Monday, April 30, 2007
The team has had its most successful road season in years and was psyched to end the season on a high note.
The team was sure not to disappoint with an impressive roster including: Charlie, Rich, Dave K., climbing phenom Alex, Mark, Chris, Kevin, Jay, and Will.
Saturday brought the brutal road race in New Paltz. With Intro men doing 10 miles, D and C men doing 35, and Bs 60, it was going to be a hard day in the saddle. In the Cs, Jay, Mark, Rich, and Charlie tried to hold it down, but the climbing expertise of the teams who live near mountains put them all in a spot of bother. Mark was the highest placed C in 62nd.
Hot off his victory at Army, Kevin was psyched to lay it down in the Intro race... and lay it down he did. Kevin crashed out on a technical descent. He came out a-okay and his bike suffered only a flat and a bent bottle cage.
Saturday night brought the team banquet where the RU squad rested and recharged. The team did a healthy amount of carbo-loading in the form of brownies to prepare for the criterium on Sunday.
Early Sunday morning brought the criterium. If NJ doesn't have a lot of mountains, it does have a lot of criteriums, and the team demonstrated its skill at crits early on. Dave kicked it off with an impressive 3rd in the Ds. Mark and Rich rode an impressive race in the Cs, and Mark also finished 3rd, crucially, ahead of riders from Columbia. Kevin continued to have a heartbreaking weekend. Despite riding beautifully in the Intro crit, he got in a bad situation in the last corner and lost position for the sprint. He still pulled off an impressive 8th place. Weary from the previous day's efforts, Chris and Alex sallied forth in the Bs for an hour long crit. Chris got caught up in an early crash and was forced to chase, but Alex hung tough and finished 23rd. The main event was the A men's criterium, and Will C. joined the team in Poughkeepsie on Sunday just for the crit. The race was blisteringly fast, but Will hung tough to finish in the field.
Chris, as most know, has been the revelation of the season. Going into Easterns, Chris had a slight lead in the C men's overall standings. With his move to Bs, that overall lead was in doubt. With some crafty riding by his teammates, Chris' overall lead was defended, and he took home the D1 C men's overall title!!!!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Mike, honorary RU rider gives us this report:
Rahway... was a Good Idea. Mark, Harold and Pluto (Will P.)
rode from the shop to the race. Jim, Dave K., Rich K., Ray D. (and
Brittany, too!), Chris R., Craig, Andy and myself drove. Bob showed
up to play the role of the ultimate-tifosi/soigneur by providing us with ample camp chairs, bananas, oranges, powerbars and vocal chords.
Jim set the tone early on by riding away from the Cat 5 field during
the first lap. He was joined by what we were told was a Cat 2 from
Guyana -- huh?! Jim held his own for the duration of the race and was
only outfoxed at the finish. Second place in his first road race!
Nice job Jim! Rich and Ray showed their strength in the field finish,
both taking solid placings. (Though, in my opinion, Rich would have
done better if he hadn't spent so much time on the front!)
Dave, Chris and Pluto took it to the Cat 4 field hard. Some Westwood
guy made a sneaky move and took the solo win. Unfortunately I was not
paying attention in trying to prepare for the 3/4 race but I think
Dave took a good placing in the field sprint and Pluto put in a good
showing, too. Unfortunately Chris flatted and was not given the
benefit of a free lap . . . jerks!!
The main event for the Rutgers/Hermes team was the 3/4 race, in which
we had Craig, Mark and myself in the oh-so-hot green and yellow,
joined by the dashingly good looking Scarlet Knights Dave, Chris and
Pluto. The plan was to work for Mark and put one guy in every move.
Chris was very active while Dave and Craig kept Mark safe. Pluto went
with a promising move but, when it looked doomed, he came back to the
field. I bridged to the break myself and it turned out that it would
stay away. A DKNY guy made a sneaky move with about a lap to go and
outfoxed the break. I took the sprint for 2nd while Mark pulled a
solid 11th with a good performance in the field sprint. Nice work,
Andy, Craig and I rode the P/1/2/3 race. I don't think there were any
current pros, but by my count, there were at least two former pros.
