The 2009 road season kicks off this weekend with the annual Rutgers/Princeton races in Piscataway and Princeton, NJ. The weekend is traditionally the first the road season, and includes one of the only individual time trials, in addition to a criterium and a Sunday circuit race. The time trial is the first race on Saturday morning and is very short, only 2.7 miles in length. The winning time last year was under 6 minutes. The race is almost perfectly flat, but does involve 2 separate 180 degree turns, giving an advantage to technically sound riders.
The Saturday afternoon criterium is on a new, 4-corner course on the Princeton campus. The race is advertised as having a steep “wall” that racers will climb every lap, and promises to be fast and spectator-friendly since the whole course is accessible. Sunday’s circuit race, on the Rutgers campus, looks like it will generally be more mellow, but a very long and moderately uphill finishing straightaway will reward patience and lead to an exciting sprint finish.
Check out Men’s B powerhouse José Soltren’s analysis (and maps) of the courses here.
Q: Where are you from, what are you studying, what year are you?
Tim: I’m from Jamison Pennsylvania. It’s a typical suburban area that is within shouting distance of Philadelphia (around a 40 minute drive) but is still far enough away that the roads are great for cycling. I’m a Junior (class of 2010) and am currently planning to graduate with degrees in Biology and Chemical Engineering (officially Chemical-Biological Engineering). Although I’m not in the lab 24/7 like the grad students on the team, I am doing research in the Amon lab at the Koch Center for Cancer Research here on campus. I’m working with yeast on the question of aneuploidy and its relationship to tumor development. Could it possibly be a cause of tumorigenesis!? Is it just a consequence of the process? Maybe before I graduate I’ll find out something about these questions…
Q: How did you get into cycling?
Originally, I got into cycling as a way to cross train between other sports seasons in my senior year of high school. In high school, as well as in my first two years at MIT, I was a two sport, three season varsity athlete in soccer and track and so obviously, I needed to pick up another sport to pass the time in between. Anyway, at that point training was well and good, especially in scenic Bucks County, but there is only so much scenic riding that a person can handle. I entered one race my first summer because it was practically right on my doorstep, I was tired of just riding for the sake of riding, and I wanted to maybe win a trophy. From then on I was hooked into bike racing. It has everything that I liked about running track, but at a level that was amped up orders of magnitude.
Q: What kind of races do you like, and why?
I like races that end up feeling like battles. My favorite and ideal races are those that have hard changes of pace, lots of long steep climbs, solo breakaways and really anything else that forces everyone in the pack to kind of dig deep. If you are familiar with the running movie Without Limits, I would say that my racing philosophy is similar to Prefontaine’s. I really don’t like sitting in the pack or getting pulled along at a pedestrian pace. I would much rather be at the front or off of the front attacking and making the tempo. Because of this, I would say that I am much more of a road race and stage race man because it seems like these races are the most likely to be long and grueling and I think that this leaves me with the best chance to do well in them.
Q: What are your goals for the season?
Since the racing hasn’t gotten underway yet my goals are all very ambitious. This is my first season of strictly cycling (I stopped running track and playing soccer) and I feel like I am ready to rock the collegiate field. My main personal goal is to win a road race in the A field this year. Tentatively, I think that the Dartmouth and PSU road courses best favor my strengths. I also want to be in the conversation for the conference points race which will entail stacking up some solid performances on a consistent basis. Again, I feel strong going into the season! Obviously, the pinnacle of the season is Nationals, and putting the other aspirations aside, I want to be on top form then and have a season ending goal of a top 8 finish in the RR. And of course, the goal of both the conference and the national team championships.
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:
Can you believe what we have accomplished in the last year? Let’s take a moment to celebrate our fantastic achievements. Below is a provisional list of our accomplishments that will constitute
an application for the USA Cycling Collegiate Club of the Year award.