Race: NJ Masters State Road Race Championship
Rider(s) Andy Maher, Doreen Bridgman
It was a chilly morning in Elwood when Doreen and I arrived at the Masters State road race. The course is a fairly flat 15.5 mile loop with five turns, the women had four laps totally sixty miles.
Although not new to riding, Doreen is new to racing and this was her first road race. As the women's field was small we were grouped with the men so she was a little nervous about the size of the field. After a short warm up we made our way to the start line.
I rode behind Doreen for the first seven to eight miles. She looked comfortable moving within the pack. Confident she was feeling good I decided to move closer to the front. The race was fast but being in a much larger group than I'm used to made it much easier. It was fairly uneventful other than a few attacks which never stuck. Going into the last lap I kept a close eye the other women. With about a mile to go I positioned myself behind the two women I knew would be the strongest sprinters. We approached the last turn at high speed and a few of the guys over shot the corner winding up on a local residents front lawn, thankfully nobody went down! Just as I made the turn a rider cut in front of me to get back on the road. I had to hit the breaks and lost the wheel I was following. A rider from CRCA Rockstar Games passed me but I was able to catch up to her and locked on to her wheel. With 150 metres to go I sprinted and passed her just before the line.
Doreen's focus this season is time trials so her goal was to use this race as a learning experience. Mission accomplished!
Results: Andy 3rd NJ, 4th overall. Doreen DNF.
Race: Wilmington Grand Prix
Date: May 20th
Location: Wilmington, DE
Rider(s): Deborah Leedale-Brown, Shaina Kravitz, & Emily Smith
Wilmington Grand Prix is a one of the most challenging courses on the race Calendar and even though other big races were taking place on the same weekend it still attracted a lot of top riders and tough competition, by the time the entries closed there were close to 50 women pre registered. The course is hilly for a standard crit but what makes it more challenging is the 8 turns that twist you both left and right, with some of the tightest turns happening at the bottom of steep descents.
It was a cloudy and somewhat cool day which was actually perfect for racing after the spring 90deg temps we'd had a few days earlier, it was however pretty windy and the narrow streets and tall downtown buildings make for wind tunnel effects. The success in this race is a lot down to positioning, it goes out hard and fast and therefore gets strung out very quickly and if you are too far back in the back then its becomes almost impossible to move up. With a front row call up I had a good start as we headed up market street, the race started at a very aggressive pace with many riders fighting for position in the top third as we headed into the technical section of the course. There were attacks from the gun and so you constantly had to be on looking to ensure that no gaps opened up. With one team fielding a full squad of riders they were very much dictating the attacks and moves. A lot of surges in pace seemed to happen through the short technical uphill and also going back up the finish section of Market St where there was a significant headwind.
For the first 8 laps of the race I was for the most part comfortable, although the pace was high enough that I was still not able to move to the front end of the race so did feel like it was a constant effort of surge and brake. Riders were dropping off the back early in the race and unfortunately Emily was one of them. On one big surge in pace around lap 9 or 10 the group started to fracture and unfortunately I realized a little too late that a large gap was appearing with more riders popping off. I put in a huge effort to come around and bridge back to the front end of the group but it was to no avail. For a lap or two I and a couple of other riders were in no-mans-land riding hard to catch back on. It helped when more riders joined our group and it was nice to see that Shaina was among them. She had apparently been by herself for a couple of laps and was then joined by some more riders. So even though we'd both lost connection with the front end of the race were were now able to drive our 8-10 rider group along for a couple more laps. At lap 16 they rang a bell lap for us as we must have been close to getting caught by the lead riders, it was nice that they gave us a bell lap so then we could race it out for placings. As we rounded the final corner I was sitting in 3rd wheel with Shaina somewhere behind, its a long uphill drag to the finish and I waited until one rider made her move and then jumped on her wheel, with a head wind I stayed in her slipstream till the very last minute then pulled through and did a bike throw to take her on the line. Once again the tough Wilmington course did not disappoint, and lining up to race some of the top riders in the USA on a course like that is an amazing experience, even if the outcome fell a little short.
Deborah Leedale-Brown 25th
Shaina Kravitz 29th
Race: Northeast Regional Track Masters Championship, also known as the Dave Miller Memorial
Date: May 20-21
Location: Trexlertown, PA
Rider(s): Jo Johnson
Well the weekend is almost over and it was exciting and FUN. Saturday morning sunshine at 7am quickly turned to a downpour which provided a 3 hr rain delay. Luckily I had the canopy up the night before and got my bikes and stuff under it before the rain really started. But then the cold and damp temperature got to me so the car provided a good warm and dry spot to sit and wait it out. Weather began clearing and racing began about 12:45pm instead of 9:30. The format is a 4 race Omnium with lowest number of points winning 10 year age group. I am in the 65+ age group. Not sure if they will eventually have a 75+ group or not.
