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!!

4/21/17 Directeur’s Chair

Now that we are a well over a month into the season it seems a fitting time to bring back the Directur’s Chair. To be honest it has taken Jeremy Cratty nearly a month to get back to my initial interview request after I missed a few days of riding. For the most part the format will remain the same this year unless creativity strikes in club approved manner. Keep an eye toward the homepage for weekly updates as the racing continues to heat up.

MRC: Before we get into the racing let’s take a minute to examine your halfhearted attempt at retirement. Basically you raced until Longsjo, took some time off to play golf and drink beer, and came back for a limited CX season. In addition you are racing on the roads earlier than you ever have in your career.

What gives?

Cratty: Let’s just say I mentally retired from caring about road race results. Now I’m just a super domestique for people who can realistically win races. And if the race goes uphill, I’ll be the guy in my underwear running after you.

MRC: Did you really want a cake that bad in downtown Fitchburg?

Cratty: Oh yeah, I freakinggggg love cake. Ok now you reminded me why I really retired. I may retire a few more times…

On to the racing…

MRC: Last year was the first year of the restructured MRC race program and it proved wildly successful. At one point there was fear that it would bankrupt the club because guys were riding out of their minds. What is your quick take on year one? Were there lessons learned that will be rectified in the second year?

Cratty: My first take on year 1, people love money and free stuff, even in very small quantities. I also noticed that people lose interest as the New England season gets out of May. To take advantage of the early season focus, we’ll be putting an emphasis on the CCB Velotooler Series which should be exciting.

MRC: Following up on that point what are your goals as the DS heading into 2017?

Cratty: Obviously we want to continue to win, but also I’d like to recruit some new talent to round out the ranks as our guys upgrade to 2s and 3s. Based on some early season group rides we have a few new diamonds in the rough that should shine brightly (sorry, overuse of clichés).

Tom Coleman first Men’s 3/4  in  the 2017 Coastal Classic.

MRC: During your “retirement” you picked up Tom Colman and I as athletes. Cross proved wildly successful for me and Tom is dropping bombs at early season races. What’s the secret? Do you actually know what you’re talking about when it comes to this stuff?

Cratty: Yes. I learned how to read at a very young age (7 or 8yrs old). I stopped during college but then picked it up again. It’s amazing what you can learn from books. I’m basically a walking Cliff-notes of bike training.

MRC: Last weekend at the Coastal Classic (This is how long ago this was written) MRC had a big day with Tom taking the win in the 3/4 and a top ten in the 1/2/3. As director what goals do you have coming into the next month of the season?

Cratty: I predict Tom will also come in 2nd at Marblehead in the P123 then upgrade to Cat 2. Just a hunch!

MRC: At the Coastal Classic tempers were raging in the 3/4 with MRC stopping up the chase and generally being pests throughout Tom’s mammoth break. You were involved in a small dustup with one of the Race CF riders. What is your take on blocking and disrupting the chase? Where is the line in the sand that should’t be crossed by a team with a guy off the front?

Cratty: In all seriousness, we don’t “block”, that’s a bush-league tactic. But there’s nothing wrong with riding on the front, pulling through, soft-pedaling, and making people work for it. Just don’t head butt me because I’m 3rd wheel and won’t let you ride me off the wheel.

MRC: Any parting words for the team to get guys out the door to the races?

Cratty: Bring some Wachusett beer of course. And wear your shoe covers and aero shell #saveawatt

Directeur’s Chair: The Lost Episode

directeur-chair-mrc-200px[Remember folks, “saving as a draft” is not the same as “publish now”. Here’s a DC post from 6/13/16 that got overlooked.]

 

MRC: Hi Jeremy, long time no talk… whats new?

Jeremy: Well we went through the meat of the schedule, and let’s just say I feel like a turkey burger (but with bacon because it wasn’t all bad).

MRC: Last we talked you and the rest of the team were gearing up for the final edition of the Tour of the Battenkill. Tell us of some of the highlights.

J: Yeah Battenkill was the beginning of what I originally termed “3 weeks of Glory” which included Killington and our own race, the Ken Harrod Memorial.  Battenkill was solid if unspectacular.  We had strong teams in the Women’s 3/4s, Men3s, 4s and 45+ which yielded a bunch of top 10s.  Our Women’s team had a great race putting two riders on the podium and two more in the top 10.  In the men’s races, for a while we didn’t think we’d get anyone to take the top spot (except in the beer tent).  Luckily in the 5s John Morrissey saved the day with a monster sprint to take the win and in the celebratory bedlam I dumped a beer on his wife (sorry about that).  Killington was its usual sufferfest, I’ll leave it at that.

