In the annals of bad ideas, bike racing to the average person is probably reasonably high up the list. Bike racing at 6am on a saturday morning is slightly higher up that list, especially when you could be safely tucked up in bed. And then there’s bike racing at 6am on a Saturday morning whilst throwing in a suicidal attack or three. But then no one would ever describe us as “average”. No. “Insane”, “stupid”, “foolish” all spring to mind, but not normal. So, we figured that the day would be a good day to live up to these monikers.
There comes a point in every race where you have two choices: apply more power, or head swiftly backwards and wave the peloton goodbye. Two weeks ago in Killington, I got to wave them goodbye not once, but twice. That’s stage racing for you! Today was my first race back, and unlike Killington with its endless hills, it was a flat, five-lap affair round Prospect Park. I was keen to see the gains I’d made in the run-up to GFNY and Killington, and this would be the first comparable race where I’d get to find out.
“Oh… that hill. You know that’s not a hill, don’t you?”
Killington, Vermont, Memorial Day weekend, 2017: the GFNY Racing Team gathered at the charming Butternut Inn and Pancake House for our first foray into stage racing. Three days, 110 miles of racing over what the organizers described as “challenging” terrain. The seven-strong team was split between the Men’s 4/5 Open category and the Men’s 4/5 Masters category. Juan “I’ve bought my standard” Sanchez, Ramon “Oh wait, I’ve been here before” Thompson, and Justin “what do you mean by ‘ride outdoors’?” Bangs represented the team in the Open category.
Words: Gavin ChowThe Campagnolo GFNY Championship race is always a special day for the Racing Team. It’s our title sponsor race, it’s the one that has brought us together as a team, and we have the incredibly special honor of being one of the few teams that get to line up at the front, amongst some serious local and international competition. And, best of all, this year we got to be completely Pro, not just for the day, but the entire weekend! That started at 8:00, on Saturday, a full 23 hours before the start! So here’s a recap of an incredible four pro moments from an amazing weekend. Oh, and my race report too.Continue reading “When the GFNY Racing Team goes pro. For a day.”→
Five things people don’t tell you about bike racing
So, race day #2 of the weekend dawned, well, early. And not so bright, seeing as my alarm woke me rather rudely at 4AM. On a Sunday. Of course, natural reaction was to roll-over and stick my head under the pillow, but that didn’t work, so then I decided it can’t be an imaginary alarm but a real one. Yep. Next step: open eyes. It seems to be the same open or closed – dark. Hmm… either I’ve lost my vision overnight, or, yegads, it’s still dark outside. Which leads us neatly to bike racing thing #1. It’s called “be glad you didn’t go out last night, because that 4AM alarm call is one hell of a rude awakening”.
Well, that about sums things up. But let’s rewind for a few hours. Because this day starts at 2:43 AM, when I roll over thinking “have I missed my alarm call? Did I sleep through it”?
“Nope. You have another two hours and two minutes to go before that goes off and you need to drag yourself out of bed. So go back to sleep”, said left-brain. At this point, right-brain had a fundamental disagreement, curtailing any chances of sleep. But, oh well, it’s race day, race #1 of the season for me, my first CRCA club race, a 5-lap affair of Central Park, and my first foray into the real world of bike racing. It’s going to be fun.
The nerves subsided as I approached the start line. For three weeks leading up to my first ever race I battled nerves and fear and now, all of a sudden, they were gone. Wow! I arrived there about six minutes prior to the start of the race; that put me way in the back of sixty-ish riders so my focus became “how do I get to the front of this pack safely and without wasting too much energy?”
Lesson 1: Arrive at the start line early to avoid this mess.