Well this weekend I took a drive down to Philly to compete in the 2 day classic. My old roommate and I decided to do it since he lives in Philly and wanted to get a nice workout in. First of all the races were cut shorter than originally advertised. I can understand the promoter's dilemma as there were about 70 people in CAT5 registered and wanted to keep it under the 50 person limit. So they split the one race into two. It was supposed to be a 20 mile race on Saturday and a 15 mile race on Sunday. It turned out to be a 25 min +1 lap race and 25 min +2 lap race respectively. Just what I'm not good at. Fast short races...yikes...
So Saturday was a 2.2 mile lap and we did about 4 laps total. It was a nice course with only two hard high speed turns so it was fairly comfortable. It was 6:30 am though so I didn't get a good warm up in and to top it off they made up sit on the line for a little bit as the course was getting cleared so everyone was frozen. The gun FINALLY went off and we rolled through a nice comfortable 1st lap where I picked out the sketchy riders and was looking for my move to the front. It was my buddy's first road race and I tried to get him to follow me to the front but was trapped in the group. On lap two I steadily put an effort in and was sitting top 5. Things were good as people were shuffling and were never really organized whatsoever. 3rd lap I was close to the front and a guy attacked and I jumped right on his wheel. We rode away and got a little gap but the pack reeled us back in and we stayed at the front of the group. The last lap I set myself up so that mid way through the last lap I would be close to the front for a chance at a good finish. I picked my spot and grabbed a wheel as two other riders had the same idea. I was in 3rd flying towards the line as a group of 5 or so were closing fast and we were all jostling for position as I crossed the line sprinting for 5th. It just felt awkward as I wasn't really warmed up and it was too hard, too fast. But a good race nonetheless. My buddy didn't fair so well as he got shot off the back and put a good effort in to avoid getting pulled.
Sunday was the 0.8 mile technical course as there were a few hard downhill and uphill turns that kept you on your toes. It was the same start time and I had a little better warmup - and maybe a few too many beers the night prior. This race went on for 16 laps and was pretty fast from the start. My buddy started off a little better as we both got to the front pretty quickly but he wasn't feeling well and got shot off the back again only to be pulled a few laps in. It wasn't his day. For me I tried to stay towards the front just to see if anyone would jump and there were a few attacks that were uneventful. Fighting through the turns the rhythm of the course got more comfortable and the lead group picked up the pace shooting riders off left and right. It wound up being only about 20 people left in the main group for the last 5 laps. Each lap got better and better. I steadily climbed to the front and on lap 3 there was an attack on the hill leading to the start/finish and I jumped on his wheel to see if we could both get away. We had a good gap opening up and the other rider just stopped pedaling. I would have worked with him but not for him. So I just let up and got back on the front of the group. 2 laps to go we were cruising and fighting for position in the last lap. At this point one rider jumps off the front and nobody chases?!?!?! Bell lap comes and I figure I need to be towards the front to launch my attack on the last hill. We come flying down into the last turn and I go from 10th position on the inside cranking as hard as I could. I dig deep and get all of the power I could to the ground as I see the riders next to me going backwards. I cross the line in 6th position and pretty content with my performance given the circumstances. It was really a fun time and a great couple of days. It would have been a little nicer if the mornings were warmer though.
As far as the overall I'll have to wait to see where I faired but I'm happy with how things ended up. It was a nice change of pace and I got to do some nice cruising through Philly afterwards. It's a cool scene and a great biking culture for sure.