Races come and go. Form comes and goes. Some things never come back but when they do it’s awesome. The Rochester Twilight used to be one of the marque criteriums back in the day but since 2008 and the downfall of the economy and thus sponsors, it hasn’t happened. This year it was finally back on the calendar due to some hard work of a few locals as well as the support of the city. It was the same hard, technical course that it was back in 2007, the last time I did the race.
I was a junior cyclist as a category 3 and just graduated high school that morning. I crashed out with 3 laps to go but stayed and watched the pro race. It was pretty incredible on every level. The speed, the teams, the riders, the number of people watching. A break got away and lapped the field. I think Hilton Clarke won. A rider who was in the film “The Hard Road” of which I watched as a junior and got a glimpse into what riding as a pro in the states was like. I don’t know that I even had the intention yet at the time of riding pro but any time you’re doing something you think that it would be sweet to do at a high level.
Eight years later I’ve raced pro and last night I was in that break away. The race started out fairly fast with breaks getting up the road here and there but nothing gained considerable time. The first real move came from Daniel Holloway (Altovelo SeaSucker) who built a solo gap up to around 20 or 30 seconds. It was never a real threat but a move like that met he was more trying to get a teammate up the road to win.
He eventually was reeled back in by a steady stream of attacks of guys trying to get across. There were a few larger moves that looked promising but there was always a team willing to bring it back which was lucky for us (ISA Genix/SeaSucker/Guttenplan Coaching) since we were a bit far back at times. Most of the breaks would gain a gap on the brief flat and descent opposite the start finish after turn two as riders would attack on the brief climb out of the 2nd to last corner and through the false flat of the start finish and everyone would be willing to lay it down to close the gap. Then when everyone was gassed from the effort, riders would just kind of roll off the front after turn two.
After a little over an hour of racing, and with an hour still to go, a break still had not been established but a lap or two after a fast lap due to a prime being offered, the right mix of riders found their way off the front. I sort of just followed wheels and never really had to make much of an effort to get in the break. There were 12 or so riders which is almost too big for a break because half the guys want to sit on. Fortunately UHC, Astellas, and Champion Systems, all had two riders so one from each was willing to ride. The individual riders should have been more willing to ride but half the break was sitting on. Knowing this I knew I couldn’t be one of the guy’s driving the break but I also wanted the break to stick. So I kind of rode too hard.
The final twenty laps or so we’re fairly aggressive with a few riders always trying to get away every few laps along with the occasional offering of primes. The biggest of which was $700 of which I proceed to lead out instead of getting a gap when I jumped early since I didn’t think I was going to be able to sprint around a few of the guys. Oops.
Andrian Hegyvary (United Health Care) was probably the strongest rider in the break. He kept the pace high as well as closed any gaps to riders trying to attack off the front. I essentially tried to follow him and not let much of a gap open between him and I. I probably, or actually did, cover too many as guys behind were more just following wheels. Ryan Roth (Silber Pro Cycling) had a number of strong moves of which Hedgeavarry and I would follow. Aldo Ino Ilesic (Altovelo SeaSucker) would also be there at the right times. Champion Systems didn’t have the strongest guys but rode smart covering what they had to and Kevin Mullervy keeping the pace high with two laps to go for his teammate.
With one to go it was all together and on the back stretch Aldo Ino Ilesic (Altovelo SeaSucker) attacked and got a small gap. Hegyvary (UHC) followed to close it and I followed but didn’t quite close down the gap quick enough. Neither of us got straight on the wheel I was left chasing all the way to the finish line. I ended up leading out Carlos Alzate (UHC) pretty well for second. I opened up my sprint on the uphill before the last turn but couldn’t hold it all the way to the line and was passed by three riders but I passed a spent Hegyvary finishing 5th. I made some mistakes in the last lap along with riding a bit too hard and covering too many moves but I had the legs to be there which is a great feeling. And particularly after a solid 28 hour week of training.
It’ll be another solid week of training and then another NCC crit with Chris Thater in Binghamton. It’ll be nice to be home again too and to ride the roads I first fell in love with cycling on. I’ve come a long way in the sport but it’s never far enough. I’m now making some steps to get to where I want to be in the sport in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned, I’ll keep the posts coming regularly now that I’m back to bike racing.
We had a lot of interest in our racks at Rochester. Use discount code: rochester twilight on My Store page for 10% off SeaSucker Racks. They’re sweet to say the least.