Kissena hosted the second set of ECCC track racces this year in conjunction with the NY State Championships this last weekend in August. MIT arrived with the brave and early crowd amidst the last bits of Tropical Storm Danny. Mike remembered why he disliked city driving, we got sandwhiches at a deli which offered cattering (sic), and told Alan Atwood to hold his line with the leaf blower he was using to dry the track surface. It was a smaller crowd, both collegiate and New Yorkers, by the time racing started. Props to the Columbia women and Nick B from Princeton for showing up despite the earlier storm.
Kilos were fairly standard, with all of us struggling to hold on despite the extreme bumpiness of the Kissena track. (I’m convinced it doubles as a BMX track.) Mike and Chewie each won their categories. Mike got some good racing against Nick B in the points race, stomping down enough sprints to take the win. The Collegiate B’s was an MIT internal affair, with Zach, Chewie, Tim and myself as the only competitors. Chewie accumulated enough points for the win, I think I took second with “ZS” points (apparently Alan Atwood’s slang for “nine”, according to the results sheet), and enduro Zach and Tim rounded it out with enough points of their own.
On Day 2, the weather was fantastic, mid seventies with sun, which was good enough for Army to be Army Strong and show their faces. The inital round of matched sprints pitted MIT and Army together: Zach versus three Armies, Nick versus two Armies, and Chewie and Tim versus at least one Army. The short of it was that MIT won each match up. Mike ladled out more sprint than his Army racer could handle and won his category of matched sprints right away. The second round saw MIT beating Army hands-down again, making the final a three-up MIT sprint. Enduro Zach attacked right from the start, forcing Chewie and I to sprint to catch him and hang on for dear life. Coming around the backside of the final lap, I asked Zach where Chewie was as I sprinted around. I confused his “gone” with “go on” and put in extra steam thinking Chewie was nipping my wheel… finding out later that Chewie was taking it easier after all his racing during the day.
The scratch race was pretty straight forward. Army tried attacking from the gun, but found themselves instantly covered by MIT. There was an initial group that got up the road a bit, then got reeled in. Zach, Chewie, Tim, and an Army rider formed a second group and I blocked (note to self: scratch races aren’t supposed to be team events, so I shouldn’t have been blocking, whoops) and they stayed away to take the win. Mike’s scratch race was more like an extremely long pursuit. He and two other riders went to bridge to a strong rider who had gotten away, but only Mike was able to maintain the blazing pace, leaving himself riding in no man’s land for the rest of the race and a well-earned 2nd in the Cat 123 field.
The MIT team sprint was a good pace, qualifying us for elite nationals. Huh. The team pursuit was a good chance for the men to practice technique. Amy went home early, so while it was a good time, the win was a default.
At the end of two days, MIT topped the collegiate competition again. More importantly, we all got great practice racing track, and both Tim and Chewie (the relative “newbies”) said they had fun… and wished they’d gotten track bikes sooner. Next up for MIT: Track Nationals at T-Town in three weeks. Given what I saw this weekend, it should be another great experience at Nats for the Engineers.