Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The U.S. Cyclocross National Championships Race Report

The 2007 Rutgers University Cycling Cyclocross Nationals Team
(left to right: Andy, Joe, Rich, Dave, Mark, Charlie, and Don)

The course on Sunday morning for the Collegiate Men's Race.

After weather delayed the planned Thursday departure of the Rutgers 'cross team, the team arrived in Kansas City in the early afternoon on Friday. The went directly to the course to pick up their bikes, check out the course, and spin out the plane ride from their legs.

Chaz tears it up on the rutted and frozen course

Saturday morning brought snow and a chance to pre-ride the course before the U23 races. The team dialed their tire pressures and gear selection for the frozen and snow covered course. Though the team was not racing until Sunday morning, they banked on similar frozen, rutted, and slick conditions. As conditions got progressively worse through the day the team retreated back to its hotel to rest up, pin numbers, and prepare for Sunday's collegiate race.

36th place!

Mark kicked off Sunday morning in the single speed race and faced biting cold (single digits!) and a completely frozen course. After blasting through the first half of the race in the top ten, Mark suffered a series of crashes that re-injured a hip issue, but held on to top 30 for 28th.

The Cap'n and AngryMark

With his hip taking him out of the collegiate men's race, Mark took to the pit to support the six Rutgers riders in the collegiate men's race. The team faced stiff competition from the 146 rider field and poor starting positions.

Charlie tore through nearly 70 riders to make it into the top 4o riders in a stacked field and rode with some of the most elite collegiate riders in the US to finish 36th. Andy, Dave, Joe, Don, and Rich fought both the course and the enormous field to take home strong rides with Dave 65th, Joe 69th, Rich 78th, Andy 91st, and Don 101st. There's some clear discrepancies in the results, but it's clear that the team rode in the top half of the field.

The team finished 17th overall in the D1 team omnium with Charlie 26th for D1 men, Dave 46th, Joe 47th, Rich 55th, Andy 61st, and Don 68th.

The team post-race

Rutgers Cycling would like to thank everyone who made this trip possible. Special thanks to Don, Tom, Kurt, and Mike at Verge Sport for all their support throughout the weekend. Thanks also to Bob Cary and everyone from Skylands Cycling for their generous donation. Thank you also to Linda Yost and Rutgers Recreation for their financial and organizational support. Huge thanks to Rutgers Cycling president, Chris for his untiring efforts in making the trip happen.

After a much deserved break, the team will begin building once again for a successful collegiate road season.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

NBX Grand Prix of CX @ Goddard Park, RI

Before we get to day 2 of action from Goddard Park, let's have a shout for the amazing host housing generously provided by Hannah in Providence.

We slept in a fort; Colonel Henery Rutgers would be proud!

Mark worked the Results

Dave and I bonded

And FroJoe, well, he slept

The bikes enjoyed socializing with some new friends from Rhode Island, so we didn't feel too bad leaving them with their new acquaintances while we went to an amazing party at the Hub.

Alright, back to the action!

The Mens C team lined up in a field of 47. With FroJoe's newly taped shoe, he stood a chance to realize his potential with many meters of sand to run per lap. Dave was as comfortable as ever as he expertly navigated the field. Less words, more pictures:

For a number of laps, Joe was caught in traffic from the B masters field that allowed a Drexel rider to get away in the clear lines in front of that pack. After hearing enough shouting from us to break free of the pack he was in, he charged through and was making up some time on the Drexel rider, but it was not to be. Had the Mens C staged ahead of the B masters (as yesterday), it could have been an amazing duel to the finish line. FroJoe came across the line in 24th position. DK had an amazingly consistent race and looked so in control from beginning to end. A UNH rider was trying to catch DK in the last few laps, and DK responded by setting the frozen course on fire to ride away from him and finish 31st. These two are primed and ready for nationals; I wish that I could watch their performances.

