28 March 2005

Team Echelon's "Il Padrone" Craig Breed on one of his patented solo breaks (Photo swiped from NYVelocity.com. Sorry, but it's a public forum.)  Posted by Hello

Patrick's Pen: Tales From the Peleton

A Visitors Guide to Anaerobia
CRCA Easter Sunday Race

Submitted by Patrick Littlefield

It's like deja vu: Here I am again at 4:15 a.m., in the kitchen, in the dark, pulling on the lycra and mixing my bottles to go out in the freezing cold and race my bike. What the hell is the matter with me?? It's EASTER SUNDAY for you-know-who's-sake. But out I go, to dobattle with the young and limber.

Easter Sunday, back in Central Park. I'm hiding in the Cat 5 field. Shouldn't be here really, but I wantedto ride with a few of my friends who are Cat 5 racers, so rather than ride my own ticket, which is Cat 4, I'm illicitly doing the 5 race on a one-day license. Oooooh, quick someone call the cycling police! So, second race of the season. This is only 2 laps ofCentral Park, so it should be fairly quick. I registered, pinned on my number, and rolled out for a lap and a half warm up. A bit of Tempo then a few short, hard kicks to let the legs know what's coming.

Rolled to the start line, found the boys, said hello to a few guys from Long Island and we're off. Unlike yesterday's race, this starts sharply, some ofthese guys wanna show everyone they're real bike racers in the first 500 yards. Literally this thing goes hard single file before we've made it to the Obelisk! I catch a wheel, settle in and look around trying to spot who might be dangerous in this field, as there are a few very young kids with us it seems. All together down the hill at the top of the park, and when we hit Harlem Hill the first time we are NOT soft-pedeling. Peak 1-minute effort of the day is the first time up the hill and still one of the young'uns goes off the front solo.

HA! says the bitter old bald guy, he'll blow by the end of the rollers and be off the back by Tavern On The Green. Wrong. He wasn't kidding and was gone for almost a whole lap. Only an organized effort got him back just as we hit the base of Harlem Hill the second time. So it was a stiff first lap, but since this is only a two-lap race now it's...SHOWTIME! A few feints and jabs by the fitter guys in the group, with the real hitters sitting tight saving it for the EastSide. I roll towards the front past Summer Stage and as we planned, I drilled it past Tavern to Columbus Circle. Only problem was, we were already flying along, so I only raised the pace by a marginal amount. The boys and I (the CRCA guys) were supposed to be 1-2-3-4 going around the bottom of the park and back up past the Carousel to discourage anyone else, but when I looked behind me, I only saw Ericon my wheel. Matt and Craig got boxed in somewhere. Best laid plans often go awry.

So Eric pulls through past ColumbusCircle and I'm blown, I float five guys back and push back in to the paceline abruptly ("sorry dude"). Eric does his bit and pulls off, having wasted energy like I did, and its status quo up Horseshit Alley past the carousel. We fly up the rise past the skating rink and I found a gap on the right to get back to the front. I figure I 'm not gonna sprint with these guys--no upside in that--so when we crest the rise I pulled onto the front and led the field out to the bottom of Cat's PawHill.

It was my intention to lead the field onto Cat'sPaw Hill, but once we hit the bottom, the fast guys came right around me and it was GAME ON. So for the second day in a row I watch as the boys hurtle into the Republic of Anaerobia as I roll up the hill, happy with my lot in life, but confident this was my last time in aCat 5 field. Been there, done that, onwards and upwards. For the record though, today's Cat 5 race was more intense than yesterday's Cat 4 race by any measure except distance and total kilojules expended. Peak power output for any given amount of timewas greater today than yesterday. The Powermeter doesn't lie. Go figure.

