Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sorry for the hiatus in race reports. Have no fear. RU Cycling has been in action.

Last weekend, Rutgers headed to races at Lehigh and Bucknell,

Joe gives us this brief report from the Lehigh mountain top criterium:

"Overall: cloudy, drizzly rain, small turnout early. Notorious hill course with about 3 to 4 minute laps.
Mens D: Joe D. and Dave K. competed in a field of only 18 D1 racers. Hilly couse, spent half the time climing and the other half racing downhill, with only about 20 seconds of rest on the top flat. Joe picked up one prime and finished 2nd.
Mens C: Ted C. and Don F., C field of 45-50.
Strong emphasis on racing clinic. Offered at the end of most races. [Target Training] offered one lab coached with commentary and a seminar about tactics.

Monday, March 27, 2006

kittatiny scouting report

While many team members were racing in pennsylvania, some of Rutgers' mountain bikers took to the trails at Kittatiny State Park, where our first knobby-tired race of the season will take place in two weeks. Our group included Charlie, Jay, Alessandro, Alicia, myself, and Keith, a member of team Bulldog who showed us the course for our first lap.

First of all, many thanks to Keith for the tour, without which we would certainly have been lost (the map was worthless, trust me). More importantly, Keith's impression of Alessandro was certainly the best i've ever heard. Keith sounded more like Alessandro than Alessandro does. Therefore, Keith is now an unofficial member of the Rutgers Cycling Team, and is extended all the privileges thereof - namely, permission to make fun of such topics as Blake's daily cake consumption and Mark's angry face.

After two laps of reconnoitering, the group split into two subgroups, Team Alpha and Team Bravo. Alicia and Alessandro (on Team Alpha, because Alicia was recently in Greece and their names both start with A... don't question it) kept putting in the base miles, while Charlie, Jay, and I tried to get in some intensity. Team Bravo split midway through the third lap into Teams Bravo and Charlie, such that Charlie and Jay (guess which Team they were on) got in two additional laps, while I got to walk back to the car. More on that later.

When asked to comment on the ride, Charlie seemed pretty pleased with the course, especially for an enduro race. Between his 29" wheels and his insane handling skillz, Charlie was surprised to find out that there were rocky sections on the course. Witnesses report that he exclaimed, "There were rocks on the course? I am surprised to find this out!" Charlie then speculated that if there were rocks of which he was unaware, then there might also be ruts and ruts. That may seem like a lot of ruts, but if it does, then you've never gone mountain biking with Charlie, and you should fix that pronto.

Jay, fresh from a campaign in the collegiate road world, seemed very pleased to be back on the single track. Road riding seems to have improved his offroad fitness, though, as his cadence has increased from 65 to a lightning-fast 72. Bystanders were a little creeped out, though, as Jay spent most of the ride laughing maniacally and shouting, "take that, roadies!" at the rest of us.

Alessandro was putting out a lot of power, as he is wont to do. However, it was clear that he would rather have been on the road, riding his P3C. Okay, it wasn't actually clear, but since I would rather have been riding his P3C, I assume that he would too.

Alicia was tearing it up, proving that weeks of knives-in-the-lungs sickness don't necessarily preclude a killer 3-hour MTB workout. It should be noted that both Alessandro and Alicia had multiple gears on their bikes. I know, I know, I don't get it either, but we have to be tolerant of all sorts of people.

Then there was me. I don't really feel like talking about my ride. Suffice it to say that my tensioner died, resulting in horrendous "POP" sounds every pedal stroke. Also, I lost a chainring bolt, which I think is related to the skipping chain. Also, my chainring bent, which I'm quite sure is related to the chainring bolt (Charlie claims that it is probably related to my "incredible power output", but I think he was being sarcastic, because I'm tiny). To demonstrate:



This left me stranded about a mile from the car, which would've been no problem except that I got lost. I don't just mean lost, I mean it's cold, the sun's going down, I'm not wearing enough clothing, and I think I hear "Dueling Banjos".

Fortunately, I was able to make my way back to the parking lot, where we all regrouped. Team Alpha went to meet friends for dinner, while Team Bravo went to Porky's for refueling. Their BBQ sauce is unmatched. Endurox is certainly the best recovery drink I've ever had, but it is well complemented by greasy hamburgers and Bass Ale. Now you know.

