Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The blog returns! Five weeks' worth of race reports

MIT X-Pot:

The MIT crew pulled off a real coup this weekend with their latest scheme to utterly decimate and demoralize the ECCC—the X-Pot 3.0. Saturday and Sunday featured a full complement of races, beginning with a savage uphill ITT and concluding with the soul-crushing, call-your-mother-and-cry inducing, aptly named Purgatory Road Race. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs came out swinging to finish fourth on the weekend and move up to third in the ECCC standings.

Saturday morning commenced with the 5 mile hill climb ITT, which featured several serious climbs in the first half followed by a set of rollers and a poorly-marked finish line. First off were our D men, Brandon and Connor, whose firstrace weekend would turn out to be a real doozy. Both finished solidly in the top twenty. Great job, guys! Julia and new rider Kelsey Lynd were next, making it look easy: Kelsey took third in Cs, while Julia decided that 5 miles wasn't long enough and tacked an extra hour of riding onto her race, finishing 16th.

The next batch were the A, B, and C men. Matt put in his usual excellent performance, taking a very impressive 6th, followed by Spencer in 32nd. Returning to racing after a few weekends off, Adam's legs were plenty fresh to put in the massive effort required to finish 14th in Bs, netting him his first points of the season. No doubt there are many more to come! Danny S finished off the set, finishing solidly in the middle of the pack.

Last off were the A/B women: Marina and Erica set off first, finishing 9th and 10th respectively in As. In Bs, new racer Anna floats-up-hills Chase won her first race of the season and provided much-appreciated guidance to her teammates on when to sprint. This allowed Colleen, newly upgraded from Cs, to snag 4th place (upgrading was clearly the right move!) followed by Krysten in 10th and Hannah in 12th. Way to bring home the points, ladies!

After all our riders had successfully returned from the ITT, we relocated to the "criterium" course...

MIT probably sent their minions to scour every single intersection in eastern Massachusetts to find the most ridiculous, outrageous criterium course imaginable. In their hubris, MIT failed the most basic test for organizing a criterium—organize a criterium. Not a circuit race, a criterium. For those of you unfamiliar with the minutiae of USA Cycling’s regulations on this matter, a criterium course must specifically be less than one mile in length. And usually they’re flat. Save the 8% gradients for the road race.

Anyways, the course comprised two 180-degree turns—one off-camber, the other after a steep and ill-paved downhill—and ridiculous finishing climb replete with melting snow and a maximum gradient of 15% (!?!?!). As usual, men's D were the unfortunate guinea pigs on this course, and the race shattered pretty early, forcing the officials to pull & place all but six riders. Brandon and Connor both put in heroic efforts, finishing 19th and 22nd respectively. Men's C was a similar tale, with nearly two-thirds of the 80-man field pulled. Danny continued to put in a solid performance, finishing comfortably mid-pack.

In women's C, Julia and Kelsey both sat comfortably in the lead pack for the first several laps, until Julia's front derailleur refused to cooperate and she was forced to pull herself. With a few laps to go, a UVM rider soloed off the front while Kelsey stayed with the main pack, winning the field sprint and finishing second overall. 

In men's B, a few small groups got away early but Adam hung with the main field, shedding riders every couple of laps on the climb. All but a couple of riders were reined in before the final sprint up the climb, where Adam finished 12th overall. Well done, T-Rex!

The MIT women dominated the start line of the Women’s A/B crit, but the Elis were fired up and ready to go. The technical corners and pothole-ridden descent put the Bulldogs' handling skills to the test, but all our riders remembered to brake early, countersteer, and pick smooth lines through the turns. Erica put in an Amazonian effort to narrowly avoid getting lapped, placing 14th, while our “Killer Bs” (Krysten, Colleen, and Hannah) finished 4th, 9th and 10th respectively.