First race is the 500 meter from a standing start. I will see if I can reset my PB that I just set this past week in training. When I come off the track, Coach gives me the time she gets vs the official time. I did it! Set another PB by almost half a second. And that holds for the official time too. Not stellar but I will take it. My time is the fastest in my age group so I score 1 point to the other rider in my age group. I later learn my time would have placed me 2nd in the 55-64 age group.
Next race in full aero on the pursuit bars is the 2k, 6 laps of full on torture! This is also a standing start. I am off and doing well, get into full aero position making the hand transition and then I begin to slide my butt forward, awkward, I reposition myself back. Go along just a few meters and slide again. Rats! this slows me some as I loose precious time sliding back onto saddle. These skin suits are slippery on the saddle. Finally come to an end and I finish just 4 seconds off my PB but not what I wanted. I am given 1 point again as I am faster than the other rider.
This next race is the points race of 18 laps with 3 sprints or every 6 laps, winners in age group get 5,4,3,1 point with double points at the last sprint to the line. At this point I am feeling really good, I am riding well within the group of 10 riders ages 45+. I go for a breakaway several times, getting away about half a lap or so, to see if I can get some points but every time they catch me. I am still up on my age group competitor. Just having a great time staying with this group. They relax a lap or 2 before the sprint lap and that gives me a chance to maneuver around the group for position. Then with 3 laps to go to the final sprint and 10 points to the winner, I break away and stay away now one lap passes, they still have not caught me. In the pole lane now, I am flying away from the group at this point. Hoping they do not catch me. 2 laps I am on my own and working for all it is worth. On the last lap, I fly around turn 4 and head for the final stretch along the home straight. Cross the line FIRST, ahead of everyone. Wahoo! my first time winning a race. So with the others not getting this 10 points and different riders getting the prior sprints, I have the most points and win the race! And now I have another 1 point for the Omnium. So I have 3 of the 4 points I will need to win that competition. Later I went to Timing & Scoring and obtain a picture of me crossing the line with the final results listed indicating I am the winner. Will frame that!
Last race of the day is the Scratch race. The gals do not want to do the 15 laps so they all get together and vote for 9 laps instead. Hmmm. That will be a very fast sprinters race. I am not a great one for that so my strategy will be to go out fast from the gun. I do that but they catch me on the second lap. I am now in the group and hanging on. I am still up on my competitor. The race finishes quickly and I now know I have the necessary points for the Omnium award.
Next day is extra fun with nice sunshine and warming up into the 70’s. It will be a short half day comprised of the Flying 200 meter followed by one sprint matched sprint effort. The opponent rider starts out and pulls up track, I was going for the lead right away and go down track. We almost collide but I pull up and she goes to the pole lane and picks up speed, I am along side and quickly pull in front of her at the end of turn 2. I stay at a good speed but not all out around turn 3 and 4. I look behind me and see she is a full turn behind me. At the bell, I am on it and put it all down and go for it all away around for one lap and the win, "pulling away" says the announcer. A good training effort for me.
Not a bad weekend, wining the OMNIUM, and the races that comprise it in my age group, winning the Overall in the Points race, setting a new PB and of course having alot of fun.
Thanks to all the sponsors that help make this possible; EPS/ CSS, Shebell and Shebell, Brielle Cyclery, Trek, Smith Optical and all the other sponsors. And to Teresa DiSessa who manages all of it for us.
Result: 1st in Omnium, 65+
1st in 500 meter, 65+
1st in 2k, 65+
1st OVERALL in Points race
1st in Points race, 65+
1st in Scratch race, 65+
Race: Bear Mountain Road Race
Date: May 13, 2017
Location: Stony Point, NY
Rider(s): Cheryl Clark
The rain was coming on strong, but Cheryl decided to take on the mountain. The epic adventure seemed more appealing than putting on the headphone for 3 hours and sitting on the trainer trying to replicate a race like effort form of a workout.
So off to the races she went, accompanied by her good friend Rob, so when travelling with good people, it makes one feel a bit more sane and rational in the decision to race.
Cheryl knew that the worst part (or so she thought) would be staying dry prior to the race. On a day like Saturday, just showing up ready to go at that start line was a small success in itself. The plan was to make the race hard and fast starting on the first climb, so that we could all get our minds off of the cold, rainy weather.
