Friday, January 30, 2009

New Kid on the Block (Bike)

I've never been a team kind of person. In fact, the last team I was on was when I was six, and they had to have my mom come get me because I wouldn't stop crying. So my experience with group sports has been pretty limited. My experience on a bike, however, has been going on since I was just an infant, dating back to the days when the only way to put me to sleep was for my dad to take me out for a ride in the baby seat affixed firmly to his old Cannondale road bike.

I eschewed training wheels for my first mountain bike, since I was in hot competition with my boy neighbor to see who could ride first. We tied in that, and spent the next ten or so years racing around our small town together on our bikes. My dad says that I was born to ride, since my legs never seemed to get tired.

So, when I got to Rutgers, I came with my dad's old Cannondale, just a hair too big for me. Building a fixed gear soon followed, and after that, a few attempted alleycats. Then, a new bike, bought solely to compete in… Triathlon. What followed was the transformation of a nonathletic and noncompetitive girl into someone who trains three or four hours a day and races as hard as humanly possible. I learned to push myself harder than I thought I ever could, and I saw results.

I blame a bike team alumnus for my foray into the multisport world (he knows who he is!) I started racing in tri's last summer, and managed to do reasonably well, getting third in my age group in my second race. The swim was scary, the run was painful, but the bike was just fun. I decided that while triathlon is my first love, I wanted to concentrate on my biggest strength- the bike.

So, for the first time in my life, I'm doing the "team" thing, and it's scary! While I may have the legs and the stamina for the riding, triathlon has in no way prepared me for racing strictly on two wheels.

I thought that joining the team would be hard in and of itself, but with people like Chris and Mark helping me navigate through the various paperwork and membership rules, it was actually surprisingly easy.

My first ride with team members was a bit of a disaster, I admit. Going out in 2 layers on top, 1 on bottom and just my triathlon shoes on my feet was my first mistake. I survived the ride, but the 20 degree weather took its toll on my system, and when we stopped at a park mid-ride, I got off the bike and started seeing in Technicolor before things started to fade out completely. Thanks to Chris and his bottle of Accelerade, I managed to recover and finish the ride, only to discover later that night that what I thought had been a tiny spill on the ice had actually caused a gigantic bruise on my leg that two weeks later is still healing.

The next ride saw me outfitted with neoprene booties, Assos legwarmers, tights, underarmour, and my new Rutgers long-sleeved jersey- 2 layers on bottom, 3 and a half on top. Much warmer, and the ride went much smoother, though I still have a lot to learn about riding in a pack. It's hard to get a knack for drafting when you're used to a time penalty for drafting in triathlon!

In the meantime, I also learned that the team does just about everything together- I've been to a team meeting, I've weightlifted, rode on trainers in an attic, and swam with members. It's a whole new world of training for me, one where I finally have a group to talk to, finally have friends that actually know exactly what my body is going through because theirs are too. I can't believe I missed out on such a dedicated group of people for three years! It seems like such a waste.

So I have a couple years to make up for, and with races starting in a little over a month, I'm incredibly psyched to get started.

Oh yeah- my name is Molly, and I'm really happy to be on this team!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Third Annual "Accidental" Century

Well folks, it's January, and that can only mean one thing - seriously, one thing and one thing only, and we'd better not find out it means something else! - it's time for the traditional Rutgers Cycling "Accidental" Century!

In its first edition, alumnus Jay #1 promised us an easy 60 mile cruise, only to be shocked when we hit the halfway point at 50 miles. Back then, it really was an accident, and we were exhausted. The more recent editions have had safer routes and bigger groups, but we continue to be exhausted. It's great!
25Jan09 - Rutgers Century at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

Even with sunny skies, temperatures were never higher than 32 degrees, and the cold was a constant challenge. Good company, warm coffee, and a little something we like to call "drafting behind Chris and the Wills" kept us strong. Our water bottles froze, but our spirits were high.

Twenty-five miles into our journey, we passed a Road Closed sign. Bridge Out. Blah, blah, blah. Detours are for wimps and Rutgers Cycling are not wimps. What we found was that the bridge really was closed. Did not exist.

The descent to the river - okay, creek - was simple enough, but the far bank was steep and frozen. Like a hokey "cooperation" exercise from middle school or perhaps part of Navy Seal training, our teamwork was put to the test. With a little ingenuity and a lot of laughter, we all made it safely across.

Two miles later, a sign announced that the next bridge was closed. Not eager to ford another river, we opted to follow the detour signs, only to find that we could've crossed this "closed" bridge blindfolded. Still, the detour afforded us some beautiful views of central NJ, plus some extra base miles.

I can't tell if the owners of the coffee shop love us or hate us. We took up every single seat in the place, trash-talked and joked and were generally loud, and were sweaty. We walked around barefoot to get blood back in the toes. We ordered small coffees, then took as many free refills as our stomachs would hold. Still, I'm pretty sure the proprietors love us... we do eat a LOT of pastries.

The ride back saw its share of adversity, with flat tires and mechanical difficulties and uncooperative joints. To keep our spirits high, we sang a stirring rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody", in its entirety. I'd like to think that somewhere, Freddy Mercury was smiling.

The cold weather - or, more directly, the multiple gloves each of us was wearing - prevented much photography. Eric R (aka Asphalt Eric, aka Big Papa) took pictures at every opportunity, and he synced them with his GPS map (see above).

Having finished the traditional, official, first Rutgers Century of the new year, we'll be doing regular centuries every Sunday. Fitness or Bust! If you see us out on the roads, wave hello... or roll down your window and join us in song!

Rutgers Winter Road Training Begins !!! (1/17 - 1/18)

The cold weather couldn't keep the RU squad down. After over a week of straight roller rides, and beating almost every NFL team on N64 while on rollers. I decided that regardless of the temperature on Saturday I was going outside. I posted the challenge to the group and put on every piece of cold weather gear I could find. I checked the weather online and a little piece of my soul died when I saw 4 degrees with a feels like of 0. Regardless I had already posted to the group and could not take back the e-mail. So I decided I would ride. Here is a list of what I wore for the ride:

- Polypropylene Long Johns upper and lower
- 2 under armor upper base layers
- arm warmers
- 1 under armor lower base layer
- leg warmers
- booties
- 2 pairs of winter cycling gloves
- cycling mask
- wool knit cap
- glasses
- s/s cycling jersey
- bib shorts
- Verge Warsaw jacket
- NO water bottles (no point, there were just going to freeze anyway)

It took me so long to put on all of the cloths that I was 15 minutes late for the ride. However, one brave soul, Matt Bathe, was man enough to wait. Wearing less cloths than me (proving his dominance as a male), Matt I and started out on our ride. What you don't realize that it is not the cold that makes it hard to ride, but the lack of movement from all of the cloths. So feeling like giant marshmallow men in all our layers we belabored our way the six mile. Pulling into the rest stop we saw a group on mountain bikers enjoying the snow covered trails. I have to admit, it felt good to hear all the mtbers conversations stop and watch them all stare at the "crazy roadies" out on the roads. At the rest stop, Matt looked down at his bottles almost completely frozen. Attempting to get the little remaining liquid H2O, Matt reached for his bottle only to find that it was frozen to his cage! We got going again and finished a first bridge just before we froze in place like the tin man. Near the end of the ride I look over to Matt, who has a relatively tame read bearded (compared to his beard in the past) and see that he has an ice goatee about a quarter of an inch thick. After I get home it takes me an hour to get off all of the layers and regain feeling in my toes. So the moral of the story is IT'S COLD OUTSIDE.

Sunday the cycling apartment hosted a 2 hour trainer ride in out attic, which is not much warmer than it is outside. The crew was Nick, George, Matt, Charlie T, and myself. This was a ride of first. It was the first trainer ride of the New Year, the first trainer ride ever for Nick and George, and the first time Nick and George had ever seen "Breaking Away". So in a reverse flying V, Matt, Charlie T, and myself up front with Nick and George in back, we set out for our Cycle-Smart dictated 140+ minutes of easy. I was quite impressed by the two new comers. I did not hear one complaint and they never asked how much time we had left, I guess they figured I did enough complaining for everyone. It was a good ride. With the exception of one stretch break and one pee break, we did a consistent 144 minutes, and by the time we had finished the attic was a sauna, in part from the rubber we burned, but also because we just looked that hot on our bikes.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Collegiate Cycling Article on Velonews!

Rick Crawford, director of the Fort Lewis College Cycling Team, has written a wonderful article about collegiate cycling for

College Days (

The article captures very well the feeling and spirit of collegiate cycling and certainly the vibe here at Rutgers Cycling.

Crawford concludes with an appeal for volunteer or financial support of collegiate cycling. We'd like to echo Coach Crawford's appeal. In an era when only a few NCCA sports receive adequate funding from colleges and universities, cycling, a non-NCCA sport, is often left to fend for itself, despite the enormous costs associated with competitive cycling.

If you'd like to learn more about how you can help support cycling at Rutgers, please contact our Sponsorship Coordinator at sponsorship(at)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rutgers Cycling fueled by 53x11 Coffee!

It's been a busy start for the new year and Rutgers Cycling is proud to announce a fresh new sponsorship arrangement with 53x11 Coffee for the 2009 season.

53x11 Coffee is fair-trade, organic coffee made for cyclists, by cyclists. It is so good, though, you needn't be a cyclist to enjoy it.

Rutgers Cycling is a 53x11 Coffee affiliate, so when you order coffee through our web site and blog, you aren't just getting some of the finest coffee beans around, you are also helping to support one of the finest collegiate cycling programs around.

AngryMark likes the Chainbreaker blend, while the Kassassin and Beastmaster have been enjoying the Big Ring blend.

Click here to check it out:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rutgers Cycling, now Powered by SRAM

Rutgers Cycling is very pleased to announce a grassroots sponsorship agreement with SRAM, makers of the outstanding Red road group and X.O mountain group. SRAM drivetrain components will grace the road, cyclocross, and mountain bikes of Rutgers Cycling members throughout the 2009 road, cross, and mountain bike seasons.

Rutgers Cycling is also be proud to be part of SRAM's work with World Bicycle Relief.

World Bicycle Relief is committed to providing access to independence and livelihood through The Power of Bicycles.

We hope that you will join us in supporting the efforts of World Bicycle Relief.