Finally, I must make a clarification: It's not Angry Mark. Mark is almost never Angry. However, he does have a delightful Angry Face. Thus, he is Angry-face Mark. This public service announcement was brought to you by the letter E, the number 4, and viewers like you.

P.S. I hope you weren't expecting this to rhyme. That ship has sailed... at least for now

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

an ode to the afternoon ride

gettin' all poetic up in this piece...

Poor little Donnie, and poor little Jay
Met in front of Brower this cold windy day.
One underdressed, feeling quite frozen-toed
The other would rather be playing off-road.

Towards Watchung our two brave bicyclists did leave,
In weather a penguin would nary believe.
How epic! How moving! But I should rebuke,
This ride didn't cause either cyclist to puke.

They struggled up River, then up Mountain Ave
Knowing their goal was what they would soon have,
The chance to ascend that deplorable run,
Known to the people as the road of Washington.

First up, and then down, then twice over again,
'Tween pickup trucks shouting "in spandex? not men!"
Up switchbacks and kickups and false-flats galore
'Till neither could stand to ascend any more.

Now back towards New Brunswick these two did attack
The wind now an aide, pushing them from the back.
They checked their cyclometers, quite pleased to discover
The high speeds well known to any tail-wind lover.

First 20, then 40, then 60 did they see,
(this is a literary device known as 'hyperbole'.
Ask angry-faced Mark, he'll surely attest,
for he's an English dude, and one of the best!)

Upon contemplation, they knew they had shown
Something every roadie ever has always just known
A truth that's been known since ancient rides past,
It can't be the tailwind, you're just fit and fast!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sprint Jersey Competition, Week 3

Back by popular demand, the Rutgers Sprint Workout treated all participants to a delightful smorgasbord of power output and suffering. With the sun shining and the wind howling, this first day of spring threatened to exceed 32 degrees (that's 0 C, for all you foreigners and engineers), prompting Brandi, Dan, and Don to leave their igloos and get on their bikes. Ted also met us at Brower, but he was on his way to breakfast in the dining hall, and therefore we hate him (we don't actually hate you, Ted).

At Mark's suggestion, we experimented with staying seated throughout the sprints, because getting dropped after trying to close gaps gets really old after a while. Our suspicions that seated accelerations are our weaknesses were confirmed when we couldn't complete a third set. This also may have been due to the fact that we were all unsuccessful in our attempts to make "angry faces". At this point, the judges' deliberations for the sprint jersey competition began.

Dan certainly had the most speed on this day, jumping harder and spinning faster than any other rider. However, he and I agreed that the mere fact that I was able to challenge him each sprint meant that Alessandro is still ahead on points. Therefore, Alessandro keeps the sprinter's jersey - this means that he has both the sprinter's jersey and the KOM jersey, since Charlie and Mark have both rejected the latter, and Rosener has dropped off the face of the earth. Due to Dan's undeniably dominant performance this morning, he is leading the "Most Aggressive Rider" competition (Mark's attack at the start of every crit don't count, because I say so). At next week's sprint competition, Dan's nonexistent numbers will be red, and he will receive prize money in the amount of 0 Swiss Francs (that's 0 Euros).

Brandi was awarded the Fastest Woman jersey, the Fastest Cyclocross Bike jersey, and the Fastest Sneakers jersey. She has also promised to stop saying "I suck" and to continue kicking butt with a positive attitude.

In light of tomorrow's split ride, the KOM competition will be replaced by the "who's knees get destroyed first" competition. Whoever climbs Washington Rd. in at least a 53x16 gearing gets the white jersey (white representing the color of bone in a cartilage-free knee joint) and a free ride in my car to the nearest orthopedist. Seriously, don't do that.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Mission Complete: I finished a crit!!

Princeton ended up being a really fun race. There were fewer racers than any other event, only about 200, and there was a very mello feeling in the air. It felt like people were there to have a fun race.

