Well-rested from Day 3, team members had two ride options for Day 4: go for an intense climb up Palomar Mountain or take a lighter ride to Oceanside. The clear, sunny day with winds around 5 mph allowed the climbing cyclists to enjoy the mountainside vistas, seeing as far as 50 miles away and 5,000 feet below. All climbers made it up and down safely, including a Double Palomar by Zack Ulissi. Some of us had a great respite eating quesadillas at Mother’s Kitchen at the top of Palomar Mountain. A few went farther down the road and toured the Palomar Observatory, an incredible research facility with an enormous 200-inch telescope. We also took a few minutes to enjoy the view from the top and took photos like the one below. All in all, everyone had a great time.
Want to know what one of our weekend club rides can look like? Alex Klotz, a new member of the MIT Cycling Club, put together a cool video using some of Strava Labs‘ features.
We started out on a no-drop ride with about 25 people, headed towards Concord. After the first big set of hills, we were pretty spread out and waited for everyone to catch up. One of the riders, Parrish, was going to go on to an apple picking trip after Concord, and wanted to get going at a faster pace, so she, Paul and Felix set off; I wanted to push myself so I joined the faster sub-group. We stopped at the Ride Studio Cafe so Parrish could fix her shoe, and were behind schedule so we booked it to Concord as fast as we could to try to meet up with the main group, covering about 11 km at 30 km/h. We got there and the main group was nowhere to be seen, but a guy was there waiting for them who said he’d been there for half an hour, so we figured they were behind rather than ahead of us. We were surprised, because we were stopped at the cafe for ~20 minutes. Parrish went off to go pick apples, and Paul, Felix and I decided to do the CBTT loop and then head back. We did that, headed towards Cambridge, hoping to overtake the main group from behind, and pretty quickly Felix got a flat tire, which we spent a few minutes fixing. Then we continued, went down Mill St, and got to the far end and had to turn back to the main road. After that we continued home without event.
Looking at the Strava flybys afterwards, I saw that we were tantalizingly close to the main group on two occasions. They were delayed because they had tried to go up Mill St and were blocked by the same downed power line that we were, and got within a few hundred meters of us near Marrett St. But the closest we got was at the Concord visitor’s centre. We left when they were within 200 metres, and they arrived two minutes after we left. There’s no way we could have caught them on the way back, even without the flat and the dead-end.
Nine full cycling days in Solvang, California made for THE venue for a great team training camp experience. The weather was exceptionally warm, mostly the 60s to 70s. As you can see, we were also fortunate it was beautifully green due to recent rains in the area, more so than the previous year’s camps further south and closer to San Diego. What a great escape it was from the record snowfall and cold back in Cambridge.
We had a great attendance with about 24 team members in the main house and another dozen alumni riders in a second house. Each morning we fixed ourselves a good breakfast and gathered at the main house to depart for the day’s cycling adventure about mid morning.
This was our first day out intended to be an easy “stretch you legs” day after a long day of travel, but the pace got alittle higher than that on the way out (what did you expect from a pack of overachievers?) Mostly rollers on this route, though each day we needed to head out from the main house to Solvang, a picturesque 9 mile route that included about a mile 6% climb on the way back.
First thing back each day FOOD was generally on everyone’s mind, and it tended to be every man and woman for themselves. This was rather necessary as these are drop training rides and we were not all returning at the same time, nor necessarily doing the same rides.
Dinner, on the other hand was carefully planned by Jenn in advance to be not only great fare but a true team event in it’s preparation. Everyone was assigned responsibilities that varied from night to night – you might be the helper, the clean up crew or the head chef. I think we all had a turn at each. The diversity of the cuisine prepared reflected the diversity of the group. I think we all came away with an appreciation of the challenges involved in cooking for a large group.
Following dinner the evening organized activities always concluded with the team meeting. These were just fun – at times very educational, at others very entertaining, and at times somewhat competitive. No dull moments.
Day 2 – Figueroa Mtn or Tour of California ITT Course and wineries
Today you had the choice of two great routes. Half the group climbed the epic Mt. Figueroa (this was a bonus climb as we did it again later in week) and the other half rode the Solvang ITT loop used several times in the Tour of California (15 miles) followed by a second longer loop through wine country.
