The Tufts men’s B crit was a great race for me—probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a crit. It started with putting the skinsuit on—I had decided I meant business. As Tim Humpton would say, “If you look like a pro, you’ll feel like a pro, and if you feel like a pro, you’ll ride like a pro”*. The next thing was that we knew that race would string out quickly and people would get pulled, so we MIT men decided we would go hard from the whistle. It was very helpful that we got call-ups to the front at the start (as did BU and Tufts), so we could keep warming up longer having clinched the “race before the race”.
Also, I almost accidentally scored a bunch of prime points (4th in first, 3rd in second, 1st in third) due to being rather aggressive and frequently being in the top 4. Adam: I didn’t mean to take that 1st place in the prime from you, but you seemed to be slowing down so I pulled around to keep the pace up.
It was also great to have Nicole screaming at us on the sidelines what to do. “ATTACK NOW, DO YOU WANT TO WIN? THIS (moment) IS THE RACE!” I heard my name shouted all around the track, from both teammates and other friends who came since the race was local, which motivated me further. I felt like the first 95% of the race was very well executed—and insanely fun, with lots of attacks going off keeping the pace up and trying to tire out some of the people who might be in contention for the final sprint. In particular, we shelled Chewie 😉 I was working pretty hard, but since I spend most of the time in the top 5 spots, I could really rail the corners without slowing down much, and I think I saved a lot of energy that way. Watching Joe’s helmet cam footage, I noticed that I did much less accelerating and decelerating being in the front, than he did being a little farther back.
Thanks for sticking in there and blocking Joe, even if it didn’t work. And props to you for expending more energy back there but beating me on the sprint… I felt like MIT was in control of the race for much of the time, and Adam and I both spent considerable time up the road making people chase. Ideally, we would have gotten away and stayed away because still, people like James Hanlon from Kutztown sprinted around me in the last 200 m, and although we had places 3,4,7,8,9 in a 58-person race (!) we did not take home a team win. We did, however, for the first time in a LOOOONNNGGG time, tie the women in points for the weekend! Men’s and women’s teams both got 143 points! All of you women consistently get awesome results, so congrats on that, but I am also really proud that the men contributed equally this time!
The last lap stands out quite vividly in my memory. I can remember Alan Atwood ringing the bell really hard, but it appeared to me in slow motion. I was sitting near the front, but not close enough to the front (maybe 8-10th, even though I spent the remainder of the race farther up than that). “This is it, you have to move up on the bottom flat stretch!” I thought. I wanted to have some forward velocity relative to the pack and slingshot myself ahead in the last half of a lap, but in the moment I didn’t find a good lane to move up in. It wasn’t like I was boxed in (most of the time it was a single lane of riders), but I didn’t want to crash out the field by taking an inside line and screwing everyone else up. In hindsight, maybe I should have taken that risk. Anyway, overall the race was ridiculously fun because of MIT constantly launching attacks, and I could tell a big difference in the “slinky effect” compared to last week because I stayed far enough up in the peloton to rail the corners. At RPI, I spent way too much time around the 10th-20th spots, and used way too much energy accelerating out of turns.
Take-away lessons for me: 1. It’s incredible how much easier it is to stay near the front in a string-out-y course like that, even if pushing the wind sometimes. 2. It’s really fun to have 9 MIT guys in a race and launch a ton of attacks, but I should have attacked even harder (don’t save anything during those 15 s of hard acceleration), and we should have continued attacking hard in the last two laps, when everyone was really tired.
Thanks for reading,
*quote not guaranteed to be exact wording