Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Procrastination

As the warm weather rolls into Schenectady and the ECCC season draws to a close I've determined my academics have been finally been taking the hit. 

Between training, organizing my trip out to Colorado, reading the ECCC blogosphere and the recent spike in Pro Races to  watch, I've slowly become what I hate the most: A Liberal Arts Major. A lazy bum, who barely attends class and wastes away his days reading and playing wiffle ball. 

As opposed to my usual routine of waking up at 8, getting work done, going to class, training and then doing more work; I've gotten into the habit of sleeping in, riding more hours, and generally avoiding work.  This has been a major issue as my academic and other requirements the last few weeks have been piling up, and I've been wasting away the hours out in the sunlight and online. Right now my work load and to-do list is as follows:
  • Continuous work on my senior project (Finite Element Analysis and ordering parts)
  • Homework assignments for Design of Mechanical Systems
  • Presentation to prepare for the Echelon Collegiate Leadership Conference
  • Presentation to prepare for my Steinmetz Symposium
  • Study for the FE Exam...(ok that was last week)
  • Prepare for 3 hour midterm for my history class
  • Colorado Arrangements
  • Write the ECCC Survey
  • Clean my room
  • Clean my bikes (I have 5)
Oh, not to mention that with the next 2 weeks I'll be gone for half of them.

After my Steinmetz presentation Friday, I'll quickly hop in a Van (Thanks UVM) head down to Penn State, do the Races, return to Schenectady Late Sunday Night. Go to class Monday, pack my bike and gear, class Tuesday morning, fly out of Albany to Colorado Tuesday Afternoon. Then be on some panels Weds, Thurs in Fort Collins. Race Friday and Saturday, fly back Sunday, go to class Monday and take a make-up 3 hour midterm. 

So, while this is all going to be fun and exciting it's also caused me to shut down a bit. So thanks you ECCC Bloggers for giving me something to do while I sit behind my computer screen avoiding work. 

-Steven

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dartmouth, Shout-outs, Nats?

So for those of you not in the know I went back up to A's this weekend at Dartmouth. I decided to do it on Friday night. I had registered for B's but knowing that I had been feeling good and that a lot of guys were at the Tour of the Battenkill, I figured I'd take advantage.

Crit

The crit, where I had gotten 5th last year, was Fast, Furious, Wet and Cold. I stayed in for a while but was shortly popped off the back. After several laps I ended up getting lapped by the field and jumped back in. After a few more laps in the field I crashed and threw up. So i took my free lap and got back in the field. Of course, I was dropped again after 2-3 laps back in the bunch. So I just put my head down and kept going. Then when the field lapped me for a 2nd time I gave up. However, this was a HUGE mistake, because I was still in contention for points as 8 other people had already quit. If I had just stayed in and finished I would have gotten 19th, scored some points and wrapped up my nationals qualification. Damn.



(in the Crit, stolen Photo from BRob)

That night, at dinner with John Frey, Joe, Drexel Tim, AJ and Cory (WIT) I got relentlessly heckeled for quitting while still in contention for points. But, this only strengthened my resolve to get points in the 73 mile road race the next day.

Road Race

After a good breakfast at Lou's Diner in Hanover, NH, where I had some french toast, Tim and I rolled on up to the Road Race and spent a couple of hours mulling around the parking lot. I was a little concerned about the course because Brianand Natan (BU) had expressed concern that I'd need something like a 27 or 28 tooth to survive the climbs on the course. Seeing as I only brought a 12-25 cassette I shrugged my shoulders and hoped for the best.

The race had just 24 starters, far lower than most other Men's A races. In truth, I was half expecting to get dropped about half way through the race and I would do the second half of the race solo, and grab whatever points were available in hopes to qualify for nationals in Colorado next month.

The race broke down in as follows, after the neutral start Steve Pingree (Army) attacked and Pete (Conn Coll) and a UConn rider went as well. One of the MIT guys tried to bridge a short time later and then the field decided to sit up for a while, about 45 miles or so. The first half of the race had a few sparse bridge attempts, but the Army guys were on the front and tried to shut any attacks down for the sake of Steve, who was well up the road. Some time around the halfway point Natan told me, "This race is boring, I'm going to attack." Soon after he tried to get away and I happened to be near the front so I tried to chase him down, Tim quickly got on my wheel and blew past me, but I realized that once again the Army boys were going to shut it down. We all got caught.

