RACE REPORT: ANOTHER GREAT YEAR FOR THE KEN HARROD MEMORIAL ROAD RACE!

The Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race presented by the Minuteman Road Club (MRC) occurred on June 4th, 2016 in Harvard, MA, marking the race’s third year in the town. Named for longtime Harvard firefighter and bicycling enthusiast Ken Harrod, the race benefits the Harvard Firefighters Fund, and brings more than 350 amateur and professional racers to compete on the beautiful and challenging roads of Harvard.

(photo: Jeff Dieffenbach)

(photo: Jeff Dieffenbach)

This year’s edition, aided by sponsorship from Wachusett Brewing Company, Privateer Rum, Murphys Insurance, and Landry’s Bicycles, ran over multiple laps of the same 10 mile course used in 2015, including the roughly 2.5 mile, 350 foot climb up Oak Hill. Each racer competed in one of 8 categories, and new for 2016 were a women’s P/1/2 race in a split field and a men’s Masters 55+ race in a split field. Wachusett Brewing Company supplied a beer tent complete with fire truck, providing refreshment for racers and spectators in the picture-perfect 70-80 degree weather.

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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.

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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!!!!!

RACE REPORT: KEN HARROD MEMORIAL ROAD RACE 2015 Received Rave Reviews!

The second edition of the Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race presented by the Minuteman Road Club occurred on May 30th, 2015 in Harvard, MA. This was the second year the race was held in Harvard after 19 years of MRC presenting a road race in Sterling, MA.

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MRC’s Chris Pare rolls out of downtown Harvard, MA with the Cat 3 peloton.

There were two waves of races, with three in the early morning wave and another three in the late morning wave. This year’s edition included a completely new course including the famous Oak Hill climb, the addition of a P/1/2 race, and a KOM competition. The race helps benefit the Harvard Firefighters Association, and was aided by sponsorship from Murphys Insurance, Landrys Bicycles, 3Cross Brewing Company, Ameriprise Financial, and Sports and Physical Therapy Associates (SPTA). The weather was fantastic on the day, even a bit hot and dry for most riders that left many out of fluids by the end of the race.

The course was met with rave reviews, with comments of “Thank you for bringing back the VeryFine race course” from various long time racers, “What a race!” from the Cannondale team, and even people who could not make it like Adam Meyerson commenting that “Thank you, Minuteman Road Club, for bringing back the classic, combined “Harvard-Littleton” road course, running good distances, reasonable entry fees, and an actual $1000 prize list for the P/1/2 men’s field.”

In the early morning fields:

The Mens Cat 5 race stayed together for much of the race which led to a sprint finish, where Dek Tuttle came out 1st, with Johannes Stromski of Riverside Racing and Orlando Correa of Team Columbia close behind for 2nd and 3rd.

In the Womens 3/4, a four woman breakaway got away from the main pack pushed by a Green Line Velo with two women in the group, Regina Legge and Julie Van der Hoop, with Antonina Hafner of Harvard University and Jennifer McCarthy of Riverside Racing. In the end, Legge won the sprint, following by Hafner in 2nd, Van der Hoop 3rd, and McCarthy 4th. The pack sprint was won by Leslie Timm for 5th place.

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The Women’s 3 / 4 field approaches the turn onto Littleton Road in Harvard, MA.

Finally, the Mens Cat 4 race had the largest field of the day and plenty of strong up and coming riders in it. There were plenty of attacks, and on lap 3, a break of two riders looked like it might stick, but Minuteman Road Club and Greenline Velo pulled back the break by the top of Oak Hill. On the last lap, things stuck together as every rider seemed to gear up for the sprint. At the finish, Minuteman Road Club’s Brad Bradford slingshot around the field for the win, with Steven Edwards of PVC/CycleMania, Jeb Fowler of Linen/BCA, Jose Ordovas of Green Line Velo, and Josh Burgel of Bikeway Source/Bell Lap Racing taking 2nd through 5th place.

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MRC’s Kevin Teves (left) helps Brad Bradford (right) celebrate his Cat 4 victory.