A few stopped and checked out the grapes afterwards – worth the stop I am told.
Rest day meant something different to everyone. Rest was more about selecting a lighter self-directed ride. There is some interesting mountain biking in the area. Just a few miles from Solvang you can climb up a dirt road to the crest of the Santa Barbara coastal mountains and then ride the mountain tops to the highest peaks in the area, as demonstrated by the high density of communications towers shown below.
This was our longest day so far, over 90 miles from the main house south of Solvang west to Jalama Beach on the Pacific. Some fun climbing on the way out crossing over the coastal mountains and then descending to sea level and the beach. Great burgers on the beach awaited all!
Day 6 – Rest Day
This time most of us really scaled back on the riding to take a true rest. Good day to check out the very authentic Danish town of Solvang. Not a bad place to live – save your money, though – new starter homes begin around three quarters of a mil…..
Lots of variety this day, each was left to chose his own cycling. There were those who practiced the TTT, others who rested and some who chose mountain biking. The selection rather depended on how much climbing and mileage one was looking for at this point in the camp.
Day 9 – The longest day plus the epic Gibralter Road Climb
This route took us from Solvang to Santa Barbara and back. We did all the epic climbs in the Santa Ynez valley so it was decided we would end the camp with this serious climbers route.
When we got to the top of Gibralter Road looking out over the Pacific we were treated with a too cool drone session and group video sponsored by one of the alums. A great demonstration of how far the technology has come at a reasonable price point of $1500.
We wrapped up the day with a stop at the Cold Springs Tavern which had been highly recommended. Serious roast beef sandwiches. A very eclectic clientele. Beautiful setting. Obviously very popular with the locals. Worth checking out.
An epic week of cycling. While everyone was free to chose their own level of riding, several of us exceeded 550 miles and 40,000′ of climbing over the 9 days. Try to get that in Cambridge!
The miles, the warmth, the food and fellowship are rewards on top of the long term health benefits gained when you choose to make a commitment toward a balanced life style through cycling. Sign up for the next episode IAP 2016.
Now if that video doesn’t make you want to ride mountain bikes with MIT, I don’t know what does! Thanks to Matjaž Humar for filming and making that awesome video!
Recently about 20 of us headed up to Kingdom Trails in Northern Vermont for a weekend of riding and training in New England’s mountain bike mecca.
We welcomed riders of all skill levels – some practically grew up on a mountain bike, others had never ridden one! We were lucky enough to be joined by our amazing coaches, Coach Psi our mountain bike coach and Coach Nicole our road coach (plus Amy who also helps out coaching!).
Coach Psi held some great clinics with tips and advice for all skill levels.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the weekend, partially influenced by the copious amounts of ice cream consumed and beautiful sunny weather.
On Saturday evening after we had returned from a long and enjoyable day of riding, many of us headed to a nearby mountain lake for a refreshing swim.
Sitting around the campfire that night, we shared stories of our biking adventures, gorged ourselves on hearty burgers, and simply basked in the joy of spending time together.
After such a successful weekend, we’re looking forward to an awesome mountain bike race season this fall, including a race we’re hosting ourselves! Hope to see you there!
A big thanks to Ben Eck who organized the weekend and kept us very well fed and watered.
With another academic year completed, MIT Cycling members have been out riding in force and the officer duties have passed into the hands of a new set of students. I’d like to introduce you to our newest student officers. I’ll be taking over as Alumni Officer and I’ll do my best to keep you as up to date as Laura did!
This summer, MIT Cycling members have been extremely active in local, regional, and national communities:
You may remember from Laura’s last newsletter that in May, the Road team successfully defended their Collegiate Road National Championship title in Ogden, UT.
Later in May, we hosted an Urban Cycling Clinic spearheaded by David Koppstein (G) with our road coach Nicole Freedman, teaching the MIT community about urban cycling safety and skills.
In June, we taught the Boston community at thing or two about aerodynamics (we hope our collegiate conference competitors missed this issue of Boston Magazine!)
A large group of MIT riders headed down to the Trexlertown Valley Preferred velodrome for a Try-the-Track weekend, led by our new Track Captain Kate Wymbs (’14). [Photo 1- Track]
At the end of June, Cameron Cogburn (G) won the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, an epic and prestigious stage race in Oregon. You can read about his awesome victory here.
Over the July 4th weekend, we took a team trip up to Kingdom Trails in VT as part of an Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) mountain biking weekend. [Photo 2 -MTB]
We had a great time camping, “shredding the gnar” on the awesome singletrack, and even deep frying some Pop Tarts in bacon grease (the ultimate recovery food?!) [Photo 3 – BaconTarts]
Many Club members took advantage of the mountain bike rental program provided by the MIT Outing Club (MITOC) and sponsored by the MIT Cycling Club.
Mid-July, MIT alum John DeTore hosted a viewing party of Stage 18 of the Tour de France—the epic double-summiting of Alpe d’Huez. (We sat and ate chips while commentating, “Oh we could totally do that…”)
On July 28th, TWO DOZEN club members dared the Climb to the Clouds, an epic local century ride that includes a summit of Mt. Wachusett! [Photo 4 – Clouds]
After a successful mountain biking weekend in VT, several Club members took on some ENDURANCE MOUNTAIN BIKE races!
Ben Eck (’15) and Luke Plummer (’14) raced a 2-man team at the 12 Hours of Millstone mountain bike race in Millstone, VT, finishing in 6th place! (Luke even rode an “extra large” 36”-wheel rigid bike!) [Photo 5 – Millstone
Yours truly Chris Birch (G) and Andrew Lysaght (G) headed to the State College, PA, area for the National Ultra Endurance series race Wilderness 101—a century MTB race consisting of 30 minute gravel climbs and 8 minute fall-line descents!
What’s next for the collegiate team?
Mountain bike season is about to begin, followed closely by the collegiate track! The conference calendar is here, showing upcoming races.
From those of us here in Cambridge and our club members abroad for the summer, we hope you’re enjoying some good riding wherever this update finds you.
See you on the road/dirt/track!
Want to be included in the Friends of MIT Cycling newsletter?
Send an email update (photos encouraged!) to alumni officer Chris Birch at email@example.com.
Looking for a way to support the MIT Cycling Club?
Help fund our cycling outreach, riding, and racing goals by making a donation today. Go to this page to submit a donation of any size. Your donations are tax deductible and go directly toward sustaining our student-run club. Thank you!
Part I. Acquire a *.tcx file
Option A. Get one from ridewithgps.com (e.g. http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1671655 -> Export -> TCX Course)
Option B. Generate one from a route that you draw on maps.google.com using the GoogleMap CueSheet bookmarklet.
a. Get the bookmarklet from http://winthefight.org/cuegle/googlemap_cuesheet.html
b. Draw a route on http://maps.google.com (you can drag to change route until it tickles your fancy). Be sure to use the “classic” Google maps, not the new one now available for public beta (mid 2013). Click the bookmarklet which you should have installed on your bookmark bar.
c. On the resulting screen in your browser, look under the “Garmin file parameters” section. Choose a name for the file. This will show up as the name of the course on your Edge 500, so choose something memorable. Only the first 12 characters will show up on your Edge 500 screen.
d. Click “Generate Garmin Output”.
e. Paste the output that appears into a file with the extension .tcx.
Part II. Plug Edge 500 into computer and place *.tcx file in GARMIN/Garmin/NewFiles. Then eject (unmount) GARMIN from your computer.
Part III. Make sure it worked.
a. Power on your Edge 500, then hold Page/Menu -> Training -> Courses.
b. Scoll to the course, push enter, then Do Course.
c. Press Page/Menu to click through the pages until you get to a cue-sheet-looking screen. Once you start riding, this screen should automatically update so the next turn is at the top. It *will* show street names for most turns if you use the GoogleMap cuesheet bookmarklet. Some .tcx files may not include street names, rendering the cue sheet page on the Edge 500 fairly difficult to use.
