Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Season Opener: Bethel, CT

Ashley, Maria, Donna

Three of our riders participated in the season's first out-of-town race in Bethel, Connecticut: Ashley Prine, Maria Quiroga, and Donna McMahon, who placed 5th, 10th, and 3rd, respectively.

Donna McMahon's race report:

The race started out easily for the first couple of laps and then there were some attacks. Maria, Ashley, and I did some attacking and counter attacking. We made sure that certain very strong riders did not get away! With about 6 laps to go, I attacked on the hill but did not get away. Maria did a lot of work on or near the front throughout the race and for the last 2 laps or so I stayed on her wheel for a lead out. At the finish, a little after the hill started, I sprinted up the hill. Two Metro riders were already a little ahead but I pushed hard to get third. Ashley got 5th and after doing a lot of work and leading me out (thank you!) Maria stayed strong for 10th! We were way outnumbered and still did great!

I definitely felt the most comfortable I have so far while riding in the middle of the pack as opposed to on one of the sides or on the front! I believe I saved some energy EXCEPT for my silly mistake when I thought one of the laps was a prime! I pushed pretty hard for part of that lap and then up the hill. (When we crossed the line just before that lap, I heard a whistle! I know in CRCA races there are whistles blown all the time by the marshals and I am used to it! But yesterday that was the first time I heard the whistle in the race and it was the timing of the beginning of the next lap!) I have not done many races yet where they offer primes but I still should have known better! I still had the rest of the race to recover and feel stronger again but I do apologize for the mistake!

This is my new favorite criterium course! For those who have not done it yet, it is about a .9 mile loop (22 laps) that is well paved (only minor dangers were a manhole after the first turn that was a little lower than the pavement and the gratings on the sides (they put wooden boards over them to make them safer). Overall a fast, safe, and FUN course with the one little hill at the end of each lap!

It is a great start to the season for us and I know we will improve with each race. We worked smoothly and I know we will get better and better. I want Radical Media to be known as "The team who owns the Podium"! :-) Now I am going to go learn the difference between a whistle and a bell! :-)

~ Donna

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The first day of spring

There's something to like about every season in New York City, but for the cyclist, spring just may be our favorite time of year. There's nothing so freeing, after a long winter spent cooped up in a closet-sized apartment, than to jump on the bike and take off, out of Manhattan, across the George W. bridge, over to the hinterlands of Bergen and Rockland Counties. This is exactly what I did today, while my teammates Maria, Ashley, and Donna were competing in Bethel, CT. I was a bit jet-lagged and my legs felt none too fresh, but I saw the first purple crocuses and daffodowndillies, and the day was sweet. I was reminded of the things that drew me to cycling in the first place: seeing the bright sky over the city when I cross the GW bridge on my way home; putting on sunscreen for the first time this year; the feel of my heart in my chest and the cool air in my lungs.

This has been a particularly long and cold winter in New York, and we have been spending more time than we'd like indoors on our trainers, or cross-training. It turns out that we are, besides cyclists, also runners, swimmers, skiiers, and weight-lifters. Donna continued her triathlon training over the winter; Dara skiied in Minnesota and biked in Cali; Maria went to the other land downunder and trained out of Auckland all winter; Erica rode her bike in Thailand; and I skiied, nordic-style, whenever and wherever I could. But we'll all ready to get on our bikes now, and spring seems made for the cyclist in New York.
~Emily Maynard

The view from the George Washington Bridge.