Category Archives: Road

Team Photo with the Trophy and D2 Winner's Plaque

Bringing Home the Trophy!

And thus it was the last ECCC race weekend of the season, a bit too quickly if you ask me. Easterns this year was hosted by RISD and Brown and was only an hour drive away, so we had 27 racers come out, including a few first timers! On the agenda was the usual TTT and road race on Saturday and the crit on Sunday. Two dirt sections on a chilly and rainy day made the road race course very interesting!

It was a fantastic end to the collegiate racing season. We brought home the ECCC Championship weekend trophy for the 2nd year in a row, beating Army by a mere 8 points, and won the D2 Omnium as well!! To summarize some of the results: We got 1st in the Women’s A, Men’s C, Women’s D, and Men’s E TTTs, and 2nd in the Men’s A and Men’s D TTT. Emma came in 4th and Tori in 6th at the Women’s A road race, Quinn and Berk secured 4th and 5th in the Men’s C road race, Kate Lawrence got 2nd in the Women’s C race, Liam came in 4th in the Men’s D race, Emy got 2nd in the Women’s D race, and Josu and Tony came in 2nd and 9th in the Men’s E race. Tori secured 6th place in the women’s a crit, while Berk, Quinn, and Charles came in 4, 5, and 9 in the men’s C crit, Liam came 9th in the Men’s D, Amy ended 2nd in the Women’s D, and Josu and Tony came in 1st and 7th in the Men’s E crit!

18058140_10155336890166349_8390022726956180879_n
Emma and PK with the Championship weekend Trophy!

Here is a recap of the weekend from Amanda:

 “TTT: This was Kate H’s first ever race, and we had a 4-person Women D team! Despite there being no other Women’s D teams in the line-up, we pushed hard and put in a solid effort. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep our team of 4 together for the whole course. We dropped Kate within the first mile, and then I dropped off around mile 5 of 13 on an incline. Amy and Em pulled strong to the finish, and we ended up beating the 2nd place Women C TTT time.

RR: Sometimes being in cold rain triggers unhappy memories of this course. Previously unable to climb at a respectable speed, I surprised myself during this race by managing to move up in positions on some climbs! However, I still solo’d most of the race because I slowed down too much in the hole-y mud segments around mile 8 and wasn’t able to chase back onto the pack. In the end, Amy took 3rd, while Em and I came in 16th and 14th, respectively, in a field of 23.

Crit: *Turns* (ha) out that I’m too scared to corner in packs, and my Army crit strategy to string out the pack by hammering at the front & up the punchy climb doesn’t work quite as well on a flat course. The headwind we had witnessed in the morning races flipped, turning the sprint finish segment into a tailwind, and a straight segment after two quick turns into a fierce headwind. I spent most of this race yo-yo’ing off the back in those turns and trying to push through the headwind to catch the pack. The main pack raced together toward a huge 17-member sprint finish, with Amy earning 2nd place and some prime points!

As a highlight from the Women D field, Amy also got 1st overall for the season, beating out a girl from UVM by 6 points. As a team we also won the season and weekend omniums! It continually baffles me that I originally came to MIT to do science and joined the cycling team just to exercise, but instead happened upon a very inspiring group of top-notch cyclist-scientists that make me want to race at a more competitive level. Suffice it to say, I have a long way to go, especially since I’d just started cycling (outside of commuting) this past November on a trainer, with most of my outside miles actually at these ECCC-sanctioned races. I’m looking forward to a summer full of training to build fitness and drop some of those pack riding fears in preparation for next year! “

And the report from Tori:

“At the start line of the Women’s A/B road race, the conditions weren’t looking too promising – it was cold and raining, and no one was sure what to expect from the course’s two dirt sections, especially given the wet conditions. But the team went into the race with the idea that we’d make the best of it, and it turned out to be one of my favorite road races this season. As expected, the dirt sections were tough, but more manageable than I had originally anticipated. For most of the race, I was in a group with 10 or so other riders, including Anne. Emma was up the road in a breakaway that had gone during the second lap. Anne and I were riding next to each other in the pack, which gave us a chance to strategize and organize a leadout for the final sprint. Anne executed the leadout perfectly, and I came around her just before the final corner, and managed to win the group sprint. And Emma had hung on for 4th! Then it was back to the hotel to give our bikes (and us, of course) a good washing before Sunday’s crit.  “

Team Photo with the Trophy and D2 Winner's Plaque
Team Photo with the Trophy and D2 Winner’s Plaque

This weekend was a fantastic way to end our season. I could not have asked for a better season and enjoyed every minute of it with all of my amazing teammates. Thanks for an awesome season, everyone!!

DSC_0027

Bringing an army to Army

I (Emma) have missed the Army Spring Classic the last two years, so I was super excited to do it this year! It’s a relatively close race and famously well-run, so we had TWENTY-SEVEN people come out to race!!! It was the largest crowd we’ve seen all year!

We had the “usual” three events this weekend (Team Time Trial, Road Race, and Crit). We were super excited about the TTT’s because we had teams for every category except one! And we were even more excited when 6 teams got 1st and the other 2 teams got 2nd in their categories!! It was an awesome way to start out the weekend; we were feeling optimistic about the rest of the races.

IMG_8459

Women’s A TTT squad after the TTT, with all of our aero helmets! Photo: Charlie Nodus

We have three race reports from this weekend: one from me, one from Charles Wu (2nd year grad) and one from Laura Treers (3rd year undergrad).

First, Charles comments on all three of his events:

On the TTT:

Simple course, downhill then uphill along the same road, this was a real pacing test.  Go too hard on the downhill, and you have no energy for the climb back up.  We had two C teams, Charles/Charlie/Wade and Brian/Daniel/Ethan.  Our first priority was to beat the rest of the schools, and our second priority was to beat the other MIT C team J We went out hard into the headwind and started slowly reeling in the team in front on the downhill portion.  After we made the U-turn, we hammered uphill and eventually passed at least 2 or 3 teams before the finish (which means we gained 30-90 seconds on each of them).  After the finish, one of the Pitt riders said something to the effect of “Nice job, you made us look silly”.  We won the race!

 

On the RR:

This was a really fast course, huge downhill followed by ~12-13min uphill, a rolling middle section, and an uphill finish.  We were hitting almost 50mph on the descent (very scary).  The C field was, like last weekend, oddly calm, and almost nothing happened the first two laps except for Berk dropping his chain and chasing back on. On the last lap, Quinn and Brian set a searing pace uphill which dropped me off the back. I rode for a bit in no-man’s land until Wade caught up to me (he had dropped his chain earlier too) and we had some TTT practice, eventually rolling in 25th and 26th.  Up the road, the race ended in a bunch sprint, where Charlie got 4th, Berk 7th, and Quinn 9th.

