With the 2011 season currently an approaching but still distant series of goals, it’s a good time to reflect on a 2010 season – all its successes and letdowns, respectively. Embrocation riders weigh in on their season highlights.
Those late-winter/early-spring rides the team did out to Harvard, MA are some of my favorite. I remember Colin standing outside the Harvard General store and saying to no one in particular in such a genuine tone, “Isn’t this just the best?” Though, moments later he was beyond frustrated that we opted for a more reasonable loop that did not push on to Wachusett. But those rides are some of the best. You are out there together and you see the first inclinations of the season ahead and get inspired by teammates and friends. And you eat hot dogs.
And the final VERGE series races in Rhode Island are always a great way to end the season. There is something about them, a combination of the coursing through the pines, the beach runs, and the warm rotunda that so typifies the ambiance and community that we celebrate nearly every Fall weekend since the first cyclocross race of the year in Vermont.
So with the road season through, cyclocross over and everyone resting, skiing, riding between snowstorms or on the rollers, we’re not too far off from the team rides out to Harvard and beyond and for those, and what those rides allude to, I cannot wait.
Night Weasels wins, hands down. Slaloming down a boggy ski hill at night, blinded by camera flashes and heckled by drunks, was a great way to spend a school night.
Being given a bike to ride was a pretty serious trip, especially since it was the nicest I’ve ever been on.
Battenkill pre-ride was a pretty good intro to the squad – meeting Franny and then hammering the first hill wondering if we were really going to go that hard for 80 miles…
Winning Wayne Elliot after the team took the race to pieces.
The Rapha Gentlemen’s Race when James and Bradshaw started to kill the last 20-30 miles
The Fitchburg road race (frankly Fitchburg as a whole).
Grabbing the KOM jersey even for a day at my first GMSR – I’m not certain if Morrison threatened me or simply told me to try but he gave a hell of a lead out.
The Saratoga crit where we beasted wheelhouse.
1. Clamfest: Jurgen was a new addition to the team, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. We were all over the front of the race, early and often. It was fast, lots of attacking, and we were always there. When you always have a teammate in the break, it’s impossible to miss the move. Jurgen’s move was the one that stuck, and he got the win. It was HUGE, not only b/c of the venue, the crowds, and the atmosphere, but b/c it was Jurgen’s hometown, and his first Elite win. You couldn’t write a better script.
2. Fitchburg: You know you’re doing something right when you hear Richard Fries and Dick Ring calling out Embrocation on a daily basis. It was a true, classy display of teamwork and smart riding by everyone. Jackson made the winning break in the Circuit Race for a podium, James handily won the Road Race in a solo move AND secured the jersey, and we did a great job controlling the Crit for a bunch sprint, where Colin just missed the podium for 4th. I always die a thousand deaths in this stage race, but knowing you have guys who can get the results makes you dig deeper than you think you can go. We raced smart. We raced professionally. And people took notice.
3. Green Mountain: We didn’t podium in a single stage, but this race is always a blast. The scenery, the weather – it was way too perfect. We had a long season, and ended it by sharing a small room with 3 sets of bunk beds. Laflamme was in attendance, and there was the rare opportunity to see Cory and Franny, who we don’t always get to see, and wish we could see more.
4. The Ladies of Embrocation: Weekend after weekend, all summer long, they were there. Going on the overnights, waking up early, sitting for hours on-end in the feed zone with special instructions for this type of mix/coke/gel/labeled bottle on this specific lap, helping with dinner, and providing more moral support and cheering than you could ask for. I can’t think of a single race we did this year (minus the occasional crit) where we were completely on our own. So thank you Jess, Sarah, Ali, Sofia, Jill, Suzie, Erin, Jan. We love you!
5. PlayStation 3! Josh is never allowed to bring this to an overnight race – EVER AGAIN.
THE BAD & THE UGLY
1. Missing Embros: If our entire team was healthy at the same time, I can’t imagine how many results we would have achieved this season. But even while down, they were never out and always engaged:
Chris: Butt/nerve issues – out all season
Jay: Knee issues – early exit from the spring classics and rest of season
2. Crashes: There were some doozies this year – more than I can ever remember on one team in one season. Here’s a quick recap:
Colin: broken collarbone, ribs, collapsed lung at Battenkill. Amazingly, came back by Killington to crush the rest of the season until fatherhood took over.
James: Broken ribs at Green Mountain. Hung tough through the Road Race and Crit. Fractured ribs at Connecticut Stage Race in the mass pileup over the bridge during the road race. I’m sure there were more injuries, but he’ll never tell!
Kyle: broken scapula at Quad ‘Cross. Another failed attempt to make the start line at Mayor’s Cup for the second year in a row. Let’s hope that the third time is a charm!
The epic Myles Standish 120+ miler with Bradshaw and combs is up there for me. Charge pond was canceled after we were already half way to Plymouth but we went down anyways to check out the cranberry bogs and the infamous south shore fat bag. for some reason, 80 miles and a fat bag or two in we decided to make a tour of all the local Myles Standish historical markers including but not limited too the his statue, grave site, and homestead. we worked on our Myles Standish victory salutes before heading back up to Boston via 3A. all in all an awesome day on the bike. plus Bradshaw got to use his new salute the next charge pond (or he should have anyways)
Another, more serious highlight, was all of you guys coming to see me in the hospital after Battenkill, some of you before you even changed out of your kits or had anything to eat. knowing your teammates have your back helps a lot when you are laid out and in pain. so thanks. plus it was pretty funny to see you all clattering around and cluttering up the ER.
The Battenkill Recon Ride & meeting most of the team.
Rolling to the start of Battenkill with a full squad.
Embrocation OWNING the Saratoga Crit..
Having a solid ride at The CT Stage Race, proving to myself that I belonged on Embro.
EXPLODING on the last lap of the Fitchburg Circuit Race.
Redeeming myself with a solid TT at Fitchburg
Doing my job, and string out the Fitchburg Crit with two laps to go… ( At the start, I thought I would be watching the last two laps from the curb!)
D2R2 with James and Kyle.
Getting into the break with Jackson at the GMSR Circuit Race, even if only for a lap or so.