Category Archives: Road

Riders’ reports from Army: Tony, Cim, John, Yuri, and Laura

Tony Laidig — Men’s Intro
I started racing to work on some things that I’m not particularly good at– being aggressive and taking calculated risks when necessary. Having been raised by recovering hippies, these were not high on the list of qualities to pass on to your children. That being said, I’m getting better at this and this last weekend was the best yet. The intro field wasn’t large, but a formidable match for me. The circuit race was a great course for technique and strength, and I got to show off both. It was exhilarating to close a sizable gap on the straightaway, uphill and into the wind, then leave two guys behind on the following climb, and spin out down the descent. Scored my first top ten finish at 6th place. Sunday was a beautiful day, if a little bit cold in the morning. The hill climb was grueling and left me missing both training on the hills of the Bay Area and my touring bike’s granny gear; maybe next year I should bring it as my HCTT bike ;). Came in 5th and actually scored an omnium point! In the crit, I got a good start and kept with the front of the pack the whole way. One thing I can work on a little more is when to apply power after a corner– I always had to sprint to close a gap after crossing the line each lap, but now I know to work on this it won’t be hard to get it right. Next weekend I’m moving (back) to D’s, not to get slaughtered again like I did at Rutgers.

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TTTing to victory

Our strong performance from Saturday’s team time trials gave us enough of a lead that even Army’s victories in its criterium and hill climb time trial on Sunday couldn’t push them into first place.

1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology – 285 pts

2 US Military Academy –  281 pts

3 University of Vermont – 216 pts

Not that MIT didn’t show up on Sunday: Tim and José both scored points on the ascent of Stony Lonesome. Laura Ralston won both the Women’s B HCTT and criterium and will be putting the hurt on the A field next weekend. Yuri Matsumoto came in an agonizing second in both the Women’s A hill climb (by less than four seconds!) and the crit.

After beating UVM on Saturday by .16 seconds MIT’s luck soured when Sunday turned into a crash-fest. Zach Ybarra, after working hard riding smart all race in the Men’s Ds, was taken out on the very last lap and will need to replace the sparkling new Rudy Project helmet he’d gotten two days before. Then somebody knocked Kenny Cheung over in the Men’s C sprint. The real carnage came in Men’s B, when three separate incidents took out four of MIT’s five, but the worst injury to body (as opposed to carbon fiber) parts fortunately only required a few stitches in Michael Hamilton’s chin, courtesy of the USMA on-post hospital.


Quick update from Army

MIT had what might politely be called an astonishingly good morning. We fielded two men’s A time trial teams of 3 men each—and to everyone’s surprise, one of the teams came in first, and the other came in third. Sandwiched between was UVM, who were beaten by sixteen hundredths of a second. Oh point one six seconds. Sadly, the third place got us no extra points, but it did bump everyone else down a notch. And the women’s A team came in first, of course. It got colder and windier as the day went on, but you wouldn’t have known. Laura took the B circuit race, and Jose came in seventh in the road race, chasing  a break that included Josh Lipka and Nick Frey more or less by himself.

More to come tomorrow, when we all get up bright dark and early for a hill climb and a criterium!

This just in: MIT cleans up at Philly

This is more or less what the rest of the ECCC feels like tonight:

A cheese steak from Pat\'s

After two days of racing, the Engineers made everyone else look as out of place as John Kerry ordering Swiss on his cheese steak.

46 Schools, 407 Riders Participated
1       Massachusetts Institute of Technology 239
2       Penn State University 188
3       US Military Academy 174
4       University of Vermont 149

Penn State by 51, Army by 65, and UVM by a whopping 90.

So, far from “wit wiz”, this is MIT’s attitude at the moment:

MIT won the Women’s A TTT, the Women’s B TTT, and the Men’s D2 road race.

The Engineers came in the top ten all over the place, and Michael Hamilton (led out by Chewie and Zach), Laura Ralston, Martha Buckley, Yuri Matsumoto, and David Quinn had particularly good weekends…in fact everybody had a good weekend. A full record of the carnage is here including (just added) finishing photos. Looks like we have to work on our victory camera poses. Especially if there are more weekends like this one.

Philly race previews, by José

Once again, José has the most comprehensive maps and analysis of the weekend’s races in Philadelphia:

U. Penn, Temple, and Drexel are hosting another beautiful weekend of ECCC racing in Philadelphia, PA, in Fairmount Park on the Schuylkill (Schoolgirl!) River. Forewarned is forearmed, so here are my thoughts on the courses.

