14 April 2010

Yale Race Report.

After a nice week of sunshine in Ithaca, the weather took a turn for the worst with a snow shower as we left for Yale. Although foreboding, the weather at Yale was much nicer. But before we start the story about some amazing racing there are a few other things...
On our way we were hungry and stopped for diner at Moe’s… very important. The drive took us about 5 hours. We were very happy when we finally arrived. Sean got to pick the hotel this weekend… Red Roof was his choice. Verrrrry nice (wa wa wee wha) with free dial up internet (free wifi is coming this May!) and a very refreshing coffee machine in the lobby. Obviously this is the best hotel so far but unfortunately the hotel didn’t serve a continental breakfast, so we had to grab something on our way to the race on Saturday.
Saturday wake up time was a nice early 6:10am. Upon stepping outside it was quite cold. Naturally we all headed for some food. Deciding on a Dunkin Donuts we filed inside. Sean managed to have some serious fun. After ordering his sausage, egg, cheese, bacon, everything bagel, he moved to the line to pick-up his order. Some random guy seemed to take it, but the workers did not seem to mind. Cynthia asked Sean to grab her sandwich. Her sandwich came up and he picked it up. The employees decided to ask why Sean was still waiting. He said why and she told him that the order was not on the screen. She then said that they would not make it. Sean said that his sandwich was stolen, they basically said too bad. Sean hurled his receipt to the floor in a fit of hunger and the employees got really mad. They yelled (and demanded him to pick the receipt from the floor) and decided to make him his sandwich, and for his trouble they gave him a bonus sandwich. Both of which he enjoyed after his race.
After this nice start we went to the race where we all started with an individual time trial (ITT). Max and Eric were up first (men’s D). ‘An ITT is always hell. If not, you’re not trying hard enough’, is what Eric told us afterwards. Both did well and got in ….. Next were the men’s C. In the Men’s C ITT Tod managed to best both Greg and Kevin, and Sean finished the best of the bunch, despite realizing he had a broken cleat before his race. Sean caught his 15 second rider, Tod didn’t get anyone or get passed, and Greg was caught by a few of the stronger finishers in the field. Most importantly to the fragile male ego, Cynthia did not beat any of the C boys. Cassie did her first race of the year in women’s C. Elena did her first race ever in women’s Intro. Both were very happy to do the race and will race next weekend. Cynthia did her first race in women’s B. That’s a lot of firsts. After a pretty good start, she had to hop of her bike to put the chain back in place. In the end she still got in 2nd, which really surprised her.
After the ITT it was time for the circuit race. Max and Eric (men’s D) had to go top off again. Eric seemed really strong and hanged out in front of the pack for most of the race. It was Max’s first mass start race and he everybody was blinded by his awesome Italian bike (Sean: ‘Jealous!!!!!’). Eric finally got 16th and Max 48th. Next up was Cornell’s biggest concentration of riders, Men’s C. Sean W. was back in the C field and Tod had made the move up, Kevin and Greg also joined the fun. There was some talk of strategy around the cars before the race. Sean also frantically put his new cleats on his shoes. At the gun Sean moved to the front of the group and was soon followed by Tod, Kevin and Greg. The instructions at the beginning of the race were that the riders would be doing 4 laps, climbing the hill on the 4th lap. This happened to be the same amount of laps that the Men’s D did. For the next 3 laps Sean decided he wanted to pull the race around. With every rise in the course Sean set pace to shed people. This did not do much good, but kept all four Cornell riders at the front. During the mean time the course marshals decided that it would be fun to allow cars in front of the pace car. Fortunately no crashes happened but there were several car related slow downs in the race. Sean also had to yell not once but twice at the pace car to actually drive. On the final climb Sean was first wheel. He tried several accelerations to drop some of the field but everyone was right behind. In the end Sean managed to roll into 12th for one point. After the men’s C, women’s C were on. Cassie was a little bit nervous but it was a fun race. She got 19th in her race. Elena was up next! She did really well and got in 6th! After Intro’s women’s A/ B were up. Sean and Gregory were tired of Cynthia talking insecurities about her racing but they didn’t say anything. MIT and Harvard girls were leading (mostly A’s) and the B’s just followed. The girls in the front seemed to love the hill, because they were sprinting it up for the first 5 laps. Cynthia could (barely) hold on. Every time people would try to escape, but the pack would catch them again. In the end it all came down to the final climb. In the end Cynthia got in 5t and was totally broken. In the men’s A field we saw Wacek. They were going really fast and our Polish hero could hold on. He ended in 15th place and earned some sweet points.
After the first day we were all very hungry. We went to a fancy Italian place to pick up some calories. There was no nice movie on the TV so Tod started telling stories of well endowed leprechauns and duck decoys. I’ll only tell this: Chug a duck: Buy a duck decoy and cut the beak of. Put 3 ….. in it and say: ‘Chug a duck’.
After a nice night of pizza some people had difficulties getting up but we do everything to race of course. We dropped by our favorite Dunkin’s Donuts (Sean stayed in the car) and arrived in time for the men’s D crit. Eric was working hard and pulled the field at some point. Max had a harder time and had to work all by himself. Unfortunately Eric’s work didn’t pay of in the end because he got involved in a crash in the last lap. Both D men finished their race. Early on in the Men’s C crit Sean was seen on the front, chasing down an early break. Greg, Tod, and Kevin also moved towards the front of the field. Somebody had decided that the yellow line rule was in effect. They managed to yell at everyone who actually knew how a crit worked and advanced up the inside. This made it quite easy for the Cornell boys to move up in the field. As the race continued Sean started drifting further back in the field, as it became apparent he had lost some legs. Tod and Greg managed to stay up front. Kevin decided it would be fun to get taken out by a BC rider in turn 2. He managed to get back up and finish the race. On the long straight going into turn 4 (of 5) Greg moved up the inside right behind Tod. He yelled at Tod to go. Tod quickly went to the front, but they had picked up a passenger. A Harvard rider had used the move to leap frog to the front and away from the field. Tod managed to hold his own towards the front coming in 14th, with Greg not far behind. Sean rolled in at the back of the field, and Kevin had a strong finish despite his crash. Elena showed everybody that she doesn’t belong in intro’s by scoring some points! We will see her in women’s C next week. Just before the women’s A/B Cynthia got some problems with her chain for the third time this weekend. She could hop back on her bike to catch up with the group. They were really working and but nobody was dropped, the whole group stayed together. People were getting sketchy in the last few laps and they had to pay. They were passing on the inside of the corner and a crash was born. Cynthia was on the outside of the corner and stayed up. Now it was only her and some A girls (almost the entire B field was wiped out). The A girls were sprinting and two more girls crashed. Cynthia was able to pass them and won the B race!
Summary: It was an awesome weekend! Be there at Army!


