by Spencer Schaber
For the team time trials Saturday morning, MIT men’s A came out and crushed it, defeating the second fastest collegiate team by 1 minute 23 seconds and handily beating even the fastest open USAC racers with TT bikes. MIT’s second A squad took 7th place, and was within 30 seconds of the fastest non-MIT team. The MIT women (Katie Quinn, Shaena Berlin, Jen Wilson, and Elizabeth Mayne) won by over 30 seconds as well, despite having a mixed squad consisting of one woman each from A, B, C, and intro.
On Saturday, Kuat Yessenov won his men’s D circuit race, with a powerful attack up the final hill, earning him the coveted intra-team “most aggressive rider” jersey. At the criterium on Sunday, as Sebastien and I walked backward around the course to get a feel for all of the different sections, we watched the men’s D crit, and Kuat showed he had what it takes to keep the red jersey by spending many laps in a solo breakaway. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him stay away solo for much of the race. His face got more red with each passing lap in order to match the jersey and show he meant business, and he took home a second win! Matt Smith and David Koppstein also looked very comfortable in the pack. After watching the division 1 men’s D race, they knew they needed to stay in the top ~10 places to finish the race, and they were among the ~50% of starters who hung on until the finish.
At the Temple University criterium, we saw many more successes after Kuat won the men’s D race. Elizabeth took 1st among the collegiate women in women’s intro (there were two non-collegiate women in front of her), with a beautiful final sprint. In the men’s C race, a breakaway of two won the race, and Ben Woolston took second in the field sprint for fourth overall. After the finish, he did a very classy on-bike high-five with the winner of the field sprint and looked pretty satisfied with the result. For the women’s A/B crit, Shaena Berlin looked remarkably good—she was in great position throughout the race, taking 1st in 3 of the four prime lap sprints and 2nd in the 4th sprint. It was awesome to keep seeing her in such great position for such a hard course (typically top 5 in her group, but not doing too much work on the front). Afterward she said it was one of her most enjoyable crits ever. Katie Quinn won overall in style, doing most of the race off the front by herself, having ridden in the breakaway with Mary Costelloe (Kutztown) for a few laps and finally shelling her.
In the men’s A race, the last collegiate race of the day, the field strung out single-file almost immediately and remained that way for almost the entire 60 minutes. I did some terrible cornering in the first half, which added to the yo-yo effect from being farther back in the pack and meant I had to sprint to catch back on at almost every corner. Eventually, the “elastic” broke for me and I dropped back with the second pack. I worked with them for a while, and finally we were lapped by the breakaway consisting of Robin Carpenter (Swarthmore), Matt Buckley (UVM), and Ed Grystar (Brown). I hopped on the back of their train, after confirming it was allowed with some of the other racers, but I didn’t do any work. It was much easier to stay with them since (i) they took great lines through the corners, (ii) I was 4th wheel, and (iii) I didn’t do any pulls. Meanwhile, Adam Bry and Zack Ulissi were busy attacking and covering moves in the peloton, and Zack led Adam out for a field-sprint win, 4th overall. Adam said that all of the credit goes to Zack for that. Zack led out the final lap at a very high pace, and ramped it up coming into the final corner, delivering Adam to the finishing sprint in 1st wheel, which Adam maintained. Le maillot jaune reste avec MIT.