This circuit race is one of the very few ECCC courses that I’ve done before (the other being Columbia). That long flat section could be great for establishing a break if no one is chasing, or could be the place where the pack comes back together if the wind is going the wrong way. The A field gets to go around the 6.5 mile course five times. My prediction is that a break will form early on around the course’s major climb, which may or may not get caught. No matter what, the long, uphill finish is longer than even I would like. Like last year, the attacks will start on that very last climb, and the pace will get ever faster to the line. Cornering skills will help in two places: after the start for the left onto the river, and after the hill for the right back on to the river. The Men’s A start time is about 3:20pm – so late!

The Team Time Trial course is about 8.5 miles long and dead flat, except for a section at the start and finish. Without a disc wheel to use, I’ll be riding my Tri Spoke wheels. The wind could make things interesting. Aerodynamics will matter more than anything, so I think Team MIT will do well here. The Men’s A start time is 8:30am.

This is a weird little crit course. If it is going clockwise as I believe it might, there will be a slight downhill finish. The Men’s A field will go from the gun for 50 minutes, trying to wear out as many riders as possible before the finish. A good start is key. I believe this course is so short, flat, and empty, that you can see one side of it from the other. Cornering and pack skills are crucial to conserving energy for that inevitable final sprint. The Men’s A start time is 2:50pm.

That crit is going to be nothing short of terrifying if the weather turns wet. Flats and crashes everywhere. I can only hope for the best.

Saturday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 56. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Saturday Night: Rain likely. Cloudy, with a low around 47. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Sunday: A chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 58. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

ECCC week2 Columbia/Stevens: Race reports

Fourteen of us (11 guys+3 girls) drove down to New York this weekend for another awesome weekend of racing. We had two criterium races, one by Columbia and the other by Stevens Institute of Technology. When I was walking inside the Steven’s student center, I noticed that the color of SIT’s graduation gown is identical to that of MIT; they must really like us… Anyhow, here I posted several short reports by the riders who were at the races this weekend. The full race results are posted at:

http://www.velocityresults.net/

After this weekend, MIT is placed second in DII and third overall. Let’s keep up the good work. I can’t wait to start racing TTTs!

-Yuri

Ian Rousseau, Men’s C:

I really liked the Columbia course, particularly the 180-degree turn  that seemed to be designed for bike racing.  Unfortunately, my bike  did not want to cooperate and my shifters got stuck. Tony was kind  (and brave!) enough to lend me his bike and I wound up finishing with  the pack.  I felt like I was working too hard-not picking the best  lines
around corners and not drafting enough-and wasn’t able to get  further than 2/3 of the
way through the pack.  I need to work on  riding smarter in packs and getting through the group. At Stevens, the course scared the crap out of me at first, but after the  first few laps with my now somewhat-unstuck shifter, I realized that I  could use my momentum to save a lot of energy on the uphill part of  the course.  The cornering clinics made a huge impact because I felt  comfortable cornering at full speed and then was able to sag on the hill and wear the other riders down.  I finished 2nd and could use some more work on sprinting so I can fight it out at the line. (Editor’s note: Ian sprinted to 2nd place with his hands on the HOODS, as you can see in the picture below…Clearly he paid more attention in the cornering clinic than in the sprinting clinic.)

This weekend was also my first weekend driving (and parking) in NYC,  so that was an interesting experience.  In addition to being a saint,  Tony is also a transportation guru.  I had a lot of fun cheering with David on the uphill part of the Stevens course yesterday.  I think we’re both a little hoarse today.

Rachel Bainbridge, Women’s Intro:

This was my second race weekend ever and it was just as exciting and as fun as my first. I was really excited for the Columbia crit, and I was feeling pretty good Saturday morning despite be sick all week, so I ended up trying to do too much work again like last week in the circuit race. Despite being out sprinted at the very end, at least I remembered to use my drops this time. I also thought the course was really cool and fun. At the Steven’s crit, I ended up starting behind, but I was making up 1-2 places on the back stretch simply by taking corners faster than other girls and carrying my speed onto the flat and up the hill. My race actually ended with a rather exciting sprint finish, which I won for fourth place. It was a good weekend and I am looking forward to moving up to women’s B where I will hopefully get to race for longer than 4-6 laps.