 

On the crit:

The Army crit course is a weird triangle shape, with a little big-ring hill right after the finish line, a >90 degree corner leading into a back straight, and a fast sweeping right into a short (100m) finish straight.  Luckily, I had experience racing it last year and already knew the passing points (no one wants to push up the bumpy af right side on the back straight, so you can make up positions easily).  The race started and almost immediately, Berk was away on the attack.  He stayed away for most of the race and at one point had almost 20 seconds on the field, winning 2 primes.  But he was eventually reeled in (through some miscommunication, MIT chased too much, d’oh). The field started to yo-yo in pace and this caused some minor crashes.  I tried to move up as best I could, and after some recovery time, Berk hit the front with me second wheel.  We rode at a high pace for a few laps, and no one had time to attack due to Berk’s crushing sprint leadout.  Finally, on the last lap Army tried to launch a two-man attack, but their leadout guy crashed at the top of the hill, flipping over the curb right in front of me and almost taking me out.  I lost a bunch of places immediately, but held on the back straight and final sprint for 5th, rueing what might have been.  Quinn (7th), Berk (11th), Brian(13th), and Wade(14th) all finished top 20 in a great MIT showing.

DSC_0231

Berk during his ~15 minute solo breakaway, Photo: PK

DSC_0208

Charles in the pack. Photo: PK

 

On the rest of the weekend:

What a turnout! 27 riders and a lot of hanging out/banter/eating snacks in the sunshine. We all but swept the TTT categories, and Kate and Emma won a race each, both in sprint finishes!

And here is Laura’s race report from her crit:

Sunday lived up to the legends of the glorious Army Crit course.  Featuring a long straightaway right next to the Hudson River, a punchy climb, and two quite technical corners, it might just be the funnest crit course I’ve ever done.  I was super excited to have two other MIT women racing with me in the Women’s D field.  For Amy and Amanda, it was both of their first crits, so we were all a little nervous going into it, but did some initial strategizing in hopes of all staying at the front of the pack.  Right off the gun Amanda sprinted to the front and started hammering, stringing out the field from the very beginning.  Amy stayed within the front 5 riders the entire time, while Amanda moved around in the pack quite a bit, staging some attacks up the punchy hill to keep things interesting.  I ended up “yoyo-ing” off the back more than I wanted, so with ~10 minutes to go I used the straightaway to pass most of the field and grab onto Amanda’s wheel for the rest of the race.  Because we were going soo hard the whole time, the field had really broken up, leaving only around 8 riders in the main field by the end.  The last lap was especially fast, and ended in a sprint to the finish, with Amy in 2nd, and Amanda and I in 4th and 5th, respectively.  I couldn’t have been happier with how the race went, and also soo proud of my teammates for totally crushing it in their first crits.  This was sadly my last collegiate race on the road this year, and I think a perfect ending. Already getting stoked for next season 🙂

DSC_0027

Women’s D squad ready for the RR to start! Photo: PK

Here is mine from my victory (!) at the women’s A crit on Sunday:

I never thought I would be writing about winning a women’s A crit because I am not a great sprinter, especially in large packs (I get pretty nervous!). But this year two of the three crits we’ve done have included small breakaways. I must say that I’ve enjoyed crits MUCH more when it’s just 2 or 3 other girls cornering with me! 🙂

This time, the break went about halfway into the race, with Dani (conference leader, Brown), and Liz (Army). After 5-10 minutes of pushing, I asked people from MIT who were spectating for the gap, and the next time around they said it was only 15 seconds. So we kept the pace high, and seemingly magically the gap grew and grew. I found out afterwards that this was not magic– this was teamwork!! Tori and Anne did an AMAZING job blocking the rest of the pack. I really don’t think we would have been able to stay away if they hadn’t been there, and I appreciate their help SO much.

IMG_3835

Tori and Anne controlling the women’s A/B pack to enable my breakaway to stay away! Photo: Wade Wang

Unfortunately, with about 6 laps to go Liz took one of the corners too wide and hit a guard rail (it was padded and she was okay other than some road rash), so it was then just Dani and me. We worked together until the last lap.  In a head-to-head sprint, Dani would beat me every time. She has an incredible sprint! So knowing that, I stayed on her wheel for the last lap to try to tire her out. Coming out of the last corner she was close to the left hand side of the road, so I went to her right. I put my head down and sprinted as hard as I could and I barely edged her out! It was an amazing feeling, and it meant so much more when I found out how much Anne and Tori had done to help me!

IMG_3874

Hardest I have ever sprinted! Photo: Wade Wang

This coming weekend is ECCC championships hosted by RISD and Brown. We have another large group coming since it’s so close!

33575435290_92f1ea8a7a_k

Shippensburg Scurry 2017

The Shippensburg Scurry is one of the farthest races we will go to this year, but it was well worth the seven hour drive! The weekend started with the campus criterium on Saturday, followed by the only hill climb of the season in the afternoon and was rounded out by the Horse Killer Road Race on Sunday. Ten racers came out this weekend to represent MIT, which is great considering the driving distance to get to Shippensburg! And this was our first weekend with good weather this season, which made all of us very happy.

 

33575435290_92f1ea8a7a_k

Men’s C squad!

Out of the ten that made it, five (including me) were in the Men’s C category. We were all very excited to try out some team tactics and see what we could do to our field! The criterium’s main features consisted of two wide and fast corners and a kicker of a climb leading into the finish, so it was a past-paced race. Most of the pack stuck together up until the second to last lap, which made this crit totally different than the last at Penn State. As a team we did great! I was able to snag 1st in the first two primes and Berk got 2nd in the third prime. Throughout the race, Berk was very aggressive and was testing the field with attacks throughout. Coming into the last lap, Quinn was able to secure his spot in a break of 4 while the rest of us were near the front of the pack. In the end, Quinn held on to come in at 4th, Charles came 8th, I came 9th, Wade came 10th, and Berk came in at 15th.

The mass-start hill climb turned out to be a very interesting race. We had time to drive the course before the race and we took that opportunity to check it out and come up with a plan. Charles volunteered to put in a hard effort at the beginning and keep the pace high to catch the other teams off guard. All five of us started in the first line, and thus Charles was able to attack with an 1000W sprint right as the race started. This kept the pace fast and some people were getting shelled off the back before the real climb had even started. It was a tough 23 minute climb for me, but about halfway through, Wade caught up to me and gave me the inspiration I needed to keep pushing hard to the end(Thanks, Wade!!). Berk secured 2nd place and Quinn came close behind at 6th while Wade and I came in at 14th and 15th. After his valiant effort at the beginning, Charles decided to enjoy the scenery at an endurance pace and still managed to come in at 33rd out of 40, which just goes to show how much pain he caused everyone at the beginning (woo, go Charles!).

For us the Horse Killer Road Race was 46 miles long and consisted of a short loop followed by two loops that included the climb up Horse Killer Road, which has a 0.9 mile long climb at an average 8% grade ( within this 0.9miles is a 0.4 mile segment at an average 13% grade). This race was oddly calm for the C field, with only one attempted break away in the first lap, one or two attacks in the second lap, and a very slow pace for the first half of the 3rd lap, right up until Horse Killer Road. Quinn had his third strong finish of the weekend, coming in 5th. Berk was close behind in 8th and I managed to get 13th. The highlight of this race for me definitely has to be during the 2nd lap. Berk, Quinn, and I found ourselves shoulder-to-shoulder at the very front of the pack. Wade was right behind us and decided to attack by finding space to the right of Quinn and just as he passed, Charles slotted in next to Quinn. I wish someone could have taken a picture of this blockade we set up. Sadly Wade’s attack only lasted for about 2 miles because the frustrated riders behind us dangerously crossed over the double yellow centerline to get around us and led the chase to catch Wade.

33116904614_fd014f403b_k

33116988804_e2f4ea8908_k

Pinning pictures are consistently amazing.

Overall, it was an extremely fun weekend, with lots of shenanigans in the down time while watching our teammates race. As far as racing going, our team had a hugely successful weekend as Emma, Katy, and Tori crushed it in the Women’s A field and Constantin and Shikhar doing well in the Men’s E field. We are currently leading the overall standings and plan to keep our spot at the top this upcoming weekend at the Army Spring Classic, where we will have 27 riders representing MIT!! (No, that is not a typo, 27 people are coming to Army. It is going to be awesome!!)

-PK

DSC_0322

Nittany Classic 2017 Race Reports

Penn State (aka the Nittany Classic) is a favorite race each year for the MIT cyclists. The famous “Black Mo” climb is the biggest hill we face in the conference (putting our California training camp to good use!), and the crit is fast and fun, located around Frat Court. This year we had 11 people make the drive to State College, PA, including 3 new racers!

We have 3 race reports this week: one from Dustin Weigl (1st year grad), a joint one from Katy Olesnavage (5th year grad) and I (Emma Edwards, 3rd year grad), and one from Laura Treers (3rd year undergrad).

 

From Dustin:

This weekend was my first time racing with the team and I had the chance to start in my first road race with a great squad in Men’s C. With a huge 5 mile climb up Black Moshannon Mountain at the end of both laps I went in with an open mind hoping the team could find a way to work together to put some time into the field. When we got to the climb on the first lap I found myself at the front with nobody else willing to lead so I decided to just put in a consistent effort to see how things went. At the top, I found myself in a group with MIT teammate Charlie Nodus and 2 NYU riders with a sizeable gap on the next group. Unfortunately, one of the NYU riders crashed out on the descent into the second lap and we were left with a group of 3. We got organized and kept up a good pace back to the bottom of the climb and the moto let us know we had about 4 minutes on the next riders. About about a mile into the climb, the NYU rider surged and I went with him with Charlie holding a steady pace a little behind. About halfway up I felt some sharp pain in my back that I’ve struggled with in the past so I lightened up, and sadly watched the NYU rider ride away up the hill. Charlie had kept within shouting distance and cruised past me to secure 2nd place and a rider from UVM passed me with later with about half a mile to go.

I was of course disappointed to miss out on the podium after leading most of the race but I’m happy I played it safe and know what I have to work on looking towards the rest of the road season. I was also surprised and honored when the team awarded me the most aggressive rider jersey that night so not all was lost! It was incredible to watch MIT riders finishing high in the standings in every category this weekend and I’m excited to see what happens in the upcoming races!

 

IMG_8272

Dustin winning the aggressive rider’s jersey!

I also must add that Dustin went on to get 2nd in the crit the next day, despite his back issues, just barely losing in the sprint!

DSC_0322

Quinn, Dustin, and PK in the crit. Photo: Aaron Huang

In the women’s A road race, we had Katy, Tori Wuthrich (4th year undergrad), and myself. Here is a race report from Katy and I, who somehow managed to get 1st and 2nd in the road race in A’s (2nd and 3rd in A/B)!

DSC_0061

Katy, Emma, and Tori before the road race. Photo: Aaron Huang

We were nervous but excited going into the road race. We knew it was going to be very hard, but we were excited and anxious to see how our winter training would pay off. The race started with a big descent and a couple of punchy short climbs. After some pretty hard efforts and a minor crash in the field, suddenly we were in a group of only 10 girls going into the big climb on the first lap. The first climb up Black Mo really strung us out. At the top, Katy and I were in a strong group of five women, including conference leader and friend of the team Dani Morshead from Brown University chasing the two leaders, an A racer and an exceptionally strong B racer, who had managed to put a 1:30 gap between us and them. We tried to work together to reel them back in, but they held a steady lead on us. We still kept the pace high, popping riders off our group one by one. By the second climb up Black Mo, Katy and I were the last riders left chasing the two leaders.  As a Moto official passed, he pointed out a racer up the road and told us that she was the A racer who had been off the front, and that there was only a 30 second gap between us and her. Our hearts sank a bit because we knew we had to at least try to catch her. With our legs and lungs burning, we took turns getting second winds and encouraging the other to keep it up. We used the flat (well, rollers actually) at the top of Black Mo to work together and passed her 2k from the finish. We accelerated to make sure she didn’t catch our wheel and kept pushing until the line. Through the magic of Strava flybys, you can watch how it all played out below!

From Laura:

I have to say that the Penn State weekend was amazing, not just for me but for the team as a whole. Everyone did so well in their races, and overall just had a really fun time.  This was my first road race of the season, and I was pretty excited/nervous/unsure of how I would do within the Women’s D field.  The Saturday road race started with a big descent, where everyone stayed together, and then on the smaller climbs that followed the field started to break up a bit.  A few riders went off the front and I followed, pretty amazed to actually find myself in a breakaway group!  The race ended with a totally epic 5-mile climb up Black Moshannon, which was very challenging but tons of fun.  Everyone seemed to split up on the long climb, and I finished the race solo into 4th place, my first ever top-5 finish!

Since my legs were pretty fried after the road race, I didn’t think the crit on Sunday would go very well for me, but I managed to sprint out right at the start and maintained a good position at the front of the field.  Around the last 10 minutes of the race, two riders got away from the front of the pack who I wasn’t able to chase down, but I sat in for the last few laps and was able to sprint ahead at the very end to come in third!  Overall, I think I surprised myself this weekend with what I was capable of, and was also constantly impressed by the strength and skill of my teammates in all of their races.  I’ve definitely caught the bike racing bug, and I can’t wait until next weekend!

DSC_0549

Laura in the crit! Photo: Aaron Huang

And that’s it for this weekend! We just found out that the Dartmouth/ UVM weekend has been cancelled due to bad weather, so our next race will the the Shippensburg Scurry.

-Emma and PK

2017-03-18 14.02.09

Philly Phlyer – Starting the season off right!

