It’s been a little while since I’ve had a post. Speedweek was a whirlwind of racing with our team coming into the second step on the podium (I also genuinely felt shitty most of speedweek due to allergies or a cold or something that did not allow be to breath without turning on a faucet of phlegm).
This past weekend was the NCC Teir 1 race: the Wilmington Grand Prix. I had never done the race and never been to Delaware. Katie and I hitched a ride up with Thomas up the Thursday before in hopes of doing the Monkey Hill Time Trial: an 8 minute TT that had a cobbled finishing climb. It sounded awesome, but heavy storms cancelled the race. It was just as well since our 5 our second part of the drive took 8 hours, barely giving us enough time to do our pre-race openers in Wilmington.
This was my first time at Wilmington and it definitely won’t be my last, this was my kind of course: 8 technical corners and two hills per lap really sifted the race out. We only had 4 guys there, Thomas, Brandon, Michael Pincus, and myself. Brandon just won the Collegiate Nationals D1 Crit and Thomas and I were both fresh off Speedweek so we felt pretty good about just being a reduced squad.
I got a call-up for being awesome, which helped out a lot due to the technical nature of the course. It wasn’t a long race so aggression started early. Pincus got into an early split that was brought back after a few laps. There was a counter with 2 riders that dangled for a few laps. I attacked across to the two along with another rider. Eventually our group swelled to 10+ riders including UHC and our meager gap suddenly exploded to 30 seconds. One of the UHC guys dropped back to I guess help chase our group of now 10 back, leaving Brad White to just sit on the back of the group.
Our group was working not great but well enough together that UHC was unable to chase us down. Their efforts were further hampered by their chase train crashing in corner 1 with 8 laps to go.
I was feeling pretty good and thought the group could split, I countered some of Bobby Lea’s attacks but things were brought back (Guys….LET THE UHC dude chase people back, CMON!!!!). Anyway we went into the last lap as a single group and were diddling around to the point where the field was bearing down on us.
On the back side of the course Champ Sys were the only team to lead out since they were the only team with 2 riders. The back side of the course was a gradual downhill leading into the second to last corner (which had a car sized pothole), then lots of traffic furniture, before a brick laden final corner to a long long uphill drag to the finish.
I did a decent job jockeying into the 2nd to last corner but got a little pinched by the Champ Sys lead-out guy swinging off. I got around him before the corner, but the gap had already opened. I dodged some traffic furniture and opened up my sprint. While I have a decent sprint that can bean non-sprinters, my sprint is not enough to beat many real sprinters. The order coming out of the last corner did not change. I kept the same 5 meter gap from Bobby Lea’s rear wheel all the way to the finish line for 4th, a decent result, but no podium.
My consolation prize was getting drug tested by USADA right after the finish. I’d never gotten tested before and it was a fairly interesting experience. I chugged about 8 bottles of water to the point of getting light headed in order to pea. In the end it took me an hour and a half to pee in front of USADA officials and finally head off (they were really super nice, if only those waters were beer!).
After Wilmington the girlfriend and I met up with my old Purdue roommate Dave and headed up to his place in Philly, which was at the top of the Manyunk Wall (Oh em Gee, Philly). Manyunk is a huge bar district so we had to um…scout things out that night:
The next day Dave and I rode parts of the Philly Classic course, I was pretty much just losing my shit the entire time (every time we’d get on Kelly Drive, I’d get on my super deep announcer voice: “Back on Kelly Drive”).
After that it was MegaBus up to NYC to visit my Bro and Parents, my
Bro’s graduating from Columbia’s Journalisim school with a Masters degree. We missed mos to the ceremony for work and what not but it was cool to hang around NYC and see the family.