The B men lined up after a solid finish on Saturday and were unsure of what was left in the legs for Sunday. The course was just as fast or faster than Saturday, but instead of a few long power sections, there were many shorter straights and gentle bends to get your pedal on! This suited me well, for it was somewhat similar to the type of output that you have to put in while carving singletrack in a competitive MTB field. Mark had his technique together, but the nerve in his hip was not allowing him to put the power down on Sunday. He kept it going steady, but could not muster the power to explode out of the MANY MANY MANY corners on the course. He had a pain-free race on Saturday, but the double-header was too much. We are all hoping that he will have a pain-free ride at nationals. He is looking forward to some extended recovery after those 45 minutes of effort.

I had a better experience, for the course suited me, my legs felt great, and I made a good move early in the race. Though I staged in the back, I made up a number of spots with a good starting sprint and aggressive lines through the two hairpins that followed. Then onto the beach, where a rider to the right of me fell over onto us. I was able to get off my bike and get it on my shoulder quickly and took an aggressive line off of the beaten path up the run up. Taking this line allowed me to gain a large number of spots and get me in a pack with some fast dudes! I was able to hang with them until bobbling the bike while riding the second beach. My right shifter must have got some sand in it, and it could no longer release cable. I got stuck riding 46-25 and 46-27 for the last 25 minutes of the race. Going backwards while doing a 25 minute cool down during the race probably saved my legs from a lot of pain. The group that I was with finished 19th-22nd. That was, by far, the best 30 minutes of CX racing that I have had in a 2/3 field in New England.

In the end, I finished 40th and Mark held it down by outsprinting Bard for 37th. Way to push through the pain and get the job done!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rutgers Back-to-Back Conference Champions!

In the final weekend of the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference's Cyclocross series, Rutgers Cycling took the team title for the second time in two years.

Even sweeter, Rutgers riders Andy, Joe, and Dave swept the C men's omnium podium. B riders Mark and Charlie took first and second in the omnium.

That makes five individual medals and one team championship cowbell for the Rutgers University Cycling Cyclocross Team!

Next weekend, the seven rider cyclocross team tackles the US Cyclocross National Championships on Kansas City, KS.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

W.E. Steadman's CX @ Goddard Park, RI

C Mens Report

C mens Report

In the C men, DK and FroJoe lined up being placed in the last row as Rich Fries heckled the team telling them to go home. The ground was snow covered and thick with ice as a frigid chill stayed in the air. Prior to the start of the race it was announced that the barriers were going to be removed due to the icy conditions.

The field size was huge with a large showing of collegiate riders. Dave and Joe rode together for most of the first half of the race working their way up the field. Dave was crashed when a rider tried to pass him on the narrow single track and ended up wiping out his front wheel. That's when Joe decided to throw down the hammer and put out an incredible ride.... all without his right shoe, which broke on the second lap and fell off in the beach run. Joe ended up with a 32nd (5th collegiate) finish and Dave was able to out sprint an MIT rider at the line for 42nd (7th collegiate).

B mens Report

In the B men, AngryMark and Cap'nChaz lined up against a strong New England field. Due to the call ups and seeding by order of registration, we lined up close to the back of the field, but there were 45 minutes to fix that!

The course was both fast and slippery, with thick mud in spots, while other portions of the course were still icy as in the C-race. The word of the day was FUN! The course had so much variety that it served the bike-hadler as well as the towers of power. The start was more crowded than the last train home from New York with elbows flying everywhere. Charlie upset one or two people... sorry, well, not really. AngryMark found out that that he could still pedal. Maybe it wasn't as hard as he would like as he had to take time off due to the hip injury, but no pain today. We both spent most of the race mid-pack. Charlie pulled an MIT rider up the start-finish straight, and then punished him by intentionally over-cooking an icy off camber corner. The Captain put his foot and rear tire out, the other rider, well, he crashed. Bye Bye. Angry Mark attacked the technical sections today. He was able to drop much stronger riders. A new tool in his toolbox; look for him to wield it tomorrow and at nationals. Cap'nChaz and AngryMark ended up finishing a respectable 36 and 38th. In the Verge NE, we'll take that finish anyday. The questions are: will we be able to place that well tomorrow and will this form continue 'till nationals?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

MAC Series Finale Wrapup

Rutgers wins at Reston; FarmerAndy and AngryMark lock up series titles!

