Race Reports: CRCA & 2008 Lewis Morris MTB Race Weekend by Joe Azze

Another great Race weekend!  Heading out the door at 4:15am on Saturday morning to drive into NYC for a race in Central Park was no trouble at all because I was motivated to put in a strong effort in one of the most challenging races that CRCA puts on.  

This particular race had 7 laps of racing with two sprints in each lap.  The goal was to win the most sprints and gain the most points for the team.  Within 10 minutes of the 1st lap, there was an attack by three riders off the front.  I saw the move and without hesitation I went with it.  

When I caught up to the riders, we had about a half mile until the sprint line which is at the top of Cat's Paw.  I launched an attack with about 50 yards to go and sprinted around the other riders, taking the 1st sprint for the team.  After that I recovered a bit and watched teammate Mark Alden take 2 consecutive sprint wins at the top of Harlem Hill.  We were riding strong as a team and really working hard for each other to set us up for the remaining sprints.  

Leading into the finish, I was being lead out by teammate David Taylor, when another move went off the front of the field.  I shot out to the side and attached myself right the the wheel of an 8 man break.  I was feeling strong and relaxed and getting ready to launch a sprint. Just then a rider from Team Target Training started his sprint but dove off to the side and ran right into my front wheel.  The crash left me with a bent rim and two damaged spokes.  

I stayed up right but my race was done.  It was difficult to take in because of my excitement going into the final sprint knowing that I could have taken another sprint and the win but instead I was standing on the side of the road watching the remainder of the field we had broken away from ride by.  This is cycling and anything can happen.

On to the next days race... Sunday was my 1st Mountain Bike Race of the year, The Lewis Morris Challenge and I was really looking forward to this day.  My legs were a bit tired from the  previous days race but I did feel good.  I race in the Pro/semi-pro field so the race starts a bit later in the day, which was great and it allowed me to sleep in a bit; actually I still woke up at 5:30am.   

Right when the gun goes off, its an all out sprint to gain good position going into the tight single track.  From there it does not let up at all and the pace is fast and hard from start to finish.  

The thing about MTB racing is you can't hide and the only way to recover a bit from a hard effort; such as a steep climb, is to slow down and when you do that you can say goodbye to the rest of the field.  

I felt pretty good and kept a solid position for most of the race.  I was running about 8th place for most of the race and was keeping a nice consistent pace while feeling stronger as the race progressed.  The venue for the race was Lewis Morris State Park, which is a small park but has good trails and they are fast, with a roller coaster feel.

On the last lap my legs started to feel the big weekend but I hung in there and crossed the line somewhere in the top 10, not great but a solid ride in which I will look to improve on in the upcoming races.