Well, I'm speechless, What a great ride report and gives some perspective on just who we are trying to hang with on Thursdays!
From Marty Sedluk, always humble.
The cycling community in New York was buzzing this weekend. Central Park was filled with cyclists wearing the distinctive green wristband all day Saturday. You could see groups of up to 150 riders stretching their legs and getting ready for the big ride on Sunday. On Sunday morning we rolled out and Manhattan was swarming with cyclists wearing the black fondo jersey.
I was told that there were over 5,000 riders total, about evenly split between the 60 mile and the 110 mile routes. The 110 mile route having over 8,500 ft of elevation.
When we arrived they had the cyclists seeded by age and racing category. Some who did not get a 200-500 seeding worked things so that they were with us in the 200-500 bib corral. Bibs 1-200 were previous winners and special invited guests. We were quickly joined by other central Ohio cyclists including a Larry from Olympus Homes Team, Pete Czerwinski, Andys Burns, Steve Fields, Jon Morgan, Rick Miller, Isaiah Wallake, Tym Tyler, Craig Rice and of course John Sada. Sada showed up and explained how he got himself and his helpers into the 200-500 corral. He was not going to leave anything to chance.
It was a nice cool morning and they staged us on the George Washington bridge. It had an amazing view of the city on one side and a great view up the Hudson where we would be riding on the other. They had some upbeat music playing and everyone was pumped up, some showing it more than others. You can guess about who was showing it more.
Now this race is really almost two races in one. They have 4 timed climbs and if you win the climbing award you get an expensive sparkly Italian road bike. For most of us who have no chance winning the bike against European climbing experts flown here just for the event, we just want to ride our best and finish first like a normal group ride.
They started off pretty fast and soon we were riding through a park that is due to be repaved in a week. Then a nice big hill and the group starts to break up. From this point on I ended up riding with Jon Morgan, Pete Czerwinski with Andys Burns in the group.
The biggest climb of the day was Bear Mountain and it really broke up the peloton, this climb went on for something like 4 miles. At this point we were about 45 miles into the course and had lots of hills ahead of us. I was trying to pace myself but be close enough to the lead riders so that I could catch them when it flattened out. There were a couple of guys who just rode away from us on the hills. The 4 timed climbs make up less than a third of the climbing on this course, we had lots of road ahead of us and two more timed climbs. As we came down the mountain we could see the riders going up. I was later told that Andys was about the 8th person to come down the hill, I was about 10th and Pete was not far behind me, maybe a rider or two.
At that time I did not know how many riders were in front but I knew that I wanted to catch them. I stopped for a quick drink refill and ended up riding with Pete on and off for much of the ride. On the last climb I was told that there were 8 riders in front of me and I could see two of them. When I caught them I found that they were Italian and had a strong accent, one of them really wanted some water. I let him have my water and hoped that it would help him pedal faster. He was really sucking on my water bottle but all I was concerned about was riding faster. Just before the last water stop I get joined again by Pete and a small group of guys. One of these guys we later learned came in second overall on the hill climbing challenge. This guy was fast and aggressive. He repeatedly tried to drop us but we worked together and would catch him each time. Eventually it was just me and Pete working together to catch this super hill climber and overall speedster. We were followed by this nice but tiny little rider from Bogota Columbia, he was not able to take a pull but I liked him. I would try to point out all of the pot holes when we came back on the same pot hole filled road that was in need of repaving. Little Bogota rider was very appreciative.
About 5 miles before the finish Pete gets a flat on the pot hole road and I continue with little Bogata on my wheel. We catch the young super hill climber and he has run out of gas, I continue with little Bogata still on my wheel. We catch up with Andys who was riding alone on the final road to the finish. We almost get wiped out by New Jersey traffic but make it to the finish with Andys and I finishing side by side and my little Bogata friend on my wheel.