Week 3 (But actually 2) Philly Phlyer

Philly Phlyer 3/21-22 Race Report
A cold snowstorm on Friday threatened the races, but we at Penn State pushed on despite the accumulating snow. Saturday morning was welcomed with sunshine and warmth, melting the snow and made for a wet Team Time Trial.  The teams showed arrived in high spirits and put everything out on the road.  The course had a couple of fast descents and short punchy climbs finishing at the Smith Memorial Arch in Philly.  Staging was hectic as the nearby Please Touch Museum was having an event, leaving racers dodging cars in their warm up laps.

Saturday Time Trial: 13 mile TTT
Men’s D: Matt Mckenzie, Jose Aguilar, Ryan Dahl and Paul Girgis
The D team raced in one of their first team events, while they were not the fastest on the day, they learned a lot about racing and pacing as a team.

Men’s C: Sam Carroll, Zach Newcome, and Connor McManus
The group showed up at the start line down one teammate.  They soldered on and finished strong getting 6th out of 12 teams racing.

Men's B: James Read, Drew David, and Mitch Ernst
Mitch put his all into the TTT but was dropped six miles into the race.  James and Drew drove on and finished third.  However, their pace was so strong they were accidentally scored in the Men's A's field at fourth.

Men’s A: Joe Halo, Brett Wachtendorf, Greg Ratzell, and Matt Waller
Penn State took 3rd, just four seconds off of second place.  The team worked well together, although Joe found himself disconnected towards the end of the race.

Saturday Road Race: The Schuykill Scramble
The road race added on a mild climb into the circuit used in the TTT.  The climb was preceded by a 180 degree bend that forced the pack to almost come to a halt and sprint up the climb.

Men’s D: Matt Mckenzie, Jose Aguilar, Connor McManus and Paul Girgis
Distance: 20 miles
Jose, Matt, Connor and Paul lined up together. A mix of abilities left little of what could be called a peloton today.  Paul finished 9th after a very hard effort fighting the wind.  Connor and Matt each made a few friends on the road and worked together to fight to the line.  Jose came over the line with a smile on his face as he is just getting the taste of what makes racing so much fun.

Women’s C: Sarah Rutledge
Distance: 20 miles
These women are fast!  A number of strong girls showed up to drive the pace.  Sarah maintained contact for most of the race but finished just shy a couple of minutes of the main field.  She still finished 18th out of 28 riders.

Men’s C: Zach Newcome, Mitch Ernst, Sam Carroll and Charlie Li
Distance: 26 miles
A massive field, 63 starters on the day.  Short and fast, Charlie and Sam both fell off the pace but finished closely behind the pack.  Mitch had a great day, Winning 4th in the sprint.  Zach was right in the sprint as well but was taken out by a crash that happened ahead of him.  Fortunately, he and his new Specialized bike (Thank you to our sponsors, The Bicycle Shop and Specialized) survived the crash.

Men’s B: Drew David and James Read
Distance: 32 miles
Drew and James found themselves in a similar position to last week, unable to get away, they stayed strong in the field and sprinted for 9th and 13th in a very fast field.

Penn State-Lehigh Valley Mention Women’s A: Monica Volk
Distance: 32 miles
Monica Volk of Penn State Lehigh Valley will be joining the University Park Campus next year.  She won the collegiate race, finishing second behind a non-collegiate rider.

Men’s A: Sean McIntyre, Wes Kline, Greg Ratzell, Kevin Bernstein, Joe Halo, Brett Wachtendorf and Matt Waller
Distance: 46 miles
A Penn State team of 7 riders was determined to get in the breakaway.  Attacks started from the gun.  By the second lap in Kevin was in a break with 3 other riders chasing down a solo man up the road.  They had about 30 seconds on the field but Kevin went down in the 180 degree bend, getting back up with just enough time to rejoin the field.  The break was caught soon after.  The pace stayed high until Brett got off the front solo with more than 3 laps to go.  Sean, Wes, Greg, Kevin, Joe, and Matt followed attacks and blocked to keep Brett far away from the field.  Brett stayed away and won the day.  Joe and Matt flatted and did not make it to the finish.  Back behind, Kevin set a high pace into the finish to keep the pack together.  Wes, Greg, and Sean picked up 8th, 9th and 11th, respectively, for Penn State in the field sprint.

Sunday Criterium: Temple University Criterium
The mild warmth of Saturday turned into a biting cold wind on Sunday.  The buildings of Temple University’s campus blocked some wind but cast shadows all day, keeping everyone shivering.  The course turned into a wind tunnel with strong headwinds and tailwinds that caused large fluctuations in speed that burned up everyone’s legs.  A mile long course with two sets of train tracks, potholes and the occasional glass on the road.  This day was not going to be easy.  Pedestrians meandered on the course throughout the day as Temple University was having a visiting day for prospective student.

Men’s D: Matt Mckenzie, Jose Aguilar and Connor McManus
Distance: 30 mins
The coldest race, as it was the earliest on the day.  Jose and Connor rode their limit today, while fast, it wasn’t fast enough to stay with the field.  Jose was pulled but Connor made teammates with other teams to get to the line before the field did.  Matt is showing good form and finished in contact with the lead breakaway.

Women’s C: Sarah Rutledge
Distance: 40 mins
The field was small today, only 12 riders.  Not a whole lot of opportunity to hide from the howling wind.  Sarah fell off the pace but worked with a fellow rider to keep the pack from closing down, finishing her race on the same lap as the leaders.

Men’s C: Zach Newcome, Mitch Ernst, Sam Carroll and Charlie Li
Distance: 40 mins
The pace ramped up quickly and Sam and Charlie lost touch, unfortunately tour groups crossing the road held up Sam and cut his chase short.  Mitch was sitting strong and ready to go in the final sprint, but a rider in front of him decided to lie down.  Mitch swerved to avoid it but was unable to.  Zach avoided the crash, pedaled hard and found a slot in the top 10.

Penn State-Lehigh Valley Mention Women’s A: Monica Volk
Distance: 50 mins
A shout out again to Monica, as she sweeped every prime sprint, was involved in breakaways and won the finishing sprint to the finish.

Men’s A: Sean McIntyre, Wes Kline, Greg Ratzell, Kevin Bernstein, Joe Halo, Brett Wachtendorf and Matt Waller
Distance: 60 mins
The pace started off quick from the gun.  Monica of Lehigh Valley decided to race with the Men’s A after winning her race, but the effort was so quick that she was only able to stay in contact for two laps.  Wes, Greg, Brett, Sean and Matt all were able to stay near the front of the pack.  Kevin was near the back all day, but held on.  Joe did his best but was off the back halfway through the race.  Greg found his legs today and flew off the front near the end of the race, quickly dispatching his breakaway buddy to chase down the lone leader solo.  He was unable to bridge but casually snagged second place.  Wes was involved in a crash in the finishing sprint.  The remaining 5 finished in the pack.

Penn State moves up the standings!  The team showed up strong this week and got a very convincing win in the Men’s A road race.  Now 7th overall, and 5th in D1.
Next week is a further drive, out to Boston.  Despite this we hope that as many of you that can will represent the Nittany Lions and show our pride.  We are hopeful for some warmer weather in Boston.  See you out at the races!

Race report by Kevin Bernstein

Photography by Ginny Tory

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