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.