Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Princeton Circuit, Men's B

Well, that was intense. I finally have a computer on my race bike, and the numbers don't lie. something like 25 mph average, close to 30 into the headwind when the racing heated up... I have no idea how fast we were in the tailwind, because I was too busy trying to keep my heart from bursting through my throat. It was hurty.

The Rutgers men worked well together the whole time. Chris and Rich never strayed more than 10 people from the front, and they were active in chasing the dangerous breaks. Alex and I took turns attacking and counter-attacking for a while, even working together in a group of 6ish for the 30 seconds before we got caught. Rich, who had been blocking for us in a display of extraordinary teamwork and patience, took a few stabs at breaking away himself. The pack stayed together.

Going into the last few corners, I was on Chris' wheel. Rich was somewhere ahead of us, and I have no idea where Alex was. I tried to stay with Chris, but that man knows how to move through a field in the last kilometer, and before I knew it he'd put himself in great position. Typical Chris.

Alex finished 29th, Rich got 12th, and I eked out my first top-20 of the season in 20th place. Chris got 3rd, but he's 1st in our hearts.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Pheonixville Phlood

Mens C cirCRIT race

So, I was disappointed that the road race was flooded, for I was really looking forward to a tough, rainy, hilly road race. But, immediately before the C mens category, the race was reconfigured to be a circuit through downtown. In the process, the start time was delayed by 30 minutes, followed by a 45 minute experiment on how to turn cyclists into popsicles. Then, the announcement came that a 25 minute circuit race on a crit course would begin shortly.

Short race, cold and whining cyclists, inclement weather, downhill entrance to turn 3 with a snowfence barrier separating a sliding cyclist from oncoming traffic, and a slippery manhole cover in apex of turn 4... the perfect recipe for a breakaway from the gun. A strong guy from Navy took advantage and shed the field save me and a NCSU rider. Keeping that pace from a cold start HURT! The three of us worked together quite well and put lots of time into the field, especially after being joined by another strong guy from UVM. Simply, the four of us could move through the turns much faster than the field. Strength: Navy, UVM, me, NCSU Finish: Navy, UVM, NCSU me. I followed Navy in the paceline order, and he successfully shed us by accelerating out of corner four approaching two laps to go. I pulled for half a lap merely 15 feet off his wheel, but at the exit of turn two, it was over. I was hoping the increased pace might drop UVM and NSCU bringing me to a second place finish, but UVM kept my wheel. You'll never know until you try, right? I was spent after the effort and came in last of the break.

I was quite happy, for my goal for the day was to get in a break and make it stick. That happened, and I have grown as a cyclist. The only way it could have been better, is if DK had finished in 5th. He was feeling fantastic and was well placed in the chase group (where he did much more disrupting than pulling, thanks Dave!), but he unfortunately found the slippery manhole cover on the last corner and hit the pavement. Worry not ladies, DK is alright... sexy need not be brought back, Dave's still here.

Thanks to everyone that was outside cheering in the deluge. And, thank you to theJenksster and CoachKen for helping me visualize what scenarios could play out in a break.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Don's Rutgers Classic Report

What a weekend! It is definitely a challenge to put together a race, then compete in it, but I'd say our team came through with flying colors.

The highlight for me wasn't even related to racing. Set up in a long row of trainers, the Cs and Bs were warming for our criteriums on Saturday. Normally, while spinning our legs out, we would be talking strategy over the din of whirring trainers and the chatter of the race announcer.

On Saturday, though, we had a special treat... a live band! Feel It Robot drove down all the way from Bangor, Maine, to rock while we rolled. It was a rare treat, the first of its kind in the ECCC (we think), and it was a big hit with all of the teams.

Cycling Team alumnus DanFlan, featured on the keyboard and vocals, showed some alma mater pride as he sang of bicycles, parties, and of course robots. What better way to get us pumped up for our races?

As for me, I would've loved to tell you about how great my races went, but I don't want to mislead you. I got dropped like a rock in the Men's B Criterium, organizing a chase that never managed to catch the pack, but did manage to finish the race. Serves me right for riding at the back of the pack!

On Sunday, the Circuit Race went much better for me. After an hour of hard surging, aggressive cornering, and elbow bumping, I managed a respectable (relatively speaking) top-30 finish. If you squint, you can just barely see me hiding from the wind in this picture:

I'll offer my congratulations to my podium-earning teammates, but I won't tell you who they are... they'll tell you their stories in upcoming posts, here at the Rutgers University Cycling Team Blog!