I met up with Will as I arrived and we ended up being the only two Rutgers riders the whole day. Check-in was interesting since they could not find our check at first and then I found out that I had never been registered. They asked for money and I explained that we had paid for three racers and only two showed so would it be possible if I took someone elses spot. They agreed and Dan got his name crossed off the list with mine taking his spot.

My race started off really mello. Everyone took it easy the first 2 laps while they learned the turns and feel of the course and then we got going. It was a much better start to the race than yesterday. I think its a sign that people are learning you cannot win the race in the first 10 minutes. On lap 5 I had my moment to shine. On the back stretch the course was strait, long and flat. For some reason the field went to the left side of the road as much as possible and the right side wide open to attack. I knew it was not the best dicision, race wise, but I wanted to have some fun so I attacked and pulled out in front. I lead for about 7 seconds before a UVM rider joined me and said, "Lets do this." I got on his wheel and we pulled away from the pack.

The only tricky part of the race was a hard left turn up a small hill similar to yesterday. On the hill I realized I had burned all my energy during my attack and the UVM guy pulled away as I slowed down. He looked back and I waved him on, he knew my legs were shot. It could have been great. Coming down the other side of the little incline I had to drop to my middle ring and just keep peddling while I waited for the pack to swallow me up. They did about 100 yards later and my attack was over. I hung on at the back and rested for the next lap before working my way back to the front.

With about half a lap to go I was sitting about 3 riders from the front of the pack and all the breaks had been brought back. Once again on the back strait the leaders picked up the pace and started fighting for position and I stayed with them. I was in the top 10 going into the left turn with the hill and for some reason everyone went hard to the right and boxed me in
while a group from behind us attacked on the left side of the road which was left completely open. I crossed the finish line still boxed in and loosing position while the 10 or so riders around me refused to take advantage of the other half of the road. I got 20th place out of 53 and have now completed my goal of finishing a crit.

I also went back to "Doughnut Power" for this race and kicked ass, unlike yesterday. They shall forever be my pre-race fuel of choice. Homer Simpson had it right all along.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Grant's Tomb/Princeton Preview

Rutgers Cycling is back in action this weekend for some fast-paced criterium racing action.

Saturday brings Columbia's Grant's Tomb Criterium in NYC. Sunday takes the team to Augusta, NJ for Princeton's crit at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.

With two strong weekends behind them and spring break to rest and train, the team looks poised to once again get some great results.

Having just taken both the team sprint and KOM jerseys, Alessandro makes his triumpant return to the men's A this weekend. Sickness kept him out of the racing the past two weeks, but Alessandro looks to be riding in fine form and has the experience to deliver some serious results.

In the women's A, look for Lori to have great results both days. While Grant's Tomb may see a split in the field, Lori will surely be there for the field sprint. Princeton's crit will most probably stay together with Lori again close in attendance.

Will continues to ride strong and will be looking for a solid finish in the men's B. After the brutally fast and aggressive riding in Philadelphia, Grant's Tomb may be a little more sedate and favor a rider with a strong engine and ability to power up hills and along flats.

With Jen at a retreat and Brandi working, the Rutgers women's B team will not be in action this weekend. Rumor has it, though, that Alicia may make her return to collegiate racing, emerging from the fog of dissertation and sickness, alongside Brandi and Jen to lead the women's B team.

The ever massive men's c crew will be looking to improve on last weekend's crit results that were marred by flats and getting caught behind crashes. As always, look for Brian to ride strong. Blake is also amped to race Grant's Tomb and has been eating no less than three different kinds of cake everyday to prepare. With early season fitness that continues to shock even him, Mark may well play a factor in racing this weekend. Dan's results show steady improvement week to week and this power course may well suit his powerful riding style. With an impromptu cornering clinic behind him, look for Ted to rail the corners and ride strong both days. Fresh off a strong showing in the team sprint and KOM competitions, Don is ready to tear apart the racing this weekend. Still hungrier is Jay who surrendered the sprint jersey to Alessandro... can he replace it with prime points?