However sometime later, Brian (BU), Derek (Army), Ross (UVM), and Lee (UVM) all attacked. With Army and UVM making up over half the field no one was willing to chase them down and everyone let them go. A Cornell guy bridged up and that was pretty much the race. I managed to survive the rest of main loop in the field and made it up the major climbs without too much difficulty.

When we got to the last lap I was feeling a bit dehydrated and I had finished all of the water I brought and just tried to stay in. I stayed in the field until we hit the finishing climb, where I quickly got dropped and I rode the last 2 mile climb on my own. I made it to the finish about two and half minutes behind the rest of the "main field" and John informed me that I had finished 19th, and scored 2 points. I would have celebrated, but I was seriously tired and thought I could have done a bit better on the last climb if I had eaten more food during the race. But, I was happy with the result.


All told, I did 3 hours 28 minutes and 29 seconds in the saddle, and 73 or so miles. It was really satisfying to see all my hard hours in the winter pay off. This was the longest race I'd ever finished and I had done pretty well.


Shout outs

I'd like to give two Huge shout outs in this post as well.

1) Emma Bast (Mount Holyoke) who won the women's A crit (after lapping the field with 2 other riders) and won road race over the weekend.
2) Steve Pingree (Army) who attacked at mile 5 in the road race and stayed away for the solo victory 68 miles later.

Nats?

So, now it's looking like I'm in good shape to qualify for Nationals, so long a whole bunch of division two riders don't ruin my fun. Wish me luck!

As a final note, it's unfortunate that a lot of guys who are faster then me, have raced more A races, and perhaps have more points will not be eligible for the nationals road race.


-Steven

Monday, April 13, 2009

Decisions.

I know that you are all wishing for an exciting race recap, not happening. I'll post one later this week, probably.

But I've got to make a decision about this weekend and I'm looking for input. Please answer the poll to the right.

Question: What Should I do this weekend?

a) Dartmouth Crit and Road Race
b) Tour of the Battenkill
c) Tour of the Battenkill (Sat) and Dartmouth Road Race (Sun)

Thanks

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Assorted Army Weekend Tales, I'm damaged goods now.

Dear Penthouse,

Haha. Just kidding, but read on. 

Well, I had an, albeit interesting weekend. I would say that I'm mostly scarred for life and that I may be having nightmares for the rest of my life. In fact it is totally within the realm of possibility that I may never wish to sleep again, for fear that some images from the weekend may appear on the back of my eyelids and burn my corneas. I also raced a bit, but that didn't go so well. 

Now, you may be asking yourself, "Holy crap, what happened to you?" To which my short response is "I stayed with the Mount Holyoke Girls." Why would anyone do such a thing? I was desperate. Now, I had been offered a place to stay by Sully, but I'd stayed with UVM before, at my first ECCC event ever, trapped in a basement in the Arts dorm at Rutgers in 2007. I'm only now getting over that, so I opted for the Low Quality Inn with the supposedly "delicately reared ladies of Mount Holyoke Cycling." 

Now, be forewarned, the descriptions of the selected events told below, may lead you to end up like this guy:



Now, I'll start from the beginning, I got to the Circuit race on Saturday, opting to drive down from Schenectady that morning, because it is just under 2 hours. When I arrived, I found some parking, quickly checked, said hi to the regulars, and walked over to the start line to see the Men's D race go off. Not 5 minutes after I got to the bike race did I have my first scarring experience, thanks to the combined efforts of Sully and the MHC girls, who were armed with two purely horrifying tools of character destruction: A cheap blow up doll and a video camera. I was quickly accosted by the troop of tormentors and found my self being sexually assaulted by the doll, Tori, who's puppet master was Sully. Additionally, as I  stood there sheepishly, embarrassed and confused I realized that this whole ordeal was being video taped.  SCAR 1.

Eventually, I managed to escaped Tori's inflatable man grabbing hands and had some food, set up the trainer and got ready for the circuit race. After a solid 30-40 minute warm up I got to the start with hopes of a solid race. Last year, I had gotten 5th at this race in the C's. So I was pretty confident going in. But, sadly, I just kind of hung in there. I managed to stay near to the front for most of the race, or if I did hang off the back I managed to stay in the bunch without to much effort.  But, when I started to make my way forwards with 3 laps to go I found it exceedingly difficult to hold my position and was in the middle of the pack. When hit the head wind on the last lap I was following Magz's (UVM) wheel to get up to the front, but there was a freakish slowdown and then we made our way to the outside for the last punchy climb. I passed some people, got passed by others and ended up with a lowly 24th. 