The race was fast and hard. I'm told I initiated the winning break
but, in a group of four and way out-gunned, I had nowhere to hide and
came back to the field. Craig and Andy did a superb job of setting me
up for the sprint. We got a bit boxed in but I was able to regain a
couple spots and pick my way to third place field finish, sixth
overall. Thanks again to Craig and Andy!
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
So, if you have not heard, this weekend at the Army RR was my first win. It also happened to be the first race I used my new Litespeed in. It seems that the bike really was the difference between me finishing at the back of the pack and winning my race. The Army RR was one of the hilliest courses I've done, if not the hilliest. I really believe that if I had my '89 Schwinn during this race I would have not only done nearly as well, but I probably would not have finished any where near my capability just because it was so hard to shift with downtube shifters. It was really nice to be able to shift without taking my hands off the drops, and the weight of the bike was like riding on a cloud compared to the steel, 27lb bike I was used to riding. During the race I was able to break away from a lot of people and attack with full force. I kept up with everyone at the front of the pack and pulled for most of the race. I was even able to oust a kid from C Mellon who, and I quote "got a sweet deal" on the zips he was using. At the end of the race, when the field sprint started, the top three of us- a kid from Delaware, C Mellon (not the one using the zips mind you), and I blasted away from the rest of the pack at the last up hill into the downhill finish. The Delaware kid and I were head to head in a full-out sprint when I realized that I wasn't in my highest gear. I shifted and killed it into the finish. When it was all over it took a few seconds for me to wipe the spit and snot off my face before I realized- I JUST WON!!! My computer said I topped out at 41.6 mph during what must have been the sprint. It was probably the proudest moment I've had all season in cycling and proved to myself that I was in the right activity, and that it really was just the bike, not my ability that had hindered me.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
After yawning on the startline, a whole lot of fresh air woke me up as we quickly descended into the first corner. On the first lap, the peleton ascended the climb at a pitifully slow rate, so I was able to take in some great scenery from the back third of the pack. A few efforts went (slightly) off the front during the flat portion of the race, and I abruptly moved up to the front of the peleton on a mild uphill, where the pack slowed for no reason. A rider asked if I wanted to bridge up to a guy that was within sight, I was bored and said "sure," and off we went with two others. I left my cycling glossary at home, because I thought that we were just going to pull him back, but others wanted to break away (of course, in vain). So, we were exposed to the headwind for a while until being caught by the peleton. When caught, we (stupidly) stayed on the front through the end of the flat and down the descent. At the time, the effort didn't seem like it was draining too much energy. I later found that I was incorrect.
I blew up one-third of the way up the second climb, not being used to seated climbing. For some reason, I couldn't figure out that I could have simply shifted up two gears and climbed standing up. Exhaustion is a funny thing. Regardless, the time on the front resulted in me loosing contact with the peleton on the climb, so I had a nice tough training ride with some beautiful scenery on Saturday. Had I been smarter (or brought my cycling glossary), I could have participated in a race. Unfortunately, I was impatient and thus had a very enjoyable training ride. Live and learn - Charlie
PS - Don was able to hang with the peleton on the second climb, so I owe him a dum-dum.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Sunday, April 01, 2007
LIVE (almost) from the Boston Beanpot Cycling Classic-here's the race report, or rather weekend report. When the team gathered in the parking lot of Brower at 5PM Friday, who knew the awesomeness that would ensue during the weekend? Some dubbed it the undergrad race; others dubbed it the undergrad race with super-senior Jay. Either way, everyone packed all their gear into Chris's van and Dave's SUV, and we started the journey to Boston- stopping on the way in Connecticut for Dunkin Donuts. Andy was sporting his cornrows and gold chain (a regular Grand Master Flash). We passed other people with bikes on their cars and proceeded to scream about Rutgers Cycling out the window. Then, BOOM, fast forward a couple of grueling hours on the road and we arrived in Boston. Destination: the MIT fraternity Delta Tau Delta (which was like a mansion). The brothers, many of whom cycle, had let us stay in their second floor bedroom and provided many couches and mattresses for us