With air in their tires, the men's D will test their mettle once again this weekend. Dave and Noah have both been putting in outstanding rides in their first season with Rutgers Cycling. Look for brilliant, steady riding from both these riders this weekend.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

break out the polka dots

Earlier this morning, 4 riders (Alessandro, Jay, Will, and myself) met for an intense 1.5 hours of riding. Having softened our legs yesterday, the Scarlet Train chose Washington Rd as the location for our repeats, because we're crazy like that. The competition was immediately fast and furious, with Will pushing his big ring at 10 mph for a while (although he claims that this was just to mess with our heads).

Since we'd confined ourselves to one 0.8 km stretch, there wasn't any need to regroup at the top or bottom of the climb. However, our official USCF timekeepers never showed up, and so we don't know who was ascending the fastest. Thus, judges had to make inferences in order to award the KOM jersey. Based on their (my) experience riding with the team, they are (I am) awarding the jersey to ... Charlie Florek.

That's right, even though Charlie didn't even show up to today's ride (because he's too cool for slick tires and gears), he was most likely single-speeding up vertical walls at Chimney Rock or doing something silly like that. It's safe to assume that Charlie was the sickest climber today, so Charlie gets the polka dot jersey. If it turns out that Charlie didn't even ride today, judges will award the jersey to either Mark (because with an angry face like that, anything is possible) or Rosener (who probably would've seen a bird look at him funny, gotten really aggro, and put out 2000 watts chasing it down). These are complete generalizations, of course, but who cares, I'm the self-appointed judge.

I'll see you all at Grant's Tomb, hopefully we'll have recovered by then.

Sprint Jersey Competition 3-14-06

The sprint jersey leaderboard saw a big shake-up today during the second Corn-Rows and Painted-Toes workout (so named for reasons I can barely even remember). Despite a valiant effort, last week's jersey-wearer Jay had to give it up to the well-rested powerhouse Alessandro.

Honestly, the judges (specifically, me) were too far behind the action to see who won each sprint. It could have been angry-faced Mark, and it might have been "I ran out of gears" Will, who was recovering in a bigger gear than most people sprint in. However, both conceded that it was Alessandro, who reportedly skipped the UPenn/Drexel races just to be fresh for this sprint jersey competition, that took the majority (all?) of the sprints.

Wednesday's ride will determine the leader of the King of the Mountain (KOM) competition.

Monday, March 13, 2006

UPenn/Drexel Weekend Wrap

Rutgers Cycling headed down to Philadelphia this weekend to enjoy some great racing. Here's how it went:

In the circuit race on Saturday, crashes and flats were to play a key factor all day. Men's A rider Mike put in a great ride until crashed in the last corner; he pulled it together to finish 29th. Way to go! In the Women's A circuit, sprinter Lori once again picked up an impressive result finishing 5th.

In the Men's B, Will rolled in for 40th, while our women's killer Bs, Jen and Brandi, finished 22nd and 46th. Nice rides !

The Men's C circuit saw a familar name in the results - Brian. Brian finished 5th in the long and hilly circuit. Dan put in an awesome ride for 27th, Ted for 37th, and Blake for 54th. A flat took Jay out of the race early.

The Men's D circuit race was also plagued by flats. Rob flatted in the farthest point of the course and was forced to walk. Joe showed his comeback to RU Cycling is no joke with a 6th place finish. Noah put in another strong ride for 26th. Dave continues to improve with a strong 43rd place finish.

Sunday brought fresh riders, Don and Mark, and the rain.

Pouring rain greeted the team as it arrived at the criterium course. With weather more suitable for cyclo-cross than road racing, the intrepid team suited up and hopped on trainers to stay warm.

In the women's A, Lori rode strong all day but was put in a spot of bother right before the sprint and finished 17th.

At the start of the Men's C race, the rain picked up and the cross specialists on the team could not wipe the grins from their faces. Mark again hammered off the front at the start and was joined by an UNH rider for a lap. Once caught, he rode comfortably near the front. Brian bridged up to the front group after being caught behind a crash but flatted once he got up there. Always the trooper, Brian grabbed another bike and finished the race. Mark finished 14th, Brian 24th, Dan 44th.

In the Men's D, Noah put in another great ride to finish 18th, despite a massive field and poor weather making it all the more sketchy.

For full results checkout Velocity Results.

