Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ECCC #7 and NJ CX Championships

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Me feeling "owie"

Some things just go together well: peanut butter and jelly, oatmeal and apple slices, red, black, and white, and Thanksgiving break and cyclocross.

This weekend the RU cyclocross crew headed up to Sterling, MA for the Gearworks Baystate CX, round 5 of the Verge NECCS series, and round 7 or so of the ECCC 'cross series.

Last year, the course was covered in snow that quickly turned to ice. This year, it was dry and fast, fast, fast. Charlie's pre-ride report went something like this: "It's a dirt crit."

If there's one thing I like, it's criteriums.

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Blake? or AngryBlake?

Anyway, we braved Thanksgiving traffic on Friday and met with only minor delays. We stayed at the Chocksett Inn in Sterling which was, seriously, across the street from my old house... weird. The hotel was hooked up. We rolled pro-ish style and made some delicious pasta and veggies before sleeping on perhaps the most uncomfortable fold out couch ever. Lance stayed at this place when he did Fitchburg in '92.

If it's good enough for Lance...
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We don't always wear spandex

The race... New England cyclocross is a little different. The fields are huge and really, really fast. In the Cs, Blake had a solid ride to finish 23rd out of a million (2nd collegiate). Andy had a fantastic ride to finish 44th (5th collegiate). He rode well, and looked pretty comfortable out there.

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FarmerAndy looks a little less than comfortable

In the Bs, I got a 4th row start (important when there's, seriously, 9 rows) and rode probably my best race of the season to finish 36th (4th collegiate). Charlie was not digging on the dirt crit action and finished 60th (5th collegiate).

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Charlie on the run-up

Because racing our brains out in MA wasn't enough, the crew returned to NJ Saturday night only to turn around and head north again to the NJ State 'Cross Championships in Augusta. I came late and missed most of the C action, but I know Kyle finished 42nd, Andy 20th, Mike Phelan 29th, and Blake 11th. In the Bs, we saw the triumphant return of Alessandro and his "old skool" Rutgers skinsuit. Jay and I also raced our bicycles. I finished 12th, Jay 19th, and Alessandro not too far behind Jay in 23rd.

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Jay accelerating hard

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Alessandro is old school

Now, it's time to drink some chocolate soy milk, take a bath, and go to sleep.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mark's Evo Report

because Mark is too lazy (busy?) to post it himself, and because I want to upload pictures...

Charlie Hears 'Chariots of Fire'

Who likes a little mud?

Awesome RU turnout at Evo today. Holy crap, we're a serious team. The MAC folks are really excited about the team and our ECCC success.

we don't call him Angry-Face Mark for nothing

Anyway, I don't really have a race report. It was muddy. It was cold. It hurt. Kyle is my hero. I owe Kyle a six pack of some beverage. Fancy rootbeer?

Kyle Carrol: One-Man Pit Crew

In the Bs
Charlie led the RU squad to finish 2nd collegiate
Me, 3rd collegiate
NinjaDon put his running legs to work to finish 4th collegiate
Jay 5th collegiate.

Mark Demonstrates Proper Technique

In the Cs... cross debuts from Rich and Mike Phelan!! Woohoo!
RU Swept the Cs in the collegiate
Blake, 1st collegiate
Kyle, 2nd collegiate
Rich, 3rd collegiate
Gerry, 4th collegiate

Gerry Shows His Mettle

Next weekend, Gearworks Baystate Cross... Sterling, MA. ... This race is important to help us guard against Harvard who are only 18 points back. (edit: Harvard is now 38 points back)

Don Is Actually Having Fun

Thursday, November 16, 2006

more HPCX pics

thanks, Brittany!

Mascot-powered fun here at Rutgers

Jay and Ted preride the course

Chris Horner, if you're reading this, know that we are among your biggest fans... we just like spectacular crashes

Konstantin Sergeyev Photographic

Ted runs like he stole something

Blake runs to a fantastic 7th

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More Press

The HPCX and Rutgers Cycling got a very nice article in the Home News Tribune on Monday (including some front page photos).

