Category Archives: News

Photo 5 MIT Cycling - Milstone

End of Summer Club Newsletter

Hello Friends of MIT Cycling!

With another academic year completed, MIT Cycling members have been out riding in force and the officer duties have passed into the hands of a new set of students. I’d like to introduce you to our newest student officers.  I’ll be taking over as Alumni Officer and I’ll do my best to keep you as up to date as Laura did!

This summer, MIT Cycling members have been extremely active in local, regional, and national communities:

You may remember from Laura’s last newsletter that in May, the Road team successfully defended their Collegiate Road National Championship title in Ogden, UT.

Later in May, we hosted an Urban Cycling Clinic spearheaded by David Koppstein (G) with our road coach Nicole Freedman, teaching the MIT community about urban cycling safety and skills.

In June, we taught the Boston community at thing or two about aerodynamics (we hope our collegiate conference competitors missed this issue of Boston Magazine!)

A large group of MIT riders headed down to the Trexlertown Valley Preferred velodrome for a Try-the-Track weekend, led by our new Track Captain Kate Wymbs (’14). [Photo 1- Track]

At the end of June, Cameron Cogburn (G) won the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, an epic and prestigious stage race in Oregon. You can read about his awesome victory here.

Over the July 4th weekend, we took a team trip up to Kingdom Trails in VT as part of an Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) mountain biking weekend. [Photo 2 -MTB]

We had a great time camping, “shredding the gnar” on the awesome singletrack, and even deep frying some Pop Tarts in bacon grease (the ultimate recovery food?!)  [Photo 3 – BaconTarts]

Many Club members took advantage of the mountain bike rental program provided by the MIT Outing Club (MITOC) and sponsored by the MIT Cycling Club.

Mid-July, MIT alum John DeTore hosted a viewing party of Stage 18 of the Tour de France—the epic double-summiting of Alpe d’Huez. (We sat and ate chips while commentating, “Oh we could totally do that…”)

On July 28th, TWO DOZEN club members dared the Climb to the Clouds, an epic local century ride that includes a summit of Mt. Wachusett! [Photo 4 – Clouds]

After a successful mountain biking weekend in VT, several Club members took on some ENDURANCE MOUNTAIN BIKE races!

  • Ben Eck (’15) and Luke Plummer (’14) raced a 2-man team at the 12 Hours of Millstone mountain bike race in Millstone, VT, finishing in 6th place! (Luke even rode an “extra large” 36”-wheel rigid bike!) [Photo 5 – Millstone
  • Yours truly Chris Birch (G) and Andrew Lysaght (G) headed to the State College, PA, area for the National Ultra Endurance series race Wilderness 101—a century MTB race consisting of 30 minute gravel climbs and 8 minute fall-line descents!

What’s next for the collegiate team?

Mountain bike season is about to begin, followed closely by the collegiate track! The conference calendar is here, showing upcoming races.

From those of us here in Cambridge and our club members abroad for the summer, we hope you’re enjoying some good riding wherever this update finds you.

See you on the road/dirt/track!
–Chris


Want to be included in the Friends of MIT Cycling newsletter?
Send an email update (photos encouraged!) to alumni officer Chris Birch at birch@mit.edu.
Looking for a way to support the MIT Cycling Club?

Help fund our cycling outreach, riding, and racing goals by making a donation today. Go to this page to submit a donation of any size. Your donations are tax deductible and go directly toward sustaining our student-run club. Thank you!

Articles in Boston Magazine and The Tech

MIT Cycling was recently featured in an article in Boston Magazine and The Tech. The Boston Magazine article is part of a feature of Boston-area sports teams. The Tech article focuses on the National Championships and Eastern Conference Championships. Click the images below to see the articles!

Boston Magazine (click to go to article)

MIT Tech (click to go to article)

MIT News (click to go to article)

Boston.com (click to go to article)

Stars and Stripes at Track Nats 2010

Chalk it up: MIT Cycling has another set of Stars and Stripes jerseys to add to the collection after an intense weekend of racing at Collegiate Track Nationals in Indianapolis. Big props to our other DII podium teams, DePauw and Army.

The full story goes something like this, and by “something”, I mean “stick with me, it’s been nearly two weeks and I might be forgetting details”:

Day N-2

The car gets loaded with bikes, rollers, and Mike’s enormous bag of race gear. It’s unclear how many small children are being smuggled across multiple state borders inside that bag, but it is clear the minimum number is two. Everything arrives in Ohio eleven hours later without incident. Connecticut wins for best highway patrol cars. Nothing is said about how the car got to Ohio in the off-chance that Nick’s advisor finds this blog.