The first race weekend of the ECCC Road season has now quickly come and gone (and we are already filling our competition with fear by getting some awesome results!). Our team had a great showing, with 15 riders coming out, 6 of whom were racing road for the first time! Even though it was a bit cold and rainy, everyone was excited and eager to get out on the roads and race the TTT and Circuit Race! Without further ado, here are recaps from Berk and Liam:

“This is Berk writing! I am a first-year graduate student in the MIT AeroAstro department, and it is my first year racing with MIT Cycling. The Philly Phlyer was my first bike race ever, so I felt it would be a shame if I didn’t document the experience with a blog post!

It was finally time for all of the winter training to pay off. I had no idea what was coming for me in the road race, so I kept focused on doing well in the TTT, the first event of Saturday morning, and hoped that the road race afterwards would take care of itself. The conditions were rather gnarly that morning; there was a decent amount of snow cover, and there were snowploughs clearing the course less than 30 minutes before the first race. This meant wet and cold conditions, conditions that would usually mean being on the trainer at home. The crit the next morning had already been cancelled the night before, which was unfortunate, but not the worst news for a green rider like me.

I was nervous racing in the Men’s A TTT for my first race ever, but also really excited. Justin, Wade, Quinn and I had not had any decent weather in Boston to practice beforehand, so we did a short run of the course to feel it out. I definitely felt a little better after we pushed the pace for a few minutes and practiced our pulls.

I was amped when we pulled up to the line. It was great to have Justin, the most experienced rider in the bunch and an awesome TTer, set the pace from the beginning. I was perhaps a little too excited, because I was finding that my pulls were a little too hard, and my turns a little ambitious right off the bat. Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep Wade with us, but Justin, Quinn and I maintained a strong pace until the finish. We missed second place by 2 seconds, which was frustrating considering that any one of the easily-avoidable time losses we had could have secured us the better spot. But you live and learn, and I think we were all satisfied with the effort we put into the pedals.

Unfortunately, there was only about an hour of respite between the Men’s A TTT and the Men’s C RR, so I had to use my recovery time very efficiently. That is exactly when things starting going downhill. After a short cooldown on the trainer and some food, about 20 mins before the race, I realized that I had taken a little piece of metal in the rear tire. Oh no.

Suddenly my mind was on overdrive. I quickly swapped an inner tube, put some more food down, attached my number on my jersey, filled my bottles, and rushed to the line. I was the very last rider to pull up, shivering, wet, and definitely not in the best place mentally. Not a good way to start my first road race.

For the road race, my goal was to stick near the front, no matter what. I didn’t want to miss out on the action, and wanted to gauge the strength of the field. Since the MIT C field is deep (there was Charles, Quinn, PK, Ethan, Wade and I that morning), I figured we could make something happen in the front.

It was fast. I didn’t mind, since I was cold and could use some warming up. Far from being efficient, I decided that I would chase every single breakaway down. I found being aggressive in the front to be thrilling; Quinn and I even tried to break away towards the beginning of the second of four laps, but we were absorbed quickly. On the same lap, on a 180-degree turn, I narrowly avoided a crash after some (MIT) rider in front of me (who know who you are 😉 I love you very much anyways) lost their line and I took evasive action by sliding into a snow bank. I watched the entire pack blow by me, and had to put in a big uphill chase to get back up to the front. I soon realized I was burning through my matches very quickly, and to break away from this pack would be almost impossible anyways.

The race alternated between tons of freewheeling on the flats, and the occasional furious chase. The pack stayed together until the last lap, where the first of two small climbs ripped the group apart. Charles and I managed to stick in the front, and hoped for a final attack on the second climb. But unfortunately, neither of us had saved enough energy, and we started to fall through the front group on the final climb. It all ended in a bunch sprint, where Charles and I placed 11th and 10th respectively. (Observe the very happy but cold-and-grimy post-race picture below!) I was proud to have gotten my first points for MIT Cycling, and was happy to survive the horrible conditions with no more than a trainer flat and a runny nose.

2017-03-27 19.04.34

The race was a great learning experience for me, a veritable trial-by-fire. I learned a lot about teamwork, the value of preparation, and the importance of efficient racing. I am no stranger to putting my head down and suffering (I did break my FTP record in the TTT, which was awesome), but the tactics of road racing are still new to me. I’m glad to have had such an awesome team around me, teaching me the ropes, being the reassuring voices while we are redlining in the TTT, sharing their warm ramen post-race, pigging out on infinite salad during the team dinner, getting pulled over by irritated police with too much time in NJ, and nearly avoiding a horrible car crash on the Mass Pike. (Yeah, those didn’t make it into the blog post.) I am looking forward to many awesome in and out of the saddle adventures with y’all! I also want to give a shoutout to the MIT Women’s teams for crushing it in great style (picture below), and schooling aspiring riders like me on racing. You are an inspiration to us all!

\2017-03-18 14.02.09

But for now, Berk out. See y’all in l’Enfer du Nord! [So wait, if you win, are you the King in the North? 😉 ]”

Liam wrote:

“Road racing season is finally here! It’s hard to believe that training camp was nearly two months ago, and the excitement was palpable among the team as the Philly Phlyer – our first race weekend — approached. At long last, after months of conversations about watts and kilos, leg hair and Zwift, and Pop-Tarts and gear ratios, we would get to defend the ECCC road championship title.

Despite an ominous forecast and the cancellation of Sunday’s crit due to weather, fifteen of us made the drive to Philadelphia on Friday afternoon. I drove with Ethan, and quickly learned the first of the weekend’s many lessons: it’s really important to leave early! The drive was long, and our 11 pm arrival was certainly not ideal for the 5:30 AM wake-up the next morning.

Saturday kicked off with the TTT, which – despite the cold, wet, and muddy course – went excellently for the team. First up was the Men’s C team, featuring PK, Charles, and Ethan, who put in a terrific effort to come in second place. Dmitro and I followed as the Men’s D team. Enduring a steady stream of muddy, salty water kicking up from our wheels, we drafted our way into a fourth place finish. I absolutely loved every second of it – all of our time spent TTT’ing on Mystic Lake Parkway and in California had paid off! Behind us were Amanda and Georgia, the Women’s C TTT, who won their race. Not a bad first race for Amanda!

The Men’s A TTT, with Berk, Justin, Wade, and Quinn, powered its way to a third place finish, just two seconds off of the second place team. Meanwhile, the Women’s A TTT – Katy, Kate, Anne, and Tori – won their race to bring home over 100 points for the team.