A break of 3 riders was formed, and we worked together, holding a gap over the rest of the field. Cheryl led a steady pace of the climbs, and the riders rotated through to strengthen the gap.
Going into the third lap, Cheryl realized she was running low on energy, and had lost one of her precious water bottles filled with calories on the first decent. She had not packed enough gels, and felt fatigue begin to sink in, and soon realized this was the beginning of a bonk phase (rookie move, not enough food, or maybe a lack of a type of nutrition the day before? *beating herself up for this mistake*). Whatever is was, the bonk was coming hard and fast. The trio of riders was soon joined by a fourth, and then with 8 miles to go, Cheryl lost contact with the 3 riders, and had no glycogen stores left. There was no choice but to just pedal softly to the finish line, fighting off the cold, rain, and dizziness.
Cheryl was fourth on the day, and a bit disappointed, but that is bike racing sometimes, and it will most certainly be a Bear Mountain day to remember! Once home, that hot shower, cold beer, and favorite sweatpants, never felt sweeter!
Cheryl Clark 4th place
Race: Somerset Circuit TT
Date: May 6, 2017
Location: Readington, NJ
Rider(s): Danielle Ferland, Andrea Maher, Doreen Bridgman
The TT God’s were shining on as we got to Readington for the Somerset Circuit TT. The weather looked iffy all night and it had rained a good portion of Friday. The sun started to peek through the clouds as we completed our pre-ride warm up; it felt good to ride the course instead of the trainer. The wind was picking up and it wasn’t an easy day for Danielle as her allergies were taking over. She put in a strong ride though; nothing can stop her! Doreen was the first rider off and then Danielle and finally Andy. The course had some rolling hills with a couple of smaller climbs and only one sharp turn. The roads were fairly dry by the time the racers went off so that was a good sign of things to come. The course was well marked with a lot of support and with the roads drying up, it meant we could pick up some speed. The warm-up ride on the course allowed for good race preparation and we put in our best effort.
Doreen Bridgman-3rd place
Danielle Ferland-6th place
Andrea Maher-3rd place
Date: May 7, 2017
Race: The New Jersey State Criterium Championships p/b EDDY MERCKX BICYCLES
Location: Plainfield, NJ
Racers: Andy Maher, Sarah Hauze, Doreen Bridgman, & Danielle Ferland
Director Sportif: Sarah Iepson
The Riptide ladies arrived early to talk strategy with Director Sportif Sarah Iepson and to scope out the scene – the women’s 1/2/3 and 4/5 fields were first on the schedule to race, which left the course wide open to warm up on. The course was a 1.1 mile loop with 4 wide turns running through downtown Plainfield. The 1/2/3 women took to the line in preparation of 40 minutes around the course; the cat 4/5 women staggered behind them who were in 30 minutes. The whistle sounded and the first field took off, followed shortly thereafter by the next.
First to start, Andy was in a smaller field of seven (7) and definitely had her work cut out for her. The smaller field left much less cover from the cold wind. Holding her own against very strong competitors, the field worked to try to catch a single woman breakaway. Unable to reel back in the break, the main field threw down for a sprint finish, all coming down to the last leg of the race. Andy dug deep and crossed the line with an incredible effort.
The cat 4/5 ladies had more numbers on their side with a field of twelve (12), including three (3) from Riptide-Cawes. Sarah H., Doreen, and Danielle took the advice Sarah I. had given to heart and settled into a steady and getting comfortable being closer to the front of the pack. Aside from a few short efforts of a break forming, the field stayed close together throughout the race. Danielle and Sarah were ready to go with any chance to break, and with one lap to go, Doreen made a hard effort to string out the group for Danielle and Sarah. The race began to string out as the field turned the final corner, leaving nothing left in the tank after the line.
Cat 1/2/3 Women:
Andy – 6th
Cat 4/5 Women:
Sarah H – 4th
Danielle – 9th
Doreen – 11th
Race: Turkey Hill Country Classic
Date: May 6th
Location: Washington Boro PA
Rider(s): Deborah Leedale-Brown & Shaina Kravitz
This race has long been on the calender as a fun hard hilly road race with ice-cream and chocolate milk at the end, and this year it returned to the calendar with a full CAT women's race that would also take on the Gamber Wall. So what more fun did we need!