Matt, Nick, and Spencer toed the line for the Men’s A race shortly after the conclusion of the women’s race. After some early attacking, a group of four riders made the decisive move of the day away in the lull after the first prime. Spencer put in a Herculean amount of work at the front of the field to control the gap for Matt, while Nick yo-yoed throughout the pack and rued his lack of a proper warm up. Matt unleashed a great turn of speed to take second in the field sprint for 6th place. Spencer took 12th and Nick, having led out the sprinters into the final turn, rolled in near the back of the field.

The Bulldogs arose Sunday morning for the second Team Time Trial of the season. Teams would complete two laps of a five-mile course, and pre-race inspection revealed a lumpy profile. Still, the lack of wind and generally smooth pavement made for plenty of fast racing. First up was the Men’s A squad featuring Adam, Matt, Nick, and Spencer. The A-Team went out hard from the gun—perhaps too hard—and despite a series of small mistakes and lack of pacing, they netted an impressive 6th place. Meanwhile, Connor and Danny formed a two-man C team, working hard for 16th.

The Women’s A and B squads were the last to leave the start line. The A women (Erica, Marina, Krysten, and Anna) put in a massive turn of work to finish second after the defending national champions! The B squad (Colleen, Kelsey, Julia, and Hannah) showed some great form and finished first in Women’s B. Great work ladies!

As the wind began to stir the flagpole over Sutton Middle School and clouds obscured the morning sun, a pall fell on the exhausted riders. The Purgatory Road Race loomed large in the thoughts of ECCC riders and the Bulldogs retired to their lawn chairs and vehicles to nap, eat, and begin the familiar ritual of pinning numbers. 

The course presented the first proper “road race” of the road season. Riders would complete various laps of an 11-mile course featuring some early risers, a fast descent, a long death march into the wind, and finally a steep half-mile climb to the finish averaging 7%. Connor and Danny first took to the road in the D and C fields respectively with plans to stay with the leaders and out of the wind. Despite a remarkable effort, Connor ran out of GU early in the race and settled into a manageable rhythm to finish his first ever road race. Asked to describe the hill, he said it was "... big." Indeed. Great work Connor!!

Amid the gloom and doom of the road race, Danny Schlingman's performance stood out as a brilliant spot of resilience. After bonking hard on the third lap and nearly falling off his bike (?), Danny hiked up the final climb to put his front tire over the line. While he finished nearly 20 minutes down on the next rider ahead of him, Danny refused to quit in the midst of utter exhaustion and took the cake as our most tenacious racer of the weekend. Next time you think about pulling out, think twice. Way to go Danny!!!!

The Men’s A field departed a little after 2 pm to complete six laps of the course followed closely by Men's B and the Women’s A/B races, each to complete five laps. The Yalies were in full force in the women's race, with a full squad of seven ladies at the start line. As anticipated, the usual suspects splintered the race by the second lap, and the majority of riders were pulled after four. Erica suffered through five, working together with a UNH rider for most of the race to finish 9th and maintaining her consistent string of top-10 finishes (beating an unfortunately-bonked Katie Quinn), followed by Marina in 13th. The B field suffered enormously and all but two riders were pulled and placed (“P&P’ed”) or did not finish (“DNF’ed”). Despite the challenge, newly-minted B Kelsey, Krysten, Anna, Colleen, and Hannah all finished in the top 10. Particular shout-outs to Kelsey for her mid-weekend upgrade and an amazing third place finish, as well as to Krysten, whose consistently impressive results have put her at the top of the women's B leaderboard. Great stuff!

In men's B, an attack in lap 2 in the rollers and headwinds on the course before the main climb put Adam in dire straits, and he found himself separated on the climb. After chasing to get back for most of the third lap, he eventually made his way onto a chase group. After a few minutes' recovery, the headwind on the straightaway prompted him to consider the final two laps a training ride. Nevertheless, he finished solidly mid-pack. Nice work, Adam!

