When aspiring roadie David August Trimble emailed me about needing a press pass to cover the Philadelphia International Championship, I thought maybe he’d written to the Velonews by mistake. I mean this is the blog were I rant about cops giving tickets to cyclists not something as prestigious as one of America’s premiere cycling events, which took place last Sunday.
Turns out David wanted to try his hand at reporting and enter the world of sports photography so I eagerly agreed to writing a letter, after all, thanks to the fine artwork of Nick James…I’ve got a logo. So, I turned it into some letterhead, wrote a few sentences about the significance of bikeblognyc covering cycling events and double clicked it back to David.
Turns out David not only got the pass but used it to get up close coverage of some of the most famous names in pro cycling. Not only does he have talent winning numerous races on the fixed gear, the cyclocross and the road bike…but he takes some damn fine photos too.
He wrote a detailed description of the adventure and he rode 95 miles from NYC to Philly to cover the event. Not bad.
Here is the report back:
TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship – 1.HC/1.1
These are images from the Philadelphia International Championship. This race is an UCI 1.HC/1.1 event. (Translation: very high levels of competition from some of the best teams in the world). Many of my hero’s from the Pro Tour would be battling it out around the streets of Philadelphia and I would be behind the lens beginning my freelance photography career.
Despite years as an obsessive pro cycling fan I had never witnessed an actual pro level race live. When Bikeblognyc.com gave me the chance to earn press credentials to photo document the event I eagerly accepted the mission. On Saturday I rode the 95 miles down to Philadelphia (on a busy and dangerously tight two lane highway). The next morning I was at the start line at 8 am wielding an official white photographers vest and a press pass.
Before the race I concentrated my shots to demonstrate how relaxed everyone appeared. 156 long miles stood before them but for these professionals it was just a day of work. Floyd Landis munched on a bagel, Francesco Chicchi joked around with Freddy Rodriquez. Many different languages flew back and forth. Everyone was ripped and donned perfectly prepared bicycles with deep carbon wheels and flashy graphics. Fat photographers, race officials, and cops mingles around offering a stark contrast to the lean, mean racing machines.
The announcer tried hard to amp up the small crowd which had assembled for the 9 am start. The truth was that a six hour race starts out pretty damn slow and controlled. The race contenders spend the first several hours chatting and spinning easily saving gas for the bigger efforts later on. Luckily for the everyone Daniel Holloway (decked out in Team USA kit from head to toe) allowed the excitement of the event take over. When the flag dropped he instantly attacked the field from a dead stop and rode away into the distance.
The speed at which Holloway was powering away was impressive. He rode inches from barriers head down in full time trial mode and a speed that was truly shocking considering he had another 155 miles to go. On television it is impossible to comprehend how fast these pros can push their bicycles. Within the first (3) short initial course laps he had already gained 3 minutes on the peloton which was cruising along slowly. Another (possibly inexperienced) rider, Andrew Talanski from the Italian Amore & Vita team figured he would make it a two man break and rode away from the field as well in a hopeless attempt at early glory.
I struck up a conversation with a clueless reporter from the Inquirer who was puzzled in general by the race that was before him. He thanked his lucky stars that the press organizers had included a glossary of cycling terms to reference. He seemed to love the word “attack”. I bet him a beer that poor Holloway (although he was soon ten minutes ahead of the field) wouldn’t even finish the race.
The women’s race started soon after and after the first lap I jumped in the media van and took a tour of the course. The parcours were beautiful. The rode traveled along the Kelly Drive which straddled a river running through a wooded park area of Philly. The rode was smooth and fast. I experienced anxiety about the fact that I was stuck in a van and not racing myself. Inside the van we caught up to fragments of the women’s pro race.
There was carnage everywhere as the less fit domestic pro’s were spit out the back dozens at a time. With their race being only a third of the distance of the men’s meant that the top women would be gunning it the entire distance. We left the parkway via a few technical corners and approached the famous Manayunk Wall. This “Wall” is steep, short, and lined on both sides but drunken college kids screaming for the hell of it.