The original weather forecast of low 60's and partly sunny with chance of occasional shower seemed to vanish as we drove closer to the race venue, it got colder and the skies turned darker, by the time we arrived it was windy and only in the low 50's and already starting to rain. The women's field was a strong contingent of riders, plenty of good climbing and sprint legs in the mix and bolstered even more by the day of arrival of Laura Van Gilder. Its always a pleasure to race alongside a true ambassador of women's cycling. Once Shaina and I decided we pretty much had to put all our clothing items on to keep warm, the rain began and most of the women's field were trying just to stay dry as their warm up.
As the race began, the director informed us he had shortened it by one lap so we were now doing 4 laps instead of 5, the race also ran as a handicapped format so the CAT 4/5 started with a 2:30 head start and so if we did not catch them they would win the race. The whistle blew and the rest of the field started, everyone was happy to push the pace along, to not only catch the riders up the road, but also to try and warm up. The course is very open and with the winds it gave us a mix of gusty cross winds a back section of strong headwinds but the finish segment was all tailwind. This was definitely a course that a breakaway could form and be successful and in the car up our plan was to make sure that Shaina got into any breakaway as she was the strongest climber of us both. The first lap was mostly about settling in and seeing the course, the really wet roads made for some slowing in the corners, especially the ones at the bottom of steep descents. During lap 2 the first real attack of pace happened and that seemed to split the field in half, both Shaina and myself were comfortably in the lead group and the pace continued to push to catch the lower CAT riders still up the road. The final lap saw us real in all the CAT 4 riders and on this lap our course changed direction to ride up the Gamber Wall, a pretty steep 17%, relatively short pitch of a climb. This was where the lead pack was going to separate and the climbers in the group would be putting on the hurt. Shaina was actually on the front at this point and doing exactly that stringing out the riders as we climbed Gamber. At this point I found myself being popped off the back with the surge in pace, but since it was Shaina putting on the hurt I was happy. After Gamber there was another section of hilly road then the final three climb finish stretch. I was pretty gapped off the lead group at this point and in no mans land but I could still see the riders and the orange helmet of Shaina. I just kept driving on and slowly I seemed to be pulling myself back to the lead group. As they rounded the final corner that lead to the last 2 miles of the course, one rider crashed out on the still wet road, this caused a slight slowing and I was suddenly back into the group. We had three significant hills left and then a twisty slightly downhill/flat finish. The strong tailwind meant for a fast finish and once the final hills were climbed the riders started to spread out across the road, Shaina and I were to the left of the bunch with some clear road up the left side, I shouted for Shaina to go and I jumped on her wheel, the strong tailwind meant everyone was moving fast and as I came around Shaina we were almost at the line and my sprint legs were certainly fatigued from the hills. It was a strong field sprint and not strung out at all, everyone crossed the line with very little separation. Happy to be done and needing to get warm meant that we did not go searching for our icecream, maybe next year.
Deborah Leedale-Brown 5th
Shaina Kravitz 6th
Pictures courtesy of Nin Lei Photography
Race: Womens Woodstock Cycling Grand Prix
Date: May 6, 2017
Location: Woodstock, NY
Rider(s): Cheryl Clark and Alexa Gurbinski
The morning started out with a 4am wake up (3:45am for Miss Alexa!) that was totally worth it, for a grueling day climbing our hearts out at Woodstock.
This race is amazing for multiple reasons: 1)There are hills, and we love hills. 2)There is grit, and we love grit. 3)There are a tone of powerful, strong women racers competing at the top level on a very challenging course, and everyone involved was super stoked about this. 4)It was pretty much a festival, as once you cross the finish line, there was an enormous amount of food and chocolate milk up for grabs, raffles, and a very well put together awards ceremony, recognizing all that went into each race, and how meaning the race truly is.
As soon as the neutral start was over, the Canadian team led one attack after another, a great way to start out a race, as it really forced everyone into race mode, and Alexa and Cheryl were busy right from the gun, covering any moves, just to be sure nothing got away before the first significant climb.
The first climb was a killer, lasting about 1.5 miles, and a test for what laid ahead. Cheryl crossed the QOM line in second, with Alexa and and a few other strong climbers coming up over the line right in the mix.
The field regrouped for a few miles, keeping the pace steady and high, going into the BIG climb of the day. Greeted by pouring rain, this climb became even more epic. Alexa and Cheryl set themselves up for a solid 2.5 miles of suffering up very high pitches. All we could really do was focus on our own efforts and keep grinding away, doing everything we could to stay mentally tough through the burning lungs and quads. The field naturally separated, and Becca crossed the second QOM with a gap. Cheryl and Senta (Green Line Velo) were next to cross the summit. After crossing the QOM line, Regina (Green Line Velo) was not far behind, so Cheryl and Senta, regrouped with Regina to form a powerful paceline to attempt to hunt down Becca (Becca's strong effort kept her away for an eventual deserving win!)