As is typical for a long road race, the Men’s A field decided to let an overeager McGill rider hang out to dry for the first two laps. With Spencer suffering from his efforts in the criterium yesterday, Nick stayed up front to work for Matt’s chances. On the second ascent of the climb, MIT launched a powerful attack that crystallized into a group of seven leaders including Nick. Several more riders the danger and bridged up to the group, and Matt smartly followed wheels to move up with the leaders. Matt tucked into the back of the group while Nick and several other riders with teammates in the group worked to keep the pace high, and the leaders’ advantage hovered around a minute for the remainder of the third lap. Further attacks on the fourth ascent whittled the leading group down to 7-9 riders, but Matt shifted into offense and danced a merry jig on the pedals to join them. Farther back, Nick settled into a group of four riders and played defense to preserve Matt’s advantage. It was now every Bulldog for himself, and Matt and Nick pushed themselves hard to the finish. Matt barely missed out on his fourth sixth place finish of the weekend for 7th, while Nick cracked the top-10. Spencer chose to ride within himself and finished 25th on the day.

One heck of a weekend. Next time, Week 6 takes our merry band of spandex warriors to Pennsylvania for the “Shippensburg Scurry,” featuring the “Horse Killer Road Race.” I hope no animals will be harmed in the course ofracing. Over and out.


The ECCC took a breather this week and marked the halfway point of the road season with a half-race weekend at Bard College in lovely Annandale-on-Hudson. Nonetheless, time off from collegiate racing doesn’t mean time off, and the Bulldogs spent their Saturdays racing, training, and actively recovering.

Two men’s A riders—Nick and Spencer—chose to test their legs at an amateur ¾ race just up the river. Blustery and frigid conditions presented a significant challenge to riders at the Trooper Brinkerhoff Memorial Race Series, particularly given the exposure of the race’s northbound leg to harsh crosswinds. The race comprised four laps of a 12-mile circuit containing a short power climb and two long straightaways marred by aforementioned crosswinds. The Bulldogs concentrated in the early minutes on maintaining position in the field to both respond to attacks and avoid the general sketchiness in the group behind. Despite their best efforts, by the second lap, a strong group of three riders leapt away and worked up a 45 second advantage on the field, with several chasers in the no-mans land in between. Sensing that this might be a wining break, Nick jumped away on the third lap with two other riders and over the next twelve miles bridged up to the leaders. The group of six worked smoothly enough until the final ascent, which reduced it to four. By the last two kilometers, the field was nowhere in sight for the breakaway and it was every man for himself. Nick put in the first attack just outside the flame rouge over the course’s final rise, opened a 5 second gap on the leaders through the final turn, and held on for the win.
Back in the group, Spencer worked tirelessly to shut down bridging efforts from the field. He eventually wearied of the tedium and turned the tables on his counterparts with a bridging effort of his own. The field, perhaps irked by such a show of defiance, caught him with 2K to go. Undaunted, Spencer nonetheless took second in the field sprint for sixth place. Way to go Bulldogs!
After some well-deserved rest, the Bulldogs decamped Sunday morning to the quaint and homey campus of Bard College. Mischievous organizers had designed a punishing course complete with an uphill finishing kick, two downhill 90-degree turns, and yesterday’s brutal crosswinds to boot. The Men’s D race exploded immediately thanks to the strong winds and left a select group of 10 in the front with a trail of stragglers in their wake. In the midst of the wreckage, Brandon and David found one another and worked together until the end. Congrats to Brandon on navigating his first collegiate race, and we’re looking forward to seeing more from his SuperSix Evo in the future!
The wind would continue to shape the day’s races, and from the go the Men’s C raceshattered into a wild, blooming confusion of colorful jerseys and labored breathing. An RPI rider soloed off the front for much of the race and finished over a minute up on the leaders (dirty sandbagger). Jimmy, fresh off his strong showing in the Philly D race, made the early selection on the course’s short power climb and concealed himself in the pack, while Danny found himself off the back and worked hard for a solid midfield finish. Not content to dilly-dally in the pack, Jimmy snapped up second place in the race’s second prime. Winded from his effort, Jimmy couldn’t quite put down the power he wanted in the final sprint and rolled in 12th, with an invaluable lesson learned.
In the women’s races, Yale riders fell victim again to Bard’s deceptive parcours. In Women’s C, Elif suffered enough to earn a wry grin from the sternest Belgian hardmen and rode much of the race solo. In the A/B race, Krysten labored hard to stay with the leaders and rolled in 4th in the B field. Behind her, Hannah finished 6th on the day.
The Men’s A race brought together the quattro amici of the men’s TTT squad—Andy, Spencer, Matt, and Nick—for the first time this season. With a smaller usual field and several of the usual suspects absent, the race was truly anyone’s game. Matt and Spencer quickly moved into position to mark moves in hopes of escaping, but the combined efforts of Dartmouth and Pittsburg kept the initial laps together. After 6 laps, a move containing UVM, Dartmouth, KMS (baby faced high school cyclists!), and Spencer got clear. The group contained enough firepower to open a substantial gap over the field, and with five to go the leaders had lapped the still further reduced field of 15 or so riders. With the two groups rejoined, the race settled down until the final lap when a Pitt rider attacked, followed closely by Dartmouth leader. Matt turned a pedal in anger at the front of the group to rescue Spencer’s changes for victory, and while ultimately unsuccessful, Spencer came in a fantastic third place! An exhausted Matt crossed the line in 16th place.
On the other end of the action, Andy struggled courageously in the vicious opening laps and chose to conserve his strength for later in the season. Nick came frustratingly close to a joining a group of six chasers and was pulled halfway through the race.
Nonetheless, the Men’s A squad earned their first podium of the year, and we certainly believe it won’t be the last.

