by Aurelian Passeron (Predator Carbon Repair)
I was very motivated for the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic as soon as I saw the crowd lining up at the start. Thousands of people were there to see the race and the ambiance was very good. I felt–with that excitement–that I could win the race. My strategy was to save the energy in my legs, but by the fourth lap I was in a not very good position riding into the infamous ¨Manayunk Wall.¨ The race was split in half, but I was in the wrong half. My chase began with some others, but always with a small group. The chase was not so organized, but I made connection with Phil Gaimon (Bissell). I spent a lot of energy with this chase, but I was still focused and motivated to try for the win.
At that point, my teammate, Kirk Carlsen, was riding in the break, so I focused on recovering and conserving. United Healthcare took control of the race because they missed the breakaway. On the 8th lap of the race, the break started to fall apart. Kirk was outnumbered and under a lot of attacks. With him in our sights, Predator Carbon Repair was ready for the offensive!
In the last feed zone riding into the final lap, my teammate and I shared one bottle of water. The speed was so fast it was imposable to grab the bottles, so we had to share what water we could grab. The day was so hot it was not possible to have enough water. It was like hell. I continued to ride at the front and with one lap to go I followed Paco Mancebo. Almost cramping, I stayed with him to the top of Manayunk Wall. On the last lap only 20 cyclist remained at the front from the 200 starters. I was very dehydrated, but still hungry for the win, and the last time up the wall to the finish was like a dream with so many people screaming. I would not quite tell where the line was. With the finish and the win so close, I crossed the finish in 4th place. Coming from 20 back, my effort was maybe too much and I died going for the finish. With a little more patience or better positioning… My lights turned off after the finish and I fell to the ground. I had nothing left.
I’m very happy with my result, even though I was so close to the win. I know I will be back next year to try for the win. It was also very good day for the team, with Dion Smith winning the KOM and 3 riders in the top 15. “Vive la Predator!”