Next weekend, the team is in action again in NYC Saturday for Columbia's Grant's Tomb Criterium and Sunday for Princeton's Criterium in Augusta, NJ. With an increasingly confident criterium team, look for results both days.

Huge thank you for this weekend to Brandi and Brandi's parents for housing and feeding us only minutes away from the courses. We learned many things this weekend, mostly about Blake's love for cake. We also learned that most of us cannot navigate Philadelphia.

Friday, March 10, 2006

UPenn/Drexel Weekend

Coming off a red hot season opener at home, Rutgers Cycling heads down to Philadelphia for another 3 event weekend hosted by UPenn and Drexel. Saturday morning brings a team time trial along the Schuylkill and Saturday afternoon a 6 mile circuit race that uses parts of the USPRO course. Sunday is the criterium featuring the legendary Lemon Hill, part of the closing circuit of the USPRO course.

If last weekend and the training rides during the week are any indication, RU is set to have another eventful weekend. Look for Brian and Lori to once again ride strong in the crit and circuit race. Moving from the flatlands of Piscataway last weekend to the hilly Philly courses this weekend, the C men's climbers: Blake, Dan, and new sensation Ted will be given an opportunity to shine as they tackle these challenging courses. Newly crowned sprint champion (well, from one workout at least) Jay will also be in close attendance during both the crit and circuit races as he polishes his early season form for the mountain bike season. Don will be making his RU road racing debut in the Cs in Sunday's crit after a wickedly successful cyclo-cross season in the Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross series.

Also making his debut of the season, "Towtruck" aka Joe will be leading the men's D team whenever the road points up alongside ├╝ber promoter Rob. New RU riders Dave, Chris, and Noah will also be looking to make their mark in the second weekend of the season.

The killer women's B team of Brandi and Jen will surely be a factor in the circuit race on Saturday. With both riders becoming increasingly comfortable with racing, look for some results on the challenging circuit course.

Monday, March 06, 2006

And they're off - University

And they're off - University

Rutgers featured in the Daily Targum

Rutgers Collegiate Cycling Classic Results

What a weekend!

The Rutgers Collegiate Cycling Classic went off perfectly and shattered (yes, shattered) the all-time attendance record for a collegiate cycling race.

In addition to promoting an incredible event, RU Cycling did some serious racing. Here's the wrap:

Saturday's TT brought a killer headwind and freezing temperatures. Despite a course that was blowing riders around and forcing strong riders into their little ring, RU struck early with some serious results.

Johnson Park TT:
Men's B: Will 20th
Women's B: Brandi 58th
Men's C: Brian 7th, Blake 21st, Dan 25th, Mark 46th, Ted 66th, Jay 77th
Men's D: Noah 44th

Saturday afternoon, racing moved to Busch campus for the criterium. Here, again, the wind played a factor. As predicted, RU animated the races all day.

In the men's D, new rider Noah rode strong in perhaps the windiest conditions of the day to 13th. Yay Noah!

The men's C race boasted the largest field of RU riders, but the wind and technical course took its toll with only Brian and Mark finishing. As it had all day, the wind forced a split and Brian was well positioned to get in the front group and win the sprint for 3rd. Mark did not make the split but rode hard in the 2nd group to 17th.

In the women's A, Lori won the field sprint for 3rd after Yale and RPI riders made incredible efforts on the windy course to go solo and take 1st and 2nd.

In the men's A, Jason rode tough in a blisteringly fast race that went hard from the whistle for 13th.

Sunday brought the road race on Livingston campus. Once again, the wind was to play a factor.

The men's D race highlighted the future of Rutgers Cycling with new members Dave, Noah, and Chris riding incredibly strong on this brutal course. Chris hung tough (and perhaps looked a little too comfortable) in the front group for 8th. Noah again put in a solid ride for 16th. Dave brought it home in 33rd.

With a plan to go hard and force a split early in the race, the RU men's C team put on a show of dominance in the road race. Mark attacked from the whistle and opened an early gap through the first two turns of the course. Once the field caught, Blake, Brian, and Mark went to work riding smart in the front of the race and making sure no early moves got away. With 4 to go, Mark got caught in a crash and was forced to chase back for a lap. Up front, Blake and Brian rode a beautiful race and Brian came up with the win!!! Blake finished 19th after working hard all race, Mark 34th, Jay 47th, and Justin a little farther back.

