Friday, December 22, 2006

National Championships

Rutgers Noise Brigade at the Elite Race
from L to R: Jay, Mark, Treefarm, Ted, Andy

I want to post some sort of report about our weekend, but so much happened that I don't even know where to begin. Chronological order seems like the best plan, but I make no promises about accuracy.

AngryMark and the Hermes crew rolled in to Rhode Island back in September or so, staying at Craig's relatives' beachhouse and preriding the course 6 times a day for 3 months. CaptainChaz, FarmerAndy, HardTailJay, and SmilinKyle drove up with me and Ted (damnit, Ted, you need an adjective). We all met up at the race course, where we picked up our numbers and assembled the Rutgers division of the ECCC Noise Brigade.

While UNH patrolled the start/finish, Rutgers went to the Clif Bar runup, where we made as much noise as physically possible. We warmed up during the U23 race, then proceeded to go a little crazy during the Elite race.

Chaz, Jay, and MacChouff encourage fellow ECCC'er Jamey Driscoll during the U23 race

Once the U23s were done, we had a few minutes to catch our breath before the Elite men started rolling around. And by "rolling around", I mean tearing each others' legs off. Watching Ryan Trebon solo away from a chase group, Tim Johnson and Todd Wells work back to the chase group after bad starts, fantastic races by Coach Adam, Vegan Molly, and so on, it was pretty easy to lose our voices.

Andy, Don, Jay, Mark, MacChouff, and creative noisemakers (traffic cone, pan and ladle, jay's mouth)
Like kids in a candy store

Saturday night was an adventure for most of us. While Chaz, Mark, Andy, and I feasted on homemade pasta and veggies (thanks, Mark!), Ted, Jay, and Kyle were at an Outback, losing Ted's keys. Chaz and Mark, being old and boring, spent the night at the beach house. Ted, Jay, and Kyle braved the dangers of our scary motel, the Bel-Air Motor Inn. Andy and I joined the men of Hermes for a party at the Hub, where we rubbed elbows with such characters as Trebon, Wells, and Wicks.

After a night spent wondering if we would be murdered in our sleep or just contract some unknown disease from our dirty bedsheets, we rolled over towards the park (via a minor 45 minute detour towards Connecticut). If there's one thing Nats has, it's perks. While warming up on the complimentary fluid trainers, Jay and I established that the Men's B-35+ race had about $1,000,000 worth of bicycle in use. Which is a lot.

Our race was fun, and everyone loved the course. Mark put in a fantastic ride to finish on the lead lap (no small feat, lining up with such names as Troy Wells and Jamey Driscoll). Everyone has their own story to tell, which will be posted later. Kate Scheider, ECCC Cyclocross Championship innovator and racer extraordinaire, took a bunch of pictures, which follow at the end.

Overall, this was an enormously positive experience. We bonded over shared adversity like terrible Rhode Island signage, creepy motels, long drives, and of course a stupid-fast race. We heckled our favorite racers, we made unholy amounts of noise, and we finished off our 'cross season with a race in which we were cheered by fans who hadn't known about our team before the season started.

This leaves only one question: is it October yet?

Jay surges

Mark gets angry

Andy descends

Jay and Chaz finished together, which is cute

somehow Don always looks pained

next year, Kyle's bunnyhopping

Chaz enjoys the technical sections

Quotes of the Weekend:
Andy: "how do you think today's gonna go?"

Jay (to Lynne Bessette): "you're my favorite girl racer. i like you
way better than Lynne Bessette"

HermesJenks (to Barry Wicks): "do you mountain bike? you should quit and race road"

sign at Bel-Air Motor Inn: "No Refunds After 5 Minutes"

Mark: "I didn't really do much [for the team], I just sent out some emails"

Friday, December 15, 2006

Off to Nationals

The Rutgers University Cycling Team heads off to the Cyclocross National Championships in Providence, RI today. With a roster of seven riders and a conference victory, the RU cyclocross squad is looking to have some great rides in the collegiate men's race on Sunday, the 17th.

Wish us all luck!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rutgers Wins Conference Cyclocross Series!

In its first ECCC conference victory in over 27 years, Rutgers Cycling shocked the collegiate cycling world (or just the east coast collegiate cycling world) by winning the D1 ECCC cyclocross championship in its inaugural year.

Rutgers took an early lead close to home at Beacon Cross in NJ and held it for the entirety of the season by winning the D1 team overall in every race it entered. Rutgers finished out the ECCC series this weekend at W.E. Stedman's GP in South Kingstown, RI and Caster's GP in Warwick, RI.

"For this developmental team, such a victory is huge," said RU cyclocross guru
AngryMark, "there's a lot of schools in the ECCC with a lot of very, very good cyclocross racers. Winning the overall speaks volumes about the dedication of the team."

For many of the racers, this cyclocross season marked their first season racing any sort of bicycle. First-year FarmerAndy remarked of his first season, "[cyclocross] is everything I ever wanted from bike racing."

Likewise, first-year Gerry, aka Sparky, noted simply, "It's awesome!"

Keeping with its mission of developing new riders, RU riders got to learn many things during the ECCC cyclocross season. First year Smilin' Kyle learned, "maybe I shouldn't give blood before I race."

Veteran cyclocross racer NinjaDon was a bit more philosophical about the ups and downs of the season, "Sometimes you ride the bike, sometimes the bike rides you." NinjaDon then vanished into a cloud of smoke.

Men's C overall winner Blake attributed his success in the ECCC to his Rotor chainrings, noting, "seriously, they work. I can feel it!" Blake went on to cite a list of pros also running Rotor rings before leaving to run a 5k.

Men's B second place rider and master cyclocross technician, Capt. Chaz said only, "Charlie smash!" (to be read in the voice of the Incredible Hulk).

Ted and Jay could not be reached for comment on the success of the team at press time, but both mentioned something about air hockey.

Next weekend, the team is in action in its final race of the year: the collegiate race at the National Cyclocross Championships in Providence, RI.

Monday, December 04, 2006

NJ Hall of Fame Cyclocross NJCC #7

With no ECCC cyclocross this weekend, Rutgers turned it attention to the final NJ Cross Cup race at Skylands Park in Augusta, NJ.

Just as in the opening weekend of the NJCC, RU rolled deep to have a successful day.

In the Cs, Blake powered to another great result, finishing 5th
Jay racked up another top 10 to finish 8th.
Mike P. finished 17th
Kyle finished 24th and 25th respectively
Gerry dug deep with a less than ideal bike for the pavement-intensive course and finished 32nd.

In the Bs, Mark was the only RU representative and finished 6th.

Next weekend, RU is in action in Rhode Island to put its final stamp on the ECCC cyclocross series. Rutgers holds a commanding lead in the conference, and is looking to round out the series with another set of team wins.

We're just two weeks out from Cyclocross Nationals in Providence, RI. The Rutgers crew is looking strong and rolling deep in the collegiate category. We might just surprise a few people on December 17th.