Race Report: Metro Series, Central Park, 27 March 05

More Top 10 Finishes--Purdue 7th, Breed 8th

Submitted by Eric Faber

Well, gentleman, my fifth race of the year was the first "actual race"
from start to finish. OUCH! The pace started at the entrance to the
downhill toward the Lasker rink when a red-haired dude named
Danny jetted by me after my perfunctory starting pull up at the front.
Side note: I bumped into Danny last week after last Sunday's race on
the bike path. I found out that he was 2nd in the U.S. Under 23s in
1991, and the next year missed the cut for the Olypmic team and sort of
dropped off from there out of his admitted petulant
frustration. He's getting back into it, obviously. Danny forced the
whole pack to the fastest I have ever gone down and around Lasker and
up Harlem Hill. In fact, I immediately felt my right thigh cramping.

So as soon as Danny got near the top of Harlem Hill, the star of the Miya Shioji team, Euri Madera, was gone!...poof! ..disappeared!! That guy Elijah and the big guy on the Green Cannondale (Marcus) spoke up on the west side on the first
lap and ordered us to line it up to a double paceline and work
together or we were gonna lose this guy. So for the next 5 miles we
all hauled ass until we caught sight of our prey, who finally gave it
up where he first poured it on...Harlem Hill.

We took a relative breather until the first roller at 105th St. Here
is where the order that was present before just disappeared, and in
its place came tension and mistrust. We all seemed to be grouped four
across and front wheels and back wheels were getting too close to
each other. I was doing my very best to find a slot and caught one only
to hear it from Elijah that I wasn't holding the line. In the
heat of battle I wasn’t in the mood to be talked at, so defensively
spit out that " I was on my F%^%& line" and what was he “gonna do...go
through me?!!!". I admit I could have been calmer, but the pace and the
very real tension of imminent disaster made me let off some
steam. Things didn't change much and I decided I needed some breathing
room, so I shot off the front just so I didn't have to feel hemmed
in by a bunch of ankles and elbows.

As soon as I took off, I put a scare into the field and a couple of
sprinters shot off like catapults past me before the lake. Man, they
were fast!!!! I feared that I had opened a Pandora’s box and now it
was gonna be a full sprint from Tavern on the Green to Cat's Paw!!!
Well, luckily the sprinters up front slowed down and let themselves be
swallowed up again. Next thing I know there we were...me, Matt P.,
Craig and Patrick are at the front four across at Sheepmeadow!
Patrick pulled up to the front and I slid in behind thinking, well we
might as well follow the plan we had talked about the night
before...be at the front at Tavern and do 10-second pulls. The
problem was that unbeknownst to Patrick and me, Matt and Craig were boxed in by the pack! So...Patrick and I flapped in the wind until we did
the turn at Horse Shit Alley where we were swallowed up. It was
there that I noticed just how anaerobic I was and was praying for a
breather. I got my wind back in the pack and mentally prepared my
checklist for the final sprint. Stay close and stay in my seat until
I'm seeing the finish straight ahead after the righthand curve. Good idea,
except when you've got guys on Miya Shioji and Marcus getting off the saddle and blowing by everyone early at the hill. Miya Shioji placed
first and Marcus second. Echelon finished with Matt 7th, Craig 8th, followed directly by Patrick. I think I finished 10th or 11th out of 20 or so.

Here's the tale of the computer readout: first lap--15:36; second lap—15:34 for a total of 31:10. 23.3 mph average speed. Quite amazing pace since I clocked last Sunday’s 2-lapper at 33:O5. Wow. Knocked off 1:55
this week!!

Rob Metcalf was there with his camera and he took some photos of the
four of us in our CRCA jerseys and took some pics of the race. Looking
forward to checking them out.

Race Report: CRCA #1, 26 March 05

Echelon Makes CRCA Debut

Submitted by Eric Faber

The four Echelon riders and about 20 others were off to the races shortly after 6 a.m. Definitely warmer than the first three races I've done. It was good to see that bright colored orb called the sun make an appearance for once. It didn't help Craig, who admitted he had not dressed warm enough, but his "Gardening Gloves" did look fetching. Because he was cold, he warmed himself up by pulling off the front at the beginning of lap 2 and had (in his estimation) a 25-second lead! He did get pulled back in on the west side somewhere in the W. 80s on the second lap. Joe let him slip into a slot so he could catch a much needed breather.