Post race, I did a cool down, with UVM Derek and Sully, who came in 1-2 for the green and gold. (nice job fellas) Got changed into street gear and watched the men's A. During this time I hung out in the MHC Van, to stay out of the wind and managed to get out unscathed, there were a few illicit jokes that came my way but I managed and began to realize what I was in for. 

Not knowing exactly where I was going I took Emma in the car with me to follow the MHC van,  driven by lunatic/formula 1 enthusiast Frances, who managed to go flying up the mountain roads and get us lost in Newburgh somewhere. But, I took out my trusty map, found out the general location of the hotel and we managed to get there eventually. 

Now, when we got to the hotel I had one of the more "pimp" moments of the weekend, here I am walking into a hotel room with 4 women, with the Millersville team walking into their adjacent room as well. I think they figured I had game. Obviously, it was the opposite, it was more like being kidnapped by a pack of banshees who must feed off the souls of others. 

After unpacking, showering and changing, the group got their act together and we went over to this diner just down the street. Possibly the worst diner experience I've ever had. Here's why:
  • Waiter was an idiot, took forever and forgot about us after we gave him the check.
  • Food was less than great and expensive.
  • Another waiter, not ours, would come over and hit on the girls and then got yelled at by his boss.
  • The whole meal took 2 hours. We waited over 45 for our food to come and 15 to get our change.
Post dinner involved a trip to a gas station, Target (with some video games) and some relaxing in the hotel. Now, let me tell you. What happened in the hotel room stays in the hotel room. But let's just say that I didn't get much sleep. ....Ok nothing really happened. But lets just say one of the MHC girls would say something and was never really sure if they were kidding or not. Also, I read them a bedtime story with some questionable moral fiber.  

In truth, I just had a hard time sleeping and spent most of the night staring at the ceiling. I guess the "Monte Cristo" that I ordered at dinner must have gotten to me and infected my dreams, or I was terrified of what my happen to me if I closed my eyes. 

But, 9 hours later, we woke up, packed up, I took a shower to help me feel better, as I was feeling awful and then shipped out. I made it over to the race, kind of late and I was not early enough to make my hill climb. Oh well, I spent the rest of the morning sitting in the sun, trying to sleep, drinking Cokes and getting ready for the crit. 

At some point I got into kit, rolled around the lot and hit the trainer for a while before the event. Got to the start and decided to sit in for a while and see how it goes. I wasn't feeling great and was hoping to just hang on. Of course, sometime early in the race I found myself at the front, feeling good and threw an attack for no good reason. I ended up taking John (Middlebury) with me and we stayed away for a short while, however when we got to the major headwind John was seriously putting out the power and I couldn't hang on, so I opted that instead of wasting energy on a break I couldn't sustain I'd just float back into the field. 

Later as the race developed I found myself behind a series of crashes. The first being going up the slight rise at the finish, the second in the chicane and the third being a mess on the flat in the last lap. I managed to make it around all of them and held on for another pack finish. 

Post race, a cool down with John (Middlebury) another coke, watched the Men's A race, and began the drive home. Now, here's a tip for all you folks who have long drives, if you're REALLY tired like I was, get your self some sea-shanties. Why? Because you can sing along, and that's exactly what I did the whole way back to school to keep me alert.  

Made it back, went to sleep at 8pm, woke up at 8 the next day and I managed to survive the weekend. What a weekend. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quick Pre-Weekend notes.

A few notes to post before the Army weekend.... I like to keep you, the adoring public, informed. 
  1. I am featured in way too many Mount Holyoke videos. First they were making fun of my burlap sweater cape type thing, now they are making fun of my amazing crash reaction skills. 
  2. I need to re-submit my final senior project report. All 60 pages of it plus appendices. Damn.
  3. I don't have a place to stay this weekend. Could be a problem.... Although I managed last year after showing up with no plans, thanks to the Northeastern squad.
  4. There are too many UVM riders. 
  5. Racing B's this weekend after much debate, thanks commenters
  6. I went for a 3 hour ride today, it as warm and sunny. That was great.
  7. I totally got all you ECCC bloggers. I made people cry. Could be the crowning achievement of the year. 
That's it. Yeah, this post was lame...