Race weekend one of June is checked off. With an early morning departure down to Philly on Friday, we covered the 8 hours with enough time to get in a short spin in along the river by all the rowing clubs. Saturday we headed outo on a bit of a Canadian tour de Philly. I'd driven down with the Canadian team Nanoblur, and so got to tag along with them, Spidertech, and a few Canadian TD bank (TD is the presenting sponsor of Philly) people/avid cyclists that had flown down for the race, for a pre-ride of the course. Manayunk wasn't quite as crazy as it had been built up to be...but still deserves the "wall" moniker.
Sunday we rolled out just after 9am after the men had done a few hot laps of the finishing circle. That early there were already tons of people out riding around on bikes, and waiting to spectate. It's a pretty big set-up in downtown Philadelphia with a massive TV screen by the start finish, grandstands and an expo area. With four laps of the circuit on tap the racing didn't start out too aggressively, but with a quick enough pace that we were still a minute or so faster than the guys on our first lap. Last year the women's pack caught the men's but it seemed this year they were determined not to have to suffer that situation again.
Lap 1 and 2 were relatively uneventful: a few attacks, but nothing sticking, a little bit of splitting up on the ascent of Manayunk but then regrouping on the descent and a few sporadic crashes. By lap 3 it was getting pretty windy, just adding to the ridiculous heat (by the last lap I was starting to get goose bumpy), and on one stretch along the river a fans' plastic cooler lid blew its way through the peloton. Everyone seemed to manage to avoid it, but it was entertaining to hear him yelling out "Sorry!" through his loudspeaker the next time we went by. The last time up Manayunk, Peanut Butter & Co drove the pace to the base of the climb and then the tempo was high enough up and on the way down that a group of 22 formed off the front and it stuck as Columbia kept the pace high at the front as we headed to the last two short climbs and the finish. Jeannie Longo tried an attack on the second last climb but no one was willing to let anything slip away. I've still got some work to do on being more aggressive in the last couple hundred metres. Shelley Evans attacked from my left with about 500m to go and I hesitated, while really I should have jumped then...as everyone else did. Ina managed to muscle her way around her for the W, and I rolled in 13th. Still more to be desired, but for the first Philly showing I think I have to be happy. Reward: another 8 hours driving home! Fun stuff.
Good start to June thus far. Next up off to Gatineau on Thursday for the UCI races there this weekend.