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

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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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.

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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

REGISTRATION OPEN: 2016 Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race

For the third year in a row, the Minuteman Road Club has partnered with the Harvard Firefighter’s Association to put together the Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race. The race will be held on Saturday, June 4th, 2016.

2015KHRRmontage

The race course will be the same route as the 2015 edition.

There are a few additional changes to the 2016 edition as we try to build upon the success the race has had so far in Harvard:

  • Addition of a Women’s Cat P/1/2 field that will be run with the Women’s Cat 3/4 field. Each will have separate prize purses and different colored numbers to be able to distinguish the competitors in each field.
  • Addition of a Masters 55+ field that will be run with the Masters 45+ field. Each will have separate prize purses and different colored numbers to be able to distinguish the competitors in each field.

Important links:

Race flyer with information

Reg NOW at BikeReg and get more info

Awesome video of the race

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

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Registration Open for the 2015 Ken Harrod Road Memorial Road Race

For the second year in a row, the Minuteman Road Club has partnered with the Harvard Firefighter’s Association to put together the Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race. And now we have great news: the Harvard Board of Selectman approved the MRC’s new route for the Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race this past Tuesday nigh March 3rd. Coupled with that we already had the approval of the Harvard Police, Littleton Police, and Littleton Board of Selectman, our race is fully approved by the locals!

The race will be held on Saturday, May 30th, 2015, and will include a men’s P/1/2 field! Follow this link to register now:
https://www.bikereg.com/ken-harrod-memorial-road-race-2015

RCP-140531-0396

The new course will start northeast out of Harvard Center, down a quick descent along Littleton road, taking competitors over several rolling hills towards Littleton Station where they loop around and head southwestand up a challenging climb that should be familiar to many locals: Oak Hill/Old Littleton road. After that effort, there’s not much rest as the course turns left on Pinnacle and up a short punchy climb to the highest elevation in the race. A right turn onto Oak Hill Road past Carlson Orchards then down a super fast descent followed by a 10% climb back into town for the Start/Finish.

2015 KHRR course map

MRC Roars Back With The Ken Harrod Memorial Bike Festival

The Minuteman Road Club is pleased to announce the Harvard Firefighters Association Ken Harrod Memorial Bike Festival p/b the MRC on Saturday May 31, 2014 in Harvard, MA. The Festival will include BOTH a USAC sanctioned road race AND a bike ride both of which will benefit the Harvard Firefighters’ Association. Registration is now open for both the race and the ride.

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Those familiar with the road race the Minuteman Road Club has hosted for the last 19 years will appreciate the similarities and differences this new venue offers. The approximately 10 mile course loops clockwise out of Harvard Center and rolls over some of the 495/Metro-West area’s most familiar climbs. (You can see the course in this Strava Segment). The race course will challenge competitors as they climb Westcott and then Warner Road to the highest point in the loop then after a brief descent, back to climbing on Green Road. This is followed by a rapid descent to Still River Road where two more gradual longer climbs await – the second of which brings racers back to the start/finish in the center of town.

Registration is now open for the race: https://www.bikereg.com/ken-harrod-memorial-road-race and closes May 28th, 2014 at 5pm.

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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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