In the late morning fields:

The Mens Cat 3 race turned into a slower and tactical race for the rest of the field due to a four man breakway getting away. After an early break was caught on the 2nd lap on Oak Hill, a second major break formed through a counter attack. Dawry Cabrera of NEBC, John Eckert of STAMPEDE, and Brendan Longe of Community Bicycle Racing got away. Although the pack did some work to try to bring back the break, it was not enough to catch it in the end as they were 1 minute ahead with a lap to go. Cabrera won with his own break to come across solo, followed by Eckert, and later Longe. Miles Billings of 545 took off on the last climb up Oak Hill to claim a clear 4th, and then Scott White of Rancourt & Co won the pack sprint to claim the last podium spot in 5th.

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Dawry Cabrera posts up as he crosses the line in his Cat 3 solo breakaway win.

The Masters 45+ field had a large field of very experienced riders ready to attack the course. There were many attacks, and the climb up Oak Hill on the 2nd lap was extremely fast paced and caused everyone to suffer. Shortly after, Tom Francis of Wheelworks Racing and Chris Crowell of Stage 1/fusionTHINK got away on a two man breakaway. No one thought it would last, but the pack didn’t work together to share the load of catching the break. By the beginning of the last lap, those two had a 1:40 lead on the pack and mostly had just each other to think about. Francis was able to pull away with a well-deserved win and Crowell getting a well-earned 2nd. Kurt Begemann of Castellli BRS attacked on the final steep part of Oak Hill and stayed away for 3rd, while Guillermo Herrera of Downeast Racing and Robert Campbell of Cycle Lodge grabbed the last two podium spots for 4th and 5th.

In the most highly anticipated race of the day, the P/1/2 field got off with a solid field. As usual, the high pace of the field caused many DNFs within the P/1/2 group as many dropped riders decided to save their energy for another day. Keith Kelly of ENGVT-UnTapped was able to get away on a solo breakaway with still 30 miles still to go. He was able to hold that lead until Brendan Rhim and Ansel Dickey (both of California Giant / Specialized) were able to pull themselves up to Kelly along with some of the rest of the field. In the finish, Rhim and Dickey were able to get a small gap and come in 1-2 for California Giant / Specialized. Kelly was able to summon enough energy to get 3rd, with Joseph Siegel of Grinta! p/b Best Buddies Challenge and Brendan McLaughlin of CCB Racing coming in 4th and 5th in a very tough race.

We look forward to hosting the 2016 edition of the Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race, which will be on the same weekend (the Saturday after Memorial Day) which is Saturday June 4th 2016. Our plan is to have exact same course as 2015!

For complete race results, visit the 2015 Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race page on Road-Results.

See more of Katie Busick’s photos here.

Race Report: Minuteman CX is Quintessential New England!

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Racers gathered yesterday under the glowing fall foliage for the fourth edition of the Minuteman Road Club Cyclocross Race p/b Landry’s Bicycles in Lancaster, MA. The morning racers faced damp course conditions and chilly temperatures, but the clear sky brought the sun to warm the course, removing the chill from the air on a quintessential New England autumn afternoon. By the time the Elite races and Zanconato Single Speed races were underway, the course had completely dried, making for some fast racing. The course featured wide, sweeping turns, some winding through a tricky sand section. The course had its technical sections as well: stairs, barriers, and the venue’s signature twists through woodchips under the barn roof.

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Kate Northcott (NESS Team New England), who took second place in this venue mere weeks ago behind European Cyclocross Champion Helen Wyman at Midnight CX, was off from the whistle in the Elite Women’s race. As Northcott took control of the race, Catherine

Sterling (Bikeman.com), Leslie Timm (Ladies First Racing), and Melody Chase (Gus CX/Ralegh) worked to reel in the leader. However, Northcott, having a stellar season so far, was gone for good. The leader rode her own race – at lightning pace, free of bobbles and mistakes – and the chase group settled in for a battle for the remaining podium spots. Sterling launched an attack, shaking Chase loose, and the race was decided. Northcott rode in for a clean win, as Sterling crossed the line second. Chase followed in third, and Timm held on for the fourth spot.

The fastest race of the day took to the course, with Dylan McNicholas (PolarTec), Jerome Townsend (Joe’s Garage p/b BikeReg.com), and Peter Goguen (Race CF) taking an early lead in the Elite Men’s race. Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart) and Nick Keough (Keough Cyclocross) organized a chase, but the three leaders seemed to only add seconds to their lead.