I excited the van and luckily took solace inside the race course barriers away from the drunken and unruly crowd (it was 10 am). Holloway soon came and grinded up the climb zigg-zagging his way. The crown loved the irony of the USA Jersey’s and gave roaring approval. Several minutes later Talanski arrived chasing. Two more no name riders came and went up the hill and I awaited the arrival of the peloton.
Soon I spotted several yellow Team Columbia jersey’s rocketing up the climb. Damn, I thought those guys can climb fast. I was puzzled by the pony tails but figured it was some new Eurotrash trend. What it really turned out to be was that the women’s field had caught and over taken the men’s field. At this point it was their third (of four) laps and the top girls were ripping the field to shreds. I witnessed Kacey Manderfield (winner of the inaugural Red Hook Criterium) mid pack appearing to suffering from a high level of oxygen debt.
After the men’s peloton passed (which was still in cruise mode) I headed to the the long descent out of the college area and waited for the next lap attempting to get a shot of the crest of the descent. Holloway (now on lap 4 of 10) rode close to his team car receiving bottles of water. Talanski had closed in but Holloway remained out of reach. Why Holloway didn’t wait up for him at the beginning of his suicide march is beyond me. Perhaps he knew that the field would chase sooner if two guys were hooked up building a huge lead.
The women quickly appeared again with Team Columbia at the front again. The front of the field had split apart and perhaps eight girls remained within contention (4 of them were from Team Columbia). The pace was extremely fast down the descent. I was able to get a few shots of the fragmented pack strung out in a long crumbling line.
I flagged down the media van as if it was a taxi cab and drove off to scope out the rest of the course. On the way to Lemon Hill there were many remnants of the battle ahead. A girl lay on the side of the rode holding her ankle the victim of a crash. Stragglers off the bike soft pedaled knowing their race was over. I pulled into the finish area just in time to witness a group hug from the victorious Team Columbia. Ina Teutenberg from Germany had won the race for the third time in her career. Her demeanor after the race was again calm and collected as if winning the event was a mere formality to her. Her teammates gave each other high fives.
At this point it was halfway over and Holloway had hit the wall and was reeled in by the next breakaway which contained American hero Tom Zirbel, Italian Daniel Oss, and Ukranian Valeriy Kobzarenko. I photographed some feedzone carnage before hopping back into the media van. Traveling around the course I spotted the break absolutely cruising down the slight downhill section leading to Strawberry Hill. Once again the sheer speed at which these professionals travel is highly impressive and is on another planet in comparison to amateur racing.
I rode the media van back up the wall, past the drunken and now sunburnt college crowd and all the way to Lemon Hill. Lemon Hill was the final climb on the course and seemed to hold a more cycling enthusiast themed crowd. The site lines were long up the winding short climb. The breakaway trio rolled through appearing relaxed and still many minutes ahead of the peloton. When the peloton finally arrived the attacks had begun in earnest. A group of 25 riders had broken free and scored thirty seconds on the main field. This group contained most of Team Columbia and all of the favorites excluding Andrei Greipel who was taking it easy as much as possible in hope of a bunch sprint.
The infamous Floyd Landis had made the front split but for some reason his OUCH Teammates drove the chasing peloton up Lemon Hill. Race radio’s may have been malfunctioning or perhaps Landis’ was so outgunned in the split that they preferred the field to be whole again.
I walked my way back to the start area and was able to witness the start of the ninth lap from a bird’s eye view of Kelly Drive. The three man break still powered on led by Zirbel who seemed to be doing all of the work himself (His time trial is famous). Several minutes later the split had dissolved into an unorganized mess which was quickly brought back by the main peloton. This is the point that Boasson Hagen along with Rock Racing’s David Vitoria decided to set themselves free in pursuit of the three leaders. Boasson Hagen in my mind was trying to live up to his hype. The cycling press had labeled him the number one favorite and concluded that he was the only one strong enough to stay away in a small break. He chased hard but dissolved back into the main field long before ever catching the other riders.
Soon the break’s firepower Zirbel blew up and Oss and Kobzarenko were alone together. Another half lap later and Kobzarenko was also shot. Oss drove ahead blindly towards the finish with statistics truly against him.