Read the story and check out the pics here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

HPCX report

chris "protour" horner

i don't know if you've heard, but there was a bike race in jamesburg this weekend.

saturday afternoon, basking in lovely weather, we met in thompson park for course setup. that's one of the things i love about putting on a 'cross race: you have a great deal of direct input into the outcome of the race. last year, for example, charlie and i fought over the placement of the inside corner at the top of the "runup" at donaldson - charlie wanted it lower, so he could ride, and i wanted it higher, so i could pass people on foot.

i don't know how others reacted, but when i saw the little surprise craig, mark, and jenks had planned for us halfway up the climb, i had a mild seizure. it was a series of sharp corners, zig-zagging along a steep part of the hill. i resisted the urge to punch craig... he probably had enough stress the day before his race without having to deal with beating the hell out of me.

we prerode the course, learning its ins and outs, but that was pretty useless on sunday. for example, i was able to ride the evil mid-climb corners on saturday... on sunday, everyone had to dismount before the first turn. on saturday, i was able to take the inside or outside line through the now-infamous downhill-off-camber-left-hander... on sunday, i high-sided and somersaulted away from the bike (in front of my parents, too!)

sunday was everything we could've hoped for. the rain held off, for the most part, until the men's elite race. the course, however, was completely torn up by the beginning of the c race, and the mist kept it soggy enough to ensure a mud-fest.

chaz appreciates a challenging course

the rutgers (and hermes) c's had a great race, across the board. jenks took a flabbergasting 5th (since when can he ride off road?), and blake was close behind in 7th. kyle, ted, and andy put in solid rides, as usual, with kyle adopting an unorthodox method of dismounting at the barriers. gerry, in his first ever bike race, with 0 training under his belt, finished towards the back of the middle of the pack (note: this is NOT the back of the pack). all things considered, gerry kicked ass! espectially at the barriers. between his lack of background, his decent performance, and his emo-boy self-criticism after the race, i'm predicting that gerry is the next angry-faced mark... now we just have to work on his sideburns.

the b's did pretty well. i have no idea what happened with charlie... it's clear that he went fast, but after i spotted him at the first hairpin, i never saw him again. mark started pretty conservatively and rode steady (he calls this racing with "promoters' legs"), pulling me back with about 2 to go. we worked together for a lap, passing a number of riders. i pulled him through the straights and the climbs, and then i followed his lines through the techy stuff. it was beautiful. then mark passed a guy that i couldn't get around until the next corner, at which point the gap between mark and myself was huge. still, without that lap-and-a-half of teamwork, i might've finished an entire 3 or 4 spots back!

mark and don work together; "okay, your turn to pull"

the rest of the day was pretty typical of helping out at a race. chris ran around the course, fixing the tape when riders couldn't hold a line, which was often. jay and i pitted for the fiordifrutta guys. blake shouted embarrassing things at ralf.

it's worth noting that having the whole team at races is really great. when we roll up to races in connecticut with vans full of racers, there's going to be a significant effect from the cheering section. but man, hosting a race? we were EVERYWHERE! i don't think non-racers understand the effect of encouragement during races. when someone says "go faster", you go faster, whether you want to or not... when there's someone at every corner saying "go faster", you fly through the course!

andy, kyle, and rich enjoy rutgers' plethora of bikes

bonus: someone (not me!) came up with the idea of a fundraiser for the team. blake and i walked around during the women's elite race, getting signatures of the top elite men on two rutgers jerseys. we plan to continue this at nationals, and then we'll ebay-auction one jersey and do something cool with the 2nd. the list of pros so far:

luca damiani
davide frattini
jeremy powers
matt white
mike cody
jamey driscoll
adam myerson
chris horner

cool, eh?

check back later for more photos

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Good Week for Rutgers Cycling in the Press

Unsurprisingly, Rutgers football is the talk of the town. Rutgers Cycling, however, has gotten its fair share of press this week with mentions in Velonews, Cyclingnews.com, and Cyclocrossworld.com.

