Category Archives: Race Reports

Spencer’s splendid Yale Weekend in the B’s

This weekend I learned that racing in men’s B is a lot harder than men’s C!  After having my confidence boosted by getting 13th (5 omnium points!) in the ITT, I was pretty excited for what would happen with the (uphill finishing!) circuit race.  I felt like I kept pretty good position throughout the circuit race, being around 10th wheel or closer to the front (but not on the front!) for most of the time.  I was trying to race like the weakest rider.  When we turned onto the finishing climb and I was still about 10th wheel, I had the first hint of leg cramping—while many others zoomed by me I was a bit conservative to avoid having my legs completely seize up.

I guess my body is not quite used to 90 minute races yet or I need to manage eating/drinking better.  I got 29th, finishing a few seconds behind the front pack.  The crit was one of the most fun races I’ve done in a long time.  The highlight was sitting in behind Chewie sometimes –it felt like having coached laps in a clinic, but with the full race experience!  It was great to try to mirror how Chewie conserved energy with smooth power delivery while many others were frequently standing up to hammer.  The 2nd highlight (lowlight?) was that in the final lap, things got really sketchy and I had two near-crash experiences. It was the scariest race I think I’ve ever been in, in addition to one of the most fun.

Shaena claims the QOM — “We basically dominated.”

We headed out to the Yale race course, competing for the title of “King of the Mountain.” They advertised their ITT and the end of the circuit race as a terrifying, steep, long hill. Yuri said that it wasn’t really a hill, but upon arriving, it certainly looked like one to me!

ITT: The individual time trial was a 4.2 mile course, winding around a park and some neighborhoods for the first few miles then climbing up to the top of the “mountain” for the finish. Luckily, the hill wasn’t very steep at all, though it was a bit long. I raced in the Women’s C category this weekend, and the field was quite large for women – 40 racers! We left at 15 second intervals, and until we reached the hill, I only passed one girl; I felt tired all week and was resigned to a somewhat mediocre race, since I’ve never been very good at hills. However, upon starting the climb, my weekly hill repeats began to kick in, and I passed five more riders before the top to take second place overall. I liked the time trial, since it reminds me more of a triathlon (blasphemy, I know), with no one to compete against except my own pace.

Circuit: The circuit race consisted of several ~3 mile loops with minimal hills, followed by the mountain to the finish. At the beginning, I got up into a good position near the front, and we basically had a rotating paceline of the first ~5 riders for most of the race. There were two strong Yale girls, and two UVM girls, so occasionally they would pick up the pace or try to break away, but overall the first 3 laps were fairly uneventful except for one big crash (behind me, thank goodness) that took down around 8 women and forced some of our other MIT riders to slow down for a while. On the last lap, we picked up the pace, and upon starting the hill only had the strongest/luckiest riders remaining close by. One girl attacked, and I stayed with her, while the others fell slightly behind so we were all pretty strung out. I was climbing and thinking “Wow, this is great, I’m going to get second in a hill climb! Awesome, I’ve never been very good at hills!” And then I looked over and realized that the girl next to me looked like she was about to die, based on how hard she was breathing…so, I broke away, about 400 meters from the finish, and sprinted through to get first. It was very fun to actually win a race, and made me REALLY glad I’ve been working so hard on hills recently.

Crit: Sunday morning I woke up with burning, exhausted legs. Great. However, after a long warmup, I felt ok again. Kristen, Katie, Liz and I were all entering the crit together, so we decided to try to work together, if possible. Upon stepping into the second row of the starting line, the girl in front of me turned around and said, “So, you’re the KOM? Or QOM, I guess.” It took my MIT mind a while to understand the acronym, but yes, I was the “King of the Mountain” from the previous day (and I won a jersey!!!). Uh-oh…now I couldn’t pretend to be weak and say “Does someone else want to lead right here? I’m not very fast on the uphills…” – verbatim what I said during the circuit race. So that was how the race went, with girls being much more aggressive than before, attacking frequently, and trying to box me in so I couldn’t catch up again. It was exhausting, and my first C crit. I couldn’t ever tell which laps were primes and once sprinted for something that wasn’t actually one. Liz and Katie both did well in some of them, though, and Liz broke away very nicely once. By the end, I thought it was just going to come down to a huge pack sprint and I would die because I was so tired. Luckily, some of the other girls sped up immensely during the last couple of corners, so it got was more spread out before the final stretch. It took me a while to get the energy to stand up and sprint, but I did pretty well in the downhill finish and got second (behind the same girl who outsprinted me in my first Intro crit). Kristen passed a ridiculous number of riders in the sprint and ended up in 8th, which I thought was pretty cool, and Liz came in 6th. Added to Yuri’s win and Martha’s 2nd in the Women’s A, we basically dominated.

Very fun weekend, and congrats to everyone who raced!

Zach’s play-by-play of the Princeton circuit race

I missed the Saturday races this weekend, but I can comment on Sunday’s circuit race.  The team’s results were excellent.  Sam and Spencer were second and third in the Men’s C, Laura and Martha went on an attack with a Navy girl, which completely wrecked the Women’s A/B race.  I’m not sure there was much left of a “pack”, but if there was, they certainly lapped it (I believe they had a lead of eight minutes at the end, and the lap times were about eleven minutes).  Our Men’s D riders had some solid top tens. Continue reading

Phlyin’: Captain Zach’s Philly race report

UPDATED: John Frey has posted updated season overall standings after the Philly weekend.  MIT maintains its lead in the season, with UPenn closing quickly and UVM hanging around in 3rd.

From Zach Attack:

I would like to congratulate everyone there, but I would also like to make a special point to congratulate the best performances of the weekend (in my opinion):

* Zach Ybarra taking off solo in the Men’s D crit with just over a lap to go, and finishing in style, well ahead of the field.
* Martha who lived up to the “Super Fast” title printed on the front of her new sprint leader’s jersey in the crit. UPDATED TO ADD: Martha has taken the series lead from Anna McLoon, and now holds both the sprint leader’s and series leader’s jerseys (“Super Fast” + “Series Leader” = “Super Leader”).
* Glenn Ferreira in the TTT.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone dig quite that deep in a time trial.
* Yuri, who was too polite to sprint around Martha at the end of the crit.
* John Rhoden who refused to quit in the Men’s A crit.

With that, on to the race report… Continue reading

Rutgers: Shaena Berlin’s race report

This was my first weekend of bike racing, and I was pretty nervous. Sure, I train a lot and have a few years of endurance sports in my background, but cycling is different; the results aren’t based just on who trains the most, but on strategy, and awareness, and being at the right place at the right time. So, I entered the Intro Women category, hoping to find other riders like myself – fit, but inexperienced and terrified of making a tight corner in a big pack.

ITT: The ITT was the portion I was least worried about, since it’s basically the same idea as the bike portion of a triathlon – ride hard and don’t worry about other people. Continue reading

MIT wins Rutgers! From Men’s Cap’n Zach LaBry

So, for those of you that haven’t checked Velocity Results in the last hour, I’m afraid that I’m going to have to spoil the surprise and point out that MIT won the Rutgers weekend and took an early lead in the team standings for the season.

Before I catch up on sleep, I just wanted to send out a quick recap of some of the top results and best moments from this weekend.

With 600 racers signed up for the ECCC Season Opener — which, I believe sets some record, though I’m not sure which one — this past weekend was definitely one to test whether or not all that winter training had paid off.  Continue reading

ECCC Track Dose Dos: Kissena

Kissena hosted the second set of ECCC track racces this year in conjunction with the NY State Championships this last weekend in August. MIT arrived with the brave and early crowd amidst the last bits of Tropical Storm Danny. Mike remembered why he disliked city driving, we got sandwhiches at a deli which offered cattering (sic), and told Alan Atwood to hold his line with the leaf blower he was using to dry the track surface. It was a smaller crowd, both collegiate and New Yorkers, by the time racing started. Props to the Columbia women and Nick B from Princeton for showing up despite the earlier storm.

Kilos were fairly standard, with all of us struggling to hold on despite the extreme bumpiness of the Kissena track. (I’m convinced it doubles as a BMX track.) Mike and Chewie each won their categories. Mike got some good racing against Nick B in the points race, stomping down enough sprints to take the win. The Collegiate B’s was an MIT internal affair, with Zach, Chewie, Tim and myself as the only competitors. Chewie accumulated enough points for the win, I think I took second with “ZS” points (apparently Alan Atwood’s slang for “nine”, according to the results sheet), and enduro Zach and Tim rounded it out with enough points of their own.

On Day 2, the weather was fantastic, mid seventies with sun, which was good enough for Army to be Army Strong and show their faces. The inital round of matched sprints pitted MIT and Army together: Zach versus three Armies, Nick versus two Armies, and Chewie and Tim versus at least one Army. The short of it was that MIT won each match up. Mike ladled out more sprint than his Army racer could handle and won his category of matched sprints right away. The second round saw MIT beating Army hands-down again, making the final a three-up MIT sprint. Enduro Zach attacked right from the start, forcing Chewie and I to sprint to catch him and hang on for dear life. Coming around the backside of the final lap, I asked Zach where Chewie was as I sprinted around. I confused his “gone” with “go on” and put in extra steam thinking Chewie was nipping my wheel… finding out later that Chewie was taking it easier after all his racing during the day.

The scratch race was pretty straight forward. Army tried attacking from the gun, but found themselves instantly covered by MIT. There was an initial group that got up the road a bit, then got reeled in. Zach, Chewie, Tim, and an Army rider formed a second group and I blocked (note to self: scratch races aren’t supposed to be team events, so I shouldn’t have been blocking, whoops) and they stayed away to take the win. Mike’s scratch race was more like an extremely long pursuit. He and two other riders went to bridge to a strong rider who had gotten away, but only Mike was able to maintain the blazing pace, leaving himself riding in no man’s land for the rest of the race and a well-earned 2nd in the Cat 123 field.

The MIT team sprint was a good pace, qualifying us for elite nationals. Huh. The team pursuit was a good chance for the men to practice technique. Amy went home early, so while it was a good time, the win was a default.

At the end of two days, MIT topped the collegiate competition again. More importantly, we all got great practice racing track, and both Tim and Chewie (the relative “newbies”) said they had fun… and wished they’d gotten track bikes sooner. Next up for MIT: Track Nationals at T-Town in three weeks. Given what I saw this weekend, it should be another great experience at Nats for the Engineers.

Results of this weekend’s racing at Kissena

Email from Zach LaBry:

Although MIT were the only ones on Saturday to race (aside from the illustrious Nick Bennette) in the men’s collegiate section, Army showed up today for the match sprints, scratch racing, and team sprints (and bailed on the team pursuit). It would be fair to say that in the men’s A (of which we had one and they had one), Mike gave them a solid pounding. It would also be fair to say that in the men’s B (us four, them five), we totally and utterly crushed them. While the first of the collegiate match sprints saw me take the lead in a four up against 3 Army rides, alas the finale came down to a three up between me, Nick Loomis and Chewie (I did my best to shake those two off, but Loomis has a mean sprint). The scratch race was similarly a 1, 2, 3 sweep for MIT. And they were similarly demolished in the team sprint.

Yeah, the MIT Cycing team is that badass.