By David Wagener
Darwin would be proud. The first ever Club ITT Championship held at Floyd Bennett Field in 2006 was a timid affair. 71 men and 9 women, ventured from the friendly confines of time-tested Central Park, braced against a deafening wind, and got thrashed. On a five lap course totaling 11.5 miles, only one boy broke the 25 minute barrier, and only four riders recorded a single lap time under five minutes.
We’ve evolved. In one short year, hybrid TT bikes have given way to approximately 100 speed machines that any Tour rider would gladly mount. First generation TT helmets have been replaced by stealth NASA designs. And lightweight racing wheels have become pass? in favor of deep deep dish configurations to better handle the Atlantic gales.
And the effect? Six riders nailed exactly 25 minutes or less on August 5, 2007. If you had pretensions for the Top Ten, you had better clock single laps in the four’s. In roughly comparable conditions, the men’s winner was 45 seconds faster than last year’s. The women’s was 121 seconds faster. God save the Queen!
And what about those Empire boys? Not content to dominate the Team Series (184 points versus 73 for the Bandits and 53 for Sid’s), or the individual Jim Boyd Standings (5 of the top 10 riders), the boys in red, white and black almost swept the field. Three of the top four. Five of the top eight. Yikes! In any other endeavor, the Justice De-partment would have team honcho Mike Sherry arrested for restraint of trade. And in what may be the next great undefeated streak after “Eight-in-a-Row” Smiley Upton, Daniel Zmolik distanced himself from the field by thirty seconds, which in a 20K-ish race is what we call a back-of-the shed whooping.
At the young age of 30, Zmolik, pronounced Zmolik, is only in his fourth year of racing. That’s if you don’t count those four years when he raced as a junior TT specialist in Czecholslovakia. Or if you do count his 2007 sixth place G.C. finish in the Cat 2’s at both Fitchburg and Altoona. Or his recent upgrade to Cat 1. In other words, the boy’s a racer. And his steed? A spanking new Cervello P2C with with Zipp 404’s front, back and sideways. The bike moves.
The girls? It’s all about Jamie Nicolson (DB). Again. Older than 30, Jamie has racing in her blood. Her brother raced in the PanAm games in 1991 and was on the US Olympic Team in 1992. Guess the event? TTT. If you think that is an unfair advantage, you’re right. To make up for the fact that she works at a real job, has a daughter, and heretofore has been forced to ride her husband’s outdated Schwinn, Jamie picked up a spiffy red Pinarello TT machine, replete with rear disk and a little motor inside. ‘Lest we forget, she’s still drinking out of last year’s TT Championship Cup.
There were a number of other notable performances. Ted Neu (Sid’s-Cannondale), eleven years on the far side of Zmolik, was edged out of second by Michael Margarite (Empire) by a second. Anthony Accardi (SouthAfrica.net) cruised to a fifth in the Overall on a stealth machine, took a sip of water, jumped on an old-school bike, and won the Cannibal Category. Some unknown C dude with the outstanding name of Bouker Pool (Bicycling) won the Category and 11th overall. And Patrick Littlefield (Avenue A-Razorfish) cruised to the top step of the B podium.
It is worth noting here that the chance of reclaiming Central Park, tomorrow, for 100-something speedy TT specialists dominating the venue on a Saturday morning, is slim. Sure the bi-dudes run and bike without half the marshals. But first, they go about half the speed. And second, life isn’t exactly fair. Also, a ventilated abandoned airfield way out on the edge of Brooklyn has its own charms.
Mention should also be made that the CRCA boys and girls took their show on the road and all but dominated the NY State ITT held in Saratoga on August 18. Check this out: three golds (Accardi/Cat 4, Settle/45-49, Ann Marie/50-54); three silvers (Almonte/Juniors, Author/50-54, Weisenbaker/30-34) and two Bronzes (Zmolik/ P-1-2, Willingham/45-49).