DK, FroJo, AngryMark, and me (FarmerAndy) killed it this weekend for the MAC series finale and the second to last weekend of racing for the ECCC.

For starters, we rolled out to Carlisle and Reston in the pro-ish Rutgers Van complete with enough bikes, wheels (9 pairs!), and assorted spare parts to rival most small elite teams.

We started our Saturday morning the way all 'cross races should start: Belgian style with yummy chocolate chip waffles and hot coffee thanks to the Waffle House that was adjacent to our HoJo's.

It was cold and windy when we got to the Carlisle Fairgrounds for the race. Definitely one of those mornings that made us all question why we choose to wake up at the crack of dawn to ride around in muddy circles while the rest of our peers sleep in their nice warm beds.

The course was nice and swoopy with some decent short hills, some nice long stretches of pavement, and a fast set of barriers. DK, FroJo, and I killed it in the C race chock full of collegiate riders from Penn State, Carnegie Mellon, and two guys from Drexel on full suspension mountain bikes.

The first two laps for me didn't feel too good as I sat 5th wheel. As I hopped over the barriers after lap 2, I started to find my legs and though I could not catch Matt Spinks and Sam O'Keefe (who are both 14), put in a solid effort to finish 3rd overall (1st if you don't include the U19 riders) with FroJo and DK also throwing down some solid efforts to finish 17th and 20th.

FroJo tackles the barriers en route to an awesome finish! (photo: Dennis Smith)

While we rode the 3 miles back to the HoJo's to shower, warm up, and check out, AngryMark was putting the hurt on the B Field to finish 2nd collegiately.

With our racing done for the day, we were more than happy to get back in our nice warm van and cruise down to Bethseda, MD to meet up with our lovely hosts Greg and Jill (thanks guys!). Not only did we a great place to stay, Greg (former Rutgers Cycling President circa-1992) showed us his old-school RU jerseys and pictures from collegiate racing back in the day.

With the Sunday forecast showing snow, rain, and bitter, cold we were ready to face the worst, but it when we rolled over to Reston, VA for the Capital Cross Classic, it was dry and much warmer than it was in Carlisle. I loved Sunday's course, lots of places to go fast, and with no Matt Spinks in the picture, I kept on the gas the whole race for a solid win in my last race before KC Cross nationals in two weeks.

DK, FroJo, and AngryMark put int great efforts to ensure that the Rutgers 'Cross team maintains their lead in the ECCC Standings with one week of racing left to go.

FarmerAndy tries out the new TT helmets (photo: Ann Rock)

Did I mention that we picked up our new team TT helmets? They look awesome and are perfect for 'cross on those windy days. A big thanks to Efinger Sporting Goods!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rutgers Women's Spring Preview

With Cyclocross season reaching a fever pitch, it's important to remember that there are more than a few Rutgers cyclists eagerly awaiting the Road season. In particular, the Women's team have been preparing themselves for an explosive Spring campaign.

New to the team this year is Phoebe. She's got a sweet new road bike and is looking forward to using it. Her enthusiasm for cycling has already shown itself, as she's spent a lot of time learning the ins and outs of pack riding. Look for her to be moving comfortably about the pack at a road race near you.

Another new teammate is Fiona. A roadie who's not afraid of a little mud, Fiona made a strong impression on the team the weekend of the HPCX race. Two days after spending 14 straight hours on a trainer in a charity event for ALS, Fiona toed the line in the Women's 3/4 race. Clearly, this woman has the grit to survive indoor base training, and we're excited to see what develops when she returns to the road.

Seasoned veteran Jen has been a fixture on the team for some time now. Jen has been training for years, and while she has a quiet disposition, she lets her legs do the talking on the bike. Jen's strength as a time-trialist led to great results in recent seasons, so look for her off the front this coming Spring.

As a freshman, Amy turned heads in her first season as a cyclist. In fact, she never finished outside the top 2! With a background in rowing, Amy didn't know - or need - drafting. In the past few months, though, Amy has taken huge strides to improve her technique, working on drafting, cornering, and even racing cyclocross! Look for big things from this sophomore in March and April.