05 April 2010

Bucknell Race Report

This weekend saw great weather and great racing. It kicked off with the Men’s D TTT. Contrary to popular belief it is nearly impossible to delay a race start while the course is being marshaled. As Nick and Tod headed out on there TTT they managed to miss the non existent marshals and venture off course. Eventually the moto official caught up to them and informed them that they were probably off course. Two other teams suffered the same fate but Tod and Nick still managed to beat them.
Next up was our Men’s A squad. Brian, Jake B. and Steve all kitted up. Brain was on carbon overload when he added his disc to his set up. Steve was also in carbon mode as he brought out his fancy wheels. Jake B. just relied on his natural ability and 1999 era Tour proven set up. They managed to come in a very respectable 7th scoring 42 points. Our Men’s C squad, Ethan, Tim, and Ben went out strong and came back taking the last 14 points.

As the morning wore on it was time for the road race. The course was fairly rolling, but the story of the day was the moto official and the wind. With the yellow line rule in effect on roads that not only lacked yellow lines, but the width of a standard 2 lane road the moto made sure to exercise his authority. Riders through out the day kept being sent to the back of the group. Brian remarked that the wind was like a spring classic and ripped fields apart, this proved to be true, but not the only thing ripping fields apart. The first race to finish was the combined Men’s D.

Tod and Nick managed 13th and 14th. The race ended with the longest sprint in history, something like ½ mile or so. To make it through everyone relied on a second wind. Tod was relying on his third as he had spent the majority of the race on the front of the group. Next to finish was the Men’s C race. Not to be outdone by the Men’s B field of last week a spectacular crash managed to take the vast majority of the field out. Ethan was our first rider to remount and squeaked in for 13th, one spot out of points. Tim collected him self and rode in. Ben decided to get a real feel for the road. Continuing with the organization found in the time trial no medics were to be seen in the parking lot. Eventually they returned and sent Ben to the hospital. 2 stitches in his hand and some sweet gauze later Ben seemed in high spirits, then again that could be the meds. While Ben was gone we showed our concern by inspecting his bike, of course no one wanted to touch most of it now that it had some nice red accents.

Natalie, our only female rider, went on her way in the much too short Women’s Intro race. After receiving 3-4 miles of couching the riders were let lose for the remaining 5 mile. She came in 9th and with a big smile. I think we hooked another racer.

At 3pm and 3:05pm the Men’s As and Men’s Bs went off. The game of lets look at each other’s back sides was in full swing. No one wanted to set a pace through out much of the races. Eventually a few riders broke in my race and sitting on the back proved to be the end of my race. The small gap kept growing until I got a nice training ride in. In the Men’s A race the winds split Steve and Brian off the race. The cross wind on the back country was particularly fun as everyone lined up on the yellow line giving absolutely no one a draft. Jake B. got tired of looking at the rider in front of him and made a break for it. He managed to hold off the A field for a full lap. Upon catching him a counter attack was launched. This proved to be the winning move. In the end Max Korus extended his yellow jersey lead with a solo victory. Jeffrey Salvitti proved that home field advantage is alive in cycling by taking 2nd for Bucknell. Jake came in 26th, with Steve in 30th.

After everyone showered we went to The Original Italian Family for dinner. Steve, Brian, and Jake managed to steal all the vegetables for their veggie pizzas, leaving those of us who ordered salads with Iceberg lettuce toped with three tomatoes pieces. The proportions were great and everyone seemed happy. Perhaps the mood was lifted by “the Greatest Story Ever Told” playing on a spectacular 8in TV.
With a full nights sleep we all headed over for the campus criterium. Nick and Tod were off first in Men’s D. Tod was seen on the front for most of the race with Nick not far behind. Tod grabbed more points with his 5th place, mostly due to his lack of sprinting speed after setting the pace for the race. He also managed a 4th and a 3rd in the two primes. Nick came in 14th. The course was fun with many ups and downs, most before and after turns. There were a few crashes in all the races, but Cornell riders had had enough pavement and kept the rubber side down. In the C race Tim took some time pulling the race around and Ethan sat in the lead group. Oliver took 2 2nds in the primes before taking 5th and Ethan in 12th for a single point.
Natalie continued to discover the sport of bike racing in her criterium.
Unfortunately much of her past competition was no where to be found and she rolled across the line in 8th. But again she had a big smile on her face and is looking forward to Army.

After the most annoying and pointless 2 hour intermission I lined up for the B crit. I took a few practice laps with Cornell Legend Vanya. I studied his careful turn selection and precise gear selection, for he only has 7 outback. I did not pay enough attention. The race went single file from the gun. Starting in a drive way and making everyone turn 90 degrees onto a narrower road seems pointless. Eventually people started popping off the back. I was one of them, but continued to ride hard. I eventually formed a group of four. Our 4th member was an embarrassment to my state of origin, a UNH rider who never pulled through. My group saw something like 7 to go as bystanders yelled that we were still in points. I continued my trend of setting pace for about 60% of the lap trying to drop our leech. As we came onto the final straight the official was whistling at us and letting us know our race was over. F&M and Army sprinted around me and contested the last point. I rolled in for 17th in what will be the best B finish of my career. I got to see the end of my race, always an interesting feeling. It turns out riders were continually being popped. The lead group was 6, with chase groups of 4 and 4.

All in all it was a great weekend weather wise and race wise. Cornell notched in to 18th. Yale came in 3rd. Next weekend is an Ivy League show down in New Haven. The best team gets some prize. While I am not one to wish harm to anyone, it would greatly benefit Cornell if the Women of Yale did not show up as they notched 50 points in the TTT, RR, and Crit. I hope to see everyone out next weekend. As one of two current members who raced Yale, I can say it was a great well run race. The only complaints anyone gave last year was about the weather. Provided there is no freezing rain it will be an awesome weekend. As an added bonus the Cornell Cycling and Fine Dinning Club (who doesn’t want to be cool like RIT, http://cyclingandfinedining.blogspot.com/ ) has a chance to eat at the infamous Louis’ Lunch. No not the lame food truck on north, the inventors of the hamburger, http://www.louislunch.com/ just make sure you use all your ketchup in the race.