Velonews coverage (11/8)

Velonews coverage (11/10)

Cyclingnews.com (11/11)

Cyclocrossworld.com (11/9)

Sunday is Rutgers Cycling's "home game" at the HPCX at Thompson Park on Jamesburg, NJ. The team is looking to extend its lead in the ECCC 'cross series to get its 4th straight team overall victory in collegiate 'cross.

In addition to its already stacked 8 member core 'cross team, Rutgers will be bringing out new riders looking for their first taste of cyclocross. Freshman Gerry, sophomore Rich, and 1st-year graduate student Will, will all don the red and black jersey of Rutgers Cycling for the first time in collegiate competition.

The forecast says rain
The doctor says pain
So we're gonna giv 'er

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mark's Nittany Lion Report

Bike Racers? or Male Models?

Another great day of collegiate cyclocross racing.

Bright and early this morning the unstoppable Rutgers CX team headed to the Lehigh Valley campus of Penn State University in Fogelsville, PA for the third (or fourth) round of ECCC CX.

The crew: Jay, Blake, Charlie, Don, Andy, Mark, and Kyle.

We were all a little weary from racing on Saturday. Most of the crew raced in CT, while I skipped the big drive and raced locally. Nonetheless, we brought our A game to PSU.

In the staging area, the race looked like a show down between PSU and Rutgers with 6 PSU riders and 7 Rutgers riders. Rob from UPenn was there too, having survived his gnarly crash in the sandpit at Beacon.

We line up at the start: Don, Blake, UPenn Rob, some PSU guys, and me. The gun goes off and Don simply killed it to get the hole shot. UPenn Rob hit the first tight corner in 2nd wheel, and I was in 3rd.

Coming into the swoopy sections of the course, Charlie came around me, and I latched on in 4th wheel. The boys piloted me around the course until the long uphill drag when UPenn Rob attacked. I followed his attack, and we quickly opened a gap on Don and Charlie.

Don and Chaz did a brilliant job of setting me up today. I could not have asked for more from either of them.

The Rutgers Team Rolls Deep

UPenn Rob and I stuck together for another lap and a half. He attacked once more on the looong uphill, and I started feeling the hills in the Walstib race on Saturday in my legs. I couldn't close the gap anymore, and he rode away.

I made a valiant effort to catch on in the flats and techy sections of the course, but I couldn't close the gap for first. Charlie and Don worked behind me to block any riders coming up, while a little farther back Blake and Jay worked over the lone PSU rider who was trying to bridge up to Don and Charlie.

With one lap to go, Jay flatted his front tire, but like a trooper he ran to the pit and grabbed a spare wheel to finish out his race.

In the end, UPenn Rob took a well-deserved win. I got 2nd. Charlie got 3rd. Don got 4th. Blake got 6th. I'm not sure where Andy, Kyle, and Jay wound up, but I'm sure it was in the top ten.

Huge thanks to everyone on the team today. I don't think any of us could have achieved these results without the collective work we put into the race.

We're still waiting on the final standings, but with our efforts yesterday at Chainbiter and today at Nittany, I think we may have successfully maintained our overall lead in the conference.

(part of the) Rutgers University Cycling Team

Next weekend the team has its home game at the HPCX. Look out for another massive Rutgers CX crew to come out.


Chainbiter 8.0 report

Blake and the L'Achouff Elf

This Saturday, the Rutgers University Cycling Team competed in Farmington, CT at the Chainbiter 8.0 cyclocross race. We spent the night in the area, hosted by Ted Chalker's generous relatives.

Rolling out before dawn, we arrived at the race venue with plenty of time to preride the course and fully appreciate the cruelty of the course designers. Honestly, they could have been much more evil ... there were very few off-camber turns, and most turns were designed to encourage momentum-retention. However, between the multitude of gratuitous hairpins, the plethora of large curbs, and the two rideable-but-only-just sandpits (one of which had a 90 degree turn in the middle!), there was nowhere to hide in this race.