MRC: On the heels of Battenkill you and the rest of the Minuteman Road Club had to change gears a little and get ready to host the 4th annual Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race in Harvard, MA.  Even though there were a few crashes the day turned out to be an amazing success!

KHMM PodiumJ: As usual, the Ken Harrod Memorial was an instant classic.  Great weather, solid turnout, a beer tent (see a theme here?) presented by Wachusett Brewing Co., and one singularly amazing win by our own Patrick Collins in the Pro/1/2 race.  The excitement built as Patrick had made the winning break, and President and part-time Race MC John “Smudger” Smith got to call the winning sprint.  I’m sure he said something inspiring, but none of us could understand his Scottish accent.  On a separate note, our own Race Director, John “The Pirate” Raguin came in 5th in the Masters race to put an exclamation point on his tenure as he hands the baton for next year.  Also Josh “Ham” Burgel-er nabbed 5th in the Cat 4 and can officially be removed from top candidate for Sandbagger-of-the-year.

MRC: It’s safe to say our sponsors are a little excited as to how the season is going.  I was with TJ Morse from Wachusett Brewing Company and he was on the phone with the owner of the Brewery screaming “WE WON WE WON!!”

KHMM FinishlineJ: It’s been really fun to partner with new sponsors like Wachusett Brewing Co. over the last few months and the results have been off the charts.  Luckily they make a Light IPA or we’d have to switch over to downhill MTB racing.

MRC: A few weeks back was the Massachusetts State Road Race Championships at the Purgatory Road Race in Sutton Ma.  Once again MRC had a few incidents but came away with success!

J: We’ve had a lot of wins so far, but also a lot of crashes.  Lazer should expect a call, because we’re hemorrhaging helmets.  Luckily they work or we’d need a few more racers too.  At Purgatory we got to see Jason Croteau on form, and he came away with the Massachusetts Masters State Championship jersey while finishing 3rd overall.  It’s good to see the “Hulk” back at it, and on a climby parcour no less.

Croteau_State_Champ

MRC: Wrapping up a busy few weeks MRC hosted the 1st Annual Wachusett Brewing Company Gran Fondo!  By the looks of the pictures it seems like everyone had a great time!

J: I sure did!!! And I think everyone else did as well.  Someone at the beginning said it wasn’t a race, but a handful of us treated it that way, to my discomfort.  It was harder than most races, with some challenging terrain and road conditions.  Luckily there we’re 2 strategically placed Aid Stations with a vast selection of refreshments, oh and a beer tent!!!!  Special thanks to Scott Conchieri for organizing the successful 1st annual event.  I can’t wait until next year.

fondo group

MRC: Hard to believe that the season it already at its midpoint.  What are some of the races your squads are targeting to round out the year?

J:  I have my eyes set on one event right now, the Longsjo Classic starting this Friday in Leominster.  Three days of awesome crit racing and we have a strong crew of Cat 3/4s, Masters and of course Patrick Collins in the Pro/1/2.  I expect some incredible results, or else I’ll ban all Wachusett Brewing products until further notice!!!

MRC: Thanks again for your time Jeremy.

J: No problem, I’m contractually obligated to conduct this interview.

5/23/16 Directeur’s Chair

directeur-chair-mrc-200pxWe’re back with another edition of Directeur’s Chair! But this time we’re giving Jeremy a little break. As we await the BattenKill 2016 race reports from our Men’s and Women’s squads, we are taking this opportunity to talk about a couple of the events we have coming up.

On Saturday June 4th The Minuteman Road Club will present the 3rd Annual Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race in Harvard MA.. Starting and finish in historic Harvard Center racers will do laps on a 10 mile circuit on some of the nicest back roads and farming areas in central Mass.

 

Throughout the race everyone will tackle everyone’s favorite training climb, “Oak Hill” in Littleton Ma. Where on the middle lap of each race a KOM or QOM will be awarded and presented by Wachusett Brewing Company. (note: if a winner is under 21 years of age and for Cat 5, a medal will be given)
Registration and more information about the race are located at https://www.bikereg.com/ken-harrod-memorial-road-race

RRloop

A couple of weeks after the road race, the MRC will be presenting the 1st annual Wachusett Brewing Company Gran Fondo on Saturday June 18th. This event has a full day of fun lined up that guarantees a memorable day of cycling in the beautiful setting of Central Massachusetts.

