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September-October 2004 Newsletter

Local Bicycle Racer Scores in Big Apple

by Drew Deters


This outstanding race report is from Louisville's own Drew Deters, describing his remarkable 39th place finish in The New York City Cycling Championship on August 8. Excerpted from an August 12 post submitted to the kycyclist mailing list by Brad Swope.

This past Sunday (Augut 8, 2004) I was in [New York City] for a race on Wall Street. It is one of the biggest races of the year on the pro cycling tour, the other biggies being Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco. They started this race three years ago due to the "Lance factor." All of the pro teams are here and are allowed to start 6 riders instead of the usual 8 or 9. There are some amazing cyclists in the race, guys who are going to the Olypmics, been in the Tour de France, won at the Olympics, world champions, national champions, lots of accolades floating around.

The race is carried live in[New York City] on Channel 7. And here to announce was Paul Sherwin, the guy who does all of the Tour coverage on OLN. Oh yes, the race will be on TV on OLN Saturday August 7th at 3 PM ET. So check it out if you can.

Anyway, the course itself is pretty insane due to the great NYC road conditions and the stretch of cobbles, and oh yes, the rain at the beggining that made everything like ice. So it was incredibly fun in the first hour because we were sliding around and nailing holes everywhere. Then it dried a bit and everyone got more comfortable with the best line to follow on the course.

Our team objective was just to finish the damn thing because to do so is extremely difficult. It is probably the hardest criterium style race we do all year. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect other than insane speeds. And while I would have been elated to finish, my more realistic goal was to make it half-way. Fortunately, I have been getting stronger as the year goes on and had a solid build-up with 14 days of racing in Wisconsin, so I had good form for the race. And so somehow, around the magic midway point, I found myself in a break of 10 riders off the front of the damn race. I am still not sure it was me. And neither is my teammate Jake, because you should have seen the look on his face when he saw that I had also made the break. It was awesome.

Well, we got caught after a couple of laps and so it was back to the chaos of the field. Then I realized, holy crap, I can finish this thing. Each progressive lap got faster and faster, but just as well because I was in the zone then and so time also speeds by more rapidly. With five laps to go I was still there and the massive crowd was cheering so loudly that to get popped then was not an option, I just had to hang on for dear life as the speeds at the end of the race are the highest it gets. And man, were we flying, around 60-65 km an hour. And remember, you have to accelerate to that speed twice each lap because we slow down a lot in the treacherous corners of NYC.

Basically,the flow went something like, brake, catch breath, bounce over cobbles, miss manhole cover here, puddle there, don't get squeezed into barriers, oh man, get ready, breather, here we go, all out sprint back up to speed, ahh, just nailed a pothole, legs are in serious pain, swing wide, drink, slam on brakes, miss more manhole covers and on and on and on. But that is the beauty of racing, the ability to focus so completely on the matter at hand that nothing else really exists. And then that last lap, you can't really see the crowd, but you feed off of their energy and it was completely surreal. I will never forget it. And so yes, I finished, in the money in 39th place. Then it was the usual lap around to wave and thank the crowd and then off to the bar with Beth, my cousin Anne, the team and our bike sponsors. What a day it was.

If you want to read more about the race and see pictures, below are the links to follow.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2004/aug04/nyccc04/?id=results

A cool pic of the finish. You can tell how fast the finish sprint was (40 mph) by the single file line of riders. Usually, it is a tighter bunch at the finish line.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/photos/2004/aug04/nyccc04/?id=CRW_2730

Here is a photo of one of the crashes. (I am on the left and managed to avoid the main carnage.)

http://www.cyclingnews.com/photos/2004/aug04/nyccc04/?id=CRW_2695


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