Going into this race, we knew that we had to race intelligently. With Northeast Cyclocross having notoriously large and fast fields (about 110 starters in the B race, and at least 80 in the C's), and with another race as a target the next day, it was necessary to focus our energies on the Collegiate competition.

Our results, posted at bottom, were the result of gut-wrenching work and hard-earned skill. Avoiding crashes, pileups, yard-sales, and other synonyms, we each fought to earn as high a collegiate ranking as possible. Personally, I spent 3 laps trying to outpace a UNH rider, only to find out that he was on some other, non-collegiate team with a similarly-designed jersey.

The most notable performances of the day came from our freshmen, FarmerAndy and Kyle. In his 3rd ever bike race, Andy dealt with pedal problems (which have since been fixed) and throngs of screaming fans to produce a respectable finish in a tough field. Kyle, riding a 'cross bike for only the second time ever in his 1st ever bike race, rode incredibly well, putting out tons of power and riding the volleyball pit like it was pavement, until a mid-race burnout forced him to cruise in (no more giving blood the day before a race, okay?). Also worthy of mention are Ted, who finally got himself to stop smiling and start hurting, and Jay's van, which carried 7 bikes, 2 spare wheels, 4 racers, and an elf.

Kyle opens a gap and is too fast for this digital medium!

Overall, Rutgers took 1st in the D1 ECCC competition, despite having no female racers. This is a testament not only to the depth of our team, but also to the fitness and dedication of each of our racers.

Charlie Florek
-64th B, 4th B-collegiate
Don Yungher
-66th B, 5th B-collegiate
Jay Nossen
-77th B, 6th B-collegiate
Blake Bedoya
-35th C, 7th C-collegiate
Ted Chalker
-53rd C, 10th C-collegiate
Andy Glaser
-57th C, 11th C-collegiate
Kyle Carroll
-72nd C, 13th C-collegiate

The bikes, the Team, and the Mascot"

Overall: Rutgers takes 1st ECCC-D1, extends lead!

Craigmeur Photos

Cyclocross + Mud = Happy

At long last, photos from the Craigmeur race from Oct 28 have been posted online. I present to you: the muddiest race I've ever done!

Jay Charges up the Run-up

Don Rides the Soupy Switchback Descent

Don Loves Run-Ups, for some reason

Charlie can Corner

Chaz Looks Ahead to ECCC Dominance

A Little Post-Race Pose

photos by Britt Nemeth, www.brittnemeth.com

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Craigmeur Race Report

in a word... MUD!

in a few more words:

charlie, jay, and i traveled to rockaway with no naive illusions of a crit-like race and dry chamoises (how the hell do you pluralize that?). it'd been raining for 24 hours, it rained on the way there, and it rained while we warmed up. there was a mild drizzle as we lined up.

all 3 of us started on the front line, with chaz starting brilliantly to get himself in 2nd wheel in a field of about 12. jay and i went back and forth for a lap, but it soon settled into a suffer-fest of riding tempo and barely moving forward. then, holy crap, the sun came out! at the finish, charlie got 2nd, i got 5th, and a fast-closing jay got 6th. charlie's prize was accelerade.

just as eskimo's have dozens of words for snow, we cyclocrossers could fill an entire dictionary with terms describing mud. this course had all of them... there was soupy mud on the switchbacks that looked scarier than it was, as the ruts disappeared as soon as you chose your line. there was gravely mud that was terrifically fast. there was slightly grassy mud that sucked the power out of your legs, there was incredibly grassy mud that made you feel like you were trackstanding, and somewhere on the course, there was a section of mud with every ratio of grass to mud in the spectrum. there was on-camber mud (which was fun, and surprising, as i'm used to evil off-camber), and there was mud so thick and peanut-buttery that your front tire movements made the amusing sounds of flatulence. there was mud so full of sand that, well, suffice it to say that if it put grooves in our rims and shaved the sidewall of charlie's tire, it can do some damage to the skin you land on when remounting. 'nuff said.

definitely a crazy race, and one i'd do again, in any conditions. that's one of the great things about 'cross... not many of us excel in mud, but we all love it!