schmalz Prospect 6/9/2012

Welcome

Occasionally I like to look at things I’ve become accustomed to from a different perspective. Pretending to look at situation or circumstance with a fresh set of eyes can be revealing, and at the very least it allows me the opportunity to employ an accent in my mind when thinking about things. (I just pretended to be Canadian when I thought that last sentence, because it makes me giggle to mentally say "abooot".)

Saturday’s Prospect Park race was a typical park race on a typical late spring/early summer’s morning. I arrived at Prospect Park, got into my bike outfit, rode to the park entrance and used the ladies room (before 6am on race days, the bathrooms become Darwinian-ly unisex). I pinned up, discussed strategy with my teammates and lined up for the 15 lap race. These activities are all part of a ritual that I, along with many others, have repeated probably around 500 times over the course of a racing "career". I can do these things on autopilot, and it’s only when the ritual is disrupted that I take notice.

Saturday’s disruption to ritual was the presence of a new face in the race. New York races often have guests taking part, as racers who are in town to do bigger regional events will join park races to get some training in. Local racers take notice of these guests, because the racing community in New York is a tight one, and a new racer in our midst (especially one who may be fast—or European) is something we take notice of.

Saturday’s guest was rumored to be a Euro (allegedly Dutch) track pro who may be riding for Rabobank and was riding for a local bike shop. This start line information may or may not have been accurate—rumors at the start line can be very inaccurate— like a spandex clad game of telephone. The presence of a new face in our little pack got me thinking, "What must it be like to come from Europe and do a Park Race?"

I have to think that there are locals races all over Europe, but I get the feeling that they are not held at the same time as our Park Races are. I chatted with Patrick (the Euro pro—I welcomed him to New York during the race—there’s no reason to not be friendly in bike races), and he expressed his astonishment at the 4:30 am wake up for the race. We didn’t talk much more during the race, because we were averaging over 27 miles per hour and that made conversation difficult.

I wasn’t able to speak to Patrick after the race either, but I do wonder what he thought of Park Racing. I wonder if he thought the racing was fast. I wonder if he thought the racing was aggressive. I wonder what he thought of the race passing a recreational rider on both sides near the end of the race. I wonder what he thought of participating in what I have come to know as the "most Park racing-est moment I have ever seen".

As we were nearing the last third or so of our race, we were coming to the downhill section when we were alerted to danger ahead. The road was almost completely blocked by downed riders and scattered equipment, prompting us in the 1/2/3 field to essentially neutralized ourselves (you can do this, you know, and many times racers will take the initiative and pause the racing themselves, to, you know, not die…), we all rolled to a near complete stop, and carefully passed by the downed riders. Actually, let me amend that, all of us neutralized ourselves, with the exception of four riders.

It was these four riders that managed to pull off the "most Park racing-est moment I have ever seen". They craftily decided to attack after clearing the bodies in the roadway. Attacking through a crash is a classic Park tactic, right up there with drafting the pace car or jumping onto the back of a passing field. These four savvy park veterans saw an opportunity, and made the most of it, and gained a gap in a fast moving race. This caused some spirited discussion in the field behind, and the result of that discussion was the decision that the team of one of the breakaway riders should chase the break down—because it’s generally frowned upon to win a race after bunny hopping bodies in the road.

The cause took about a lap or so, and the breakaway riders were welcomed back with PG-13 words. The race bunched together again, and stayed that way until the field sprint. I rolled in after chasing down a late move by Patrick (welcome to the Park), but I didn’t want to discuss the race with him afterwards, because I really didn’t want to admit that we race like this all the time.

 

66 Comments

Affinity Cycles

Grest read Dan! Patrick is an Affinity rider who yes is Dutch and is here racing for Affinity this summer and is part of the T-Town international pro invite program. He’ll be racing full time at T-Town exclusively on Friday nights, and he’ll also be racing for Affinity at some local “pro” races on the east coast.

In europe he races for a small continental team, but his focus is track racing. The pro team he rides for gives him the freedom to choose track racing over the road, they also allow him to freelance for other teams or sponsors. We sponsor him on the track, he rides our Affinity track frames and he’s the current European Champion in the stayers event. Patrick is pro, he’s also a dutch national champion and on the Olympic track team and he’ll be around the scene through out the summer until August… be sure to check him out at Harlem next week. Thanks for the write up, he’s a great guy and Affinity is very excited to have the opportunity to sponsor him!

Reply
Wheelie Ferrule

Tercero beyotches. Nice write up Danny-boy. Wheelie liked! Welcome Patrick. Cool to have you racing with us!

Reply
Notorius

I was standing in the middle of the road, protecting a downed and semi-conscious rider when you guys crested the top of the hill. Needless to say, I could see all of you initially working out a strategy regarding how to get around me without losing speed. . .

I do not wish to repeat the experiment.

