It is the biggest one day road race in North America and I tanked it. My first two years racing professionally I trained long miles with a fire under my butt and always managed to peak properly for Philadelphia. This year I left Canada in October in order train through the winter only to battle sickness, in particular these past three weeks. The worst part was knowing just how terrible my form is compared to years past, but at the same time needing to be calm and composed in order to fall asleep at night.
There is no way to express what it feels like to sprint through the cobbled and tunneled corners before the Wall, then to hear the echo of the crowd subside with the onslaught of heat and steepness that is the Wall itself. Head half-cocked and legs desperately pushing my carcass up the slope, a slight reprieve from a wayward hose marks the end of the steep section and the beginning of the crest. Nothing beats the feeling of powering over that crest and making the selection.
There is no way to express what it feels like to ride up the wall once dropped. I now know what that feels like, and I never want to experience that feeling again.
This was my first time racing Philly. My job was to help Freddie who was a favorite to win, given he won Nationals the week before and because historically speaking, he has done really well at Philly. Unfortunately I flatted about 70 miles in only to have complications with a neutral wheel change. At the time the caravan was with the break so by the time I got pedaling again it was impossible to rejoin the hard-chasing peloton—thus ending my race. I was disappointed to say the least as I could have helped Freddie if not for the bad luck. I was very impressed with the race though. Great crowds and lots of energy on a cool urban circuit certainly exceeded my expectations. I’m looking forward to racing it again.
I had high hopes for Philly, it is one of the most prestigious road races in the US and I wanted to have a good ride. My hopes were tempered though, considering I raced the Glencoe Grand Prix in Chicago the day before Philly. After Glencoe, I got two hours of sleep before I had to leave for the airport to catch my flight to Philadelphia. I landed in Philly 2.5 hrs before the start, took a taxi from the airport and didn’t find my team until 30 min before the race started. Already exhausted, I got my kit on, pinned my number and got my bike together. My body was screaming and protesting before the race even started but I was determined to make something out of it. I stayed safe in the group but missed the major split—my legs and body just couldn’t respond. I finished the race in a big group a few laps down. I was bummed not to be in the lead group where I feel like I would have—and should have—been with proper rest and a realistic travel schedule. Going up the wall the last lap I enjoyed the crowd and was giving high fives to all the drunk fans; I saw a party going on one of the roof tops with a beer bong made out of a bike frame. The atmosphere in Philly is unlike any other race all year. I ended the day the way I started it: on an airplane, this time headed back to CO. I got home at 1 AM. It was a long 22 hr day.
I crashed 20km into a 200km race when someone clipped a barrier. It was like 90 degrees outside. I got paced back up to the field on the bumper of the ChampSys team car at like 70kph, tires screaming through the corners. After that I ran bottles back and forth up to our protected riders. I rode the front for a bit after the big field split. Ran more bottles back and forth. Hung on until the last lap, then rolled in tired, sore, and totally satisfied with a group of others who probably had a similar day. After the race I ate a burrito and a banana split with my girlfriend. I slept on a futon at my friend’s house then made the five hour drive straight back to my job the next day. No one in my office has any idea what I really do. My goal at Philly was to make a good impression on the right people. I want to do this for a living.
It was the fourth lap and all of the sudden we were the gruppetto. For some weird reason I just went a little harder up the wall the next time around and as I came over the top, I had a gap and went for it. I was solo that lap until Lemon Hill where I caught the very last car in the caravan. My race was over after that because now I was back in a position to get Matt bottles and work for him. Every lap I would sag so hard up the Wall before sprinting downhill thru the caravan to get Matt a bottle or some food before hitting the the wall again. I was so stoked to finally pop off the field on that last lap. At that point we’re all riding soooo slooooow, and I’m with some serious names mind you, making jokes and looking at pretty girls, which pretty girls I can finally appreciate because I’m no longer turning myself inside-out. It was pretty rad to hear people losing their minds and screaming their faces off on the climbs. I’m wearing all this spandex just wishing it was over and people are just going nuts all over the place. Side Note: I got hella sunburned because I didn’t wear any sunscreen. I didn’t think I was gonna last that long in the race so I just didn’t bother. But I finished, and I’m really red.
A Special Thanks to Some Racers & Fans, You Know Who You Are
- During the run-up to Philly, two different racers offered Emiliano Granado some floor space in their hotel room.
- A friend of Emiliano’s from NY invited him to a pool party to swim & chill.
- Someone from Twitter offered Emiliano a couch.
- Two different racers, on the line at the start of a 200km/95° race, offered Emiliano some of their water from their bottles.
- The two Philly fans/spectators in the crowd who wore MFS t-shirts—thank you for representing. SPEED SPEED SPEED.
The MFS NYC to Philly Playlist
- 1 Big Sean feat. Jay-Z and Kanye West My Clique
- 2 Fabolous feat Chris Brown Ready
- 3 Jay-Z feat. Swizz Beats Open Letter
- 4 Lil Wayne Love Me
- 5 Rihanna Birthday Cake
- 6 The Weeknd Wicked Games
- 7 French Montana Freaks
- 8 Drake Started from the Bottom
- 9 Kendrick Lamar Swimming pools
- 10 Konshens Bad Gal
- 11 Pitbull Feel this Moment
The Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic Start/Finish Playlist
- 1 David Guetta I Can Only Imagine
- 2 Melanie C I Turn to You
- 3 Medina You and I
- 4 Tag Team Whoomp! (There It Is)
- 5 Technotronic Pump Up the Jam