The peloton stayed pretty calm and well behaved. I was beginning to relax. When relaxed, two things happen. First, a favorite tune will just pop into my head and provide a soundtrack to the ride. Today, it was Pink Floyd's "Summer '68" from "Atom Heart Mother". Second, I found myself more confident about moving up to front when I had to and knowing that if I ease off and drop back, I could get back up to front at will. This knowledge helped me relax even more.

At the beginning of the final lap, Konstantin Dzhibilov of the Skyline team pulled off the front at the start/finish and Craig pulled off with him and they were away for quite a bit. Another Skyline racer, Jeff Pellis, guy caught up with his guy and Craig and traded pulls, but eventually Craig blew up and was done, cooked! Gutsy Craig! I admire you for it. The two Skyline guys stayed up by about 30 seconds, but on the west side of the final lap, the pace did pick up precipitously and the group got a lot more nervous and twitchy. One guy who was deeply hunched over his drops blatantly cut in on me and then enterered deep into the bike lane shortly after the final roller. Joe and David had an "uh-oh" moment when they almost locked their bars together. This was David's second race of the season but he stayed in the pack and always managed to move up in the field when it seemed (in my opinion) that he was tiring and might drop back.. Good Job Dave for hanging tough throughout the race

Because I felt good and relaxed, my concentration was better than the three previous races, and I was able to mark all the riders. I always kept track of Joe, and I knew this tall lanky Gotham guy on a red Specialized was good, so I kept close to both of them. When I found myself trailing back a little on the turn from CPW to CPS, I made a decision to get up right to the front so as to avoid the tightest corner, at the Plaza hotel carriage entrance. This area gets bottlenecked and causes that annoying accordion effect where you slow to 16 mph and then have to get off the saddle and sprint back to 21mph. I avoided this altogether and kept myself in the front group and felt Joe on my wheel. This is where I noticed Craig on the far right side totally spent, soft pedaling and looking to get himself back in the main field after losing the battle to stay out with the two other guys. Overall, I felt pretty good but had to drive hard to keep with the pack. I clung to Joe's wheel as he vocally spurred me on. We had already passed the women's field before Lap 4 and now we passed the 2 leaders of the women’s field at the carousel. From there the pace got faster and harder by the second.

In the past week I had "gone to the videotape" in my head and recounted where it all went wrong on Cat's Paw last Sunday. I got off the saddle at the entrance to Cat's Paw. (Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!). This time I drove hard, but bided my time in the saddle and drove hard in the drops until the finish line was a straight shot. Joe jumped out of my air stream and pulled ahead of me, then I got off the saddle and drove hard and strong until I was literally honking like a goose from the effort! I passed at least four guys who had made the mistake I made last week--and even caught and passed Joe with about 25 yards to go (Sorry, Joe). Joe later said he didn't really seem to have the full strength to drive off the saddle in the sprint. I will say though, that Joe raced a very smart race and seemed to always be in the top group of five except for the two that got away. I looked in front and counted myself 8th in the pack (10th overall) with Joe right behind me.

Dzhibilov and Pellis of Skyline stayed away for 1st and 2nd place.

25 March 2005

2005 Kissena Club Race Series Announced

Visit www.kissenasports.com/nycs_competitor_info.htm to register.

June 11
Big Apple Bicycle Classic

June 19
Tour of New York

July 16
Al Toefield Memorial Road Race

August 20
Blistered Butt Road Race

21 March 2005

Upcoming Races: 26-27 March

Saturday, 26 March
CRCA "C" race, Central Park
Note early start time: 6 a.m.
Matt Purdue will be a marshal.
Please let Eric know who is racing.

Sunday, 27 March
Metropolitan Spring Series
6:30 a.m., Prospect Park
Anyone who is not racing CRCA should do this race. Let Matt P. know if you are racing.

