Tim Johnson’s Wachusett Fondo was HOT HOT HOT but so was the fun!

Minuteman Road Club, MassBike, and Tim Johnson would like to take a moment to thank all of the riders that braved the heat and humidity on Saturday. While the excessive heat warning led to some riders deciding to stay home, those of you that came out made the day incredibly special. Thankfully both routes provided ample shade from the direct sun and everyone made it back safely.

Tim Johnsonn's Wachusett Grand Fondo getting underway.
The Fondo gets under way!

The Tim Johnson Wachusett Fondo would not be possible without the support of our partners. The continued support that Wachusett Brewery provides Minuteman Road Club is immeasurable. As our organization has continued to grow and evolve so has Wachusett Brewing. This years addition of the new Brew Woods was a true game changer for the event. Following the incredible effort of the day riders had plenty of space and shade while being treated to amazing beer, food, and live music. It will be exciting so see Wachusett’s next expansions in the coming months. Please visit Wachusett Brewing’s website for more details about upcoming events and performances. https://www.wachusettbrewingcompany.com/

Once again we got rave reviews for the post ride meal provided by The Farmacy Cafe. Often times following a hot and steamy ride the last thing we want is a heavy meal. The organic rice bowls with an array of pickled vegetables and flavors not only refueled but also satisfied many depleted bodies. Please consider stopping by The Farmacy Cafe at their shipping container in the Seaport district of Boston and make sure to check out their upcoming expansion on High Street Place in the Financial District. https://farmacyboston.com/

Also new for this year was live music provided by InClover out of Keene, New Hampshire. Their upbeat energy and fun lively covers made the post ride party in the Brew Woods that much more exciting and relaxing. Many of you were asking about booking InClover for gigs and private parties. Please visit their Facebook page for booking information and upcoming dates. https://www.facebook.com/InClover-73967517792/

Kenny Ambach and that sweet Volvo from NRS and Events for mid ride mechanical support www.nrsandevents.com/

Once again Katie Busick Photography made all of us look good even when we were all cracking in the heat. In the Mount Rushmore of New England cycling Katie definitely has a space on that wall. Her contributions to the sport alone are impressive. It isn’t until you get a chance to speak with Katie that you discover her true passion for supporting cyclists. Please visit Katie’s SmugMug page to view all of her pictures from Saturday. Please consider buying a print to commemorate the good times and sweaty memories from the Fondo. https://katiebusick.smugmug.com/

Obviously this event would not be possible without a tremendous amount of volunteer support. Whether it was marking the course Friday, helping at registration, manning rest stations, working as parking marshals, or acting as ride leaders and sweepers, this ride would not happen without a small army of help. The riders and families of Minuteman Road Club riders in addition to our friends and family at MassBike made this into such an incredibly special day. It is also important to thank the towns that allowed us to access their roads and infrastructure to put on this event. A particular shout out needs to go to Brian Tanguay at the Templeton Historic Society. Not only did the Historic Society provide us with a shady spot but the antique bikes brought the stop to the next level.

Finally we need to thank YOU the riders! Saturday was not an easy day to get out for a ride. Days like Saturday galvanize our community and make us stronger as a whole. Moving forward please remember those positive messages throughout the day of community and togetherness. The roads can be a daunting and at times scary place for riders. Look after one and other and continue to work for bicycle advocacy with community leaders. Please consider getting involved with our partners at MassBike to help make the roads not only safer for us, but for future generations. https://www.massbike.org/

Thank you! We look forward to seeing all of you, and hopefully a couple of hundred new friends next July at the third annual Tim Johnson Wachusett Fondo.

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

Presenting the MRC 2016/17 Elite CX Racing Team

The Minuteman Road Club in partnership with Wachusett Brewing Company and Fast Splits are excited to announce the creation of an Elite Cyclocross Racing team for the 2016/17 season.

elite_cx_kit

The team will consist of Patrick Collins, Mark Miller, Chris Pare, and Brian Hughes who will focus on the Regional Elite and UCI level races culminating in the National championships. You’ll be able to see them race in their newly designed Minuteman-inspired race kits by Mr. White Design this weekend at the KMC Cross Fest in Thompson CT. We are looking forward to cheering them on at the races. Good luck guys!!

http://www.wachusettbrew.com/

http://www.fastsplits.com/

http://www.mrwhitesdesign.com/

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.

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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