Nittany Cup: ECCC Track is back, baby!

This weekend marked the return of Track Season, and specifically, the second collegiate track season in the history of US cycling.  (Did I mention that the ECCC is the only conference with enough cogs to even consider a track season?)

Matt, Mike and I took a road trip down to T-Town for the opener, braving several hours of driving and traffic to get Mike there in time for the Pro races on Friday night. (Mike even sweet talked his way out of a toll.) It was pretty awesome to see a teammate competing with the likes of Giddeon Massie, Olympians, Worlds Champs, the New Zealand national team, and up-and-comers in the sport.  Our section of the bleachers held a special place in their heart for number 113, though, when they figured out who we were yelling obnoxiously for to lap the field.

Saturday was the collegiate competition, Matt’s first time on a track with a bank greater than 14 degrees, and my first time at T-Town since getting my nickname. It definitely did not fail to impress, especially for those of us Boston Hicks who quake at any hill greater than 2%.  Mike managed to pull out a flying-200 time a bit over 11 seconds, second only to the sprinter dude from Penn State whose name I just forgot.  The Kilo right afterwards was also a big win for Mike, who opted for the “fast and aero” approach, while Matt and I went for the “make it look painful and may Thor have mercy on our chains” approach.  (I managed to both cross the finish line and snag fifth.)  Matt and Mike, the endurance guys, both looked like they were having fun during the points race, with Matt using his new pursuit-ing skills to work with Greg Wasolowich (I swear, they must have had his name wrong on the sign-in, the announcer never got it right once) to maintain some ridiculous speed while Mike toyed with the scary fast guys for sprint points — accumulating enough to win the race.  I enjoyed watching from my vantage point somewhere just behind Sprinter Dude’s disheartened arse, which Mike graciously handed to him during the first points sprint. At the end, us three MIT’s rode a 4K team pursuit, which was a good show of teamwork and cottonmouth, and 2nd place points for the team.

Interspersed throughout the day, Mike also had to compete in the matched sprints, which the kid kept winning, thus ensuring that his legs would be completely toasted.  He made it to the final round against Sprinter Dude, who had competed the previous night against the Pros, and apparently had an infinite amount of pain he could sustain for exactly 2.01 laps.  I’m proud to say that Mike gave him a serious run for it, jumping fast and hanging on for a close second.

In all, the weekend in Pennsylvania was great: track, races, chilling, and Matt learning pretty much everything to know about track racing and riding rollers in less than 30 hours.

If you had come along, you could have also laughed at Matt’s ice cream headaches (all three), eaten Pepe’s white clam pizza with birch beer as recommended by Mike, and navigated better than Google.  Which means y’all should be doing a lot more track in the next couple weeks — and coming to Kissena for the next round of ECCC track.  Yes?  Yes.  Period.