Your daily bike race: September 26th

Beware the wet cobbles!

Photo by: John P Brady


Womens Junior Road Race

Chloe Dygert is our current national hero–she won the thing handily, more than a minute ahead of her teammate, silver medalist Emma White. Agnieszka Skalniak (Poland) took third, five seconds later. 

To put things in an awful perspective: Dygert is a freshman in college. I don’t know about you, but my first semester of college was spent napping and eating Doritos that suddenly nobody was telling me not to buy.

The rest of the race isn’t really clear to me, and it’s because UCI DID NOT PROVIDE A LIVE FEED FOR THIS EVENT. Their bizarre treatment of the female athletes is bewildering to me–it reminds me of when FIFA dude attributed the Women’s World Cup’s growing popularity to the fact that female athletes are cuter now, with neater hair and shorter shorts. I know you believed you worked really hard, Mia Hamm, but the fact is, you could have done a lot more for the sport had you learned how to contour and highlight the planes of your face.

Dygert was also the winner of the Womens Junior Time Trials (White took second in that, too) and I would enjoy seeing her on a coed USA team, the lack of which I don’t quite understand. 

Mens Under 23 Road Race

SPUTTER AND GASP! I am still not over the pangs of anxiety I felt in my chest when Italian Simone Consonni almost beat a prematurely cheering Kevin Ledanois just feet before the finish line. I mean, meters. Whatever. After multiple hours of patiently chilling in the peloton, letting a small breakaway crew keep the lead, these guys emerged and took over during the last lap. 

It’s all just like Matt Crane said it would be!

Guys, it was so crazy exhilarating to know in my brain that those guys in the breakaway were pretty much guaranteed to not win, and even crazier to know that they know it. Did they know that I knew they knew it? I don’t know! There’s a Friends episode about this.

Italian Davide Martinelli’s job appeared to be to infuriate his fellow breakaway riders for a couple of hours, not pulling his weight (literally) and ignoring some “you draft for a bit, I draft for a bit” etiquette. But, then karma caught up with him, and he messed up his gears on Libby Hill. Although, you could argue, his mission was accomplished. His team overtook the exhausted leaders and almost won the thing. 

Today’s Big Bike Action™

Mens Junior Road Circuit

  • 9:00 AM – 12:15 PM
  • Course map (129.8 km, 80.6 mi, 8 laps)
  • Team USA: Christopher Blevins, Jonathan Brown, Adrien Costa, Jack Maddux, Brandon McNulty, and Ethan Reynolds. These men have never lived in a world with Tupac Shakur and had yet to exist when the Spice Girls were at the top of their career. Don’t think about it.

The tension builds! The Mens Junior race begins at 9:00 AM, and within our team’s ranks, we have Time Trial medalists Adrien Costa and Brandon McNulty. This either means that they are super fast and will be a great asset, or that they are really tired and their lactic acid needs to be replaced (is that a thing?). 

Either way, Chloe Dygert won two gold medals in a row, so I certainly don’t want to hear the latter as an excuse, fellas.

Womens Elite Road Circuit

  • 1:00 – 4:25 PM
  • Course map (129.8 km, 80.6 mi, 8 laps)
  • Team USA: Megan Guarnier, Lauren Komanski, Shelley Olds, Coryn Rivera, Lauren Stephens, Evelyn Stevens, and Tayler Wiles. These cyclists, you’ll be happy to know, were born in reasonable years, like “1983” and “1986.” They’ve known the Berlin Wall, they’ve known Mr. Rogers, and one of them turns the advanced age of 35 next week, so there is a great likelihood that she will turn into dust before our eyes!

The Womens Elite hits the road at 1:00 PM. There’s a 100% chance of rain, which means much more scary chance of cobblestone slippage but also the gleeful chance of huge snarls that can level the playing field really quickly. You’ll notice that this is the be-all, end-all event for the ladies, who now get to prove their meddle by going the same distance as…the little, tiny, non-Spice-Girls-existing Junior Men. Somebody explain this to me!

Matt Crane marked Evelyn Stevens as the one to watch. Not only is her name very satisfying to say aloud (pause right here and try it three times, followed by a solid nod), but she did a really cool thing by leaving the evil world of Wall Street and just deciding to become a pro cyclist. No big deal, now she’s riding on the national team, and is favored to possibly win the entire shebang. 

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, however, is even more favored, being something of a phenomenon with about a million titles under her belt.

One would hope that the Womens Elite race will come with its own live feed, but as it seems like UCI would be much more comfortable with women doing what they were born to do on camera (donning a bikini and exiting a swimming pool very slowly), who knows.

Where to watch

  • FanFest (Broad and 5th Street) — It’s free, it’s the finish line (and the start line), and you can see the rest of the race from a Jumbotron
  • Fan Zones — Libby Hill, 23rd Street (that is, that crazy steep cobblestone hill at 23rd and E. Grace Streets). There are Beer Gardens there. BEER GARDENS. I HEAR YOU GUYS LIKE BEER, WAS I MISINFORMED?
  • VIP & Hospitality Tents — There’s one at Libby Hill and one at the Broad Street Pavilion between 3rd and 5th. Each VIP person gets a new bike and a mink stole. No, not really. But it’s a good vantage point and it’s fully catered. If you’ve got access to one of these VIP tents, you should make good use of it (and also befriend me realllll quick). Bonus: tents tend to shield rain from heads!
  • Broad Street between Belvidere and 2nd Streets
  • Monroe Park
  • Monument Avenue
  • Lombardy and Main Streets (home of the very fun and very new West Main Village little street festival, which will be going on all weekend)
  • Virginia Capital Trail on Dock Street — Yesterday, there was virtually no one watching from this nice long stretch (which has various head cover), which seems like a waste of a perfectly good space! Are you afraid that if you turn your back to the river, something will quietly creep out of it and wrap its clammy fingers around your neck so quickly that no one will hear you scream? That hardly ever happens! Get down there and set up your camp chairs!
  • Governor Street 
  • The Live Stream if you’re stuck inside. Richmond looks really, really neat on television.

Semi-Pro Tips

Finding a way to watch the riders as they go by in person and then jumping straight to the live feed once they’re gone is a very exciting process. More so than it may sound. The commentators have obviously been briefed that Americans know even less about cycling than they do about the metric system, and they have done a fantastic job of explaining many things to me as they’re happening.

Wave to the helicopters as you see them go by. They probably won’t see you, but it feels good.

Cheer for the USA team car, too. It’s like the bonus at the end of a lap–something else to cheer for before the drudgery of real life sets in.

Don’t get too excited about early breakaways. The peloton will get them. The peloton will draw them in. The peloton knows all1.

Roads and reminders

The same roads will be closed today as were yesterday’s. Monument, Main, Dock, Church Hill South, Lombardy…these are places you want to avoid if you hate fun and flock to if you don’t. Use the map to plan your travel.

Getting off I-95 onto Franklin or Broad will not be permitted from either direction. You can easily, however, get off at exit 75 from I-95 N and get through to Church Hill from the northern side. I recommend cruising up Jefferson and then M Street, finding parking somewhere to your right between 18th and 30th streets, and then walking south to the fun. Every time you pass a bakery, you get to buy yourself a treat! I give you full permission!

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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