FONDO_LOGO_250Plan on a fantastic ride that starts at the Wachusett Brewery in Westminster, MA then loops around country roads in the towns of Fitchburg, Ashburnham, Ringe,Westminster, Hubbardston, and Princeton summiting Wachusett Mountain, and makes its way back to the the brewery. Three routes (120km, 85km, and 60km) have been created to accommodate riders of all abilities that insure beautiful views and challenging terrain on quiet roads. All rides are punctuated with an after-ride party at the brewery where everyone can enjoy music, food, raffles, and of course Wachusett Beer!

All proceeds from the Fondo will be donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield and the New England High School Cycling Association. For more information or to register please go to https://www.bikereg.com/wachusett-brewing-co-gran-fondo

Also for those who raced the Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race, you are eligible for a $10 discount on the Fond entry fee, details on the discount can be found on the KHMRR race registration page.

5/11/16 Directeur’s Chair

directeur-chair-mrc-200pxWe’re back with another edition of Directeur’s Chair. Celebrating again another strong weekend of racing at the The Myles Standish State Forest Road Race in Plymouth, MA we catch up with MRC Directeur Sportif Jeremy Cratty.

MRC: So Jeremy what color and model Skoda did you end up choosing? That’s four more wins for MRC at The Myles Standish Race, Congrats!!

Jeremy: I couldn’t afford a Skoda, so I bought a used moped from my crazy Uncle Fredo. The good news is we can use this for motor pacing…

MRC: Two wins in the Cat 4’s and the Women’s Cat 4. I’m thinking soon you’ll have a strong Cat 3 Men’s AND Women’s team.

J: Chris Gibson came out of nowhere to win the first Cat 4 race which was a nice surprise, with his buddy Nick Leger coming in 3rd and Kevin Teves grabbing 6th. Nick and Kevin’s reward for their hard racing was road rash for Nick and a private tour of Beth Israel Plymouth Hospital for Kevin. Sometimes you gotta take one for the team. Smartly, Sarah Shipley just rode away from the group to avoid sprinting into the Myles Standish Funnel Of Death. Also, don’t forget Chris Pare’s breakaway victory in the Cat 3 and Winslow Woodacre’s sprint win in the 2nd Cat 4 race. Winslow won by less than a tire width with a classic bike throw. He clearly benefitted from the “Bike Throw” clinic we held earlier in the season.

2016_woodacre_mylesstandish_750px

MRC’s Winslow Woodacre wins with a bike throw!

MRC: Besides the four wins for the team you personally raced well. Three races and three “top tens” on the day for yourself. You’re becoming a regular Reggie Dunlop.

J: Yeah I grabbed 9th in both the Cat 3 and 45+. But my best result of the day was the surprising 8th place I somehow got in the Cat 4 race. That’s pretty hard to do when, a) you’re not a Cat 4, and b) I was watching from the sideline in civilian clothes. Luckily I didn’t get caught up in the crash…

MRC: Unfortunately with all the success it didn’t come with a little price in the Cat4A race.

J: Yeah our Sponsorship Director has some work to do, as we ruined a few brand new Lazer Z1 helmets (ugh and the AEROSHELLS!!!) and Verge Speedsuits. Hey at least we know they work… I’d like to wish Kevin Teves and Nick Leger a speedy recovery. Looking forward to having them back on the bike.

MRC: Looking ahead what’s next on the schedule? Anything that the team is really looking forward to?

J: There’s a couple of short easy races coming up in Battenkill (NY) and Killington (VT). I think they’re crits or something like that… And lets not forget about the 22nd edition of the Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race that we are hosting. This will be our 3rd year running it in Harvard featuring everyone’s favorite, the Oak Hill climb. Free beer for the K(or)QoM winner of each race, which is always nice.

MRC: How about the Wachusett Gran Fondo we’ve been seeing advertised? What can you tell us about it?

J: Did I mention free beer? Actually it’s not totally free. But for a bargain price you get an incredible ride, with a Mt. Wachusett summit, great food, music, and of course lot’s of delicious Wachusett brew. It will be held on June 18th starting and finishing at the Wachusett Brewery in Westminster, MA. Registration and more information can be found on BikeReg.com at https://www.bikereg.com/31276 It will be an amazing day, lets make it happen people…

MRC: Anything else you’d like to add in closing?

J: The only concern we have with our success is the win bonuses are adding up at a staggering rate. Stay tuned for details on the first annual MRC Bake Sale.

Read Myles Standish 2016 race reports in the MRC racer’s own words: http://www.minutemanroadclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=7585&p=43414#p43414

4/26/16 – Directeur’s Chair

directeur-chair-mrc-200pxWe’re back with another edition of Directeur’s Chair. Celebrating another strong weekend of racing at the Quabbin Road Race in Ware, MA we catch up with MRC DS Jeremy Cratty.

markMiller_quabbin_2016

Mark Miller, photo: ©Pete Talbot

MRC: Jeremy, Congrats on yet another weekend of great racing! You must be pleased with the way your race squads have come together and race as a team.

Jeremy: It’s truly amazing what people will do for free stuff. Dangle a nice helmet in front of them and a free beer at the end of the race and they’ll do anything… Seriously, there’s 2 ways to win an amateur bike race, solo away at 6 watts/kg or have a team frustrate the living crap out of everyone until they give up. This past weekend we did each!

MRC: Is there a standout moment in the race that comes to mind?

J: In the Cat 3 race at Quabbin, we executed the very underrated “alley-opp” technique where we send a worker up the road in a break, and then the team leader bridges across to their teammate, uses them like a piece of trash to be discarded, then goes on to win the race.  I was the piece of trash, Mark Miller was the winner.  Last time I saw that executed properly was between Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana in the Vuelta (which is a fair comparison I think)

Quabbin 2016 Finish!

Dave Mingori, photo: ©Pete Talbot

MRC I noticed that Dave Mingori scored his second win in as many weeks. Looks like you’ll have a new Category 3 racer to add to the squad.

J: Yes Dave’s on a mission since last year’s GMSR, definitely one of the most improved racers on the team. And it’s good we’ll have a new guy in the Cat 3 because the regulars are getting sick of me sending them to the front.
MRC: Also, one of your new editions Josh Burgle looks to be on good form already. I’m assuming he’s soon to join the Category 3 ranks.

J: I’ve been “racing” against Josh for years on the Monster Bullet-train. I always thought he was a Cat 3 anyway. We have a word for those types of guys, I’ll leave it at that 🙂

MRC: Lets talk about your Category 2 squad. Initially it was just Patrick Collins but now with Joe Magro coming back to MRC and Jason Croteau joining the club it looks like you’re going to be quite the force in the 2’s.

J: Actually we have several other Cat 3’s very close to making the jump. I actually told Patrick to slow down before he mistakenly upgrades to Cat 1. Next thing you know MRC will be a Continental Pro team and I’ll have to quit my day job and buy a Skoda.

MRC: Anything else you’d like to add in closing?

J: I’m going to need a massage after all this typing.

MRC: Maybe you need to look into a team soigneur?

J: YES!!!!!

NEW: Directeur’s Chair

directeur-chair-mrc-200pxWelcome to a new feature on the MRC website called Directeur’s Chair. Throughout the season we’ll speak with members of our racing teams and get recaps from our new Directeur Sportif, Jeremy Cratty.

Below is an interview we did with Jeremy on the heels of a successful weekend at the Chris Hinds Memorial Criterium in Rhode Island.

MRC: Jeremy first off, thank you for your taking the time for this interview. More importantly congrats on being the first ever Directeur Sportif for The Minuteman Road Club. You must be very excited.

Jeremy: Yes I’m very excited. I’ve always wanted to be in a position where I could tell people what to do, no questions asked.

MRC: We’re a few weeks into the 2016 season. What are your thoughts so far?

J: I’m definitely feeling an increased excitement around road racing, which was the point of the whole program. I get emails everyday with questions about races, strategies, who is on form, what the weather going to be like, should they use chamois cream. You know, important stuff.

MRC: Is there anything that has surprised you that you weren’t expecting?

J: Well I expected some good results, but even I was surprised when we came away from Chris Hinds with 2 victories. It was especially sweet because we came up with detailed strategies and the team executed them exactly as planned. It’s further proof that team racing delivers superior results than an “everyone for themselves” approach you typically see in amateur racing.

MRC: What are you looking forward to for the rest of the season?

J: More wins and more Wachusett beer consumed! Seriously though, winning an early season crit is one thing, but I can’t wait to plan some tactics for bigger races like Quabbin and Battenkill. Should be EPIC!!!!!

MRC: Any other comments you’d like to add in closing?

J: Stop reading this and go do some hill repeats!!!!!

MRC: Thank you for your time Jeremy. Looking forward to talking with you throughout the season

2016-race-team-photo

 

Site Map