I heard the group calling out that you were neutralizing yourselves for the moment it took to pass, and everyone slowed considerably and picked your way through, most squeezing over into the jogger’s path, and a few going to the other side behind me.

I think slowing during a race because of an obstacle in the road is probably one of the most difficult things to do, actually, (other than being the obstacle), when your mindset is about keeping pacing and micro-sprinting. I was impressed with how the entire group slowed and maintained their positions with respect to each other.

Reply
Rocky

Be glad it wasn’t a cat 4 or 5 field barreling towards you while you were standing in the middle of the road, you would’ve had crash #2 on you

Reply
Housatonic

for being the laughing stock of the NYC scene and providing fodder for some of the funniest Park racing-est (TM) shit ever from Danny boy and the readers.

Reply
Baptiste Neck

i don’t remember this much mayhem when I was a 5 or a 4 in 2006 or so…of course there were crashes but nothing that took down half the field on a regular basis….seems like they ride like they are on crack..maybe there are just more of them now? but it has gotten worse, for sure.

Reply
hater69

I think its worth mentioning that the first person to ride right through the crash and accelerate was actually the pace moto. Fun fact number two is that the “chase” was done by riders from Axa as well as riders from Foundation and several other teams. I say “chase” because the four riders were not going fast at all.

Reply
Charlie I.

FBF UPDATE: Latest weather forecast says “Showers and thunderstorms becoming more scattered around 4pm. Cloudy with temperatures slowly falling to near 68F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph”. Sounds like it might be clearing up in time for the race! Will post again around 4:30.

Charlie Issendorf
Race Director
Kissena Cycling Club

Reply
Truth

The pace moto needed to stop, or at least maintain a very slow pace until the field had entirely cleared the crash. Especially considering there was a $100 prime on the line on that lap, the moto needed to indicate some sort of time out.

Reply
Whee

People who blame the moto are just idots. If you as a race participant can’t take it upon yourself to self neutralize when passing an earlier crash that’s blocking the road, then I wish you’d take up another sport. Blaming the moto just makes you look like a douche.

Reply
Baptiste Neck

AXA: “i’d like an iced macchiato”
ChampSys: “Nothing for me, thanks”
BH: “You’re almost out of soy milk”

Reply
Charlie I.

FBF is CANCELED! Tonight’s race at Floyd Bennett Field is canceled due to course flooding. Please spread the word to your teammates.

Our next race is the Lucarelli & Castaldi Cup this Saturday in Prospect Park. Register online at:

https://www.bikereg.com/Net/15783

Charlie Issendorf
Race Director
Kissena Cycling Club

Reply
Wheelie Ferrule

BH: “Hee hee hee… hee hee hee… Buh buh BUNGHOOLIO…”
Champion: “If he says Bunghoolio one more time, I’m gonna chop him in the balls like this”
AXA: “It was up in the sky following us around. A little yoda like fella…”

Reply
Matteo Clearcoat

“Keeping Greece in the EU is going to have serious, continued repercussions to our market.”

“And Spain should not receive money from the IMF!”

“I swallowed a bug!”

Reply
Ponce de la Yema

Of course, welcome to Patrick, our new Dutch friend. Euro-cool in the park peloton and all that but the name just… Patrick? Couldn’t we have gotten a Geerd or a Joost instead? I kinda feel like we got half a loaf here.

Reply
Romain Cable

yeah, I’ve don your races in the Park and you could do with some more aggressive attacking. Like a lot more. At times it was like a group training ride. I don’t know why that is, maybe the early start, but you also have ‘teams’ trying to control things like they see on TV in July. Huh? So you have mostly neutralized boring ‘racing’. Also I’ve seen attacks at feed stations…that’s pretty lame too.

Reply
dry lube

sounds like a jackaninny, but I agree with him. I actually think local amateur cycling would be a lot better off with smaller teams, or no teams

Reply
Buck Rogers

CRCA should launch Computrainer online competitions. That way we can all safely race from the comfort of our 250 sq. ft. 5-floor walkup studio apartments, further enhancing the quality of our pathetic lives.

Reply
Sperryrocket

What a dumb idea. Cycling is a team sport. A strong team who actually kows what they’re doing, which is rare, will almost always win. It’s important to race as a team so you learn how to be on a team. The further you go up the ranks you realize that being on a team is essential. For example, at Wilmington this year a break had stayed clear for most of the hour. UHC needed to bring this break back. Near the end, with about 5 laps to go the team, working together, brought back that break like it was nothing, leaving 1 lead out man to deliver Hilton CLarke to the line. He was able to take 2nd, but would have taken at least 10th if his team wasn’t around.

Reply
Gaetan Hammer

Yes, comparing a powerhouse domestic pro team to the avg. CRCA subteam in any category is a very apt comparison. Good point.

