Cycling Takes on Pros at Adelphia Grand Prix

New England’s top cyclists gave a solid jarring to the PA Cycling team last weekend at the Adelphia Grand Prix, a prestigious criterium-style race host to professional racing teams. The 3-mile, 8-lap race has a demanding climb and a technical descent with a blisteringly fast sprint to the finish line. Five boys entered in the Juniors Category, a race consisting of riders under the age of 18. The Junior pack is notorious for being a cutthroat crowd and each year pulls in the best talent across the Eastern Seaboard. This year, the Junior race reached speeds of 40 miles per hour, and maintained speeds of 36 miles per hour for significant periods of time. The pack was so fast as to pass the professional racers, much to the surprise of everyone at the event. Dave Morse ’04, the only A rider to enter the Junior race, was dropped from the pack after only three laps of chasing breakaways at the front of the group. Morse said of the race, “It was just ferocious. Attacks were launching left and right, and I was just a bit too eager to cover them all. I was suckered in to the fast pace and lost steam soon after.” The other PA riders to enter the Junior race this past weekend were Alex Wolf ’06, Nick Bowen ’06, Alex Hugon ’07, and James Krendal-Clark ’07. They were unable to keep up with the main pack, but the race gave them good racing experience for the season. Wolfe said of his performance, “There was some really good competition. The professional riders took off quickly and dropped most of our team in the beginning. It was a good race to work on my technical skills and to watch the tactics of the professionals.” The Women’s Category 4 put Andover riders against grown women and weathered racers. A few of the girls slipped off the back of the pack, but two young stalwart additions to the team managed to hang on with the main pack. Lily Stein ’07 and Arielle Filiberti ’07 contested in the front of the womens’ pack for much of the race. Disaster struck in the fourth lap when a rider collided with Filiberti, bringing both riders to the ground, as well as all of the racers immediately behind them. Filiberti said of the crash, “Another rider locked handlebars with me, and most of the peleton went down with us. Bikes and people were scattered all over the road, and I totaled my bike.” Stein was also caught in the whirlwind of wheels, legs, and handlebars. Apart from superficial scrapes, the two girls walked away unharmed from the crash. Returning cyclist Izzie Ritchie said of the race, “It was really hard to keep up with the professional riders, but the race was a good way to get back into racing and to learn from some of talented riders. I’m looking forward to the prep-school league races because we race against other high school cyclists, and we should all do a lot better.” The riders continue with their season and from now on will race against only high school cyclists. Still, the Adelphia Grand Prix is an early-season tradition that prepares the team for the challenging races ahead.