Race Report: Metro Series, Central Park, 20 March 05

Submitted by Eric Faber

Team Echelon riders: Joe D., Eric, Matt Purdue, Matt Rivera

I hadn't raced in Central Park since October 2004 and had forgotten what a great race course it really is. Afte two weeks in Prospect, I realize the former is more to my liking. First of all, Central Park is wider and it's known as a "power course.” Tough when riding as an individual, it opens up and becomes fast and easy with less stress when in a pack. With the sky "spitting" intermittently on a moist road we were off @ 6:30 am sharp!

This was a two-lapper and our group decided to ride hard throughout and keep the peloton "honest” (to paraphrase Purdue). All four of us made a conscious effort to be at the front at the start. Maybe it was the wet road, but all the riders were on their best behavior. I felt immediately more relaxed than the previous two races--especially after the first climb up Harlem Hill where I found myself around 3rd or 4th position at the top with Purdue to my right and Joe D. behind me.

On the west side, Rivera decided to stretch his legs and pull to the lead for a couple of minutes. I thought I'd get in on it and pulled up well and then pulled off only to find the pack following my wheel. I then made the signal with my elbow for the rider to pull up, but he stayed there and I bided my time until a new line on my left formed and I caught on in around 4th position to stay out of the wind.

Nothing too exciting happened the rest of the first lap, but the pack (in my recollection) was reduced from 25 or so to about 14. After the first lap, Purdue got bold and moved up to 2nd or third and stayed there! Again all four of us ascended Harlem Hill with good strength and speed (I glanced at my Astrale and it was at 17.9 mph. at the top.) Once we got over the first roller, Rivera hit the pack hard with an attack and Joe D. had to remind me to stay cool as Rivera was softening them up. Rivera really did pull his all.

On lap 2, all four Echelon riders formed a single paceline near Strawberry Fields with the reservoir on the left. Purdue instructed me to move to a faster line coming up on the left. I complied and then let him in front as I was beginning to tire and we were now going about 30mph as we drove down downhill along Sheeps Meadow.

That was a great moment when all four of us were lined up. We were also talking strategy a little too loudly (I suppose we need work on some non-verbal cues) and some of the stronger riders knew it was time to really pick the pace up. Then the pack split our group of four, with Rivera and Eric on the left and Joe D. and Purdue. on the right, separated by a group of about five riders. With Matt R. surging on the left, Joe D. and Matt P. maneuvered all the way around the front of the pack. Approaching 72nd St., Purdue apparently decided it was time to turn up the volume. He sprung ahead to lead Rivera and opened up a small gap on the pack. Rivera chose to slow the pack from the front and Purdue suddenly found himself out alone. “Go, go, go!” Joe yelled and Purdue stepped on the gas.

He opened a gap of about five seconds on the pack and was able to maintain it until tiring on the uphill near the carousel, where the group finally reeled him in. Joe and I were placed in the top 5 or 6 with three strong guys. One guy named Eli, who I rode with once about a month and a half ago doing Nyack Via Bradley/Tweed. The other two guys were Kansas and a tall dude on a flagrantly lime-green Cannondale. As we came up toward the last turn before the straightaway heading to Cat's Paw, I though this would be my chance to lead out Joe and I took off and took the right side as I passed Purdue, who was leading the line on the left. I assumed Joe was behind me, but realized I made a mistake and didn't give him much of a heads up. So off to the front of the race I went with about 200 meters to the finish. As soon as I hit the incline I knew I didn't have it. Soon enough I heard Joe behind me yelling out support to me. All I could tell him was that he had better go around me ‘cause I was done! He did as I asked and passed me, as did pretty much the rest of the remaining pack of 12 or so. I looked back for Rivera, but didn't see him. I don't blame him if he dropped off the pace, because he was beast for a lap and three-quarters. Joe surged ahead to finish 10th, Purdue was 11th. Eli and Kansas flew past me to take 2nd and 3rd. I think I was 12th out of 14, with Rivera trailing the lead group.

