In the calm of a dreary Saturday morning on the Upper West Side of New York City, B2C2’s 2015 road season officially began with the Century Road Club Association’s (CRCA) Grant’s Tomb Criterium. What is usually a spectacularly fast, six-corner, early-season test of fitness was made more complicated by truly terrible conditions. Temperatures in the high thirties to low forties and a constant rain ranging from a light drizzle to a steady spring shower made the course slick while freezing hands weakened dexterity. These conditions, coupled with the uneasiness that accompanies the first race of the year, had my heart rate going around 175 before the racing even began.
The weather was so wretched that when I lined up among my fellow women in the women’s 3/4 race at 8:45 a.m. sharp, I was pretty displeased to see only a dozen or so competitors when about 25 were preregistered. In fact, turnout was an issue across all fields for the day:
B2C2 had just two riders at Saturday’s race in NYC, Preston and I. The Women’s 3/4 race can be characterized by a series of failed attempts by the CRCA/Rockstar team to create a split in the field. With the slippery conditions, everyone was taking the corners (two of which had some scary looking but not actually slippery grates) pretty timidly, and it made getting away difficult to do. The CRCA/Stan’s NoTubes team had three strong ladies who were controlling the field. I anticipate I will be getting my butt kicked by them all year long. They were looking good. In the end, after a not-so-fast and admittedly no-so-exciting game of ride around in circles in NYC, the race came down to a sprint, in which I took 4th place. It was no shock to me that Natasja Brooijmans of the newly formed GLV women’s squad took the win (having been trying to catch her all CX season last year), though I imagine it left the Stan’s ladies a little miffed. I was mostly pleased with a 4th place for the season opener, but was sad I missed out on the podium:
Preston geared up for his race, which got underway at 11:55 a.m. The rain had died off just a tad, making for a fast and aggressive start. The speed meant the field lost nearly half its racers within the few first laps. Somewhere in the middle of the race, a group of four guys formed a lead group. Preston jumped onto the reliable wheel of Dom from GLV to latch on to the group getting away, but Dom’s early season monster strength was too great a match for Preston, and the break was gone. With no one team heavily represented in the pack, an organized chase did not form quickly (or ever, for that matter) and it became clear that the break was going to stick. Preston did (more than) his share of work on the front of the group trying to bring the break back, unfortunately to no avail. Though the leaders did begin to play a bit of chicken in the last few laps, the break stuck, leaving it up to a pack sprint for Preston who swiped up an admirable 3rd place for a 7th place finish overall.
While Preston and I were busy sleeping in on Sunday, Greg and new teammate Mike Martin had their fun playing a game of “pack fodder” and “avoid the crash” in both the M3/4 and M1/2/3 at the Aetna Nutmeg Spring Series criterium in Bethel, CT. For these two, with some later season goals and other real life goals (like closing on buying a house), both were pleased to have finished and emerged unscathed from their first race of the season.
Our season opener also coincided with the first weekend of racing for the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC), from which a large percentage of the B2C2 team has its roots. Though not racing in the houndstooth colors of the B2C2 team, we were still pleased to hear of the results of teammate Nick Smith (BU) and new teammates Brandon King (Tufts), Tess Timmes (BU), and Anne Raymond (MIT). Battling similarly awful conditions to those endured in NYC, these four competed in their respective fields in both a short, flat circuit race and a campus criterium at Rutgers University. Though the circuit race lacked any outstanding features, Anne showed her strength in the Women’s A field by attacking on a final ascent, getting nudged out at the last moment and taking 2nd place. Tess, racing in the Women’s C field, finished out the day in 3rd place. Having raced with both Tess and Anne in my time as a BU student, I’m very, very excited to have them on board for this year and given their display of early season fitness, anticipate a great season ahead for the ladies of B2C2. On the men’s side, both Brandon (Men’s B) and Nick (Men’s A) hung in for a solid pack finishes. Except for Nick. Who mechanicaled on Saturday and whose legs mechanicaled on Sunday. There’s always next year, Nick.
And so a road season was born.
Grant’s Tomb Criterium, NYC, NY:
Aetna Nutmeg Spring Series, Bethel, CT:
Men’s 3/4 Results:
Men’s 1/2/3 Results:
ECCC Circuit Race, Nyack, NY:
ECCC Criterium, Piscataway, NJ: