Monday, November 24, 2008

Whitmore Cup, ECCC 'Cross Continued

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.

Day 1

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).

Oh My Lord It's Cold!

Day 2

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.

Later

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ECCC Meeting Comments, Finals Week and Training

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:

cheater

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.

Finals Week

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

Bethlehem Cup. More 'cross adventures.

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.

Bethlehem Cup

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.

STYLE!

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.

in th mix

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

MTB Season Wrap up and Cycle Smart Intl.

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.

Cyclocross Baby!

Northampton

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.