We had met Todd Holland a few years ago through a friend doing D2R2. Since then, we've participated a few dirt road rides that Todd has organized out in the Amherst area, and he joined us the first year for DROVES, our long weekend dirt road ride. Todd had heard about the Gentlemen's race and had expressed his interest in joining a team.
Then there is Kristen Gohr. We met Kristen a few years ago on the hill climb circuit. Kristen is a Cat-1 racer who loves to climb. She and John destroyed the long-standing tandem record on Mt Washington when they teamed up together last year. In prep for the Mt Washington record, John and Kristen had done quite a few rides on the tandem. She took to it instantly, and had expressed disappointment when I put my saddle and pedals back on the tandem after the record ride. She had also expressed an interest in the Gentlemen's race.
I wasn't willing to give my seat up again, but we asked Todd and Kristen if they might like to ride together for the race and they jumped at the chance. Various scheduling conflicts meant we couldn't all ride together before the race, but we did manage to get Todd and Kristen on his tandem for a 100+ mile test ride. They killed us on that ride, so we had no doubts that they would do fine together on race day.
Team NameJohn and Rob and I tossed out a few ideas about team names. John loves to throw song lyrics into his race reports. As we talked about different possibilities, we kept coming back to our favorite musician, Richard Thompson, and his likely best known song, '52 Vincent Black Lightning. As RSC has a cafe racer theme, it seemed a good fit, and our team became the 52 Vincents.
HandicapWhen Gerben from Rapha asked for bios to handicap the teams for starting times, John reported that we were a team of three tandems, composed of Todd, Kristen, David, Emily, John and me, with me celebrating my 50th birthday a few days after the race, and John a 40+ masters racer. He also reported that I suffer from coffee-shop constipation, which is the inability to pass a coffee shop. So if there are too many coffee shops on route, we might never finish. He said that two of the riders (Todd and Kristen) had never ridden together before we put the team together and they each have 3 children. The third team (David and Emily) had done a few brevets together.
Actually he reported quite accurately that we had 5 riders with extensive ultra-marathoning and randonneuring experience, as well as some racing experience and a very active Cat 1 racer. This still got us placed as the second team to start, after the Bilenky team. The handicapping had teams starting at 6 minute intervals. With 20 teams, the last team would start almost two hours after the first. The last team, from Bicycling Magazine, had local knowledge and was mostly cat 1 racers. In fact most of the teams had mostly cat 1 and 2 racers. So maybe our handicapping wasn't too off-base. But two hours is a lot of time to make up...
Still, our goal was just to make a respectable showing for tandems, and well ... since it was a race, beat the other tandems.