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