Written by Spencer Schaber. If this doesn’t work for you or you have an idea for improving this, please send comments to schaber at gmail dot com.
(by David Koppstein) Although our primary focus is racing, the MIT Cycling Club’s mission statement is “…to encourag[e] the enjoyment of all types of cycling in the MIT community.” In the spirit of giving back to this community, we decided to host an Urban Cycling Skills Clinic to foster safe cycling practices for newer riders who primarily use bicycles as a mode of transportation. On May 12th, 30 bicyclists from the MIT community descended on the N10 Parking Lot, where Nicole Freedman and Amy McGuire introduced the basics of commuting by bike, demonstrated key skills, and organized the students into four groups.
The first group, taught by Amy McGuire and Kamal Ndousse, emphasized beginning riding skills, such as hand signals, riding close with a partner (to simulate tight conditions with cars and other riders on the street), looking behind while riding in a straight line, and coming to a sudden stop. The second group, taught by veterans Zach LaBry and Spencer Schaber, built on these skills by having the riders weave through cones, practice bunny hopping obstacles, and keeping their weight low by picking up water bottles on the ground. David Koppstein, Elizabeth Mayne, and Matt Redmond led a crash course in bike mechanics, helping students practice changing a flat on their own bicycle, and demonstrating routine drivetrain maintenance. Finally, Nicole held a clinic on commuting tips. She emphasized fundamentals like wearing a helmet, the rules of the road, and being bright and visible. Additionally, her students practiced cycling outside of the “door zone” and avoiding right hooks and left crosses at intersections.
We concluded by recapitulating key points from the clinic, and distributed informational pamphlets from MassBike and free front lights, which were supplied by an ODGE Graduate Student Life Grant and a generous subsidy from Cateye. Furthermore, we invited these cyclists to participate in no-drop social rides to Lexington and Concord, and encouraged them to subscribe to our e-mail lists.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and we hope to hold more of these clinics in the future, especially during the fall when new students matriculate.
Writes M. Giron:
“I just wanted to thank you and the Cycling Club for putting on this awesome clinic. I had much more fun than I thought I would, and I think you guys are doing MIT a great service!”
As thirty travel-weary MIT cyclists tetris’d their bags into the bottom of the bus, they collectively smiled—tomorrow they would be mounting their saddles and pedalling off into the deserts and mountains surrounding Borrego Springs, CA. They loaded their luggage and settled into their seats for the 80 mile drive from the airport, preparing mentally for the arduous rides ahead. After a particularly hilarious showing of Mean Girls, the bus rolled into the dust-covered hamlet, and deposited the MIT Cycling Team into their new home for the next week.
Groceries arrived by the truckload—800,000 calories of bananas, bread, English muffins, Cytomax, apples, chocolate, and all sorts of delicious consumables were ferried in to Hacienda la Verbena by the advanced food recon team of Shaena Berlin and Jen Wilson. They had purchased so much food that other shoppers at Costco mistook their shopping cart for a store fixture, attempting to remove items for their own use.
After a night’s rest, the team woke up and cooked breakfast, then congregated in the garage where they were met by various alumni and affiliates for the day’s riding. For me, the first day consisted of a ride up through Yaqui Pass (a deceptively shallow climb to 1500’), followed by a wind-battered individual-time-trial along San Felipe road to 4200’, then a nerve-shatteringly terrifying descent down Montezuma Grade (10 miles downhill at 8% grade with sweeping views of the desert playa at nearly every corner). Video:
The ride terminated (as most rides ought to) in a hot tub. Once our muscles were soaked in the 102 degree water, many people opted to upload ride data to Strava and Golden Cheetah, comparing critical power curves and KOM/QOM attempts from the day’s assaults. After a particularly sumptuous dinner, I promptly fell asleep to visions of shaved legs and chainrings.
