Trooper Brinkerhoff Memorial Race Series #1 - Men's 3/4 Race

On Tuesday, March 24 I received an email from the Trooper Brinkerhoff Memorial Race Series with the quote, "Winter just ended (?) and we are racing already! Most importantly, the forecast looks good with a high of 40 degrees and dry conditions." Great, reg’d. As the weekend neared, the forecast worsened, so much so that Saturday morning I emailed the promoter to make sure we weren't going to drive 3 hours to a cancelled race. He responded with a cheeky email "Based on current conditions and forecast, we are planning to hold the race today" with the image below as if I were a fool for asking.
Trooper-weather
The reason I asked is because the National Weather Service and The Weather Channel both predicted at least a 50% chance of snow during our race. This didn’t match the 0% chance shown above…perhaps they were looking at the forecast for the OTHER Coxsackie (Hint: there isn't one). I took a look at the radar myself, and being an amateur (some might say semi-pro) meteorologist, I knew it was going to snow. SO EXCITE!!! For some reason I always do better when the weather is miserable…perhaps no one else has idiot hardcore teammates who propose 20 F centuries in January. With visions of the snowy Tirreno-Adriatico in my mind, I knew I was going to win.

After a quick warm-up we got to the cold start line. Community Bicycle Racing had 3 guys in the race, so early on I asked Pat Luckow if he wanted to "warm up" with me. I attacked and he bridged up, and we drove the pace for a few minutes before getting reeled in. Cycling psychology surmises that a break will stick when the weather is poor, so I wasn't going to give up. In what felt like the 5th or 6th break attempt within the first 6 miles, a group of 3 finally started rolling with a steady gap. Armand (CRCA/Wyld Stallyns), Lorenzo (Pawling Cycle & Sport), and I got into a nice paceline rhythm and started riding away. After a few more miles the chase brought the gap down far enough for Ralph (CRCA/E2Value) to bridge, but we were able to hold off the rest of the field. With our added member I knew the break was stronger, so I let Ralph sit on for a couple rotations to catch his breath. After that, no mercy: do your fair share of work or we will drop you. Taking a lesson out of the Dave Warner School of Bike Racing, yelling at people takes 0 watts. I was amazed how well people followed orders from their nemesis.

Mike-tropper-2With Natasja shutting down the chase effort behind (M3/4 combined with W1/2/3), we were able to blow up the gap until we were well out of sight and hopefully out of mind. As the race wore on, the whiteout continued and ice started accumulating everywhere (except the roads, thankfully). I resorted to chewing the ice off my glasses so I could see and lost my little ring, 3 smallest cogs, and nearly all braking capability. In the final lap we were confident we would stay away and our pace slowed. I waited nervously for someone to attack, but no one made a move. Confident in my long game and not wanting to risk a mechanical in a sprint, I attacked with 2k to go. I opened up a big gap but Ralph was able to solo bridge (again). Crap, this guy is dangerous. By some miracle I got him to pull through and rode his wheel to recover. I came around to make it first through the final corner and opened up what was left of a sprint. I didn’t look back until I crossed the line, but it was clear he conceded fairly early on. I gladly took my first win of the season and as a Cat 3. Even better, Natasja was able to hang on to claim the prize for the first woman finisher.

 

 

 Photo credits Tim Riley and Ken McGuinness