5/10/17 Directeur’s Chair

…We’re back with another edition of Directeur’s Chair and insights from MRC’s DS Jeremy Cratty

Minuteman Road Club: It has been a busy last three weeks for the MRC race team with the two hilly races in Monson, Quabbin, and the sprinters revenge at Myles Standish. Tom Coleman continued to absolutely crush it at Monson and Quabbin with two top fifteen results in stacked pro fields. Have we seen the best of Tom this year or is there more in the tank?

Jeremy: I don’t like the word tank. It reminds me of when the Celtics were the worst team in the league and ended up with Ron Mercer (Sorry basketball joke, cyclists won’t understand). But back to the question, we may have in fact seen the best of Tom, word on the street is he had to make some major concessions with his better half to do the Velotooler series. We have a better chance of seeing him dominate the Turkey trot 5k before his next bike race.

MRC: Last year the Cat 3 team was on fire and seemed to pick up a win or a podium every weekend. Jacob Lipcon nabbed a solid 3rd place last weekend at Myles Standish but that proved to be the biggest result of the late spring season got MRC Cat 3’s. First tell us a little about working to set up Jacob at Myles Standish and then expand a little on the difficulty of the Cat 3 team this year opposed to last.

Photo courtesy Mike McCabe

J: There’s a number of factors involved here: 1) Two of our fastest Cat 3’s are now 2’s so we’re running low on what I like to call “closers.” 2) We capped how much free stuff we can give out for podium bonuses, all part of the “BAS” protocol (Bankrupt Avoidance System). Apparently people are motivated by free stuff. 3) I retired and gained weight so I can no longer yell at my teammates in hilly races. Luckily there are no hills in Myles Standish so I can sit in and yell at people to work and then I lead out our sprinter. Maybe Jacob is our new closer?

MRC: Jacob gives a pretty accurate account of the chaotic finish at the Myles Standish race in his race report in terms of discussing how many variables are at play in addition to the fast dangerous finish chute. How do you describe the finish ? It is a crap shoot or is there a legit strategy?

J: First of all, the Myles Standish finish has a name; the FoD (Funnel of Death). Add to that the torrential downpour and it’s probably the sketchiest finish in Cycling, even ahead of Stage 1 at the Killington Stage Race. So yes there is a strategy, pucker up, expect to die, and hope for the best. Also it helps to have a teammate that can’t climb and makes up for this by attacking every descent with reckless abandon hoping that will make him more of a man.

MRC: Fintan Duffy and Christopher Gibson also walked away with podium places at Myles Standish. Fintan made a two up move from a long way out with cycling legend Paul Curley and Chris played sprinters roulette. Given the rainy conditions and what sounds like a mess of logistical errors could Saturday be described as an “anything goes” day where you need to be ready for just about anything?

Photos courtesy of Katie Busick Photography

J: 4 laps or 5 laps, minor details people. Not knowing when a race is going to end makes it more exciting, right? Seriously though, Fintan “Scruffy” Duffy has been on a tear so it was no surprise he took down a great result in the Masters 55 race. Gibo (ok not sure if anyone calls him that) also got 2nd in the Cat 4’s with a quality sprint through the FoD. Thank god for that, after the Moto-person neutralized newcomer Robbie Raymond, who by all accounts was solo-ing to a sure victory, Chris was there in the end. Gibo better be careful, he won last year, so he’s lining up for a solid “Sandbagger of the Year” nomination.

MRC: Looking back at last year and the experience of the road race team this is where we started to see guys drop off and race less. Looking at the calendar what races do you see MRC targeting between now and the end of June?

J: I’m contemplating starting an Office Park Crit series, cause you know, who doesn’t love an office park crit? But seriously let’s not forget about the Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race!

MRC: Right! We’re just under a month away from the Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race in Harvard. With the recent decline of road racing in New England, KHRR is one of the last bright spots on the calendar. MRC is fortunate enough to have the support of a beautiful classic New England town of Harvard and a great sponsor in Wachusett Brewing Company that sets up an incredible beer garden on the town common. What is the best way to keep great events like this growing and heading in the right direction?

J: Beer gardens, obviously. Who doesn’t love a good beer garden? First there is delicious beer, and plus its healthy ‘cause of the garden part. I’m willing to bet that if every race had a beer garden then Cycling would be the most popular sport in the country. Even NFL fans would probably agree. It would also slow down the average speed of the climbers which would be good. It would be like reverse doping. Lastly, it also helps to partner with the Fire Department of an awesome town and do something that benefits the community. We’re good people too, despite our predilection to beer gardens.

MRC: Close on the heels of the Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race will be the Wachusett Brewing Longsjo Legends Ride. This is a follow up to last years wildly successful Wachusett Brewing Co. Gran Fondo. With Minuteman Road Club once again a title sponsor what will change with the association to the Longsjo Crits?

J: Don’t get me started on Beer Gardens again. Seriously, the Longsjo name is synonymous with New England bike racing. The race began in 1960 as the Longsjo Memorial Race, in memory of long-time Fitchburg resident Art Longsjo, who competed in both the Winter Olympics as a speed skater and at the Summer Olympics as a cyclist. Past champions include Chris Horner, Evelyn Stevens, Tyler Hamilton, local legends The McCormack brothers, Davis Phinney, Wayne Stetina and Lance Armstrong. I cannot confirm or deny that they will all be at the Legends ride, but I suggest joining us to find out.

MRC: Thanks for your time Jeremy, anything you’d like to add that we’ve not gone over?

J: Yes! All the women racers out there should be afraid of Sharon Benedict’s results lately. She’s super strong and will continue to crush their souls!

MRC: Thanks!! Looks like I know who I’ll be tracking down soon for an interview!

J: Good Luck with that… she rides more than everyone on the team!!

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