This past weekend we fearlessly headed down to Pennsylvania to race probably the most technically challenging courses of all season. Beth, Meg, and Alex were our courageous MIT racers, and we were joined by Simon who races for Harvard. This weekend proved to be quite an adventure for each of us, making the weekend one we’ll be talking about for many months to come!
The following blog post brought to you by Alex Springer, who raced his first collegiate race this past weekend at Drexel! Congrats Alex for a great first race weekend!
MTB Racing; A Rekindled Passion for an Abusive Relationship
I completed my first (of many, hopefully) cycling races with the MIT Cycling team this weekend at the Drexel MTB race. Without a bike or any excuse to say “No”, I accepted MTB Captain Beth’s (frantic) request to come out and race with the team in Drexel, PA. Despite the course being 5.5 hrs away, it turns out that the old adage; “Good things take time” is true, because I had an absolutely epic time mountain bike racing this past weekend.
I had raced MTB a few times while in high school, but since coming to college I had not touched a mountain bike in just over 3.5 years. Nevertheless, that didn’t seem like a good enough reason not to race so I hopped on a borrowed bike (Thanks Ben Woolston!) and set off for the races. I started with the XC course and I was riding pretty strong sitting in 3rd or 4th place until I hit the downhill section and thought my technique was much better than I actually was. I completed the endo and fell down the hill twenty feet with my bike. Luckily, I was fine…the bike was not. I snapped the rear derailleur hangar and had to DNF the race. However, I found a local bike shop with the correct derailleur hangar and was back in business by the afternoon for the Clusterhuck which was a team relay with me and Beth. I did the hill climb and she rode the downhill portion. The race was less than seven minutes, but I started to feel the excitement of racing that I recalled from high school bubbling up inside.
On Saturday night the team took a jaunt over to the Tiki Bar which was an eclectic bar situated at the base of the ski mountain and bike race course. The bar certainly played up the island theme which was an odd feeling being in the middle of a ski resort. After many games of rummy (the card game, not the drink), we decided to turn in for an early night with racing the next morning.
Having had the DNF the day before, I approached the short track race on Sundaymorning with fresh legs and a goal of completing the race. I ended up exceeding my goal and took first place which was quite surprising for me. I raced pretty conservatively having taken the lead during lap two of four and rode steady throughout the race in order not to break myself or the bike. The weekend concluded with the team relay which I raced with Beth which we won by default because no other teams had a girl. Despite a few cuts and bruises gained over the weekend, and a ripped jersey from a too-close encounter with a tree, I was happy to be in one piece and end with the team win in the relay to cap off a great weekend!
As I write this, I’m already looking forward to the upcoming Sliderule Shredfest hosted by MIT. Having not touched a mountain bike in over three years to winning the Men’s B Short Track certainly instilled my love of mountain biking once more, and I can’t get wait to get out into the mud once more.
— Alex Springer, MIT
One of the highlights of the weekend for me was dinner Saturday night – we found this historic and adorable italian place that was clearly the “place to be” on a Saturday evening in Schwenksville (yes that IS the name of the town). The portions were enormous and delicious, and we really enjoyed just hanging out, resting our legs, and chatting.
And the dessert…oh, yes, the dessert….