Impressively Oss made it out of the big laps and onto the 3 lap finishing circuit before getting caught by the Team Columbia train. Once Oss was dealt with there was really only one possible outcome to the race. The big German Greipel would walk away with sprint I predicted. I was right. With two laps to go I positioned myself on the race course amidst the official photographers only to be quickly be booted out (needed an orange vest apparently). Luckily from inside the press tents I still had perfect view of the sprint which included Greipel (big arms and all) powering away by several bike lengths. The speed was once again beyond impressive to witness.
The race ended well over 6 hours after it began. I was completely sun burnt and felt like I had competed in the race myself. Greipel didn’t appear winded at all from the day long effort that saw him cruise around Philly for 155.9 miles. In fact I believe he only made one hard effort all day.
Bicycle Film Festival
NYC-We got an Art Show, Block Party, GoldSprints, Bands, and lots of Bike Movies.
Get tickets now, for a day or pass for the whole damn thing!
Wednesday, June 17th
6:00 PM | Bikes Rock
South Street Seaport
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
and Special Guests – FREE
After Party TBA
Thursday, June 18th
6:00 PM | JOYRIDE – art show
After Party at Lit
Friday June 19
7:00 PM | Program 1 – Where Are You Go -
World Premiere – Buy Tickets
9:15 PM | Program 2 – Repeat of Program 1 – Buy Tickets
11:15 PM | Program 3 – Repeat of Program 1 – Buy Tickets
10:00PM | After party at Public Assembly with Goldsprints
Saturday June 20
12:30 PM | BFF Bike Parade
1:00 PM | BFF Street Party
1:00 PM | Program 4 – Mountain Bike Screening – Buy Tickets
3:00 PM | Program 5 – The Third Wheel – World Premiere – Buy Tickets
5:00 PM | Program 6 – I Love My Bicycle -
The Story of FBM Bikes – World Premiere – Buy Tickets
7:00 PM | Program 7 – Urban Bike Shorts – Buy Tickets
9:15 PM | Program 8 – Repeat of Program 7 – Buy Tickets
11:15 PM | Program 9 – Repeat of Program 7 – Buy Tickets
10:00 PM | After Party Extravaganza at CSV
Sunday June 21
12:00 PM | Polo Jam
1:00 PM | Program 10 – Sunday Bike Shorts – Buy Tickets
3:00 PM | Program 11 – 7 Deserts – Buy Tickets
5:00 PM | Program 12 – Fun Bike Shorts – Buy Tickets
7:00 PM | Program 13 – Down by the Weep Hole: The Story of the Stupor Bowl – World Premiere – Buy Tickets
9:15 PM | Program 14 – Keirin Queen/Onna Keirin Oh – Buy Tickets
Closing Party TBA
Map of all venues
Ok, I know it feels like we live in Portland Oregon with the rain and all but someday it’s going to be Summer…I think.
When it does, you’re going to need to be cool and cool.
so here are some new products from the guys at Outlier.
From their site: “Summer after summer passes by and invariably you find yourself in unexpected situations. An afternoon BBQ turns into a late night pool party, a quick beer run turns into a fire hydrant splash or a refreshing thunderstorm rolls through out of the blue. That’s why Outlier brings us two new releases, Summer Shorts and the Summer Storm cap. Both made to handle the unexpected moments of summer.
Outlier’s Summer Shorts are a classic short that can double as swim trunks. You can ride to the beach, jump in the ocean and ride back to the city without ever having to change. Made with Outlier’s fast drying Summerweight and 4Season material and designed with side pulls to cinch up in case you need to take a wave.
Next up is Outlier’s Summer Storm Cap. A waterproof, breathable cap made from Zegna wool suiting. Remarkably classy and ready to take on a ride through a thunderstorm to a dinner date with friends. Made with master milliner Victor Osborne in New York City.
