Category Archives: Race Reports

Rutgers Day 2

On Sunday, we awoke to another 60 degree day and made the early morning trek to the circuit race on the Rutgers campus to preride the course. However, when we arrived, the Rutgers team had a surprise for everyone: while the 3 mile loop was unchanged from previous years, it would be run backwards this year. This meant that instead of a long, straight, uphill finish, the finish was on a slight downhill about 250 meters after a left hand turn. As a result, many of the races finished in a relatively large (and high speed) bunch sprint, without the stringing out that typically occurred on the uphill finish. It also led to a number of crashes, as some MIT riders experienced firsthand.

However, we also had another surprise that morning when the tabulated team results were posted: we were in 2nd place, not in Division II but overall, and only slightly behind the juggernaut UVM team (they brought 53 riders to the races). On that note, the races began with the D Men, Kenny and David, who both rode smart races in the lead pack and ended the day in 5th and 6th, respectively. The intro racers were up next. All of them were experiencing their first weekend of collegiate racing, and in the men’s race, Yao, Matt, and Spencer all rode smart races and finished well. Spencer began what was to be another common occurrence among MIT racers, crashing during the race. Although Spencer was fine and finished the race, his jersey didn’t fare as well.

The C men were up next, with only one MIT rider represented in the peloton. Isaac Bleicher rode a tactical race to improve upon the previous day’s performance and finish in the lead pack of the race. Then, the B women were off, with Melissa and Lindsey both riding together with the leaders of the race and coming to the finish in the points. Next, the B men started their 60 minute race, and about 15 minutes into the race, Jose was off the front again. He led for the majority of the race, with myself and Chewie doing our best to block for him, but the UVM team (all 8 of them in the B race) had learned from the previous day when Jose beat two UVM riders in a three man break to the line. This time, UVM burned almost their entire team leading the chase to keep Jose within sight, finally managing to catch him with just over a lap to go. In the future, the B men will be keeping UVM’s plans in mind whenever tactics are concerned.

Fortunately, the A women were able to resume the successful weekend from MIT racers. Yuri and Zuzka both raced in a rather sedate peloton which, according to Yuri, didn’t start racing until the sprint at the last corner. This didn’t seem to bother the MIT racers, who brought home a pair of top 10 finishes. Capping off the day were the A men, who were scheduled for an 80 minute showdown. Tim, again the lone MIT rider, had the misfortune of starting at the very back of the pack, and this proved costly for him. The course is run on narrow roads with the yellow line rule enforced, so it is difficult to move up in the pack. A few laps into his race, Tim fell off the back of the peloton, and decided to pack it in and save it for the next weekend shortly afterwards.

In all, MIT ended the first weekend extremely successfully. We took home multiple wins, introduced a lot of new riders to collegiate cycling, and came away in 2nd place overall, again leading our nearest Division II opponent Army by a wide margin. We’ll be looking to build on our lead next weekend at the Columbia and Stevens races in New York City.

Rutgers, day 1

Laura sprintsWe all awoke on Saturday morning knowing the weather would cooperate with the start of the season. But as the early racers warmed up on trainers, and everyone else stood in line for the annual ritual of registering, the spandex layers began to come off. Soon the mercury hit 75°F and almost everyone was down to shorts and jerseys. Freezing temperatures might have handed an advantage to hardy New Englanders like ourselves. But nobody was complaining. The generally festive atmosphere of a collegiate bike race, plus the general enthusiasm of the Rutgers season opener, plus the clear sky and warm air and bright sun, cheered even the least-trained and most equipmentally challenged riders (like yours truly).

The D men were the first to go off, and when D riders Ian Rousseau came in at 6:36 and David Quinn at 6:46, MIT scored its first points of the weekend. Zack LaBry surprised even himself with a time of 6:17, placing him 11th (out of 93) in men’s C, and Jon Dreher came in second in the category, only four seconds over six minutes. Those times were so good they would have put Zack and Jon in eleventh and fifth place in the men’s B category—which was in turn won by MIT’s own José Soltren in a scorching 5:45, the fourth best time of the day, period. Tim Humpton, racing in A’s for the first time, beat half the field. All the while, MIT’s women were tearing up the course as usual. Rachel Bainbridge placed third in her first race in the women’s intro. Laura Ralston came in fifth, Melissa Gymrek came in 11th, and Lindsey Holland was 29th in the B time trial, and Yuri Matsumoto and Zuzka Trnovcova, at eleventh and twelfth in the As, were exactly 1.01 seconds apart. Everyone did well, which isn’t to say that everyone was thrilled with their performance—some people felt they could have gone harder from the gun while others felt they’d gone too hard—but nobody had time to grumble. It was time for the crit.

By the end of the morning the whole of the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference had uprooted and replanted itself forty-five minutes away in the comically picturesque town of Princeton. Everyone hopped on their bikes and checked out the course and its hill, not long enough to be a real climb but not short and steep enough to be a “power climb” either. That hill was where, after crashing early on (and taking advantage of the “free lap” rule), Ian broke away and won the D crit solo (after scoring in both prime laps, too).

John Dreher leads the C packIn men C, Jonathan Dreher came in a superb sixth after beating the pack to second place in all three prime laps (behind only the Princeton rider who had soloed off the front). But Zach LaBry, feeling good after his time trial, was taken out on the first corner of the first lap by a pair of crutches bizarrely stuck into the road. Fortunately scrapes and bruises were the only injuries. (It was a bad day to start your name at the end of the alphabet: Zach Ybarra had been taken out while cornering in the D race.)

