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May 12, 2019

Amateur Road Racers Take on Smoketown

Bike racing is divided into "categories" denoting one's experience and success in racing. Category 5 are "citizen racers" while pro racers are "Category 1." This weekend a number of our amateur racers participated in the Smoketown Airport Criterium in Lancaster, PA: Mike Bowe (Doylestown), John Stoveld (Philadelphia), Rob Beighley (Buckingham) and Dominic Frascella (Lansdale).

Mike provided this race report for the Master's 55+ Race:

"Rob Beighley and I started with 50-60 others, there was a split of 20 riders in the first 3 of 20 laps. I made it but was peeled off with a few others by the wind. Returning to the main chase group, they did indeed chase for about 7-8 more laps, finally bringing the leaders back. The effort was intense enough to force approximately 50% of all starters to withdraw, but Rob and I survived and recovered in the reduced field. Two super-men did go off the front in the final 5 laps and were not to be caught. Rounding the final turn for an 700m, slight uphill drag races into the wind, Rob drove much of the way, picking up racers who's tank had emptied, then me for the last bit to get the 2 Doylestown Bike Works p/b Fred Beans masters to 17 and 18th places overall."

Our newest team member, Dominic Frascella (Lansdale) upgraded from Category 5 to participate in his first Category 4 race at Smoketown. Here's his race recap:

I spent Thursday afternoon with Paul Turner at Doylestown Bike Works getting my fit dialed in. After making a ton of adjustments we were able to come up with a decent compromise between a race and endurance fit. The Smoketown Category 4/5 race started with a 1 lap 'neutral' roll out being lead by a lead-out vehicle. As we turned off the taxiway and across the runway, the vehicle took a wrong turn and put us straight down the runway. This was not in the original plan. Now each of us in the field is looking around a bit in confusion as to what we will do for the lap 2. As we finished off our neutral lap we all took it easy again into turn 1 as to allow us to find out what route we would end up taking. The vehicle takes us back down the runway. Game on the course is now set as 2 180° corners and 2 straightaways, An uphill straight with a right to left headwind and a downhill straight with a left to right tailwind. This format proved to be a very aerobic course. There was a ton of "rubber-banding" at each corner as we turned out of the headwind and once again at the bottom of the hill as we turned uphill and back into the headwind. With each lap, the field was dropping riders. Starting around 10 laps to go, 2-4 people were being pulled off the course on each lap.

Entering the final lap I was able to make a move to sit about 15 wheels back entering turn one. Down the hill, I was able to sneak around the outside place myself around 10 wheels back entering the final corner. As we are coming through the final corner I am forced much wider than I hoped nearly avoiding the grass as another rider pushes wide. Unfortunately, this places me in the worst possible place entering the uphill headwind. I am now eating all the wind and having to push way too hard to just to stay with the field. I try to move back over to the left side and find any wheel to stick to but the pack was relentless. I "lit as many matches" as I had left but I was unable to dig deep enough to stay with them. I ended up finishing 4th from the back of the field with an overall finish of 25th out of 66.

All in all, it was a good day of racing. My main goal with it being my first race as a Category 4 racer was to keep with the field and make a few moves. I was able to accomplish these and come across the line with the rubber side down.

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