After a quick bite to eat and warm-up session, the Men’s C and D racers headed down to the line for the start of our races. The C racers – Quinn, PK, Charles, Ethan, Wade, and Berk – comprised nearly 1/7th of the field, which they used to their advantage in a thrilling race. Berk and Quinn chased attack after attack, bridging between groups to keep MIT in the lead pack. Charles, meanwhile, shrewdly limited his watts by hopping from wheel to wheel, drafting our opponents to stick with the leaders. With PK and Quinn blocking, Berk and Charles sprinted their ways to 10th and 11th place finishes, respectively.

Dmitro and I started after the C racers in what would prove to be a crash-filled Schuykill Scramble. Unfortunately, my race ended  just seven minutes in after an accidental crossing of wheels, but Dmitro stuck it out for a solid finish.

After a quick trip to the EMS with Justin to get cleaned up (thanks again, Justin!), we headed to the line to watch the Women’s A/B and C races. They were both truly thrilling from start to finish. The A/B race split into three groups almost immediately: a three-person break, followed by a chase group containing Tori and Katy, and a larger pack behind, controlled by Anne. About two laps in, the second group split further when a rider attacked. With Katy blocking, Tori managed to bridge the attack with another rider, forming a three-person group that worked together for the remainder of the race. Thanks to Katy and Anne’s deft control of their groups, Tori’s chase group stuck together for the remainder of the race, bringing her to a fifth place sprint finish in her first ever A’s race. Both Anne and Katy finished in the top 10, too, capping a very successful weekend for the women’s A squad.

Meanwhile, in the C’s, Kate stuck with the five-person lead group the entire time, which steadily grew a sizeable lead over the main pack. On the climb to the finish, she attacked and completely smoked her competitors, winning her first ever road race.

All in all, a great first weekend of racing for the team! I can’t wait for L’Enfer du Nord – until next time!”

For those on the team that have not yet raced, we are excited to see you out there in the coming weeks!

-Emma and PK

 

IMG_1644

Winter training camp: Days 5 – 8

Day 5 we tackled Palomar (for the first time)! Palomar is an HC (hors categorie) climb, the toughest category of climb out there. It is 11.6 miles at 7%, about 4200 ft of elevation gain. It was the biggest climb many of us had done yet (including me!) so we had to make sure to pace ourselves. The climb itself took me 82 minutes, so I was so glad to have a Stages power meter to help pace me! We regrouped at the top and took a break, drinking cokes and replenishing salt and electrolytes we lost on the long climb.

IMG_1640

The women relaxing (recovering) at the top of Palomar

IMG_20170201_122749

Liam, Charles, PK, Quinn (and a tired Tori) happy after crushing Palomar

 

We put all of our layers on to descend the mountain, stopping a couple times to take pictures:

IMG_1644

20170201_121253

Photos from the top before descending the mountain

Photo Feb 01, 4 14 55 PM

The road we went up and down!

Day 6 was another (much needed) rest day. Everyone enjoyed the route for the first rest day (and there were very few other “flat” options in the area), so we did that same route again. Afterwards we walked to a winery nearby our house to have lunch:

IMG_3199

Rest day winery for lunch

Later that night, Quinn White crafted a cycling-related trivia for us to play! The categories were “General Cycling Knowledge,” “History,” “Current events,” and “Quotes,” with ~10 questions in each category. We split up into the teams we were going to be in the following day for mock races to get pumped up and have some team bonding. Charles Wu of team “Katy’s Angels” was the clear MVP, but the game spiced up when he got a phone call in round 3 and the other teams—“The Lord of the Chain Rings” and “No Quinn, No Win”—tried to claw back. In the end it was in vain and Katy’s Angels won in a landslide victory.

 

Day 7 was mock races! We rode for ~25miles as a warmup (and to see a different area, Diamond Valley, which was pretty stunning) and then got to the 1.5-mile “race course.” We rode the course once all together and then did 3 races: the first was a normal race; for the second the top-3 finishers of the first race were not allowed to place (but could help teammates); and for the third and final race only the women could place. Charles won the first race, Wade the second, and I won the third. Charles said:

“For the first race the winners were unrestricted, which made Youyang, the strongest TTer of the group, the clear favorite. Our team devised a strategy where Dustin or Wade would mark any Youyang attacks and I would try to hang on for the sprint in the field if it came back together.  In the race, when Youyang attacked, Dustin marked and I was in the right position to sit on Dustin’s wheel and follow.  We never quite caught Youyang, but I was rested enough that I opened the sprint early and came around everyone in the last 100m to take the win!”

Wade said:

“To me, one of the most comforting things about having teammates is that the burden is not entirely on you to win. I figured that I would give these races whatever I had, and if I didn’t win, Dustin or Charles would win. It turned out that Charles and Dustin tag teamed the first mock race in spectacular fashion, placing 1st and 3rd respectively. While that was an awesome result, the rule for this race was that the top 3 of the previous race were not in contention to win. Furthermore, our team’s plan was to keep Katy fresh for the last race. Thus, I was the only one of Katy’s Angels that was in contention to win the second race. Being the team’s designated finisher made me very nervous, but knowing I still had help from my teammates was comforting. Our plan was to launch midway through the course, leading me out to the finish. The mix of adrenaline and nerves blur my memory, but I do know that the first 1/3 of the race was excruciatingly slow. I managed to maintain my position behind Charles’s wheel until the pace picked up halfway through the course. The leadout was going as planned until I saw Youyang attack. He was not in contention to win, but I made a split second decision to jump on his wheel hoping that no one else would. After quite a hard effort, Youyang sat up and it was just Berk and me 400m from the finish. I went all out and had just enough left to secure the win for Katy’s Angels by a wheel length!”

For the third race our team had a plan: I would attack, Youyang Zhao would bridge and pull me for as hard as I could go. If another team caught us, we would have Tori Wuthrich fresh in the pack, shielded by Constantine Weisser and Quinn White, to sprint for the line. Youyang and I talked before the race about what power he should put out to pull me so that I would be going all-out for a couple minutes but not get dropped. It went pretty perfectly for Youyang and me, and Tori had a great lead out and sprinted from the pack for second!

Day 8 was our final day, so we had to make it count. Laura Treers and Charles went for a 70 mile mixed-terrain adventure ride, and the rest of us set out on a 113mi ride which included another trip up Palomar. Laura wrote about their ride:

“After some very creative route planning Friday night, Charles and I had the exciting idea of an all-day backroads “adventure ride” to cap off the week.  Rolling out at 7AM on Saturday, instead of heading down towards our usual routes, we headed upwards, towards a maze of neighborhood dirt roads.  After hot air balloon encounters and navigating some pretty washed out sections, we hit a small bit of pavement and then veered onto Stanley road, a dirt path which climbed steadily through the Cahuilla Mountain wilderness. Despite the occasional deeper sand and some grueling climbs, this was probably the highlight of the ride for me.  Being so far from the beaten path, in the wake of the huge snow-capped mountains of San Jacinto was truly breathtaking, the kind of wilderness experience I’d never really had before on a bike.  After a fun technical descent of Red Mtn Road and through some neighborhoods into Hemet, we stopped for a taco lunch break and then made a detour to Diamond Valley Lake.  This part of the ride was ~10 miles of sandy & gravel bike path, filled with these awesome panoramic vistas of the lake and surrounding peaks.  We then made our way back south, making some more alternative road choices and finishing by climbing to the uppermost point in our neighborhood as the sun was coming down. Sitting there just taking in the view for a while, I was getting pretty sad that I would have to leave this amazing place the next day.  All in all, it was a pretty epic last day, the kind of ride that forces you to slow down and take it all in, and really made me appreciate just how beautiful this little piece of California is.  I think it was probably the best way I could’ve possibly ended this week that I wished would never end.”