This past Sunday was the first of this year’s Brooklyn Summer Streets. That’s when the city closes off a few streets to vehicular traffic and open it up to who the streets belong to…the people.
here is a flyer for the ongoing event:
a report back from Gita: “Summer Streets on Vanderbilt
This past Sunday marked the first Summer Streets on Vanderbilt event. The street was closed to automobile traffic from noon to 5pm for pedestrians and bikers to enjoy the vibrant street scene in the sun. The event featured arts and crafts for kids, live musical acts, a fashion show, badminton, food, shopping, and plenty of relaxing. For this weekâ€™s Summer Streets on Vanderbilt event, more activities are planned. There will be kidsâ€™ yoga, jazz music, a steel drum band, a fashion show, and much more. Come out and enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon on Vanderbilt, and bring your friends, family, neighbors, and pets!
Summer Streets on Vanderbilt hopes to promote a new type of open space where community members can walk, play, bike, relax, socialize, and come together. The event also aims to highlight the many cultural resources and local businesses in the Prospect Heights area. This temporary pedestrian plaza hopes to build on a movement that promotes walkable, livable, and sustainable streets and neighborhoods in New York City. Summer Streets on Vanderbilt is sponsored by the Vanderbilt Avenue Merchants District and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council in conjunction with NYCDOT.
Photos from this past Sundayâ€™s event can be found here: here.
Saw some folks in the summer of 2007 on a pizza bike tour and thought “hey, I bet I could meet people organizing my own rides.”
Describe the bike scene in Brooklyn?
Hmm. I see all sorts of cyclists in Brooklyn. There are those who do it for the scene, those who bike for fun and commuting, those who do it for work and then there are the Prospect Park pelotons. Whatever the purpose, I love that bike culture is taking off in Brooklyn.
What types of bike culture do you most like to blog about?
I cover most anything culture related on Brooklyn by Bike but particularly enjoy posting about the latest bike trends and cycling advocacy in NYC.
What gets people talking the most?
Readers really enjoyed my post criticizing female specific design in the cycling industry. I know it’s a point of contention for a lot of women who want to be taken seriously. Slapping pink and floral prints all over women’s gear really disempowers us as cyclists.
Who reads your blog?
Everyone! Kidding. People who enjoy bikes, many who live in Brooklyn.
Is biking a political act for you? What about bike politics in NYC, any
observations you’d like to share?
Sure, but I’m going to be honest, I also share a car. If you asked the person I share it with, you’d find that I really dislike using said car and much rather bike or take public transport when possible. I feel like New Yorkers are privileged in that way. The fact that we have have the ability to go almost anywhere for 2 bucks is incredible. Ride your bike and you’ll get there for free.
What’s it like commuting in NYC? What gets you the most angered? Most happy?
I love commuting in NYC. Zipping past cars stuck in traffic is one of the best feelings in the world. What angers me? Oh, I can’t stand when cars park in bike lanes.
How about bike infrastructure issues in NYC, bike lanes, car free zones?
anything working for you? needing improvement?
I think NYC has made great progress implementing miles of new bike lanes. Summer streets are also one of my favorite things but I do think the DOT has left behind lower income communities. There are almost no bike lanes in Eastern Brooklyn and that is a real shame. People commute by bike there too!
You recently made an astute observation, in your posting: “Flowers-not-appreciated,” that the bicycle industry isn’t quite “getting it” with designs for women. Care to elaborate?
Well like I mentioned, gear that is designed for women is often feminized which really doesn’t appeal to the majority of female cyclists. It makes us look silly. Though there are road bikes now designed for a female frame, there are still NO touring and cross models for women. Women have been touring on bikes for what hundreds of years, yet there is nothing made to fit us? Unbelievable. The cycling industry needs to really listen to what female cyclists need and want and they haven’t been doing so yet. Makes me want to start my own bicycle manufacturing shop.
Why do you feel biking is gaining popularity both in ridership and in
I think the country as whole is becoming environmentally aware. Biking it a great way to reduce CO2 emission and it costs a fraction of the price to maintain as compared with a car. Fashion seems to pick up on these trends too. They found fixed gear culture and now market it to the masses. Bikes are now a fashion accessory as well as a practical tool.
What muppet do you most identify with and why?
Haha. I would say the dude with the long snout, Gonzo because he’s weird looking.
Future goals for the blog?
Get more people out to our rides and make the blog more interactive!