There isn't too much to talk about when it comes to the Grant's Tomb weekend. Our day was filled with pack finishes and crashes. The majority of the team crashed, which was a real bummer. Doug hurt a finger, Rock was crashed out while feeling great with a couple laps to go, Evan cooked a corner too fast in the Pro/1/2 race and took himself out, and Kip went down unfazed (probably due to his downhill background). Alex and I went pretty hard in the Men's B race, and there wasn't too much to talk about after the race. We put in a couple of attacks, got a few prime points, and I was fortunate enough to hit the final turn in first before doing some lead out duties.
The racing in Philly went a lot better. We left on Thursday night to break up the long drive, and that left us with three days of nothing to do but eat, sleep, and bike. On Friday, we went for a 2 hour ride in Jersey with Evan's coach. I will admit that NJ does have some nice riding and climbing, but it still doesn't deserve the nickname, the Garden State.
Saturday's early morning race was a team time trial in Fairmount Park. Kip, Evan, Alex and I were the only four Tufts racers, so we all raced up in the "A" category. This race went incredibly well, and our team placed 5th; only 38 seconds off of the winners, F&M. We were all impressed with how perfectly we executed the technical parts of the TTT. In addition, none of use felt like we had finished on empty, so there will be more to come at the Beanpot TTT!
The circuit race went really well for the B riders. A single rider soloed off of the front and ended up winning by close to a minute, but this wasn't without reason. First, the Shippensburg rider who won is apparently a pro mountain biker who rides for the Scott RC Team, so that is why he had the legs. Secondly, the peloton sat around sucking each other's thumbs for most of the race. Alex, a few other riders and I started a chase, but unfortunately most of the pack didn't feel like racing hard. The peloton ended up complacent for the rest of the race and decided to race for second.
Alex and I both maintained position in the top-10 for most of the race, but on the final lap the pace slowed before the hill and I got swarmed. Alex lucked out and fought his way up the climb and to the finish line in 6th place. I started the hill in about 30th, but climbed well to fight my way up to finish 17th. The single-lane, final climb was quite chaotic as some riders slowed and moved backwards, and the faster riders shot up the hill. I was on edge as I weaved through the pack, hoping that riders falling back would maintain their lines. In the end, we were stoked with our results.
Evan's race went off as we cooled down. We were changing back at the car and started talking about where we were going to watch Evan's race from when Evan walked over without a bike in a ripped pair of shorts. His chain completely froze and he accelerated out of a corner, and he ended up flying over his bars. Him and his bike were okay for the most part, but he is now missing most of the skin on his right butt cheek (literally about 80% of it). We were all bummed for Evan, but the good news is that he is due for a stellar result. The EMT's had us laughing pretty hard when they told us about the damage to his hind end, so that lightened the mood. Kip also ripped out a solid 14th place in the circuit race, and is definitely starting to get the hang of pack riding.
The crit was a hellish race. Alex and I were in the front row in staging, but when everyone swung out to the start line, we ended up in the back. Then we both missed out clip in (in Cole-esque fashion) and started the race in the way back. At this point, I knew that I would have to dig deep if I wanted to hold on. The race went out fast and never let up. Every corner had a full speed acceleration and I spent the first 20 mins chasing before I finally reached the front of the pack. After that, I stayed in the top-5 or so because I knew that there was no way to get a result any farther back.
In the end, I was 11th in the field sprint. I was satisfied because of the hard work I put in to claw my way back to the front. It was a fast race and the peloton actually raced hard, which was a great change from Saturday. At the finish, there were less than 20 riders in the field sprint because of the splintering speeds that we raced at. Alex came in a little behind the pack. Kip also had a race similar to mine. He started in the back and clawed his way back to the front group for a 14th place finish. I was stoked to watch his tenacity during the race. It's easy to give up in that position, but he stuck with it and got a solid result.
Next weekend we are off to RPI for just the first day, then the weekend after that we race at home at the Tufts Campus Criterium during the Boston Beanpot!!!! Make sure you make it to watch this exciting day of racing on the technical, historical course!