When you say cycling, many people think Tour de France and multiple stages of racing. Well, this is one day and one criterium in downtown West Chester, PA. Racing around two city blocks with 20,000 spectators drinking beer and eating dinner.
The Iron Hill Twilight Criterium is the penultimate round of the USA Criterium Series. As the 2018 season kicks off, we wanted to take a look back at this unique race from last August.
With a squad of six riders flying in from various places around the U.S. on a Friday evening, we converged on West Chester for a relaxing team dinner and a few inside jokes before getting down to business.
Saturday morning, we met for a light spin and a few carpark fun-shots with photographer Cody Mann. “Look natural,” he said, as we all sat up straight folding our arms and gave our cheesiest smile possible.
The race distance of 75 laps was thrown at us as we listened to our final instructions from the chief judge of the race. As we got underway, it was a blistering pace at the front, and the course was a little damp in areas which made for some nervous riders. Luckily there were no major crashes.
We were continually attacking and never letting the pace ease up. It was clear our tactics were working with only 25-30 riders left in the race, and with 17 laps to go. Finally, a breakaway of three riders containing teammate Matt Salpeitro rode off the front. We managed to ride a false tempo on the front of the remaining peloton to keep any attacks from bridging across. At the line, it was Matt taking a close second place with fellow teammate Daniel Holloway outsprinting the field to finish 4th.
It was a great night out for our Texas Roadhouse team. Everyone met for dinner and a local beer to rehydrate afterward to rehash the race and share a few stories.
As the day broke on Sunday, it was a travel day back to our various cities we had come from and return to our regular day-to-day during the week. It’s always a bit sad leaving the group after an exciting race, but at the same time, it’s nice to sleep in your own bed.
Keep an eye out for the Texas Roadhouse team this season while we take on the USA Criterium Series. You can watch live streams of races this year too, so you can catch us as we wind it up out on the course.