Michael Hamilton, Men’s B:

I was very happy with the weekend with two 8th place finishes and a pack finish on my first Men’s B race weekend.  The Columbia races went like a pretty standard criteriums, with a major pack sprint at the end.  I was a bit stronger than most in the 4 race, so I got 8th in the sprint out of the ~100 starters.  In the B race I broke off a half-lap early to take one of the prime laps, but then I sat back in and tried to conserve energy.  The B field is much stronger so I got 22nd (there may be some *cough* sandbaggers *cough* in that B field still.  I did try to give Chewie a lead out in that race, but I didn’t have much left for him since it was so fast.  Perhaps the flat criteriums will not be my strong suit this year, but I am still working on my sprint anyway.

Being such a short course, we did 26 laps to make a 40 minute race at Stevens. The race started with the fast downhill, and I had started toward the back, so I couldn’t move up much until the first uphill when I moved up maybe 10 places and realized I was going to be just fine in this race. UVM had about 20 people in the race, and it was hard for me to tell them apart, but I knew that they were very strong, and I had to stay with UVM or my man Jose to do well in this race.  Each lap was the same sort of thing, but with different players. The first 5 laps I passed people and dropped people each lap. I would pass people in the downhill curvy section since I had good handling and was being aggressive, sometimes I would pass before or after the fast downhill corner, and then I would try to save energy and not be so aggressive on the uphills every lap. Some of the riders like Jose and UVM riders were much stronger than me and I couldn’t stay with them, but a group of 4-5 ended up forming for most laps with me, a Millersville rider, my friend Ross from UPenn, some UVM riders, a Dartmouth rider, and a Columbia rider. I pushed it to keep with the guys every lap, and we started to lap riders by about the 8th lap, and we even lapped some of them twice by the end. I ended up getting 8th place again, which was really exciting, and has shown me that I can stay with the Men’s B field this year.

Tony Laidig, Men’s Intro:

Armed with a full nights sleep this time, I began my Saturday crit stronger than any of last week’s races. I kept with the pack for most of the first lap until we reached the downhill straightaway and I found myself spinning out with everyone leaving me behind. For what seemed like an eternity, I tried to pedal harder until I realized that I had been in my small ring since the beginning! It was now time to play an impossible game of catch up. I kept strong for the rest of the race, until on the second to last lap a woman and her dog stepped out into a crosswalk right in my line. The loss of momentum made me fall further behind. In the end, not so much a better race than last week. The Stevens course was a little insane, with several blocks of 15% grade– what I assumed would be just long enough not to hammer up– and a fast and furious downhill.Again, I started well, but I had a fear of the corner at the bottom of the hill, which caused me to lose precious time. I finished at the back of the pack yet again, but this race was notable in that it was the first time I was not pulled before the finish!

David Quinn, Men’s D:
In the Columbia race (D2) I was really pleased to get in to the front of the pack and hang in there for most of the race. After getting one preme (3rd final lap), I ended up being stuck in the awkward position of 50 yards behind the leader, and 50 yards in front of the pack. I drifted back, and then hadn’t anticipated the pace that pace of the final lap which caused me to drop back. I didn’t work my way up quickly enough before the last corner came and had to drop back as I was getting squeezed out. Managed to get by ome people at the final sprint but felt like I could have made some better tactical decisions towards the end, finishing 15th.

The Stevens course was pretty tough, but after pre-riding several times I really got into the cornering (thanks Chewie!). I managed to get out early and floated between 3rd and 4th place, finishing 3rd. I liked the course as it was just about cornering and hills, though was sorry not to have caught the Steven’s guy who got second at the final sprint.

Yuri Matsumoto, Women’s A:
My goal for this weekend was to finish the race with the leader, namely Ana from Harvard. At Columbia criterium, I successfully followed her wheel throughout the race (~90% of the time I was on her wheel; literary “fly on ****”) and covered every move she made before/after primes, so I was happy. I finished 9th because I didn’t have much to spare at the end for sprint. My sprint is still quite slow this season but during the race, I had couple of moments (at some primes) when my legs felt really good. I’m still getting into racing shape and hopefully by the end of the season, I can have my sprinting legs back.

Women’s A field at Steven’s crit was very small with 9 people (Guaranteed top 10!). I must say that I had a lot of fun going uphill and taking corners hard every lap. I was always at the front (first, second or third wheel) most of the race and felt really good. I felt so good that I was driving the pace up the hill to shed people on the climb and it came down to five riders. But then I guess I spent too much energy in the first half of the race that when Ana attacked 3 laps to go, I was on Cortney’s wheel who was on Ana’s wheel and I couldn’t sprint to get onto Ana. After attempting to chase down the attack, I felt quite week for the finish and ended up finishing 5th. I guess I failed my mission to finish with the leader in this race, but I learned a lesson, “race like a weakest rider even if you feel like a beast!”