IMG_0984

View from Charles and Laura’s epic adventure ride

 

Tori wrote about the other ride:

 

“On the 8th and final day of training camp, a group of us decided to end the week with a bang- a 112 mile ride with 10,000+ feet of climbing. The route featured our second time up Palomar that week. We got an early start, rolling out around 7:30, and headed towards the mountain. This time climbing Palomar, we took another road which offered different, but equally spectacular views over the long climb. When we reached the top, we were actually above the clouds! After taking a rest at the top, we began the 11 mile descent, which had lots of switchbacks- great for cornering practice. The ride back home featured more beautiful scenery with several other, smaller climbs. Despite somehow getting more flats and mechanicals than our teammates who rode 70 miles on the dirt, it was a great ride. For several people on the team, including myself, it was our first ever century, and longest ride yet by 20 miles!”

Photo Feb 04, 3 21 25 PM

We were above the clouds climbing up Palomar the last day!

 

And then it was back to the house to pack our bikes :(. We are all home safe and sound, and after a few rest days were ready to get back on the saddle! Of course, then a snow storm hit Boston and we haven’t been able to go outside, but it gives us motivation for our racing season which is rapidly approaching!

 

-Emma

Photo Jan 31, 3 25 54 PM

Winter training camp 2017: Days 1- 4

Day 1 was a bit of a shock to the system for two reasons: heat and climbing. We rode 67 miles with 7000 ft of elevation gain around the De Luz area to the west of Temecula. The scenery was stunning and it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere with very challenging, steep sections and even some “river” crossings (due to flooding from the rain):

Photo Jan 28, 2 37 50 PM

Tori crossing the river that formed due to rain in the area before we got there. Great shouldering!

So we were all really enjoying the ride until we realized that we were in the middle of nowhere, so there were no stores or gas stations anywhere around for water. We met a very friendly woman who let us use her hose to fill up our water bottles so that we could all make it home! Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers.

Day 2 was 73 miles, but this time “only” 5000ft of climbing. We went down south around Lilac for more stunning scenery with really beautiful descents and scenic flower farms.

Day 3 was a recovery route near the house, touring around horse tracks and wineries:

Image 1-30-17 at 18.18 (2)

Image 1-30-17 at 18.18

Rest day spin

On Day 4 we went to Oceanside for TTTT (Taco Team Time Trial). We broke up into a couple different groups and practiced pace-lining and TTT commands on a wonderful, flat, straight bike path that led us in and out of Oceanside. Wade Wang wrote about the day:

“Day 4 was unique from the other days in training camp as it was predominantly downhill all the way to Oceanside and uphill all the way back. After pleasantly coasting most of the way there, we arrived at a flat rail trail, which was the perfect opportunity to get in some team time trial (TTT) practice. We further split into two groups to keep the average group size representative of a real TTT. I joined Dustin and Youyang, and the three of us managed to maintain ~40 km/h (25 mph) when in a paceline to Oceanside. It was quite refreshing to go fast on a flat after all the climbing over the last few days. Upon arriving, we treated ourselves to some delicious fish tacos on a pier overlooking the ocean. Berk took the day off to avoid injury, but drove over to Oceanside to join us at the pier. He also provided us with much needed ride food and electrolytes in addition to taking our jackets back to the house. The warm sun and refreshing breeze made it hard to leave, but having eaten our fill and taken some pictures it was time to go back home. The way back consisted of more TTT practice followed by climbing. Dustin and Youyang provided me with great company and encouragement, making the 74 km (46 mi) return trip pass quickly. Our self-control to not overeat fish tacos at Oceanside paid off on the climbs back, rewarding us with first dibs on the food in the house. It was a long but satisfying day to mark the halfway point of training camp.”

Photo Jan 31, 2 02 18 PM (1)

Women’s TTT into Oceanside

Snapchat-43953833

Wade and Youyang chow down on tacos in Oceanside! Nom nom nom

Photo Jan 31, 3 25 54 PM

The team in Oceanside

Tomorrow we’ll go through the rest of the trip (Days 5-8) and wrap it up.

Photo Jan 28, 11 59 05 AM

Winter training camp 2017!

Written by Emma Edwards (women’s road captain), with help from other training camp attendees. Stay tuned for more recaps in the next couple days!

We traveled to Temecula, CA for our winter training camp (just like the team did last year) for 8 days of riding in warm, sunny southern CA. I didn’t get to go last year because of my PhD qualifying exams, but training camp was one of the highlights of my first year, so I was really excited about going again this year. We had a bunch of new people this year: only 7 of the 17 people that went had been to training camp before! Przemyslaw (PK) Krol (men’s road captain) made a great video that summed up a lot of the week:

 

PK said about the week:

“9 fantastic days filled with beautiful rides, friends, shared meals, and shenanigans; It doesn’t get much better than this. This was my first time at training camp and it’s one that I’m sure I’ll remember forever. Throughout the week we got to climb a mountain(twice!), see the ocean, and eat sooo much delicious food. It was so awesome to see people do their longest rides to date (and the most climbing, too!) and smiling at the end. I’m sad training camp went by so quickly, but I’m glad to have been a part of it.”

 

Dustin Weigl said about the week:

“I’m a first year masters student so this was my first time attending training camp and was also my introduction to most of the team outside of a couple club rides that I joined in the fall.  I came on the trip not knowing most of the group but was excited to meet my teammates while getting in some good ol’ fashioned miles on two wheels.  The week definitely didn’t disappoint and I can confirm that the case of FOMO you feel yourself coming down with might be worse after reading this blog.

The week had plenty of volume and coming out from Boston made the hours outside on the bike that much sweeter.  Day 1 brought more climbing per mile than I think I’ve ever done and unfortunately my back paid for it and forced me to take time off the bike on day 2.  Of course, starting a week-long training trip with injury made me pretty nervous but luckily I was able to build my way back through my day off and the following rest day.  And for the rest of the week, the team kept checking in on me which speaks to the camaraderie the group had during the trip.  We also had the pleasure of adding a few alumni to the group and it was great to hear about everything they’ve been doing both on and off their bikes in their time since leaving MIT.