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Meanwhile, Frankie McCormack (Clif Bar/Pactimo) was busy dieseling his way to the chase with son and teammate Brendan on his wheel. Goguen lost contact with the leaders, leaving McNicholas and Townsend to battle for the win, as Brendan connected with the chase. McNicholas and Townsend fought hard for the victory, staying together throughout the final laps, but the win was ultimately decided by who hit the loose gravel turns before the finish first. It was Townsend who claimed the win, McNicholas hot on his heels in second. Goguen finished third. Myerson gapped McCormack to cross the line fourth, and Keough rolled in sixth.

In the Zanconato Single Speed Series, men’s series leader Mike Rowell (Bikeway Source/Bell Lap Racing) took the win, but not easily: Rowell had to fend off Matt Sousa (Cuppow/Geekhouse/B2C2) for the entirety of the race. Sousa claimed second, while Benjamin Pagano (Bikeway Source/Bell Lap Racing) finished third. In the women’s race, each podium finisher was racing her second race of the day: Joanne Grogan (Cyclocrossracing.com) won, while Clara Kelly (NEBC p/b Cycle Loft) crossed the line second, and Michele Smith (Hup United) claimed the last podium spot.

— by Cindy Brennan

For complete race results, visit the 2014 MRC CX page on CrossResults.

See more of Katie Busick’s photos here.

Nolan Garon Tops Men 4/5 Field at Cycle-Smart Int’l Day 2

Podium shot e

Nolan’s race report:

Waking up the morning of the race at 5:15 may not be the best way to win a bike race but apparently it did not make a difference Sunday. Getting there and seeking that it was 43 degrees was also not very fun to see but this is cyclocross isn’t it? After I got pinned up and signed in I went out for my first recon lap before my race. About halfway through my pre-ride I knew that this course would suit me having no run up and a very punchy “climb” and some nice fast turns.

When I got to the startline I lined up next to the same people that I raced on Day 1, so my hope was that their starts would be just as good today.

The whistle blows and we are off, I gun it from the start and after the first two corners we had established a lead group of four. They keep on the gas for about 1/3 of a lap and I notice that the group does not want to do any work so coming by the pit the first lap I really open it up and decide to take my chances off the front…

This came at the perfect time because next up on the course was the steep “hill” – really more of a steep bank but going up it first was a good idea because the guy in third seem to botch the only possible line that you could take slowing up the entire field.

For the rest of the lap it was pure pain for 4 minutes trying to establish a sizable gap. By the time I got to the finish straight I had staked out a 20 second gap and was still feeling strong so I just kept hitting as hard as I could for the next lap.

Day 2 attack 5

When I hit the barriers on the second lap I still was feeling good but by the middle of the third lap I could feel my power starting to fade especially in the straights.

One thing that did start to pick up were the amount of heckles that you will get coming down the tent row and when you go through the more populated areas, “Sandbagger!” and “Cat up!” really tend to get annoying when you have never even won a race or had more than 3 total upgrade points.

Okay so enough of that, let’s get in to the last lap.

By this time I am using all if the will that I can muster just to be able to hold the gap that I had built up. What really helped that last lap was my dad and Dave Warner (Green Line Velo/ZipCar) both yelling splits to me as I was going on my last lap to keep me going because the laughing dog rider and josh Araujo of Geekhouse were in hot pursuit.

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By the last few corners I was in disbelief that I had pulled off a win in a race this big! I was only predicted 18th! As I come into the finishing straight I nearly made a horrible mistake by almost taking both of my hands off of the bars as I crossed the line but then I remembered that that might not be the best idea.

It really felt great to be able to finally get a win at a race of that caliber also a plus is that I can upgrade and that means that I don’t have to wake up at 5 am to go to a race! I really don’t think that I could have done it without all of the group rides and the cross practice series for keeping me motivated to finish my first cross season. On to Sterling!

Chris Pare Tops Podium In Mens 3/4 2013 Witches Cup

The Minuteman Road Club’s president, Chris Pare, demonstrated a different set of leadership skills by winning the Men’s 3/4 race at the Witches Cup this past Wednesday, August 6th in Salem, MA.

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The first part of the race was largely uneventful with typical surges followed by unexplained slowing. But things started to coalesce and, with 7 laps to go, a small break was up the road and need to be dealt with. At 4 laps to go, MRC’s Jeremy Cratty steps up and started chasing down the break.

