NYC Race Weekend Recap

Lake Tiorati (c) Marshall Kappel Coming off of an extraordinarily brutal and long Northeast winter, racers were understandably gun shy about registering early for races for fear of cold rain or freak spring snow storms. This had the CRCA Board sweating a bit as we anxiously tracked last year's reg. numbers vs. this year's for two of our blockbuster open races, Orchard Beach Crit and the Bear Mountain Classic. But, as the days grew warmer and the prizes (including a Dedacciai Strada frameset) and race support (SRAM Neutral Support, NYC Velo, Gorilla Cheese, Bicycle HabitatBEARnard Hinault) grew larger, we had a huge surge in race registration the week leading up to our NYC Race Weekend. Adding to the fanfare, was Rapha Cycling Club's sponsorship of Bear Mountain as well as NYSBRA's selection for our race to be the 2015 New York State Road Race Championships. A lot was on the line in one jam packed weekend.

Orchard Beach Kid's Race (c) Anthony Benavides

Leading up to race weekend, intense preparations were under way, including one of our biggest hurdles to date: repairing the enormous potholes on the Orchard Beach Crit course! Safety for our racers being our highest concern (though equal to ensuring races don't get cancelled), we had to act fast and smart. Ultimately, through perseverance and savvy problem solving skills of our board members, we worked with the NYC Parks Department to smooth out our race course just in the nick of time.

With all that hard work, how did the weekend go?

Bicycle Habitat Neutral Water Bottles (c) Marshall Kappel

We couldn't have asked for better weather for the weekend. We loved seeing so many smiling new and friendly faces greeting us at registration and throughout the day. Orchard Beach started out a bit chilly and misty, but turned into a full day of positive vibes and exciting racing. We were able to again bring in pizza to feed the crowd and we put on kids races to really make the event one that the whole family could enjoy. At Bear Mountain, we ran a full slate of NYS Road Race Championship fields in addition to several Juniors fields to give options for everyone. We were glad to be able to provide neutral water to our longer race waves in the hottest part of the day. We were also glad to see representatives from USADA perform random testing at Bear as part of the NYSBRA funded USAC Race Clean Program, a local anti-doping effort which CRCA supports.

Some of our Weekend Race Staff

Thank you's go out, first and foremost, to all the racers who came from near and far to support our little volunteer run non-profit operation. We are, and hope to always be, a group of racers putting on quality races that we would want to race. Huge thanks to all of our generous sponsors, local bike shop and food truck community - it's many of you who were a big part in getting us all started in cycling and keep us going on our bikes day to day. Thank you's go out to our fantastic USAC officials team, moto team, SRAM neutral support, Velocity Results (results here), and our race photographers - you all really elevate our races. And thanks to our members, marshals and other volunteers, without whom these races simply would not exist.

SRAM Neutral Support (c) Marshall Kappel

Well, don't just take our word for it. Check out our Facebook page for the voluminous collection of photos from our amazing community of local photographers, including our official race weekend photog, Anthony Benavides (Tone B).

Men's Elite Field round Tiorati Circle (c) Anthony Benavides

And finally, we'll leave you with some sound bites from the best judges of race quality, the racers themselves.

"What a weekend of racing!! Thanks to CRCA for providing two fantastic and scenic venues to pedal around. Many thanks to your club members, volunteers, and officials for putting on such top notch weekend of racing. I truly appreciated the attention to the details that really made a big difference for the racers (SRAM support all weekend, neutral feeders, an omnium purse, Sprint/KOM/QOM competition, pizza, food trucks and great venues for the family. It's no small feat putting on such grand events, but know your efforts were appreciated. Returning to Bear Mountain brought back so many memories from my first years of racing (in the 90's) lots of suffering then and today. Familiar faces welcomed me and new faces challenged me. It was exciting to be spriting for the victory against women who were in their teens, 20's, 30's and two of us over 50. Being part of such a wonderful cycling community is what has kept my passion in the sport for all these years. Looking forward to returning next year. " - Laura Van Gilder, the winningest North American female road cyclist of all time.

Laura Van Gilder winning the OB Women's Elite Sprint (c) Anthony Benavides

"What a wonderful event! Our family and team had a fantastic day! The organizers, officials and volunteers were incredible! We will see you at the Dave Jordan race in a few weeks. Thanks for having a junior field at your events. " - Greg Cordasco, Liberty Cycle

CRCA Jr Development Team at Orchard Beach (c) Patrick Schnell

"Orchard beach, I describe this race to most of my friends, co-workers and family members as a race that most resembles, NASCAR. A nice fairly wide oval short track. Two turns, and one swooping corner. The sprint is over in a blink of an eye, this makes orchard beach fun and unique. After spending a week down south racing by myself, It was a complete honor and pleasure to return to New York City and race with my teammates by my side." - Donovan Clarke, Team Health Warrior p/b RK&O
"The Bear Mountain race was one of the best organized events that I have ever been to! Thanks so much for putting on a challenging and safe race!" - Rich S.

CRCA Racer (c) Anthony Benavides

"I was a little hesitant about this race after hearing about the crashes at the start of the race last year, but this year felt completely safe - the neutral start worked very well. I was excited to come out as this is one of the few rouleur's races - the climb is enough to drop the pure sprinters, but the flat/downhill finish makes a win tough for the pure climbers as well. The scenery was beautiful and the competition was tough which made for a great race." - Mike Heiss, Green Line Velo

GLV Racers at the start of the Elite Men's field at Bear (c) GLV

"I'm always more than willing to spend some time in the car to get to a race with a great course and a strong women's field. After having a great experience at the rebooted 2014 Bear, this race was on my 2015 calendar as soon as the date was announced. Having gotten my start racing in the CRCA, I know very well that CRCA-run races are well-produced by fellow racers and always attract the best female cyclists in the region. This year's edition was no exception - 5 laps of a challenging 14-mile circuit paired with a field of some of the most talented racers I know meant that all participants had to be on their A game! Before our car even left the parking lot en route back to Boston, we'd all agreed that Bear 2016 would make it on the calendar as well." - Meredith Uhl, Farm Team Elite

Bear Mountain Backdrop (c) Marshall Kappel

Thanks again, from the CRCA Board of Directors. See you all next year!