In the men's B, Will was looking to have a good day on a course that suited him. As with the other races, the wind and hills forced selections early on. Will rode smart in the pack to finish 42nd.

The women's B race also featured some new RU riders, Jen and Brandi. Jen rode smart by staying out of the wind in the front group and finished an impressive 29th. Brandi put in another good ride after her time trial effort to finish 63rd.

The women's A race, like the crit on Saturday, was all about one rider: Anna Milkowski from Yale. Milkowski once again escaped early on in the race and went solo for the win. Lori, however, was not to be daunted and rode incredibly well to keep Milkowski's crit breakaway companion from RPI on a short leash. Like Saturday, Lori took the field sprint to finished 2nd! Yay!

The Men's A race brought some very fast racers out for a challenging course. Eight riders got away early in the race and quickly established a gap of over a minute. Rutgers riders Jason and Mike did not make this breakaway group but sat patiently waiting for the gap to come down or the sprint from the group. With six riders remaining, the breakaway group stayed away for impressive results for all the teams represented. Jason and Mike rode hard in the sprint to finish 11th and 21st.

Rutgers finished 13th overall in the team points competition for the weekend.

Next weekend, Rutgers Cycling heads to Philly for the UPenn/Drexel weekend featuring a team time trial, circuit race, and criterium. With a weekend full of results like these, RU is in a great position to do some serious damage.

We'd like to thank everyone who made this race weekend possible: Rutgers University Police Dept., RU Facilities, RU Recreation, All Brunswick Cyclery, Chris and Pacific Health Labs Inc., Red Bull, Maul Electric, inc., Cycle-Smart, Jamis, Cycle-Smart, and Verge Sport.

Huge thank you to: Matt P. for his never ending support of RU Cycling, Craig for his splendid announcing on Saturday, Rob's mom and dad for their donation of food for the crit and great grilling, Laura for toughing out two days of registration, Ed for all his help both days, the Highland Park Hermes for their generous donation of time both Saturday and Sunday to marshall, clean up, hold, and generally help us make it all run.

We'd be remiss without acknowledging the incredible amount of work done to make the weekend possible by Alicia and Rob. Without them, the RCCC could not happen. They sacrificed their time all year to ensure the event went off without a hitch. This is Alicia's last year with RU Cycling and hers will be a spot difficult to fill.

Friday, March 03, 2006

RU Classic Preview

After months of preparations, The Rutgers Collegiate Cycling Classic is only one day away. Despite a forecast calling for cold temperatures, the racing promises to be red hot!

Pre-registration for the race weekend has already matched our total number of racers from last year! Collegiate cyclists from across the Northeast - Harvard, Yale, BU, Cornell, Darthmouth, Penn State, UVM, Mercyhurst, Ithaca College, U Delaware, Bates, Hamilton, Bard, etc. - will descend on New Brunswick and Piscataway for a weekend of incredibly exciting racing.

Saturday brings the Johnson Park TT and Busch Campus Criterium. Rutgers boasts several time trial specialists (including podium finishers in the Harriman Triathlon series) who will be looking to test their early season form in this 4.6 mile, no aero TT. Last year, Rutgers' top placing was 9th in the TT. This year, with more experience and training under their belt, the RU time trialists will be looking for nothing less than a win.

Saturday afternoon presents an opportunity for the technically savvy and brutally strong Rutgers criterium racers to show their skills on the wickedly fast and technical criterium course on Busch campus. Last year's crit was an eye-opening experience for the young team. This year, the team has a far greater depth of racers who can power away on flat, technical courses and win in a field sprint. Look for Rutgers to ride aggressively for primes and animate all the races throughout the day. Rutgers is wiser, more technically adept, and just plain faster this year. Look out!

Sunday's circuit race is the day for the all-around rider. With its gently rolling hills and tight turns, the circuit race course demands riders gifted with incredible endurance and bike handling skills. With some of our TT specialists taking a break from the criterium on Saturday afternoon, watch for Rutgers in breakaways and daring solo attempts that just might work...

Check back for updates as the race weekend progresses!