The pace slowed a bit for the intro races, where Rachel Bainbridge came in fourth on the women’s race. Matt Blackburn and Leo Luo, two other new racers, placed tenth and eleventh in their intro race. Spencer climbs the wallSpencer Schaber, who was trying racing to see if he liked it, not only came in sixth in men’s intro, but won the contest for best race face of the weekend hands down.

Then came the B races, and MIT simply cleaned up. Laura Ralston won the most points in the primes and then beat everybody else with a perfect sprint to the line while the B men, warming up near the start finish, cheered her on.

Then, in the men’s race, when a pair of riders from Vermont took off, José hauled them back himself. He then proceeded to stay away with one of the UVM riders for the rest of the race and beat him to the line, putting out so much power that he won the sprint without getting out of his saddle. Jose puts out the watts

Yuri and Zuzka racked up plenty of points in the sprint out of a shattered women’s A field. But a short crit was never going to be Tim’s kind of race, especially not when Princeton’s time trial phenom Nick Frey decided to show off to the hometown crowd. Having missed the start signing autographs or something, Frey jumped into the race a lap late, and decided to try lapping the field (à la Easterns last year), which he almost—almost—did.

So at the end of the day the tally showed that MIT had flat-out won, aside from the men’s B time trial, the criteriums (criteria?) in men’s D division 2, women’s B, and men’s B. In other words MIT had won three of the seven races it entered and placed in the top five in two others. And it had been a nice day, too!Yuri climbs, cheered on by David Quinn

Pre-Season Racing: Boston Triathlon Team Indoor TT

The MIT Cycling Team brought 8 racers to the major pre-season road event for the year (plus our friend Alex from the New England Conservatory).  We had a great performance throughout the day over 3 different heats.  Congrats to Jose Soltren and Melissa Gymrek for winning the collegiate events for men and women respectively.  My pictures for the event are up on our gallery page.

These team results are promising as we prepare for the Rutgers/Princeton Race next weekend.  Stay tuned for weekly race summaries and pictures.

-Michael Hamilton – MIT Cycling Vice-President

Here are the team results:

MIT Women:
FIRST NAME LAST NAME FINISH TIME AVG MPH AVG WATTS
MELISSA GYMREK 20:20.5 18.88 236.97
ZUZANA TRNOVCOVA 21:22.2 17.97 205.48
MIT Men:
JOSE SOLTREN 17:08.5 22.4 391.88
JON DREHER 17:44.9 21.64 362
MICHAEL HAMILTON 19:09.1 20.05 291.36
ZACH LABRY 19:28.5 19.72 292.95
NICK LOOMIS 20:55.8 18.35 304.33
CAL LANKTON 21:04.2 18.23 253.07
ALEX CHALEFF 21:14.9 18.07 255.21

Cyclocross Nationals Wrapup

As you’ve probably heard, five of us (Tim Humpton, Jose Soltren, Kate Harris, Cim Wortham, and myself) flew to Kansas City this weekend to contest the Collegiate Cyclocross National Championships.  We stayed in Lawrence, KS with Nick Loomis’s wonderful aunt and uncle Kathy and Howard Ebmeier.  Nick traveled home early for the holidays to serve as our soigneur, chef, and photographer, taking pressure of us and making the weekend a lot of fun.  Jose thinks he gained a pound in 24 hours thanks to our hosts’ wonderful cooking.

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MIT sweeps opening ECCC Cyclocross weekend

The ECCC Cyclocross series kicked off on Saturday at the Cycle-Smart International in Northampton, MA.  Collegiate riders were out in abundance, with over twice as many competing as at the same weekend last year.  Nevertheless, MIT Cycling continued its winning ways, prompting race announcer Richard Fries to declare it “a rising cyclocross powerhouse.”  The Engineers outscored all rivals, Divisions 1 and 2, with riders winning the Collegiate Men’s B, Women’s B, and Men’s C events.  Particularly fine performances were delivered by Cim Wortham, finishing 3rd of 93 overall (collegiate and non-collegiate) in the C/Cat 4 race, and Kate Harris, finishing 2nd of 63 overall in the B/Cat 3/4 race.  Congratulations also to Zuzka Trnovcova and Rachel Bainbridge for racing competitively in their first ever cyclocross race.

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Mountain Bike Nationals Race Report, Kate Harris

Hey all,

I’ve gotten a few requests for a race report from nationals, so in the name of procrastination, here goes!

After some panicked packing, two flights, and a long and winding car ride through the Appalachian mountains, I found myself a world away from MIT in Banner Elk, North Carolina, home to the 2008 national collegiate mountain biking championships. After leaving behind the frantic frazzled existence of a first-year grad student, I could finally yield to the perfect freedom of a single necessity: racing my bike.
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Team Time Trials Set Pace as Cycling Wins Div. II National Title

The MIT Cycling Team won the 2008 Division II National Championship at the USA Cycling Collegiate Championships help in Fort Collins, Colo. on May 11. The MIT team seized an early lead in the opening event, the team time trial, and built their advantage throughout the weekend to take a surprise victory.

The MIT women’s team time trial (TTT) team of Martha W. Buckley G, Yuri Matsumoto G, Zuzana Trnovcova ‘09, and Sonya J. Cates G entered the competition solidly positioned as the best team in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference, having won four of five team time trial events during the season, including the ECCC championships.
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