Team Time Trial
This edition of the Philly Phlyer brings another revision of the team time trial. It’s 13-14 miles in length, featuring a slightly technical descent, many miles of pancake flat riding along the river, then a fairly tough (but short) climb up to the finish. Not much to note here, try to not burn yourself out early by taking “hero pulls” and keep communication a priority in your team.
After starting close to the Please Touch Museum, we take a slightly less technical route down to the river compared to last year. Then, it’s about 2 miles along the river followed by a sharp left-hander up to the first climb of the day. At 4% for only a mile, it’s deceptively hard and can result in stragglers going out the back. A fun, fast descent follows, putting us back along the river. The roads are smooth and wide for most of the course so there are ample places to move up or get some shelter. After the flats are finished, it’s time to climb again to the finish. While this isn’t long, it’s steep enough to put riders under pressure if they still haven’t swept out the winter cobwebs.
Awesome! Even if it doesn’t rain or snow, it’s going to be cold so put those hairy legs away!
Fields are going to finish more or less together but are going to come in very strung out from the climb.
St. Patty’s Day Criterium
It’s your classic 4-corner criterium. Narrow roads, pretty bad pavement and scattered railroad ties for good measure. There aren’t many great places to move up – I guess the best place would be after the second and third corners. And make sure you do, as you don’t want to get caught behind the inevitable splits.
Shattered fields and sore upper bodies from the rough ride.
A Personal Anecdote
The Philly Phlyer will always hold a special place in my heart as, back in 2011, it was the first bike race I’ve ever done. I can remember it all very vividly. We rolled up around 7:30 AM, packed in a team member’s van and all about were cyclists decked out in tight skinsuits and aero helmets preparing for the morning’s team time trial.
Right about this point, I was thinking to myself “Oh my Steven, what have we got ourself into?!” I rode with Danny Hill and Pete Ott in the Intro TTT – Pete was the only person who knew what he was doing and we sort of took it easy as we didn’t get a chance to warm up. Back then, the course was only 6 miles long so it was over pretty quickly.
Then it was on to the circuit race. Since I was in Intro, we did a clinic before the race started. There were a surprising number of riders participating in the clinic – 25 to be exact. We did some bumping drills and then a coached lap on the race course. When we finished, it was time to line up for our race.
I started way at the back, and going down the descent to the river, I was quite a few bike lengths off the back after only mile just because I couldn’t handle my bike all that well. The flat up to the middle climb was uneventful up until the last half mile as my teammate Matt “Fisch”el looked at a kid weird and he crashed, taking down a few riders behind me.
People started to dilly-dally at the base of the climb so I decided to go fast up the hill. I didn’t look back at all, but from what Fisch said, the field completely shattered. By the end of the descent back to the river, I had been joined by a Lehigh rider and we worked together a bit, but when it came to the final short climb to the finish, I put down my small hammer and went away to win my first race ever!