MIT wins Rutgers! From Men’s Cap’n Zach LaBry

So, for those of you that haven’t checked Velocity Results in the last hour, I’m afraid that I’m going to have to spoil the surprise and point out that MIT won the Rutgers weekend and took an early lead in the team standings for the season.

Before I catch up on sleep, I just wanted to send out a quick recap of some of the top results and best moments from this weekend.

With 600 racers signed up for the ECCC Season Opener — which, I believe sets some record, though I’m not sure which one — this past weekend was definitely one to test whether or not all that winter training had paid off.  I, for one, was rather nervous on Saturday morning as Alan Atwood sent riders off on their TT at 15 second intervals, from two parallel lines, down the 2.8 mile course with two narrow turnarounds.

Perhaps I started a bit hard (I put out nearly as much power on the start of the TT as in my sprints during the next two races), but once the racing started again, the nerves wore off, and I remembered why I enjoy doing this so much.  I didn’t get to see too much of the time trials — between warming up and cooling down, I managed to work my way over to the fence line to watch most of the riders pass on their way down the “long” stretch of the TT, but the results were impressive: Martha took 3rd in Women’s A; John Dreher and myself came in 6th and 7th in the Men’s B; Sam, Nick and Isaac were all within the top 20, within 3 seconds of each other in the Men’s C; Spencer and Chris taking 2nd and 3rd in the Ds; Shaena taking 4th in the Intro; and Ali winning her frist of three Women’s C victories this weekend.

Time trials, being time trials, are a little less nerve racking than mass start races, and having not done a mass start road race since September, I was thinking to myself what I was doing entering a race with so many fast looking people when we got to that crit.  In any case, within about five pedal stroked, I remembered what it is I love so much about racing and any hesitation disappeared.  For the first time, I legitimately contended a prime claiming one point (the only other primes I’ve managed to collect were solo off the front — no sprinting required), and spectating both before and after, there were a lot of people who accomplished some great results.  Within the Men’s B, Chewie led me through a good line in the finishing sprint, and claimed a top ten himself, Alex showed me exactly how he gets through those corners faster than I do, and Ian selflessly volunteered himself as MIT’s annual sacrifice to “Rutger’s Crit, Turn 4” and lived to tell about it.  I even managed to score a coveted “Top 11” finish.

From the other races, I saw Spencer, Chris, Adam and John Rom tearing it up in the finish sprint in the Ds, with Chris and Spencer taking 2nd and 3rd, and John and Adam 5th and 6th (although, according to Velocity Results, Adam was 6th in the D1 race, which would make him really fast).  Martha outsprinted her arch-rival from Harvard, Anna McLoon to win her first crit.  Ali won her second Women’s C race of the weekend.  Shaena took 4th in a strung out Women’s Intro crit.  And, of course, Nick “The Loominator” Loomis decided to stretch his legs and won the frist Men’s C prime by a couple bike lengths.  Stef rode strong throughout the race, ceding only a few places in the sprint finish.

The circuit race on Sunday saw Brent get caught in his first crash and ponder what exactly the best way to repair cycling shorts is.  Chris made a valiant attempt to ride solo off the front of the Men’s D race, and Spencer, John Rom and Adam all managed to make it into the top 10.  Ali won her third Women’s C race of the weekend, and Kristin showed that she’s got a strong sprint, handily winning the sprint amongst the pack she was in.  Martha went up against her arch-rival again, this time coming away with a solid 2nd place, while Zuzka outsprinted the other riders in her pack.

As I staged for the Men’s B race, I saw Shaena sprint for second, in a breakaway, well ahead of the rest of the Women’s Intro pack.  And as for the Men’s B itself, John Dreher put in an absolutely heroic effort, attacking from the line, as the rest of us went from trying to block to trying to convince a rider or two from the strong teams to bridge up and help him.  He stayed away for all but the last two laps, battling the wind.  In the end, though, it was a long downhill sprint finish… I finally got a top 10 (barely) and managed to avoid running into any of the spectators (barely).

This is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the accomplishments and memorable moment for MIT and NEC this weekend.  For those who weren’t there, don’t you wish you were? 😉  And for those of you who were there, thank you for a great start to the season.