Overall it was a really fun race, and one in which we used some tactics. It may not have gone exactly as planned, but I think it was definitely a step in the right direction. I think the form is improving nicely for all in late March. I can't help but think of what we are capable of if we could have at least six guys in our group in an organized fashion. It might be the difference maker. I crossed the finish line at 33.04 (about 8 to 10 seconds slower than the winner). My average speed was 22.14 miles per hour.

15 March 2005

Register for Race 20 March

Be sure to preregister. I spent 10-15 minutes standing in line for the previous Spring Series race, time I could have used to warm up.

Sunday, 20 March: Spring Series in Central Park

Race Report: Metro Series, Prospect Park, 13 March 05

Submitted by Eric Faber

Team Echelon riders: Eric, Joe, Matt P. and Chris

Crash 1
Things started out smoothly until going up the hill for the third time when a rider on the outside clearly was having gearing difficulties and clipped out accidentally and slowed precipitously enough to get the rider behind him (a thin Hispanic kid maybe 16 y.o.) with nowhere to go, the wheels met and the kid went down with his head about 2 feet away from my front wheel (no exaggeration). No Echelon involved.

Crash 2
Fourth lap on the west side heading south and picking up speed when a FOUNDATION RIDER touched wheels with the rider in front of him who was apparently (according to the Foundation rider) drifting into him. Joe and Matt P. were up about 3 or 4 bike lengths in front of Chris and I was with the 2 riders who caused the crash, in between. Here's what I heard and saw... I heard a nasty wrenching sound like metal being stripped and the Foundation rider (on my front left) now perpendicular to the approaching riders behind including Chris and me. Chris took the brunt of the impact, hitting the Foundation guy straight on and then flying over his bars with his bike not far behind him. I veered as far to the right as I could and for a split second thought I had passed the danger zone when something clipped me. Either the Foundation bike or Chris', but I glided easily over the curb and slid like silk into the soft leaves and dirt.

I stood up immediately and felt fine. I checked the chain and looked back to see Chris standing and yelling loudly....FUUUCCCK!!!. I figured he was ok and I got on the bike trying to catch the field. Didn't happen. I decided to finish the race for the exercise. As I was approaching the final hill, I saw Chris coming back to the start/finish none too happy for obvious reasons. When I came around to the finish, I saw Chris and he gave me the update. He landed on his helmeted head (Ouch!!) Symptoms: Pounding headache, sore shoulder and knee. I'm no doctor, but he probably got a concussion. He was also pissed because the Foundation rider did not acknowledge his culpability until another rider heard our conversation and went over to talk to the guy, who then came over and offered his apologies and proceeded to tell his side of things, which was that it was the other rider’s fault for not being fast enough and drifting into him. Chris saw the sprint and it wasn't close. A bunch of young, Hispanic riders in pretty cool looking black/yellow team kits with some Japanese sounding sponsor got really aggressive in the last 500 meters and both Joe and Matt opted for letting them have at it. Joe estimates he took 8th. Matt was immediately behind Joe. Two riders we saw at the Branchbook race on 5 March did well. Definitely two to watch. Kansas finished second, Elijah finished fifth.

Joe and Matt rode a cool down lap. Matt fell when the rider in front of him suddenly veered to the left, revealing a jogger in his path. Matt had to grab the brakes and go down to avoid hitting the jogger--what a day! Matt and Chris debated when/if to Chris checked out by a doctor. Looking back on it, I consider myself very lucky and happy that I came out of this with just a chunk of dirt on my right sleeve. I hope Chris is ok.

Chris update: He cracked his helmet in two places, but his headache soon abated. His shoulder is sore and he will soon have the results of his x-rays. Good luck, Chris.

