing left to give.
Stage 4: Richard Tom Foundation Burlington Criterium
Cat 2: 34 laps = 21 miles
Cat 3: 30 laps = 18 miles
The Slack Race Reports
Corey: Sports fans, I’m here to report that I pulled myself out of that crit while riding in the front group of an instantly shattered field with zero regrets. I wasn’t having fun and knew that it was a long way to the finish.
Alvaro: Russ and I got pulled. first time I've been pulled in this crit, second time ever I've been pulled. not a fan of it but it was deserved. I've been avoiding riding in the rain all year, just cause I didn't want to deal with it. so it's kind of an ironic fate that the chance at my biggest result ever came down to a pouring rain crit, with technical corners and brick roads. I didn't have the confidence going hot into the wet corners with the paint and manhole covers, and I didn't have the power to make up for it. there were quite a few crashes, including the one at the end of the neutral lap. I lasted about 25mins. I'm glad my bike and I are in one piece, and that we're all ok. ended the road season with a big high and a big low.
Colin: tried to stage as close to the front as possible but ultimately that was decided by the call ups. "Neutral lap" was anything but as everyone knew the importance of position. Two laps in and the race split in half. I was five seconds behind the lead group and closing the gap lap after lap with one other. Another rider joined our group but in doing so came under me and hooked my bars causing me to crash. Was a pretty sudden event, I feel like most situations I can hold up, but this guy was much smaller so I had nowhere to lean to save it. Took a free lap and rejoined the chase group, now ten or so seconds adrift but coming apart. I hung with them but the soreness in my hip was catching up with me. I kept at it for another 10 minutes with one other guy before we got pulled. TBD got lots of callouts from the announcers booth though, so I at least did that aspect justice. 25 minutes of racing with a 0.96 IF. It's a hard knock at the end of a disappointing race. Plus the EMTs didn't even have proper bandages and just flushed my wounds with saline and then put dry gauze over them... maybe they ran out of supplies? Anyways, time for stage 5.