MIT sweeps opening ECCC Cyclocross weekend

The ECCC Cyclocross series kicked off on Saturday at the Cycle-Smart International in Northampton, MA.  Collegiate riders were out in abundance, with over twice as many competing as at the same weekend last year.  Nevertheless, MIT Cycling continued its winning ways, prompting race announcer Richard Fries to declare it “a rising cyclocross powerhouse.”  The Engineers outscored all rivals, Divisions 1 and 2, with riders winning the Collegiate Men’s B, Women’s B, and Men’s C events.  Particularly fine performances were delivered by Cim Wortham, finishing 3rd of 93 overall (collegiate and non-collegiate) in the C/Cat 4 race, and Kate Harris, finishing 2nd of 63 overall in the B/Cat 3/4 race.  Congratulations also to Zuzka Trnovcova and Rachel Bainbridge for racing competitively in their first ever cyclocross race.

After a night featuring a visit to a Belgian beer bar (Paul’s Car), a motel that was probably once featured on an episode of “Cops” (Bill’s car), and a mildewy dorm room (Ilana), the team returned to the venue Sunday to find a frost-covered new course.  Whereas Saturday’s course played to the power rider, Sunday’s emphasized bike-handling skills.  The C race got things off to an exciting start, with Cim in a lead break of 3 within the first lap.  After dropping the third rider, he and a Dartmouth rider battled head-to-head for the final two or three laps.  Dartmouth nipped him in the end, but what a race!  Meanwhile, Jose Soltren and Isaac Bleicher raced very well to finish 21st and 30th of 97, respectively.  Paul Nerenberg demonstrated why its sometimes faster to run than ride, while Zach Labry toughed it out in one gear due to mechanical trouble.  To give a sense of the strength of this year’s collegiate field, 7 of the top 15 in the Cat 4 race were collegiate riders.  In the Women’s Collegiate B race, Kate and Ilana finished 2nd and 4th, while first-time ‘crosser Lisa Marshall finished 9th, on platform pedals no less.

All in all, a great start to the cyclocross season.

Official USA Cycling results are posted on and  Official collegiate results are forthcoming, but by my calculations, they are approximately:

Saturday D1:
1. Rutgers – 169 points
2. BU – 80
3. UVM – 70
4. UNH – 51
5. Cornell – 15

Saturday D2:
1. MIT – 211 points
2. Army – 82
3. Colby – 60
4. RPI – 49
5. Dartmouth – 36

Sunday D1:
1. BU – 80 points
2. Cornell – 66
3. Rutgers – 65
4. UVM – 9

Sunday D2:
1. MIT – 172 points
2. Colby – 92
3. Dartmouth – 80
4. Army – 68
5. RPI – 42