Day N-1

After a breakfast involving a patented mix of ciabatta, avocados, cheese, and fried eggs, the gear arrives at the Major Taylor velodrome in Indianapolis after another couple hours of driving. The first Josh Schwartz sighting is made. The rest of the team arrives at the airport amidst Nick’s confusion about which garage level the car is parked and gets a subsequent tour of the facility. (Cake would have been dismayed to find their lyrics misused.) Laura is concerned that the boys in the backseat are eating all “her” food.

Day 1

Pursuits and pursuits! The morning session was the (long-for-the-track but the roadies are going to make fun of us) Women’s 3K and Men’s 4K pursuits. Laura wound it up and used her well-practiced bob-and-weave technique to push through to the finish in a solid 10th place finish. Zach stomped Nick’s time in the 4K, then both watched as they subsequently had their time squished like June bugs under a tractor by the pros — including Mike, who made all the early competitors look like they were out for a Sunday cruise, pulling in laps that were several seconds faster than the majority despite the high winds buffeting the oval. We also learned that it’s illegal to overtake someone who previously passed you during a pursuit, which could lead to some dastardly tactics. For fans of numbers, Mike was 1.54-sigma faster than the mean (assuming Gaussianity) with his 4th place finish, while Nick was 1.60-sigma slower; the event winner was 2.38-sigma faster (Figure 1). Zach conveniently defined the mean time.

Kilos in the afternoon followed a similar trend, this time with Nick edging out Zach (who decided to ride the first quarter lap with one foot unclipped to demonstrate what a false start should have looked like) before the pros stomped down some amazingly fast spins. Mike, of course, had enough speed to get into the top 20. Laura’s 500m pursuit, loaded with more aero than Chewie at a Zipp convention, was just a fraction of a second out of the points. Oh, and for those who are curious, the density estimate of kilo times is plotted below, showing a much stronger skew to the low times than seen in the pursuit times. Interesting. Since it was Laura’s birthday, we made a run for the high-quality craft beverages to go with a pizza dinner — and came across the “Angry Beaver” bar in downtown Indianapolis. Judging by smoke and music, it was not run by an ex-MIT student, though possibly an ex-hipster-lumberjack.

Day 2

The morning session was straight-forward: sprint qualifiers for Attack and the Loominator. The short end of the story is that we both had loads of extra time after the qualifiers to go get bagels and coffee in downtown Indianapolis. Yep, stomped. Severely. Including a stomping by Josh Schwartz, one of the top qualifiers. The bagels were good, though, including a cinnamon sugar that emulsified itself to the top of the bagel.

Back at the hotel, Laura was wingeing that “Mike should really put on some trousers,” and had taken to working down in the lobby while waiting for Mike to figure out what trousers translated to in real English.

The afternoon session was the team sprint and women’s points race. The team sprint featured Laura leading off the first two laps (because no other women from MIT were brave enough to ride track and help her out, ahem ahem), followed by some quick laps from Nick and Zach before Mike ITT’d the final two laps to finish just a touch faster than our other DII competition. Laura then turned right around and rode a 20K points race, going out a couple times on flyers and chasing intelligently. The field stayed together for the most part, so that Laura’s finishing sprint paid off.

Day 3

More racing: the morning session featured the men’s team pursuit, where Nick and Zach basically held on for dear life behind the draft that is Mike Garrett. After attempting a set of rotations, Mike would start pulling away, then we’d regroup, and he would take another lap in the lead… so that the pursuit was actually a relaxed ITT for Mike with a couple additional wheelsuckers. Again, it was enough to gain some points on our DII competition, and was within just seconds of several other teams. (Third and eleventh place were separated by 4.55 seconds. That’s a tight distribution.) Jokes about Chewie’s infamous “JOSE! GAP! GAP!” remained rampant throughout the day.

Mike easily qualified for the points race by looking so much like a pro during the cycling clothing fashion show, and also by lapping the field during the prelims. During the real points race, he went out with just the right groups, and after spending something like a third of the race hanging out half a lap ahead of the field finally managed to lap them and get his points. Other groups attempting to lap the field, with or without Mike, weren’t as successful. (Side note: I was reminded that my Track Theme Song is still appropriate.)

Before all the dust settled, MIT had enough points to win the Div II Team Omnium. Fortunately for us, our small team had just enough space to crowd on to the winners podium nestled between large amounts of yellow from De Pauw and Army. There was more craft beverages back in downtown Indianapolis (a Ram Assface for both myself and Zach, which seemed appropriate after our team pursuit) and all of us getting compared to the intelligent folk from Butler University. “Am I right?”

Day M+1:M+2

From here on out, everything is pretty uneventful: the guys got dropped at the airport, the car started its journey back towards Massachusetts, etc, etc. There’s a great bike path between Stow and Cleveland, OH, that passes right through the Cayahoga Forest. I found out my sister doesn’t like zombie movies or fluorescently-colored shirts. I rediscovered a love for Twizzlers. And all the equipment arrived back safe with only a few nominal road bumps — ready for dishing track pain again next year.