Race Report: Bethel Series, Conn., 6 March 05

Submitted by Chris Forsyth

I went to Bethel this morning. It's a nice course with a short, steep uphill finish that can really break up the pack. There were about 60 riders in Cat. 5s, so they split us in half depending on bib numbers. I got stuck with about seven guys riding with Bethel Cycle. They blew apart the field on the climb, sending two guys ahead with four laps left and then tried to slow down anyone chasing. A few of us were able to keep them close despite the blocking. I jumped a little too early on the last climb as we pulled in the leader and settled for fourth, one spot out of the money.

Race Report: Metro Series, Prospect Park, 6 March 05

Submitted by Eric Faber

Joe D. (DeCuitiis) scored a 5th place (and a trophy) in a reasonably fast paced five-lapper in Prospect Park. Craig Breed, Matt Rivera and Eric rounded out the Echelon group as we all placed in the lead group around the top 10 out of about 20-25 riders. There were about 10 attacks with a couple of riders pulling off the front every lap, only to be reeled in.

CRASH!!!! There was a crash in the final lap heading into the turn that lead us back north toward the finish and all I can say is thank you NYCC skills class. The "Big Guy" Craig Breed read my mind and pulled in front of me at the front of the field on the far left of the road and I caught is wheel smoothly when I heard a "WATCH OUT!!" in my right ear AND AN ARM AND BODY HEAVILY LEANING ON MY RIGHT SIDE!!! I learned in the skills class to balance yourself out by leaning back in (not a shove, but just to counteract the shift in balance.) Seems the guy got caught in the middle of the double paceline and got sandwiched in between me and another rider to his right who went down with him. Both were ok. The rider on the far right spoke with me, Matt, Craig & said that the guy then went into him. The other guy was seen in a warm car looking ok but sullen.

I had noticed that rarely was there a smooth double paceline. I even called out in the 2nd lap to tighten it up as it was a little squirrely. I heard some “Yeah's” in approval. I believe this lack of a coherent paceline led to that guy's (literal) downfall.

Overall it was great and all of us felt strong!! Whenever there was an attack all four of us reacted quickly. At one point Craig and I think Matt tried an escape as well.

I think we all were itching to race simply because it was so F%&&* cold at the start. I could'nt feel my thumbs the first lap, which made shifting a bit difficult. We all stayed relatively up front and Joe D. bided his time and shot off in the last 400 meters or so.

Great to break my race cherry this year and have no problems. Again congratulations go to Joe D. for his nice placing and the rest of us for riding well.

Race Report: Branchbrook Park, Newark, 5 March 05

Forsyth, Metcalf, Purdue and Regen braved 26-degree temps to inaugurate the Team Echelon era. Unfortunately, the "teammates" didn't find each other before the race and ended up riding as two pairs, Forsyth with Purdue and Metcalf with Regen.

Branchbook is an almost completely flat 2.2-mile loop. The Cat. 5s only race six laps, so the race is basically a fast training ride with a finishing sprint. The roadway is smooth but very narrow in spots.

Racing in the Cat. 5 event, Forsyth and Purdue stayed near the front of the pack for the entire race. Purdue was lucky enough to get a pull in the final sprint and placed second. Forshyth took fourth. Metcalf and Regen finished with the pack.

A racer in a black Assos jacket named Elijah took first. A racer on a green-and-white Phonak bike named Kansas took third. They ended up placing in subsequent races. Definitely two guys to watch and follow around the course.

Team Echelon Roster

These are the racers currently on our roster. I probably should have asked for permission before I posted their names in a public forum. Oh, well.

Craig Breed
Joseph DeCiutiis
Eric Faber
Chris Forsyth
Audie Hazlitt
Patrick Littlefield
Rob Metcalf
Matt Purdue (me)
David Regen
Matt Rivera
Daniel Scholz

Welcome to the Team Echelon Blog

We are a group of guys who love cycling and have recently banded together to form a loosely organized cycling team. We all live in the New York metro area. We race in events sanctioned by the U.S. Cycling Federation. Most of us are also members of the Century Road Club Association, a racing club based in New York's Central Park.

We'll use this blog to post team news, race reports, training information, schedules and other ephemera.