Outside of riding, we had our fair share of shenanigans at the house playing some group games, eating absurd numbers of bananas, and seeing what kinds of weird noises people make when introduced to the foam roller.  Delicious family-style dinners, a beautiful location, and seamless organization.  A HUGE thank you to PK and Emma for their hard work in organizing such a successful trip!  Overall, the trip made me excited to see what kind of firepower MIT can bring to the ECCC this spring and to meet the rest of the group.  Just a few more weeks until the first race!”

I was getting pretty worried about the weather in the weeks leading up to the trip. California was having an unusually rainy period. This was great for California to help get out of their drought, but not great for our training! There were reports of ~40-50 degrees and rainy, which was barely warmer than Boston, where it was unseasonably warm. But we absolutely lucked out and had perfect weather the entire time we were there. Highs were between 65 and 75 every day and it didn’t rain on us the entire time! Each of us racked up 523 miles with 41,172 ft of elevation gain, riding for 35hr 21min over the 8 days of riding. So many times over the week I thanked myself for going to get a bike fitting before I left. Chris Duffy (Belmont Wheelworks) did an amazing job getting me into a position I could be in for hours and hours without discomfort. (Well, without too much discomfort!)

We rented a house outside of Temecula in wine country. I was immediately very popular for picking a house that was on top of a hill so that you had to climb 800ft up to the house at the end of each day. But it did make for a beautiful setting to spend a week and a half:

IMG_1597

IMG_20170203_080413

Views from the house

 

We were particularly excited about our 3 alumni who could join us: Jen Wilson, Stan Prutz, and Chase Lambert. Jen and Stan were among the 7 who had been to training camp before, so it was great having them there for their experience and advice. Stan made the team very happy when he made chocolate-chip blueberry portables. Jen, along with Anne Raymond, were part of the silver-medal winning women’s TTT team last year at nationals, so her advice on TTT-ing was particularly useful!

Since so much happened in training camp, I’m breaking this up into a couple different blog posts: Days 1-4 and Days 5-8.

 

cwmituqxgaez0jb

Fall training camp 2016: Lake Sunapee, NH

Alex Klotz shared his experience of the fall training camp that 23 of us went on Nov 4-6, 2016 in Lake Sunapee, NH:

image

Last weekend I joined the MIT Cycling Club for the fall training camp near Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire. Some see this weekend as the start of training for the spring road racing season, but since I am not a student and won’t be doing much collegiate racing, I saw it more as a coda to the extended “summer” of road biking that I had been enjoying, and was also hoping to push myself a bit.

I drove up Friday with Lucy and Emerson. The team had rented out an entire bed-and-breakfast, which overall was really nice. I went for a short ride with Wade to stretch my legs and get a sense of the area, while he tried to get cell reception so he could send some texts. The roads in the area were all of pretty good quality, without many potholes and the occasional longitudinal gash. There wasn’t that much traffic, and when cars passed us they were generally courteous and gave us lots of space. Nobody honked at us all weekend 🙂

It was around freezing when we started out each day. I’m more often too warm than too cold and my general philosophy for bike clothing is “dress for the weather you want” and hope that I work hard enough to keep myself warm. A ride a few weeks ago with Berk and Liam made me realize that this was unsustainable and I went out and bought some stuff to protect myself from the cold without being too flappy. The rides were cold at first but not unbearably so, getting a little warm towards the end of the day.

On the first day I had the choice of the long, medium, and short rides, or some kind of crazy backroads adventure ride that didn’t really seem like my thing. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do medium or long, but they started on the same path so I set out with the group and resolved to choose the route when I had to. We set off towards Mt Kearsarge and the fastest few rides quickly took off ahead of us. The first part of the involved a rolling but generally upward freshly paved road for five miles towards the base of Mt Kearsarge. At this point we started to spread out, with PK and Wade getting ahead of me but remaining within eyeshot, while Liam and I passed each other a few times. I hadn’t done too much research besides glancing at the map and knowing there was a big hill, and I took it at a fairly high but sustainable effort, and then got to the gate of the mountain, at which point the slope roughly doubled, the road quality halved, and there was a sign saying it was four miles to the top. I cranked down to the lowest gear and started grinding up, as my speed fell to about 6 miles an hour (it was at this time that I decided I’d prefer the medium ride). After half an hour of alternating sitting and standing grinding, I made it to the top, which fortunately was half a mile before I was expecting it. I got a photo at the top and started to head down before I got too cold. The road was covered in leaves and cracks and was full of sharp turns, so I basically held my brakes the entire way down and hoped it would all be ok. It was. At the bottom the faster riders were about to head off and I was still recombobulating myself so I waited for everyone else to reach descend. When gravity was finished, our group consisted of Kolie, Lucy, Amy, Liam, Anne, Stan, and myself. The rest of the ride consisted of a lot of rolling hills, gradually gaining in altitude and circling Lake Sunapee. Eventually we got to cash in all our gravitational potential with a massive descent, at which point Lucy, Stan and I separated from the group and hightailed it home. I think I reached 42 mph on the final descent. bringing the total up to about 64 miles, the second longest ride of I’ve ever done. I felt a lot less dead than after my last ride of comparable length, so that’s an improvement.

On the second day, the bulk of the group went on Emma’s PRETTYDECENTRIDEIGUESS which involved climbing the main face of Kearsarge again. I went on the medium ride again, with the same group with the addition of Quinn and Oli and the subtraction of Stan. We started out going up a different face of Kearsarge, which wasn’t quite as much of a slog as the main climb the previous day. We regrouped for a snack at the top and rolled down. The road here was much better quality than the one on the other side, and also straighter, so going down wasn’t quite as terrifying and I let myself build up a bit more speed. The rest of the ride again was a lot of rolling hills and a few segments going in the opposite direction of the previous ride. There was one very large hill in the middle of it that took about 12 minutes to bike up, but annoyingly we stopped to regroup right before the end of the Strava segment so it looks like we did it super slow. This ride was about 50 miles total, and with about five or six left we had a false-alarm flat on Quinn’s bike. Lucy and Oli had gone ahead, and we started rolling again and immediately Kolie’s derailleur catastrophically removed itself from his bike and the world of functioning bike parts. I sprinted ahead to catch Loli and told them what happened. They decided to sprint home so Lucy could come pick up Kolie by car, while I turned back to tell the rest of the group. I climbed back up the hill that they had stopped on top of, to find out that a passing pickup truck had given Kolie a ride. Anne texted Lucy telling her not to get Kolie, and we headed back to the house.

Both rides were really nice and my body and bike were mostly functioning adequately. I’m a little regretful that I didn’t try to ride with the faster group, but I’m also glad I didn’t wreck myself going at 100% for six hours or get dropped in the middle of nowhere. All in all it was a really fun weekend and it was a really nice area for biking. I’m currently on a work trip to Singapore and when I get back it’ll be almost December and summer might be over, and this was a great way to end the season.