MIT Cycling wins the overall conference title!

Full report to follow. In the meantime here’s Spencer’s race report:

Following the Dartmouth race weekend, I would like to recognize a huge
number of people who helped me and my bike get to and succeed in my
races (all these just from one weekend!):
* Chris Carper, Sam Hickey, and Ian Rousseau for pushing me in the TTT
to experience my “pain cave” more than ever before
* Isaac Bleicher, for running to me when I crashed in the crit,
pointing out that I had a flat tire, and running my bike ahead of me
toward the pit
* Matt Talpe, to whom Isaac handed off my bike, and who fetched a
10-speed wheel from
* Zach LaBry
* Katie Quinn, who stood by me at the pit and reminded me to relax and
rest during my free lap
* Chewie, for giving me a push by the feed zone in the road race to
ensure I caught back on with the pack, taking care of the bike van,
and teaching me a few tricks for front derailleur adjustment
* Matt Blackburn, who let me use a brand new GP4000S that he had
brought (I busted my tire in the crit), and for providing music and
navigation as my co-pilot
* Nick Loomis, for two stellar bottle handoffs (despite his perception
of the nastiness of lime Accelerade) and taking care of the bike van
* David Singerman, for letting me use the file on his Swiss Army knife
to clean up the new dents/scrapes on my rim to avoid shredding a new
tire and my brake pads
* The people who I left off this list because there were two many
helpful acts to remember or who helped me without making themselves
known
* All of the officers and captains for their behind-the-scenes work
* Just about everyone on the team, for cheering at strategic spots on
the courses and being excited about bicycle racing

Bike rodeo

Last Saturday, five MIT cyclists (well, four cyclists + one alumna) headed to South Boston to volunteer at a kid’s bike rodeo. The event was designed to teach kids and parents about bike safety, handling, mechanical tips, proper helmet-wearing, and how to steal the wheel of a good lead-out train (joke).

It was organized by our fearless and incredibly hard-working coach, Nicole Freedman, who happens also to be the City of Boston’s bike tsarina. Everybody had a good time, and I am pretty sure I met one 5-year-old  named Benjamin who will win the national cyclocross championship in…2022. Stay tuned, I suppose.

Anyway, pictures of the event are up on our Flickr page (which you can also preview to your right).

Collegiate and amateur racing in the New York Times

This isn’t really about MIT directly, but a recent post from the New York Times’s City Room blog deserves a shout-out. It’s called “For Would-Be Armstrongs, Some Bike Racing Tips,” and it’s all about the transition from riding to racing in the amateur and collegiate circuits.

It also features advice from the coach and riders from my own undergraduate alma mater, the Columbia University Cycling Team. ECCC pride!

Columbia is a squad that has had an enormous amount of success in the past few years and has turned itself into one of the largest and most successful organizations in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference. The Lions almost always place talented and skilled riders in every men’s and women’s category. So it’s well worth reading their advice in the Times post.

MIT’s D2 omnium victory on Cyclingnews.com

From First Edition Cycling News, June 5, 2009 (thanks to Alex Chaleff, who isn’t even technically an MIT rider, for the tip):

With the 2008-2009 collegiate cycling season officially in the books, USA Cycling has announced that Lees McRae College (Banner Elk, North Carolina) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts) topped the rankings of Division I and Division II schools respectively.

…In Division II, the top two spots were a repeat of the 2007-2008 rankings with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology again beating out Western Washington University (Bellingham, Washington) for the title.At the midway point, it was Colorado College (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and the Colorado School of Mines (Golden, Colorado) tied for first place, both with 29 points, while MIT and Western Washington were tied for third with 26. MIT moved into the lead, however, after a strong third place performance in the omnium at cyclo-cross nationals. The final national championship of the season saw MIT finish second to Whitman University (Walla Walla, Washington) to score 19 points for a total of 63 while Western Washington came in third for 18 and a total of 60.

The collegiate rankings begin at the start of the academic year and points are awarded to the top 20 from the team omniums in the national championships for each of the four disciplines: track, mountain bike, cyclo-cross and road.

Alumnus arrives in Cambridge from Cleveland for his 50th reunion

Oliver Seikel (class of 1959, course XXI) completed an 808 mile ride from his home in Cleveland to MIT, arriving in time for his 50th class reunion this weekend. His two traveling companions rode to 50th reunions at Harvard (from Buffalo to Cambridge) and Columbia (from Cleveland to New York). Oliver’s route traced the Lake Erie shoreline to Buffalo, paralleled the Erie Canal to Albany, and then crossed the Berkshires, more or less following SR 9 to Cambridge.

MIT

 

2