The next day was brutal—a brisk warmup paceline through town on the wheels of Zack Ulissi and Ben Woolston at 340 watts, followed by a series of intervals up Montezuma grade in a 40 mph headwind. As a sprinter, I thought there was nothing worse than a 80 minute climb through the mountains, but I revised my opinion on that: the wind proved to be more of an enemy than the gradient. Jen Wilson and I struggled mightily throughout the ascent, and at times it felt like we needed to maintain threshold power to simply stay upright in the face of the Aeolus’ blustery rage, but cresting the top of the pass to the silent smile of the Yeta at Ranchita Store kept us in good spirits. The descent was fraught with cross-winds, but after seeing the turns yesterday, I was able to punch it a little bit more on the downhills. Kamal Ndousse joined me in my quest for a downhill KOM, but we got stuck behind a semi-truck and had to abort our cannonball run.
Day three was a recovery day – more specifically, it was a day of “recoveracing” as the team captains led with a cornering clinic. Nate Dixon demonstrated the principle of countersteering, and Zack and Shaena showed us how to get our bodies out over the side of the bike to change the center of gravity and allow tighter cornering lines. After the cornering clinic, the team completed a loop around town and came back for hot cocoa and lunch.
The next day brought Team Time Trial (TTT) practice in the same loop as the recovery ride – Ben Woolston graciously coached the Men’s C/D TTT team (Matt Redmond, Ernesto Jimenez, Steven Ji, Kamal Ndousse, David Rosen) into good form, allowing us to blast down the highway at 25 mph. Flying past fruit orchards on perfectly coated pavement was the highlight of the trip for me, and I’m excited to get the TTT team back together in Boston this spring. After stopping over at the house to attempt to true my wheel (spoiler alert: I failed, and had Nate bail me out), I took off for Yaqui Pass to get some climbing miles in, but had to cut my ride short when my knee pain started to flare up.
The rest of the trip proceeded similarly – riding out in the morning for several hours, followed by after-ride snacks of nachos, guacamole, and/or hummus. Day #5 was the “hammer” ride, where the group treated a three mile section of road like a race, and wound up with a collective case of exercise-induced asthma. Or something. Read more about this in David Koppstein’s post here
On day six, Peter Vanderwarker was kind enough to take professional-grade pictures of the team – we lined up for paceline photos and individual shots, then went out for another recovery ride in the desert.
On the final day (day eight—my knees were telling me to skip day seven’s ride), riders decided to go for broke. Nate Dixon (displeased with the teams in the super bowl, apparently) decided that he was going to ride until dark, and managed to do more than 100 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing. Zack Ulissi even set the KOM up the mountain at 305 W! I climbed Montezuma again with Jen Wilson, and we met up with Kate Wymbs, Katie Maas, and Steven Ji for a nice long downhill ride, opting to skirt Yaqui pass in favor of a longer route to the south. Kate and I spent much of the ride hammering hard on the front for five minute intervals, and I managed to set a five-minute power record on the last day!
Cleanup that night was bittersweet, as we packed our bikes into cases and wept for the loss of our beloved 49ers (well, okay, Zack was rooting for the Ravens the whole time, but Stephen Shum and I were upset). When the bus was packed in the morning, we rolled out to the airport and said our final goodbyes to the sweeping vistas of Southern California. After hundreds of miles of riding, and thousands of kilojoules spent, we took off for the frozen environs of Cambridge, MA with new stories to tell and new friends to race.
Collegiate road racing season begins in early spring. Collegiate road training thus takes place in winter, which isn’t always the most pleasant time to ride outside in the northeast. Luckily, MIT has a January term called Independent Activities Period (IAP), during which students can perform research, take mini-classes, or go on bike vacations. Each year, a group of racing members travels somewhere warm for the last week of IAP for a ‘training camp’, with the goal to ride like professionals for a week and spend time with teammates. Four years ago, a handful of serious racers attended training camp. Last year, 16 went. This year, 30 athletes signed up, including alumni, veteran racers, and new riders.
The captains chose the same location as last year: Borrego Springs, CA, a tiny town 78 miles inland from San Diego with no stoplights and few cars. Average January weather is sunny with a high temperature of 69F—perfect for cycling. We rented two houses, one of which became the hangout spot for team dinners and post-ride ice baths in the pool.