Having built a solid foundation following last year's success, the Rutgers Women's Cycling Team has the potential and the drive to have a great Spring season. Only four months until the Rutgers Classic weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rutgers Wins NJ Championship, rolls at Baystate Cyclocross

It was another busy weekend for the Mighty Rutgers Cycling Cyclocross Team!

Friday night, Rich, Don, and Mark headed to Sterling, MA to race the Gearworks Baystate Cyclocross, round 5 of the ECCC cyclocross series. Don met with some bad luck, but Rich and Mark both had, ahem, "sterling" rides to finish 4th collegiate in the men's C and men's B.

Rutgers took the team overall at Baystate and retains its lead in the ECCC cyclocross series!

Mark continues to hold the lead in the B men's overall standings.

The story of the weekend, however, is a little closer to home. Sophomore FarmerAndy has been showing incredible form lately with podium finishes in the last two MAC races and a commanding lead in the ECCC individual points competition. On Sunday at the NJ State Cyclocross Championships in Augusta, NJ Andy put it together to take home the NJ State Championship in the Cs! This is the second time in three years that Rutgers has won a state championship.

With this win, Andy has cemented his lead in the NJ Cyclocross Cup and looks absolutely unstoppable for the remaining races!

Rutgers returns to action this weekend for ECCC races number 6 and 7 in Carlisle, PA and Reston, VA.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rutgers Cycling to US Cyclocross National Championships

Thanks to the generosity of Skylands Cycling, Verge Sport, and Rutgers Recreation, Rutgers Cycling will be sending seven racers to the US Cyclocross National Championships in Kansas City, KS on December 13-16.

Bob Cary of Skylands Cycling Club presents Mark with a donation for Rutgers' travel to cx nationals at HPCX.

Rutgers Cycling will be fielding an impressive roster of accomplished cyclocross racers both young and old at Nationals.

2007 Rutgers Collegiate Cyclocross Nationals Roster

Charlie "Capt Chaz" Florek
(photo: Will C.)

Andy "FarmerAndy" Glaser
(photo: Will C.)

Joe "FroJo" Gilch
(photo: Don Yungher)

Dave "DK" Kim
(photo: Will C.)

Rich "The Kassassin" Kassan(photo: Will C.)

Don "NinjaDon" Yungher
(photo: Will C.)
Mark "AngryMark" Vareschi
(Photo: Dennis Smith)

Rutgers Cycling would like to express its gratitude to Bob and everyone at Skylands, Tom and Don at Verge Sport, and Linda Yost at Rutgers Recreation for their enduring financial and structural support.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Busy Rutgers Cycling Weekend Recap - HPCX and ALS Spin-a-thon

Will gives us this weekend recap:

Friday: ALS Spinathon

Led by the club vice president, Rich K., the team gathered at the student center to spin on stationary trainers for 16 hours to raise money and awareness for ALS research. A few heroic members of the team defied sacred college doctrine by getting to the student center at 6AM. They set up the tent and materials and got the spinning underway in less-than-warm conditions. More and more riders joined the spinning until mid afternoon, at which time the buzz of spinning trainers reached its busiest hum.


Fiona sat on that bike for 15 hours!

We worked to get the already-poor college students to empty their pockets of their precious laundry quarters. I rode around in kit to add some novelty to the giving experience.


It was hard to avoid me when I hunted you on two wheels.

Chaz helped by sprinting and causing hubub each time somebody dropped a donation. The team took turns in the sprinting “hotseats” and others quickly jumped in to pass along information and collect money. There was bonding, laughter, and the general sense of doing something for a cause greater than our usual exploits. Fiona took the day by managing to ride 15 hours straight, while the bulk of the team logged at least 4 hours on the trainer. The group spun well into the dark, even whilst the student body had retreated to dorms and apartments to prepare for Friday night.



While money towards an ALS cure and raising awareness are great outcomes, I most enjoyed observing the selflessness and generosity of both my teammates and the Rutgers campus. My teammates skipped classes, paying jobs, and gave their busy college time without hesitation. The campus received our efforts with polite thanks and generosity, choosing to stop and hear our cause when they could scurry by on a busy Friday afternoon.


