2016 Longsjo Classic - 3 Amazing Days!
The Longsjo Classic race is a time-honored American cycling event, the Longsjo Classic is a community celebration of cycling, competition, history, fitness, and health. Established in 1960 in memory of 2-time Olympian Art Longsjo, the event commemorates the life and achievements of a remarkable athlete and person who left his mark on the Fitchburg community and generations of cycling fans.
We loaded up the team trailer and Todd behind the wheel of his new jeep, we were off to the races!
In recent years the Longsjo Classic has transformed into a 3 day Omnium held Friday thru Sunday in the Massachusetts towns of Leominster, Worcester & finishing in the historical Fitchburg. The race courses in each town are unique to their downtown locations taking full advantage of the layout of buildings, parks, hills and other features.
This year Leominster had a new course just adjacent to the previous course. The rider consensus was in favor of the new, technical course - it was short and lightning fast. It would prove to be a challenging, action filled venue for the team and other competitors. We would place 2 riders in the top ten.
Worcester is always a challenging technical 6 corner course with uneven pock marked sections of pavement that add to the technical nature of the course. The team setup camp right in the heart of the action on Franklin street. The street is closed down to traffic before the racing begins. This is a great way to take in all the action while we prepare for our races or stick around to support our fellow club mates who are racing in other categories. The Worcester race would come down to a late final lap attack to decide the win. The team took charge with 2 laps to go at the front keeping it strung out and safe and would maintain a presence at the front though other teams would work to put their riders in position too. We placed 2 racers on the podium and secured the Omnium lead.
The final race of the series always concludes with the storied Fitchburg Criterium who's course is very different from the previous races. It is a longer circuit with a sweeping lollipop top leading down a long fast straight into two quick 90 degree left turns followed by the long straightaway to the finish. This years course saw a change in the finish line location moving it further up the street near the top of the lollipop. The change made for a difficult to judge finish. Protecting the Omnium lead was the goal and the team worked to defend against the other teams who were nipping at our heals throughout the race to chip away at the available points. In the end we raced hard and though couldn't hold onto the overall lead, finished with a 3rd place overall for the Omnium.
The weather for the weekend was picture perfect for racing and enjoying the downtown areas with families and friends. The promoters and support staff who work diligently behind the scenes to bring these races to us flawlessly deserve a huge thanks for making this, the 2016 Longsjo Classic the best yet! We look forward to next year already...
Here's a few photo's of the Aetna-Expo Team enjoying our long race weekend with Teammates, Club mates, families and friends!