Reply
Sperryrocket

Ok, fair enough. On a more local scale lets look at the Orchard Beach crit this year. A break led by Olsen had gotten clear and after a while began to look promising. Rapha had numbers in the race, but no one in the break. Rapha did more chasing than anyone else by far and was able to bring them back. That’s racing as a team. Somehow Olsen still won the race.

Reply
Perplexed

More interesting was how UHC had 2 guys in that break, one of whom dropped back to help chase and the other just sat on and refused to work.

Reply
Palla Rivnut

Plus, if there were no teams how you gonna tell all of your friends and co workers that you race on a team, you know, like the Tour de France. As proof just flash some awesome MQ pics of you in your pro costume

Reply
Old School

LA Quote – “I have been notified that USADA, an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try and strip me of the seven Tour de France victories I earned.” Discredited is not the same as false.

Reply
dry lube

I understand how teams work in a cycling, and I know the argument about “emulating” the pros. But really, the way it plays out in almost all our local races (hello, they are short and flat) is to make for incredibly boring races. Yes, good teams can control races. So, we have a couple, and they control the races. Fun! Maybe we just need even more categories or something. I know any other competitive sport wouldn’t continue operating this way with the same ol crap every week.

Reply
dry lube

Your examples are ridiculous. There are PLENTY of good examples of teamwork, and those are the 2 you come up with?

See, in my system (no teams), everyone is incentivized to chase. So, you say Rapha had numbers, so they chased. See, if there were no teams, then everyone would have chased. It’s not like it takes a team to figure out they need to catch the guys in front of them.

Reply
Sperryrocket

No one would have chased is what happens in a race with no teams. Think of nearly every Cat 4 race.

That said, you are right the city races are pretty lame. Mostly flat, not technical or hilly. Just rollin along without any corners to speak of. Sometimes there is wind. This is why after March I stop racing in the city until toward the end of the season. If you’re willing to drive within a couple hours there are some amazingly fun races between eastern PA and central New England. These races often have corners or other things that affect the race besides orange cones. They are more fun as you can often bring family and hang out in the area after the race.

Why can’t the city, which is full of cyclists, organize more races in the city streets. Sunday in lower mahattan must be somewhat quiet. Or put on a race in Hoboken or somewhere cool beside the same old park. I would be very bored of this sport if I did the same park week after week all year long.

Reply
dry lube

wait, but every cat 4 race has teams, you are confusing me. so, there would be no chasing without teams, but there is no chasing with teams?

Reply
penman phil

I think if you do not get that this is a team sport , well time to hang up your bike and go play darts or perhaps golf ! however a lot more alcohol involved in darts !

Question is are you on a team where you are willing to lose the race to help your team mate win or is he prepared to lose his race to help you win !

Team Rainbow Go !

Reply
em

The racing scene here is awesome, and you realize that once you leave the city and travel to places with an equal enthusiasm for racing, but a lack of races close by. Anyone in the city can do a race, within riding distance, AT LEAST 4x a week. And, for those that are bored of the CP-PP-Floyd-Rockleigh entendre, there is almost always a road race or crit within reasonable driving distance.

All this being said, it would be refreshing to have some other, more dynamic options for local racing.

Reply
Wouter Cable

I’m sick of people complaining about park races. no, they’re not that selective, but they are fast, fun and best of all you don’t have to waste time travelling to them. If you’re really that serious about bike racing you shouldn’t be living here anyway.

Reply
...

Including the track and Rockleigh there’s something like 125 races a year that you can ride to. Expand that radius to a couple of hours and you’re looking at 100s of race, many of which one can race multiple times.

No place in the country rivals that. Guys all over complain about having to drive 4, 10, 12 hours to get to a race. And that may be the only race they do for a month.

If anything the amount of racing available is a detriment as many guys would probably be better off getting some rest rather than a thursday night crit.

NY has some rather formidable bike racers. No not everyone is a potential national champion, and not every masters rider is Thurlow but riders from NY teams go out and factor in races up and down the east coast every weekend.

If you’re going to lament that our racing scene doesn’t have the talent base of Flanders, or that our courses aren’t as selective as some mountainous region, you’re not going to be particularly satisfied. NY is blessed with cycling riches. The more we embrace and support those strengths the better this scene and the talent within it becomes.

Reply
...

I’m wondering also how many of the guys who are whining about the lack of selective courses made it up to the Wilimington-Whiteface road race last weekend? It seems, at four-five hours away it’s well within the distance range of what most folks around the country would drive for a two day race. Probably a wee bit closer actually. The masters race finished with Carl Reglar and Roger Aspholm in a two up sprint after they shed their other two breakaway companions on the final climb. Two guys who would likely factor into any masters road race in the country. So, on a course as tough as what you’d find anywhere in the country on any given weekend, two guys who are serious national competitors duked it out while you sat home and complained that Central Park isn’t selective.

Reply

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published.


− three = 5