A bus driver honked at me and did a drive-by donation

Saturday: Course Setup, Highland Park Cyclocross Race

With butts still reeling from too many hours on a bike seat, the team again assembled on Saturday to prepare the course for the annual Highland Park Cyclocross Race. Much raking, staking, and taping comes together to make an offroad, grass course on which silly cyclists will crash and beat the anaerobic crap out of each other.


The course was beautiful, to say the least.

Sunday: HPCX

(Before recounting Sunday’s events, let me say I have ridden a lot of miles on a road bike, but could count my offroad riding experiences on one hand.)

With butts still reeling from too many hours on a bike seat on Friday, and hands blistered from a day of manual labor on Saturday, the team again assembled (this time at 5:30AM) to get the race promotion flowing. We all pitched in to various odd jobs, while AngryMark and Rob orchestrated the intricate unfolding of a bicycle race. I convinced Jenks to lend me his bike (a less-than-safe gamble, considering his race was directly after mine) so that I could give this cyclocross business a try. I’ll spare you my race report because I did not crash or do anything particularly blogworthy. I will say that it was great fun and will add, quite unhumbly, that the field would have been in trouble if I had the confidence to blast the first lap, rocketshipstyle.


Will P. storms the barriers.

Others on the team had some solid races, with Jenks taking fourth in the B’s and the RU team sweeping collegiate podiums like nobody’s business.


Jenks is a blur, as usual.

This weekend tested the cycling team’s resolve, but the troops rallied and made it happen. The rest of the ECCC conference would do well to notice this growing team from New Brunswick.


~ by wcuk on November 12, 2007.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

ECCC Cross Weekend #1 - Chainbiter and Cycle-Smart Int'l

The defending ECCC Cyclocross series champions Rutgers Cycling kicked off their assault on the 2007 ECCC Cyclocross Series at Chainbiter 9.0 in Farmington, CT and Cycle-Smart International in Northampton, MA this weekend.

Some people have referred to Rutgers' cross program as a "juggernaut." If this weekend was any indication, nobody stops the juggernaut.

A small Rutgers cyclocross crew of FroJo, FarmerAndy, The Kassassin, Sleepin'Kyle, and I arrived in Rocky Hill, CT on Friday night and crashed at a pretty decent Howard Johnson's about 25 minutes from the course. We awoke the next day in darkness and headed out to the course with stops along the way for coffee and Clif bars.

Our 4 men's team had a solid effort in the massive 99 rider New England field. While we don't agree with the results, Andy placed 34th (3rd collegiate), Joe 83rd (5th collegiate) and Rich and Kyle's results seem to be missing.

"If it's cold, wear warmers. If it's wet, wear embrocation." I'm obviously a little cold... Chainbiter

I was the only 2/3 rider and had an okay day just coming off recovery from an injury and a bit of a bug to finish 49th (3rd collegiate).

After the race, we loaded up the car and headed to Hadley, MA to stay with family friends of Andy. Their hospitality and beautiful home were welcome sights after a long, hard day of racing.

Sunday morning after a breakfast of oatmeal and dried fruit, we headed to Look Park in Northampton, MA for the 17th Annual Cycle-Smart International. The race is put on by Rutgers coaching sponsor Cycle-Smart, so it was a great opportunity to show our fitness at this awesome race!

In the 4s, Andy had a great day to finish 23rd (2nd collegiate) in another massive field of 92 riders. Rich had a better day (and finished with both wheels intact) to finish 53rd (6th collegiate), Joe finished 76th, and Kyle 80th.

In the 2/3 race, I felt better and finished 51st (3rd collegiate) in a field of 84 riders. Chain difficulties sent me backwards a bit, but I was able to feel like I was racing for the first time in a while.

Because of the team's massive and consistent effort, Rutgers took the D1 overall both days and currently leads the ECCC 'cross team overall. Andy is second overall in the C men, and I'm 2nd in the B men.

This weekend, Rutgers races at home in NJ. Saturday the team is headed to Bridgeton, NJ to race Beacon Cyclocross. On Sunday, the team hosts its own race in Jamesburg, NJ, HPCX.

With a home advantage all weekend, Rutgers is set once again for cyclocross domination!