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MRC’s Wawersik Scores at 33rd ENGVT Concord Criterium

On a picture perfect Saturday afternoon in New Hampshire, the Minuteman Road Club’s Stefan Wawersik lined up with junior members Nolan Garon, Patrick Bauer-Blank, and 40 other racers. After waiting out a very fast start, Wawersik used cagey race tactics to wait until the last lap to punch through a peloton that repeatedly sat up at the top of the course. He then tore his way through the following chicanes to achieve the number two spot on the podium in the Mens Cat 4 race.

Way to go Stefan!

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Read Stefan’s full race report in our forum.

MRC’s Russ Campbell Notches Back-To-Back MTB Wins

After competing in his first mountain bike race somewhere around 1988 when he was 27, MRC’s Russ Campbell waited a little while before entering another MTB race: 25 years. He must have learned a thing or two along the way because he won two races in a row in July.

The inaugural Gnar Weasels Cometh, on a rocky, muggy and buggy Saturday racecourse in Foxboro, was the scene of Campbell’s first win. Competing in the 50+ Novice field with four others, his margin of victory was pretty decisive: the gap to 2nd place was 11 minutes! (read his race report for Gnar Weasels)

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Left: Russ in his first MTB race ever c.1988 Right: Competing in his second one 25 years later.

Two weeks later, again competing in a newly offered MTB race, the Barn Burner at Adams Farm in Walpole, MA, Russ lined up against 13 other 50+ Cat 3 racers. After two circuits of the 5 mile loop that featured a lot of turny single-track and some challenging rock gardens, Campbell came out on top once again. (read his race report for the Barn Burner)

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Campbell atop the podium at Gnar Weasels Shredeth (left) and Barn Burner (right).

Green Mountain Double Century – An Endurance Odyssey for Two MRC Members

Imagine riding the number of miles a slightly above average New England club rider logs in a week ALL IN ONE DAY! How about getting weeks of climbing done in a day (12 cat 4 climbs and three cat 3’s)? On mostly dirt roads? A good deal of which you do through the night?

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Chris Pearson and Gary Sclar rolling through Vermont.

Well, that’s just what MRC members Chris Pearson and Gary Sclar did when they completed the 2013 Green Mountain Double Century on June 16th. Starting out at 4 a.m. a little northwest of Greenfield, VT and then heading on a counterclockwise loop that reaches northward nearly all the way to Rutland before it turns south and passes through the Green Mountain National Forest, the route boasted amazing scenery combined with road surfaces that ranged from smooth pavement to completely washed out “roads” that at times looked more like riverbed.

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On a ride this long, the plan was not, “where can I burn a match?” but “don’t burn ANY matches,” – even though the conditions demanded some extreme efforts. One climb they faced hit rose up from 15-18% at spots. As it turns out, a handful of wrong turns along the way were all that stood between Gary and Chris beating the time they turned in last year.

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Big climbs just ahead!

The GMDC is a “self-supported” ride, which means you need your own road crew to pace along with you in a car, carrying spare tires/tubes/bikes, extra food and water. This role was fulfilled by Gary’s wife Danya and Chris’ fiancée, Amy.

80% of the route was described as “dirt roads” which varied from the hard pack “almost pavement” you see in the photo above to the rock strewn mud and dirt (below left) or the absolute washout on Old CCC Road (below right).

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You call that a “road”??

After riding all night long with only the oval of pavement illuminated by their lights to guide them, they rolled back into Greenfield having logged 210 miles andover 20,ooo feet of climbing. Major kudos to you both!

You can read each of their ride reports in full in the MRC forum.

Here’s Chris’ Picasa gallery with many more photos.

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DiBattista Tops Podium at 2013 Purgatory RR Cat4 35+

Minuteman Road Club’s Rob DiBattista raced to the top spot in the Mens 35+ Cat 4 heat of Green Line Velo’s 2013 Purgatory Road Race on a hot and sunny June 9th Sunday in Sutton, MA.

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DiBattista powering up Lackey for the final push to victory.

Rob’s plan was to sit in the field and reserve everything for the final run up Lackey Road but his competitors kept pushing the pace and stringing out the pack. Teammate Jacob Lipcon buried himself several times in support, chasing down the breaks that tried to get away after each of these surges began to subside.

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