New Gloucester, Maine was a mud-fest last year. This year, the weather graciously spared the rain that brought the mud, but instead brought some true cold temperatures for the first winter-like race of the year. The weekend saw good performances from the team. Kyle returned to racing for the first time since crashing and breaking his scapula earlier in the season. Bradshaw had his best finishes ever in the Elite UCI field with 5th on day 1 and 7th on day two. Linnea’s results also showed promise, with a 4th in the Elite women’s race on day 1. She recounts her experience in Maine:
I was determined to end my run of poor starts this weekend. After a brief bout of start-line nerves (sorry Chris!) the whistle blew and I got the hole shot. I was so surprised I overcooked the first corner and had to lock up the back wheel to make the turn. Sally Annis came around and took the lead midway through the lap and I felt like I was getting some rest through the corners but when it came to the power sections my legs had nothing. It was frustrating to watch gaps open up and have no answer as more and more came by. While the end result of 8th may not have been the most satisfying I found some solace in finally getting a decent start.
Conditions were a little greasier in the fields – especially on the corners, of which there were plenty. I had another good start and sat fifth wheel behind Andrea Smith, Sally Annis, SBZ and Crystal Anthony for the first lap and a half. Second lap through the woods Crystal went down going over the stone wall so I nipped past her and tried to close to the front three with no avail. For the next couple of laps they were just barely out of reach and I ended up TTing around by myself to finish in 4th – my best result to date and not too far off the podium.
(Thanks to Don and Dana McEwan for the photos, yet again.)
The Canton Cup is a local race here in the Boston area that always draws a good crowd due to its proximity to the city and its challenging yet fast course. It’s actually one of the longest courses of the entire season with lap times hovering around 10 minutes each and featuring long sections of twisting grass tracks, pavement paths, wooded single track and 3 sets of barriers plus a fierce run-up each time around.
Team Embrocation turned out a good contingent for Canton despite the myriad Halloween-related festivities on tap for that weekend.
Pierre, Bradshaw and our newest rider, Adam Sullivan took on the Pro field. Bradshaw, dressed in tiger costume, put in a solid ride in the P/1/2/3 race and lived to tell the tale:
I did the best I could with the circumstances. After a promised tame night turned crazy in which I contributed to the destruction of 2 out of 3 Pedro’s products, I was not feeling like racing my bike. Fighting the pounding in my skull and bile in my throat, I put on my Tiger costume in celebration of Halloween. My mask broke immediately but I decided the T-shirt was better than nothing. After a considerable dose of ibuprofen and a solid warmup I actually felt like I could maybe race. So – so start and long story short I settled into 7th position alone. No matter what I did I couldn’t close the 10 second gap to Rob Hult and Wilichoski. Which was probably for the best because dressed as a Tiger, Wilichoski would have probably killed me on the spot had I made contact. After a lonely ride I finished 7th.
Elsewhere at Canton Pete Smith logged in a solid 7th place finish in the always competitive Masters 35+ field which Kyle and James represented in the Cat 3 field.
Bradshaw continues on with his weekend racing, and finding a long coveted podium spot on Sunday at Orchard Cross in New Hampshire.
This is an awesome race. I did it last year and somehow walked away with a years supply of Raspberry Hammer Gels despite my mediocre finish. It has insanely fast fire road / gravel sections and a mind erasing maze of turns through an apple orchard. Everyone was Talking about American superstar euro-pro Ted King racing some cross, which was AWESOME! But, the real, known, threats on the day were Pedro’s Dylan McNicholas and Corner Cycle’s Masters National Champ Jonny Bold. Dylan was complaining about this-or-that and tried to dismiss any real chance of him doing well, or say, winning the race like he did last year. I didn’t buy it and sure enough he went on to win, solo most of the race. I was really excited to race with Jonny Bold because it seems there are few chances when the Elites race the Masters. He’s a classy racer and obviously very fast. Our last two match ups were at Night Weasels and the Canton Cup. Night Weasels he rode right through me after I completely red-lined and blew up after the start. At Canton, well, my legs were weighed down by some apple-tini something or others. I really wanted to get a good clean race in here. The race started and again I got a so-so start. Dylan hit it from the start and as I said before, he was gone in no time. After a few dicey corners I connected with the esteemed Ted King and J. Bold was just a few pedal strokes ahead. Crossresults.com head honcho Colin Reuter had been berating me while following my wheel and took the lead through the tough uphill grind / barriers section to go by me and Ted King. If you haven’t seen his amazing camera work yet, you should really check out lap 1:
I got past T. King at the end of lap 1 and tried to get up to J. Bold. I forget where we connected exactly but I think it took a lap or so of chasing before I caught him. We then caught and went right through Curtis Boivin, also a fantastic Masters racer, after he had been popped off Dylan’s wheel. The next 6 or 7 laps was really great racing. J. Bold and I were trying to close on Dylan and fight for the podium steps while Curtis and Ted were just a few seconds behind. My early efforts eventually caught up and when Bold attacked with 1 to go, he got a gap on me. I had a whole lap (approx 8 min) to get those 10 seconds back but just could not do it. Curtis closed hard and finished a mere 8 seconds behind me. I was thrilled though, I finished 3rd! Podium spot! It was my first cross podium since 2007 when I was racing the B’s!
Other Team News
We have another couple bits of team news this week.
First and foremost, we have our first new rider for the 2011 season. Adam Sullivan joins the squad for the 2011 road season, but donned the Embrocation kit for the first time this past weekend at Canton.
One of the stalwart racers of the New England scene, Adam is from Warwick, Rhode Island and has been a solid and reliable Cat 1 racer with the Wheelhouse team for the past couple years. He’s come on board to ride out the rest of the cross season with us and then become a key component of our road squad next year. Welcome to Adam.
As our followers are no doubt aware, we have a very close relationship with Ridley, our team’s bicycle sponsor. We’re often on their website and last week it was good to see a little Embro action on the official Ridley Blog. Scroll down a little and guess who you’ll see? Yup. Bradshaw, doing what he does, but not in a tiger costume.