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Philadelphia International Cycling Classic 1.2

9th June 2015

Distance: 173km
Place: 23rd (+0:46 seconds)

The Philadelphia Cycling classic was quite simply an awesome experience. Our race started earlier than usual at 8am. But this had little deterrence towards the crowd, which started to gather early, and only grew as the race progressed. Consumption of hotdogs and beer was also prevalent during the morning and had a positive correlation with the number of spectators as the day progressed. Combine the above atmosphere with racing at over 45km/h in downtown Manayunk on a slightly narrow and technical circuit including the infamous wall, and you can quickly learn why so many people enjoy the Philadelphia Cycling Classic.

Of course there are plenty of people who do not enjoy this race.The wall is short but it’s very steep and there’s no hiding in the peloton. I opted to use a 29t cassette and I was very happy with my decision. If you start struggling up the climb early, the day could very easily become a long one where you cop unwarranted congratulations and support from spectators who think we’re all awesome for racing our bikes up the hill 9 times. More kudos if you took a beer.

If the wall wasn’t difficult enough, the entry onto it was. We raced along Main St before taking three turns in very quick succession; 90-degree right hander, followed by another 90-degree right hander onto paved cobbles, and then 90-degree left hander coming off the cobbles and pointing us in the direction of the wall. Unsurprisingly everybody wanted to be at the front at this point to avoid getting caught up in the bottleneck. Depending on the urgency of the race, it was mostly full gas leading into the first 90-degree right-hander. We came onto the corners so quick that the guys on the front had to jam on their breaks not to overcook the narrow corners… which meant everybody else had to slam on their brakes even more to avoid running into their rear wheels.

Start near the back, and you’re giving your competitors up to a 20 second head start for a 2-minute climb, maybe even more.

The feed zone is also a dangerous place. I didn’t try to get any bottles or food but somehow ended up having a feedbag from another team sitting on my handlebars suspended predominately by my Garmin. The guy in front of me dropped the bag, and fortunately didn’t land in my wheel. I thought better than wasting it’s contents, so promptly put the bag over my back and explored its interior but didn’t really find anything I wanted.

The winning split of the race happened just over the top of the 2nd last climb. The group had about 15 riders in it and I was probably the last person to miss it. Things were strung out single file with a couple of little gaps here or there. Before I knew it, a slightly bigger gap had opened up a few riders in front of me, which I had to try and move around, but we started going downhill and the gap got bigger as we descended the other side. I was then stuck in limbo; watching the front group ride away, and looking over my shoulder and not seeing the next group behind me.

There was one other rider with me, (in fact it was Bruno Langlois who took the KOM jersey from me in Saguenay) who said he was cramping and couldn’t help me out. We spent a little while chasing but without much horsepower, and after Langlois sat up, it didn’t take long before I was back in the main Peloton again and finished the race in the bunch. Not the best result, but it could have been far worse.

The Philadelphia Classic was simply awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now we’re off to the Tour de Beauce, which starts in a couple of day’s time. I can’t wait!! Hopefully the weather forecast drastically improves over the next day or so. I’m optimistic. After all, its suppose to be summer here. How much faith do we have with the BOM in Melbourne anyway?

BC

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7 comments

  1. Great stuff BC. Unlucky to miss the final move there but all good experience and was great to be able to follow the race on the live stream.

    Good luck for you and the team at Beauce! Some nice climbs for you there. 😉

  2. Stefan Filonzi

    Good read mate and great work over there! Love these write ups.

    I’m back on the bike and hoping ramping up the training bit by bit, let me know when your back home, will arrange a catch up!

    >

    1. Thanks mate, it’s great to see you jumping on my blog and having a read! Its also great news that you’re back on the bike and starting to ramp up training, especially given how cold things have been out in Melbourne lately!!! Will definitely catch up when i’m back in town…

  3. Love the report, takes you deep into the action!

    “The guy in front of me dropped the bag”….he probably went through it too looking for something worthwhile.

    1. yeah I should have clarrified that a little bit …He didn’t drop it after he had raided the contents for the good stuff… he dropped it before he even got a chance to hold it for more than a split second!! The feedbag had a biddon, but only had water in it too. I was hoping for something like a smalll can of Coke and a peanut butter energy bar haha

  4. Félicitations Brendan pour ta première victoire UCI ! Sans les incidents qui t’ont retardé avant le Mont Mégantic, je pense que tu pouvais lutter pour la victoire au général, dommage.

    Je te suis aussi sur Strava et j’ai lu dans une interview que tu pesais 60 kg, mais ça ne semble pas correspondre avec tes données sur Strava (je pense que tu dois faire 63 kg, non ?).
    Je voudrais savoir aussi pourquoi en contre-la-montre tu n’arrives pas à produire plus de puissance (336w pendant 28’42” au Tour de Beauce par exemple), alors que tu as des records sur près d’une heure bien plus élevés en montagne (349W pendant 49’32”) ? C’est la position qui te limite ?
    (je suis français et j’ai lu que tu voulais travailler ton français donc j’ai écris en français, mais si tu ne comprends pas, je peux poser mes questions en anglais).

    1. Bonjour Julien

      Merci pour les felicitations que vous m’avez donne. Ce n’est pas une problem que vous m’ecrivez en francias…
      Donc oui c’etait dommage avec les incidents jusqu’avant le Megantic, mais c’est toujours difficile a penser ce qui aurait pu arriver

      Oui contre-la-montre j’arrive a produire moins de puissance que le montagne mais ce n’est pas ma position qui me limite. Savez-vous qu’il y a beaucoup de difference avec watts (w) et normalized watts (np)? C’est vrai que j’ai fait 336w pendant 28″ mais j’avais produit presque 360np. En montagne, les deux sont plus similar.

      Je suis plus leger que 63kg 🙂

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