Wednesday, May 31, 2006

tour of somerville

not much to report, since rutgers didn't have any racers. we did, however, have a bunch of spectators. decked out in jerseys (which are as stylish off the bike as they are on), mark, jay, rob, blake, ted, alicia, mike, scott, jen, and i were there to represent the team.

we hung out at the colavita bbq tent, where we got to meet a bunch of junior racers, including steve, who will be joining the rutgers team this coming year. at the encouragement of the colavita parents, we also ate a lot of food.

during the women's race, we decided that the rutgers team's presence, while larger than usual, could be boosted by a little bit of love from the announcer. a few minutes later, we'd pooled enough to have the first ever (as far as i know) "Rutgers Cycling Prime" during the pro women's race. our prime's sprint was taken by Sarah Tillotson of the Colavita/Cooking Light team, teammate of the overall winner Tina Pic.

Don, Sarah Tillotson, Rob, Ted, Mark, Melissa Holt, and Sima Trapp

it was really fun to hang out with the colavita people all day... it meant that we were able to hang out with juniors, eat food, meet the Rutgers Prime winner and her teammates, and cheer for a Men's Pro rider in the day's main breakaway. We also cheered for (and apparently surprised) Adam Hodges-Myerson, our team's coaching sponsor, who pulled off an exciting top-10 finish.

while walking around after the race, we also encountered a family of rutgers supporters. the parents were rutgers alumni, and the kids, aged 5 and 7, thought we were rock stars. don't believe us? photographic evidence will be uploaded as it becomes available.

expect more race results as the summer continues, as mike and jay try to survive a 12-hr mtb race and mark becomes a stage racer.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

US Bicycling Hall of Fame Criterium

Today Brandi, Will, Ted, and I headed to Somerville for the Hall of Fame
criterium. Will, Brandi, and I opted for the warm up by means of riding.
We missed the rain fortunately, but we hadn't planned on a 45 minute
break between races for the Hills of Somerset finish (Davide Fratini
won, btw) so we spent a little more time hanging out than planned.

Ted opted to drive over because he's probably smarter than us.

Eventually, the 5 race started. The pre-race plan was to work over the
small 5 field and send Will off to do his fast bike riding thing with
Ted and I hanging out in the field for the finish. I did my usual fast
start thing, then something funny happened. The field went fast. It had
to have been the fastest 5 race I've ever done. There were two CRCA guys
and a couple of guys just working over the field on the slight uphill.
Will attacked with 6 or 7 to go with Ted blocking (though I'm not sure
he knew he was blocking), but the CRCA guys were having none of it and
pulled him back in less than half a lap. So, I just hung out near the
front, covering the attacks from the CRCA guys on the uphill every lap
and realizing that I was going to be done by the time the finish rolled

With two to go on the uphill, we heard the terrifying sound of carbon
fiber hitting pavement (why do these crashes always happen uphill?).
Unfortunately, Will got taken out in that crash. He's no worse for the
wear aside from a scraped elbow, but the crash did split the field.
Fortunately, I made the split. With one to go, one of the CRCA guys took
a flyer on the uphill with a few others following him, I just didn't
have the legs and/or commitment to cover it. They got a little gap to go
1-2-3, I sprinted for 5th. I got a medal. Cool.

Post-race I found out Ted suffered a mechanical that knocked him out
before the crash. Ted had an awesome day and looked quite comfortable.

We also got a lot of props for the RU team and talked to two juniors who
are coming here in the fall and represented the team well. Good job all

I'll see you all monday.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

neshaminy soigneur's report

dave, mike, jay, and i drove out to neshaminy to represent rutgers at today's mass race. with a still-injured hand and sans-mtb, i was going along to play soigneur again. the three racers would all compete in the Sport 1 race, with 35 starters.

everyone's race prep was different. dave had enough bananas in his bag to feed a small zoo and spent a lot of time doing some pretty impressive trials-esque tricks. mike planned out his in-race nutrition, then ate a couple of sodium tablets they were giving out at registration, because "this way i'd have an excuse if the race didn't go well". jay, whose bike had v-brakes, spent a while debating whether run a disc-specific wheel in front would be more likely to crash him than his cracked, ready-to-fail v-brake specific wheel.

it's pretty cool to watch the start of a race if you're not in it. everyone is talking and joking, but as the start approaches, everyone's game face goes on. it was a very sudden and dramatic change, and these guys looked like badasses. despite flawless clip-ins, all three rutgers racers took the start easy, planning to save their matches for the singletrack.

as a soigneur, i was worthless during the race. dave, wearing a camelback, wouldn't need me to pass him any bottles, although his blocked legs forced him out of the race after about a lap. neither mike nor jay needed either of the bottles they'd given me - they seemed delighted to have the bottles after the race, though.

with a six-pack at stake, the battle between jay and mike heated up. after two laps, jay had about 2 minutes on mike. even as they pushed hard, they were able to respond to cheering, and threats, from teammates.

jay held his gap over mike, and even managed a late surge to pass three other riders in the last 200m. mike finished strong as well (although i think he was pissed that we lied "they're about to catch you!" with 50m left), leaving everything out on the trail. it was a technical, demanding course that sapped all riders, and their strong finishes (15th and 21st, respectively) are all the more impressive.

mike then dominated the schwag toss, towering over the crowd of junior racers to catch a saddle, gloves, and bottle cages. i think he made one of them cry.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Escape from Granogue (MASS #2)

RU Cycling travelled to Delaware for the Escape from Granogue mtb race (round 2 of the Mid-Atlantic series). Last year, RU went 1-2-3.This year, we once again came home from Granogue with some hardware. With a talented bunch of sport racers (Charlie, Jay, Mike, Dave, Mark, and Alessandro) we were sure to make something happen and indeed we did.

Dave, Jay, and Mike toed the line for Senior 1 sport. Alessandro for senior 2 sport, and Charlie and I for Open Single Speed.

The morning had looked ominous with scattered showers and hard rain at times, but by our 9:30 start things were looking pretty good (although quite slippy).

The mtb course borrowed the long road start from the CX course and led to the tower climb. Tight, slick single track was the order of the day, punctuated with fast field sections and some long climbs.

Despite being on the fence about racing today, Charlie took home a convincing win in the SS class, finishing 3rd overall! I rolled home for 6th after spending most of the first lap falling all over myself. Alessandro fought back from some technical difficulties and a nasty crash to take 11th. Jay rolled in 25th, Mike 26th, and Dave in his first MASS race (and first Sport race) came in 29th!!!

The open single speed podium (Charlie and Co. mid arm raise)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What a rocking bunch of results. Everyone who raced today put in some amazing efforts on a wickedly hard course. Well done!

A very sore,