The trio was closing the gap, but their efforts eased up, and they began more thinking about the field behind them, as the gap that they had was becoming less (Alexa being in the chase group). Exhaustion was sinking in, but we kept focus. During the last significant climb, Regina and Cheryl broke away, and it was a race for 2nd place. The race finished on a fast downhill segment, and Regina edged Cheryl out in the sprint, leaving Cheryl in a hard earned 3rd place.
Not far behind, Alexa whipped out her climbing legs, and pulled away from her chase group to finish with a strong 8th place finish, right in the money! It was a great day in the saddle, and another fun and successful road trip for this duo was in the books.
Cheryl Clark 3rd place overall, 3rd place sprint, 2nd place QOM
Alexa Gubinski 8th place overall
Race: Quabbin Resevoir RR
Date: April 29, 2017
Location: Ware, Massachusetts
Rider(s): Cheryl Clark, Andy Maher, Alexa Gurbinski and Danielle Ferland
On Saturday, Cheryl, Andy, Alexa and Danielle headed to Ware, Massachusetts for the Quabbin Reservoir Road Race - a 64 mile jaunt around the reservoir on some of MA’s classic rolling hills. The women’s races were the last to start, so the four of us had plenty of time to chat, pack our pockets with some Honey Stingers and get psyched for the day ahead!
Andy, Alexa and Cheryl all took some turns on the front to open up their legs in the first few miles and when we started to realize that the combination of heat (almost 80 degrees and sunny!), length, and course profile wasn’t going to make for an overly dynamic day of racing, Cheryl got to the front and controlled the pace, with Alexa sitting comfortably on her wheel. As the race chit chat increased, Alexa put in one attack, but the chase wasn’t cohesive enough quickly enough to form a break and Cheryl resumed her patrol on the front, which carried us to the finishing climb. At that point, we were hoping that our good climbing legs would show up for the party ….unfortunately, we both somewhat misjudged the climb and didn’t have the right pop at the right time to follow the leaders for the last 200m or so and ended up finishing 7th and 13th (still in the money!)
Post race debrief: Cheryl: “Alexa, what’d you think about during that race?” Alexa: “Ummmm mostly that I was pretty sure I had two giant bottles of sparkling water in the car and that I cannot wait to drink that” And yes, lukewarm Pellegrino is super delicious (verging on miraculous) after 100k in the sun!! Totally made our ride home. And rumor had it that Andy and Danielle were going to stop for the world’s best pizza at Pepe’s in New Haven, CT, so I think everyone was going to be just fine :) :)
Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention that we really felt how all of the cycling community, especially here in New England, was riding with thoughts of Chad Young and we were so moved to see his former teammates on CCB go 1-2 in the men’s race. Even for those of us who knew him just by name, in passing, or by recognizing his smile, the loss is profound and we will do our small part to ride and live in his spirit.
Ultimately, results aside, we feel very lucky to have spent a beautiful day on our bikes, in great company, and are looking forward to doing it again soon!
Cheryl Clark 7th
Alexa Gubinski 13th
Andy Maher 25th
Danielle Ferland (Cat 4 race) 31st
Race: High Point Hill Climb
Date: April 29, 2017
Location: Montague, NJ
Rider(s): Doreen Bridgman
High Point Hill Climb was the fourth TT of the season and it offered a very different course from the other races. This was a 5.5 mile race with climbs up to 22%. Living and training at the Jersey Shore, I could only imagine what that would feel like. Well, I tried to imagine it but I didn’t come close! The drive up to lot to pick up my number was intimidating and I was trying to reassure myself that I would make it on the bike; after all everyone else does it. There was a combination of some of the regular TT competitors but also several riders whom I had not met before. This just made this race that much more interesting. After the warm-up, I rode down to the start line and got a better feel for what the course was going to be like-CHALLENGING for me. My goal was to finish somewhere in the middle of the field. I knew it would be a good experience as this is my first year racing for the TT Cup and I need to learn the various courses and identify where my strengths lie. The course had several big climbs and then finally a nice section in the park where I could pick up speed and give my legs a break for a bit before the final two climbs. I wasn’t sure I would make it through the second to last climb but I did and then I knew there was just one more at the finish. I kept the dialogue going in my head that I wasn’t almost there and finally I was. I finished in 6th place and met my goal; room for improvement next year.
Doreen Bridgman-Sixth Place
Photo credit to Jan Curan