 

Edit: PK made a video compilation of Training Camp – check it out on Youtube: https://youtu.be/66mNAZaT31M

Cg2Z9FwW4AIsCK8

ECCC Road Season 2015-2016 Wrap-up

TL;DR: We had a great season, and we won the ECCC road championship! Look at that trophy!

Cg2Z9FwW4AIsCK8
With the trophy!

The last three race weekends of our season were at Dartmouth/UVM, West Point, and our very own Beanpot, the ECCC championship weekend.  As it happens, these were also the first three races of my collegiate racing career, which is a little funny considering I graduated from undergrad 6 years ago now.  But cycling doesn’t follow NCAA eligibility, so old fogies like me can line up next to 19 year old kids and get dropped repeatedly.  But enough of the excuses, on to the races.

First, L’Enfer du Nord.  The defining characteristic of this weekend was COLD.  Finger-numbing, muscle-tightening, wind-blown cold.  I’ve never been so cold on a bike before.  It started snowing on the start line of my road race.  All weekend, there was a competition between teammates to get on the trainers, because it was the only way to stay warm.

We had 21 racers show up to compete in 4 events, an individual TT and criterium at Dartmouth, and a team time trial and road race at UVM.  The ITT (only 3.7 mi!) was my first race ever, and I had no idea how to pace myself.  The course started climbing, flattened out, then had a nasty uphill kick at the end to the finish.  I went too easy on the flats and too hard on the finishing climb, pretty ugly overall.  But other team members had good results: Phil was 2nd in Men’s B, the Jen/Julie/Corey took 3rd through 5th in Women’s A.

In the crit, I really shot myself in the foot.  I missed the first few calls to the start line, so I started waaaaaayyyy at the back, and I never recovered. Lesson learned.  The women’s A team spent the whole crit rotating attacks to thin out the opposition, and it paid off with Corey on the podium in 3rd.  Lucy won Women’s C with a solid sprint (this is going to become familiar).

Layered up at the start
Layered up at the start

We had an overnight transfer to UVM, then the morning TTT as a warmup/course recon for the later road race.  Men’s A was 3rd in the TTT, Women’s A won!  The whole TTT/road race course was incredibly exposed to the wind, and as I mentioned, absolutely freezing.  Oh, and did I mentioned, it started snowing?  Everyone lined up wearing about 5 layers, and right before the races kicked off, there was a shower of lycra, fleece, and down jackets to the roadside as everyone shed their outerwear.  The course ended in two back-to-back steep climbs with the finish line at the top.  In the Men’s D race, I stayed with the pack until our very own Charlie Barton decided he was bored off the pace, and put in a series of uphill attacks.  I got dropped, and floundered in no-man’s land until PK came up from behind.  We rode together to the line, picking off a few stragglers along the way.  Charlie ended up 3rd, the best result of the day for MIT.

Next up was the race at West Point.  They have the best lead/follow vehicles: enormous Humvees.  We had another big turnout for MIT, and great results.  There were three events: TTT, road race, and criterium.

As always, MIT dominated the TTT (a down-and-up course), with almost every team on their category’s podium, and Women’s A winning.  The road race featured a series of nasty climbs and one extremely fast downhill.  I was the only MIT rider in Men’s D that weekend, so I decided to start my own early break up the first climb.  Bad idea; I stayed away for half of the first lap but eventually got swallowed up and dropped.  After working with a few other riders, I recovered enough to finish mid-pack.  Everyone else on the team had much better results.  Youyang won Men’s C in a exhilarating uphill sprint (I got to watch from the finish line), Quinn won Men’s E solo in this first ever road race, and Katy was second in her first Women’s B race.

MIT women controlling the race
MIT women controlling the A/B race

The crit was a bit of a funny race on a triangular course next to West Point’s stadium.  The back straight had a clean line on smooth pacement and a dirty line on bumpy pavement and loose sand.  The pack never wanted to ride on the dirty line, so it was easy to make up positions up the inside if you were brave/stupid enough and didn’t mind the jarring ride.  I stayed near the front until the penultimate lap, when the leader crashed by himself on a innocuous part of the course.  The crash caused a bit of a traffic jam, which I managed to navigate without incident.  As a result, I found myself in a good position for the sprint, and I managed 5th for my first points.  Other results were mixed: Lucy won Women’s C (no surprise), Corey was 3rd in Women’s A, Quinn was 2nd in Men’s E, and poor Youyang busted his collarbone (glad to say he’s back to 100% now).

Last race of the ECCC season was our very own Beanpot, held this year in Turner’s Fall, MA.  We had a season-high 23 signups for racing, and even more volunteers who helped set up/tear down the course, wave flags, and drive lead/follow cars.  Points counted double, and the weekend omnium winner got a huge shiny trophy, so everyone was super motivated.

As usual, we monstered the TTT categories, with a flood of podiums and wins:  Women’s A and Men’s D (woohoo) won; Men’s B and Men’s A were 3rd.  This might be my only win ever, so I really savored it.

For some reason, we let Lucy design the road race course, which meant that it featured a monstrously steep (max gradient ~20%) dirt/gravel climb at the end of each lap.  BU named the Strava segment “s*** my pants” which pretty much sums it up.  Thanks Lucy!  We had a big group of MIT riders (6)  in Men’s D, so we could actually use some tactics.  Charlie went up the road early while Paul, Quinn, and I eased up at the front until everyone around us figured out what was going on.  Once we hit the dirt climb, all bets were off and the group totally shattered.  I caught back on to Tobi and Adam and a small chasing group the next lap with some heart-stopping descending (max speed ~50mph), and rode in mid-pack again.  Up the road, Paul finished 3rd and Charlie 5th.  In the other races, Phil had a great result in Men’s B, breaking away with a Yalie and finishing 2nd.

How did that feel Tobi?
How did that feel Tobi?

Finally, the last race of the season was our criterium, which featured a punchy climb every lap that really wore out the legs.  The packs thinned out quickly, and every race featured a large number of P&P.  I made it to the last lap, put in an attack on the hill, and barely managed to stay away from an UNH rider for 9th and the final points.  Paul/Quinn/Tobi finished 4/5/6 in Men’s D.  Everyone else finished respectably in their categories, but you could tell that everyone was exhausted from the long season.

MIT women lead the way
MIT women lead the way

Finally, it was time to announce the winners! Of the impromptu ECCC peep eating contest.  Gotta say, peeps aren’t something that you should try to speed eat, it’s too easy to choke.  I think UVM or Dartmouth won, but I was too busy trying to clear my airway.  And then, the drumroll for the championship weekend and the trophy presentation!  As you know already, we won!  It was a deserved reward for a tough season, and I’m proud to have played a part in it.  I’m already looking forward to next year!

Charles

Safety First!
Safety First!

Follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates!