Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
In the week leading up to the race I spent my days looking all over the interwebs and on the telephone trying to get information on different grad schools I'm interested in my ongoing effort to not get a job upon graduation in June. Right now I'm mostly interested in a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering, so if you have any recommendations, or attend a school with such a program and a good bike team feel free to drop me a line.
Running the Conference for the Weekend
Leading into the weekend another piece of information had come across my inbox, and that was that the ECCC cyclocross director and sideburn enthusiast Mark V was unable to attend the weekend and thus award the cowbells to the team victors. So, being a good citizen of the ECCC I volunteered to do the tallying of the individual and overall points for the weekend as well as run the podium ceremony on Sunday.
Oh heavens. It is so nice to upgrade to the Killer B's. I absolutely adore those 12:30 starts, I got to sleep for a whole nine hours the night before the race and even had enough time to drive in to Somerville to pick up Jeremy (Tufts Alum) who was also going to be in the 2/3 event. The 1.5 hour drive was pretty easy with the exception that I missed the last exit I was supposed to take and needed to rely on my superior geography skills to get us to the venue on time, which we did, with plenty of time to get ready.
When I got to the venue I took the opportunity to scope out the course which, much like Baystate Cross with lots of long and flat sections that require lots of power. Additionally, right after the start there was a large cement "S" turn which could have been a disaster if someone lost their cool and couldn't hold their line. Finally after rolling around the venue for a while and catching up with the Wentworth Boys, AJ and Taylor, I headed on down to the start and took off my layers.
Just after the gun I had a poor start and immediately found myself about two thirds of the way back in the field near the familiar face of my "rival" Mickey who is the owner and operator of Spooky Bikes. Fortunately the field made it through the S turn safely and hit the longer of two sand sections (see video of elite race below). Of course, it being a large field of around 70 riders I pretty much came to a complete stop when we hit the run up at the end and I was surrounded by bicycles. The field started to stretch out when we hit some of the woods section and I was in a group with Mickey, and a guy in a gold and white kit. We rode together for a while and eventually when we hit the start/finish Mickey and I agreed we were racing for "not last" and were competing for who could make it the farthest on the long sand section. As the race went on I continually found myself losing ground on the long straight sections of pavement and grass. However, I was much faster on the dirt sections and would bridge back up to the group I was with. By about 3 laps into the race my highlight had been riding the whole sand section and about halfway up the run-up, which resulted in the good/bad photo (link) because I could only take the right hand line and I needed to put my bike on the opposite shoulder for the last part of the run up to avoid falling into course tape.
Eventually our trio was caught by Jeremy (Army) with 2 laps to go, who sat on our wheel for, oh about 2 seconds before he sprinted away, I tried to bridge back to him briefly, but soon gave up. Finally, on the pavement section at the top of the course I was dropped by Mickey and saw AJ (Wentworth) well ahead of me. Then when I got on the following grass section I was passed by the leaders. By this point I lost all motivation and pretty much cruised to the finish and tried to clean the last sand section and rolled into the finish.
Photo Courtesy Paul Weiss
After the race I was less than happy, as I had come in DFL, 68th of 74 starters. At least I scored some collegiate points and kept my team in the hunt for 3rd place overall for the season. But I was probably most upset by the fact that I was beat by AJ for the first time since the Beanpot Road Race in the spring. At dinner I told him I vowed for vengeance.
After another night of wonderful sleep at the ole homestead I knew that Sunday was going to be a great race. Why? SNOW! I mean, come on, what could be better? I've utilized a very sophisticated method and some complex software to demonstrate my point:
That's Right. When I got to the venue I found it blanketed with an in or so of fresh, soft, fluffy snow! Which meant I was going to have fun. Aside from the ideal conditions the course was also a lot more twisty and mountain bike like with more dirt, less pavement and snow. I was really looking forward to this day in the saddle.
When we got the go I was so excited I actually got a good start! In fact I kept up so much speed that I rode most of the first sand section, which was the same as the previous day. As a results I even got a few compliments front the dudes I was passing while they were running their bikes. After the sand section and a short run up we then went down the hill, through some parking lot, hit the barriers and did a whole lot of dirt turns. It was SO MUCH FUN! Dudes were falling all over the place, during the first lap I must have passed at least 7 guys who had slipped on some section. For a while I was mid pack, right near a few guys from CBRC who I did some riding with while I was back at school. I spent most of the race just behind them with Bikeman.com rider. As the field began to string out I continued to enjoy sliding out in most of the turns, riding the sand as much as I could and taking three feeds by the barriers. The first being a brownie feed and the next two being beer feeds. I swear this could have been the most fun I'd had in a race in 6 months, and I've done a LOT OF RACES this year. I was cold, I was slippery, I was having an absolute blast and I was also doing way better than I'd done in any of my previous B races. Because I beat 2 collegiate riders, (one of which wasAJ! HA REDEMPTION SON!) I finished on the lead lap in a 2/3 race and I passed my NAV team mate Nate who I'd been just behind in about 5 races this season. Oh and did I mention that it was snowing! I couldn't have been happier. At the end of the day I had finished 59th, a ten place improvement from the day before and had earned a good amount of collegiate points.
Photo Courtesy Paul Weiss
After the race I washed of the bike, and got changed quickly so I could crank out the results for the events. I hustled on down to the pavilion and opened up my trusty laptop to crunch the numbers. After about twenty minutes I was done and since Pat Bradley didn't start the elite race I even got to watch the elite race as the snow fell. Of course I had a beer and sprinted about screaming at the pros trying to motivate them by saying "go faster" to pretty much every one and "they're right behind you" to Jamie Driscoll who had about a 30 second lead on the chasers. I even got to plug the collegiate podiums on the Public Announcing system.
When the race was over I rushed inside and did the podium ceremony which basically was the Rutgers team and Callie McDowell (BU) because everyone else had to go home. I was pretty disappointed that most everyone had bounced because there were 3 teams within 1 point of each other for the last spot on the D2 podium (including UNION!). But it was fun and I give a whole lot of respect to the Rutgers team who trounced the competition by taking the Division 1 Title.
Rutgers Atop the Collegiate Podium, way to go guys!
So, since my ride from some school in Burlington Vermont bailed I will not be heading to Kansas City for nats. It's just as well as I'll probably close out the season by doing a local race in Wrentham Mass promoted by Colin of CrossResults.com. It should be fun and I'm looking forward to getting of the bike and getting out on the snowboard before I head back to school.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Departure - Exams
Ok, So I left on Friday night after my last exam which was surprisingly easy, which was good because I really didn’t study at all. Fortunately it wasn’t an engineering class so I wasn’t too concerned about it. When I finished up I had a few hours to kill before I left so I rode the trainer in my room to stretch the legs before my race in the morning. I left around 4pm and did the pretty easy drive to Fort Lee, NJ where I stayed with my uncle for the evening to keep me from doing a 5 hour drive solo all the way to Southampton.
In the morning I woke up around 6:15, made a pit stop at Dunkin Donuts and grabbed some wicked cheap gas and headed over the George Washing Bridge for the 2 hour drive out to the Hamptons. I arrived pretty early and went directly to registration. Which sadly was really, poorly run because it was A) outside, where ti was about 12 degrees with the wind chill next to a building, and B) run by one person. I eventually got my number, got changed and rode around for a while with Alex C, Sully and Matt B from UVM who were also there for valuable collegiate points. We did a short spin up the road to warm up, which was desperately needed because I was wearing almost every piece of cycling clothing I own and was still cold. But nonetheless I ventured on and made my way to the start where I gingerly removed my jacket and stood freezing for few minutes before the start of the B race.
Like usual I started in the back row and hoped for the best. I had a really poor sprint at the gun and quickly found myself hanging on for dear life to the leaders. For most of the first lap I stuck on to the main group while the leaders got away. I hung on for dear life for about a lap or two when the field started to string out and found myself continuously going backwards. I eventually ended up with a Westwood Velo guy and a Rutgers guy who I rode with for a couple of laps. By the time I saw lap card for 3 to go I could feel myself getting tired and sensed the leaders coming up to lap me, which they did with 2 to go and I just kept on cruising. Eventually the Westwood Velo guy gapped me along with the Rutgers guy, but he had a fall on the last lap on a small power uphill on the back side of the course. I ended up passing him and finished somewhere in the low 30’s and had beaten 1 other collegiate rider so I got a good amount of collegiate points by coming in 8th.
After a short cool down spin on the road Sully, Matt, Alex and I hit up the local Starbucks for some snacks and then came back for the Men’s Elite Race, which was kind of boring. Basically, Ryan Trebon got a gap on the other strong guys like Todd Wells, Jeremy Powers, Jamey Driscoll and Jesse Anthony and won with a 50 second gap on the chasers. So it was a pretty powerful performance but not super interesting to watch. I took some short videos, posted below.
I also was really freaking cold at this point and had fashioned a cape from this old wool blanket my dad had given me (see photo).
When I woke up on day 2 I pretty much knew from the get go that I was going to have a bad day. When I got to the venue I changed early and got a few practice laps in and discovered that the course was pretty fast compared to the day before aside from two really hard up hills. I rode around for a while before the race on the road with Sully and Matt.
Again I had a really bad start and found my self on the wheel of the Westwood Velo guy from Saturday and Adam L from Drexel. I stayed with Adam for a while through most of the technical sections but he finally broke away from me after a couple of laps when we hit the pavement. I spent the rest of the race pacing off of the Westwood Velo guy and then attacked him just before the last woods section and rode away fast through the single track. I finished the race with a fairly good wheelie and got a few cheers. I didn’t beat any collegiate riders but I got some ECCC points. It wasn’t a great race but I was glad I raced.
The elite race was one for the ages. It started fast and Trebon got a flat on the first lap. He eventually made it to the pits for a new bike but Todd Wells, Jesse Anthony, Jamey Driscoll and Andy Jacques Maynes had broken away. Trebon sprinted like a mad man to get through the field. He eventually found himself with Andy Jacques Maynes. Todd Wells and Jeremy Powers then dropped Jamey and Andy with Trebon in 5th. On the 2nd to last lap though Powers got a flat and Wells rode in solo for the victory, but Jamey came up big and dropped Andy Jacques Maynes earlier and got 2nd. Trebon also caught and dropped Jacques Maynes and passed Powers to claim a well deserved 3rd place. It was a really awesome race.
Because I am on break I went home to Massachusetts via boat from Orient Point NY. Which was really cool because I got on the same boat as all the pro’s. On the boat I sat next to Jesse Anthony, Adam Myerson, Jamey Driscoll and the RGM Watches – Richard Sachs team. It was pretty cool to be around all the elite riders and realize they aren’t the big bad ass dudes that media makes them seem to be. I also talked to the Famous Colin Rueter of CrossResults.com about how he and his website really going places, who lapped me during the race earlier, so I may end up in one of his infamous race videos, from a camera mounted on his handlebars.
I made it home and saw the family around 9:30. I guess I’m gonna train this week in preparation for Bay State Cross on Saturday and try and earn more valuable ECCC points.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
So on Saturday I woke up nice and early made myself a cup of tea and drove down to Bard for the ECCC annual meeting. The drive was just over an hour and a half and was fairly uneventful so I guess I'll just move on to the meeting.
It was great to get there nice and early to catch up with some folks that I know from around the conference. When we finally got things going I sat in the front row next to Caitlin (Assistant ECCC Chief, Tufts Alum), Emma (Rep to NCCA BoT, Mt. Holyoke) and Mark V (ECCC Cross Dictator, Rutgers). While the morning meeting began with some info about team building, promotion, awareness and a general chat about getting your name out to alumni and sponsors which was pretty interesting to hear about.
When the regular meeting began Joe gave a really heart filled speech about who he is, where he's from and where he wants the conference to go. The best part was probably Joe crying about this horrible crash he had in front of everyone. I know this may make me a bad person, but I couldn't help but laugh as Joe bore his soul to the collected ECCC leaders. (Caitlin was laughing too, so I didn't feel too bad about it.)
Anyway as we got going in the afternoon we had a couple really interesting discussions. The best was probably the debate over aero gear for time trials. The ruling ended up being that only A time trials will allow aero gear, unless aero gear is banned at nationals. I totally agree with this ruling because of this horrifying photo:
This guy won the D race at Penn State last spring, not only that he would have finished 6th in the B race and 12th in the A race. Seriously, there is just so much wrong with this.
- The dude is in the D race, he should be on an '80s ten speed with down tube shifters.
- The bike he's riding has DISC WHEELS! No one should have those things unless your getting paid to ride your bike.
- Zebra Suit, those things should be banished.
As of Tuesday, Union College is officially in finals week for fall term. Which means that I don't have class and will soon be on my winter break which lasts from Friday, until January 4th, 2009. I only have 2 finals, one for my Solar Energy Class, which shouldn't be that bad and the other is for my Heat, Light and Astronomy Class, which could go either way. So wish me luck.
Training. Yes. Training.
This week I decided to start training for the road season. I'm starting with base mileage. So I went out today with the hopes to get a 2 hour ride in and stretch my legs. However, what I didn't realize is that it is now officially cold. I left my room all geared up covered head to toe for the 32 degree weather. I was pretty comfortable until about an hour and a half into the ride where I reached the top of a hill out in Rotterdam. By this point is was howling with wind, snowing and I had to do a 2 mile descent. It was cold. I went down, probably topping out at 30mph and I was absolutely freezing. When I got to the bottom, my toes and finger tips were frozen and this lasted all the way back to my room. I guess I'm gonna need to invest in better booties because I plan on riding 4-5 days a week all winter and January is particularly cold in Schenectady.
This weekend I may either be heading to the Whitmore Cup or a couple Group rides in Boston depending on if I can find a place to stay in Southampton.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Warning NON-ECCC Content
Ok, I know that this is supposed to be an ECCC blog and I am well aware of the HPCX and Beancon Cross Races down in New Jersey that occured this weekend. But frankly I've done something around 55 races this year and I just couldn't get myself do to a long drive, as I've been away from campus on the weekends for 9 weeks straight. So, that being said on to this weeks recap.
The race was held at Elm Ave Park down in Delmar, NY about 30 minutes southeast of Schenectady. I had raced it before, last year in my first 'cross race ever, and I actually knew what to expect.
Ripping the Chicane , Courtesy Barry Koblenz
The course was not particularly hard, but didn't really fit my skill set as it was mostly open grass, road and flat dirt sections with some long mud sections and 2 run-ups. Basically, a power course, and as you may know I am not the most powerfully built person. But anyway I got to the start line with a short warm up and hoped for the best.
From the gun I was in the mix, and stayed near the leaders, which included Eric S (CBRC), Tim (RPI) and Nate (RPI), for most of the first lap. This continued to be true until we hit the first "technical" section where I bunny hopped the log (a small stick really) and shouldered Andrew Bernstein (Skidmore Alum) pretty hard going into the next mud section. I then lost my line a bit and ran into a tree, and needed to stop and take inventory to make sure my shifters and the like were inplace. The leaders then powered away from me and I found my self with some dude mid-pack.
On the First Run-up With the Leaders, Courtesy Barry Koblenz
When we came around for lap 2 I was somewhere in the middle and worked with the guy I was chasing. We stuck together for most of the lap and then we caught Eric S (CBRC) and I stayed on his wheel until his crashed into some course tape on a downhill chicane. I then dropped the other guy somewhere in the woods. As I came around for Lap 3 I saw James D (CBRC) just ahead of me and I eventually caught him on a small gravel climb. I rode with him for a while and actually passed him by the time we hit the second run up and then when I reached the top he was right with me, he jumped back on his bike and then put in a big effort and I couln't hold his wheel.
I spent the final lap pretty much by myself still desparately trying to catch James but with no luck. When I crossed the finish line I saw someone behind me but I had enough time to slow down and wheelie across the finish in front of the adoring public.
After checking the results two things stuck out. The first being that I got sixteenth, which was better than expected but not great and the second being that Curtis W (CBRC) had won the race. This is important because Curtis is the son of the Union Crew coach and is only 13. That's right a 13 year old beat the entire Men's 3/4 field. Well done.
After lounging around for a while and watching the sub-par elite race I drove back to Schenectady to do some Solar Energy homework and eat.
This coming weekend I'll be heading down to Bard for the annual ECCC planning meeting where I'm sure to heckle, cowbell and bark at Joe as he pathetically tries to keep a bunch of ECCC hooligans under control. This will also be my first weekend not racing in nine weeks, and maybe I'll actually get to recover for the Whitmore Cup.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Hey Boys and Girls,
So it's been a while since my last "post" but whatever, I don't care.
So as you have probably realized by now I pretty much didn't blog about the MTB season at all. Mostly because Joe didn't fix the website so I couldn't make new pages and thus keep you, the people, informed about my exciting MTB adventures.
MTB Season Wrap-Up
- I had fun at 4 out of 5 events.
- My race at Holiday Farm was a smashing success and I would have broken the attendance record if the forecast had been better.
- Sunday River was amazing. Much respect to Ben Hills and the rest of the NU crew for putting on an awesome event yet again. This is all despite the fact that I broke my derailleur hanger during the XC, crashed during qualifying for Dual Slalom and crashed four times during the downhill. So my hopes of B omnium we're pretty much shot.
- I whipped up a sweet MTB Survey at the end of the season for the masses.
Me and AJ (Wentworth) on Day 2.
So as some of you may know over the summer I opted to spend my hard earned cash on a fancy Redline Conquest instead of a new MTB trail bike. So far it's been a good decision.
To date I've done 5 'cross races this season and I've done 2 collegiate events, the Cycle-Smart International in Northampton MA.
Going into the weekend I wasn't expecting anything special. Mostly because my 3 previous races (non-collegiate) had gone pretty poorly and I was going to start tenth row. So on day 1 when the whistle blew I went all out and faught my way through the pack to try and reach the leaders. This was pretty difficult though as the course was pretty twisty at the start and it took a while for the field to string out. I eventually started to pass people and got into my rythm on the second lap. On lap two or three some dingleberry from RIT took me down with him as he slid out on a turn and I had to get back up and fix my handlebars to keep racing. Then a lap or two later someone hit my rear wheel on the runnup and I had to put it back in place. I spent the next lap or two chasing this guy from Colby and eventually passed him. I finished 37th of 90-ish starters.
Day 2 was pretty uneventfull, like the day before I started in the back and had to fight my way forwards to the front until I hit a rythm. I finished 40th of 90-ish starters.
Either way the highlights of each day were not really the races but, the two hour long cool down rides I did with other college riders from MIT and Wentworth. Also, cheering for friends in the Men's B race and Women's B race. Most notably Tim (RPI), Jeremy (Tufts Alum), Kate (MIT), Emma (Mount Holyoke), Sara (Colby), Josh (Colby), and Slim (UVM Alum). Additionally, seeing Rose(UVM) was awesome, as she is still recovering from an incident with car a few months back.
The best part of each day was probably the Men's Elite races. I borrowed some cowbell and had some "beverages" at the Gazebo and cheered my head off at all the elite riders. By the end of each day I was pretty tired and had almost no voice left from cheering as loud as I could for 3 hours.
All in all a good weekend.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
First, I'd like to congratulate Jeff "Eagle" Lukach from UNH for putting on a fabulous race this weekend at Kingman Farm and Highland Mountain.
Ok, now here's a few great moments:
1) Nelson (UMass) crashed into a puddle during the Second DH race Saturday whilst finishing his race run about 100 yards from the finish. Drenched head to toe he went about hugging teammates and squeezing water out of his shoes. He has the heart of a Champion.
2) Stanley (UMaine) broke the frame of his GT i.Drive during Saturday's Cross Country race. Apparently he was to manly for the frame. He still raced the short track on a borrowed bike.
3) Joe Kopena, our beloved conference director, drove up from Philly on Saturday Morning to go to the XC events in Madbury, NH. Flying up the highways at questionably legal speeds he did the drive in 5.5 hours, after he left home at 3:30 AM.
4) A rider from Boston College missed the start of his cross country race by 6 minutes and still finished near the front.
5) Sparky (UMaine) blatanly broke ECCC policy by racing in a US National Champion Team Giant Skinsuit while racing Men's A Downhill on Sunday.
6) Half of the UMass downhill team broke their drivetrains on Sunday. Except for Jamie who chose to ride without one in the first place.