Ethan Sokol’s Men’s Intro weekend at the Philly Phlyer

This was my first weekend out with the team, and I had a blast! I appreciate all the help that everyone gave me so that I could make it out to the weekend—from Zack helping me to find a bike from Back Bay to David K helping me get a team Jersey to Matt helping me set up my bike.

Saturday there were 2 races: the TTT and the CR. Although it was quite windy, it was fun to work with a teammate (David Rosen) in a TTT; as the race went on, we got more comfortable with coming off the pace line, and holding close to the wheel. The circuit race was also awesome: I followed David Koppstein’s advice the whole way: stay toward the front, follow the attacks, and sprint at the finish. After my races finished, I watched the rest of our team and also hung out in the warm car as the weather was terrible—sleet, snow, and hail—still a great first day of racing.

On Sunday, we went to Temple University for the Crit. Before the crit, there was a skills clinic where we learned how to safely go over obstacles (in our case it was a broom). After the skills clinic we did a few trained laps, and then began the race—5 laps. The beginning went well, I cornered OK with the pack and was having a lot of fun riding with a group. On the third corner of the first lap, I made a turn a bit tighter/faster than I should have. The rider to my right took a line more to the outside than I expected, essentially cutting me off. To avoid crashing I veered left and then right but began to slide out, leaving me to crash grazingly into the curb. The rider behind me proceeded to crash into me, getting his handlebars stuck in my spokes. David R, was 2 bikes back and avoided the crash by bunny hopping onto the curb (unfortunately this caused him to flat—sorry for causing problems David). After a bit of disentanglement, and a brief inspection of my bike, I was ready to hop back on the course.

At this point I knew that I had a bit of ground to make up, as I now was at the back of the field, so I hopped on the bike and took it strong. Over the next couple of laps I powered through it and passed several small groups of riders, however I did not pause to rest with these groups, as I wanted to push to the front. Finally I caught up with a group of four up front, and gladly took a rest on their wheels for a bit. After half a lap of chillin’, one rider made a sharp attack. I followed as did 2 others. The four of us pushed ahead into the last lap.

On the last lap, things really got exciting. On the uphill on the first leg of the last lap, a rider from the back made an attack up the hill. Excited to join in on an attack, I followed, catching him near the top of the hill. I chilled with him after the first corner, then as we went into the back section, I pushed out an attack, sprinting down the whole stretch. I created a gap and was able to keep it through the next two corners and win the race.

For the rest of the day I watched the races and had a lot of fun. It was great to see Cameron push out in front of the field in the Men’s A. It was great to see David push for 2 prime wins, and Shaena demolish the primes as well! It was amazing to see the effort and skill of some amazing athletes and friends—everyone did amazingly well. You will definitely see me at the MIT races March 30/31!