Tour de Fort Lee Criterium, Fort Lee, NJ, 9/30:
From Mikael H:
I lined up for both the Masters 45+ race and then joined a few of my Rockstar and NYU riders in the Cat 4 event. The Masters race saw 4 riders shoot off the front from the gun, unfortunately a nice little depression in corner 2 sent 3 of them into the hay bails while the 4th rider made it through and used that little incident as an opportunity to attack (a GS Mengoni rider) and was gone despite average speeds near 26mph from the rest of us! With 5 to go, myself and 3 others got off the front and tried to chase, but we were reeled back in with 2 to go and I finished in the field.
In the Cat 4-5 race, I was joined by Wilson, Caffery, Garrett as well as 2 of my NYU riders (Christian and Drew). The plan was simple on this very technical course: go to the front early and string it out! Wilson attacked from the gun, with myself and Caffery helping him keep the pace high (along with one of the NYU riders). At the mid-point, I led Wilson up the short steep climb on the 3rd straight away and launched him off the front with Caffery joining, but alas, that move only lasted 1 lap. With 1 to go, I had Wilson and Caffery get behind me as I led the field down the fast back stretch, into corner 3 and up the steep hill. Caffery was the first to jump, followed by Wilson and a couple others. After the short steep hill, it was about a 300m drag to the finish, which Caffery won with Wilson taking 4th! An amazing day of team work by the Rockstar riders! We just need to figure out how to divvy up the CAAD10 frame Caffery won! – M.H.
Indeed, the Cat 4/5 race was a great demonstration of individual efforts as well as teamwork. Mikael, despite finishing with a strong Masters field within minutes of lining up for the 4/5, made some hard pulls at key points in the race, particularly in the beginning to help string the group out, and at the end, too, keeping Wilson and myself in prime position on the final two laps. He kept us fast and focused. Wilson deserves huge credit for the win, as well, having pulled me through almost three consecutive laps in the middle of the race when I definitely needed it. Garrett, Christian, and Drew also helped to pull off the front a few times, which made a big difference.
Our collective presence off the front as a team put as much of a mental strain on our opponents as well as a physical one – the site of that big black-and-pink engine at the front of the train definitely had some guys giving up early! I’m looking forward to getting back out there and landing three Rockstars on the podium next time. – C.G.