to rest and live in for the weekend. Friday night, several of us went out to peruse the city, and some decided on hitting the sack early for the race the next morning. We woke up early, and set off for Grafton, MA where the Beanpot Road Race would take place- on the campus of the Tufts Veterinary School- a very small, but beautiful campus in rural Massachussets. The course was very up and down hilly, with the largest being right smack dab in the middle. In the D's, Dave would race adamantly, with Andy following close behind. Racing C's, Chris finished 4th (after a giant truck was practically stopped during the sprint), and Jay and Rich held up with the rest of the pack. I finished around the middle of the pack, and Alex put in a good sprint in the B's. After the race came and went, we headed back to the frat house, stopping for pizza in a small shop and watching re-runs of Wrestlemania. Next morning- Sunday was to be the Beanpot Criterium- located on the Tufts University Main Campus. This is clearly one of the most dangerous crit courses out there, having turns named Carnage Corner, and the like. Fortresses of hay bails were laid out to prevent serious damage. Andy and Dave, racing the D's, were entangled in a massive crash that threw them out of the crit, Dave's on the last lap. In the C's, Chris finished second overall (and got a sweet medal to prove it), and Rich and Jay followed close in pursuit. I raced Intro's in what was probably my best race to date. Alex topped it all off with a decent finish in the B's, and we all went to a Burrito joint where they were having a meal deal sponsored by the ECCC. We headed home, stopping for some Auntie Anne's on the way, and then hit New Jersey, where it was pouring rain. Sadly, nothing gold can stay, only in our memories. :) Boston was beautiful! Pictures coming soon.
Today, Hammonton, NJ played host to the 2007 edition of the Pinecone
Circuit Road Race. The Cat 3/4 race was a 48-mile affair full of my
absolutely favorite terrain: flat, flat, flat. Mark, Will C., Will P.
and I met at the Dunkin Donuts in the HP at the wonderfully fresh hour
of 5:15AM (I was late, as usual).
Once at the race, my day began rather inauspiciously as we were
heading out to do a pre-race roll-around (note: this was by no means a
warm-up). As I tried to show off my CX skill in the
field-turned-parking-lot, I fell to the ground--much to the amusement
of my teammates.
The race itself went off pretty slow at first. Two guys decided to
head out at about mile 6, one guy was unattached and one guy was from
the platoon that was Team Beacon. They held a 20 second or so gap for
a long, long time. As it looked like they were to be caught, an attack
went in and I joined a chase group of four or five. The six or seven
of us worked very well together, running the gap up to 30 seconds
At this point, as told by Will C., random guys in the field started
"attacking." I put attacking in quotes because it was more of a
(horrendously ugly and consisting of poor form) sprint that happened
to drag the entire field along. We came back with about 15-20 miles
At that point, I decided to do what I was supposed to be doing all
along: sit in. I plopped myself onto Will C.'s wheel and, for the most
part, never moved from it. Another break of six or seven went up the
road but didn't gain much advantage. On the final circuit (the final 6
miles), a lone attack went that got quite a gap as everyone was
tentative, not wanting to waste their energy for the sprint. Will P.
did some great work at the front, keeping the pace high and the race
safe while we debated whether or not to give a full chase to the
one-man breakaway. The final stretch was long, maybe 3km corner to
corner. At this point, the lone attacker was still up the road and we
started to get mixed up in the argy-bargy. There was an intersection
with a flashing yellow light at about 600m from the line. Mark went
full gas at that point on the right as the field surged on the left.
Will C. followed easily with me tucked behind him. I yelled a wee
early for Will C. to go but he hit out anyways and I marvelled at how,
under the power of Will's massive pistons, we went around people like
they were standing still, including the single breakaway rider. I hit
out for myself, also a wee bit early, with maybe 200-250m left. With
about 75-100m to go, I looked behind and saw a few bodies in the
distance but no one seemed to be closing. I had a good enough gap to
sit up at the line and point at my jersey in recognition of one of the
most phenomenal leadouts I've ever seen, let alone been a part of.
Will C. crossed the line in 9th, earning himself a cool $30 while Mark
and Will P., their legs spent after all the support they gave me,
rolled in with the field.
To add some symmetry and closure to the day, again, I tried to show
off my CX skills in the field-turned-parking-lot, again, I fell over,
again, much to the amusement of my teammates and the various
officials, registration workers and young children who happened to
witness the feat.