Bulldog Cycling journeyed to Philadelphia this weekend for the Philly Phlyer—a race that has become a fixture of the early season in recent years. Saturday’s team time trial (TTT or “triple-T” as those weirdos from MIT call it…) and circuit race took place at lovely Fairmount Park next to the “Please Touch” Children’s Museum, whose name always inspires a giggle or two from the 20-somethings. Despite well-maintained roads, the morning began with apprehension at the forecasted bad weather and the gloomy skies portended worse to come.

The 14-mile TTT course took riders from the park down to the Schuylkill River, twice up and down the adjacent road, and then up a short but nasty climb to the finishing area. A slight northern wind meant headwinds up the river and tailwinds while returning. The women’s A squad pulled out an impressive second-place performance with especially strong performances by Erica and Marina. The C men fought tenaciously for 7th place as Jimmy and Danny Schlingman worked together to tame the elements. The Men’s A team for their part finished a surprising 5th after a virtual non-warm up and panicked start. While the other squads warmed up on the trainers, the Men’s A boys decided on a more leisurely course preview and traded some beautiful views of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for an actual warm up.

The precipitation offered its first tease around 10 am innocently enough—sparse, dry snowfall analogized by sometime Yale men’s captain Eric Fischer (visiting from his new home at William & Mary) to “raining Dippin’ Dots®”. The weather behaved throughout the combined Men’s D race, where Yale neo-cyclist Jimmy Martenson stayed esconsced in the front group to take 9th place as the massive field shattered around him. By the time of Yale’s next race, however, conditions had deteriorated with freezing rain and occasional hail. As his fellow racers whimpered and talk of withdrawal spread through the Men’s C field, Dan Spakowicz found the fortitude to push through the awful wintry mix and finish 13th on the day. Great work Dan! Danny Schlingman worked hard to stay with the leaders, but found himself the victim of a split in the field thanks to the challenging winds and punchy climbs of the “Schuylkill Scrambler.”

The women C, B, and A teams took to the road just after noon, at which time the rain had stopped. Julia finished 13th on the day after riding a smart race in the bunch. The women’s A/B field split on the first lap after several of the “heads of state” attacked on the main climb. While the rest of the group worked their best to reel them back, the winner had amassed a seven minute advantage by the end of the five laps. Marina and Erica finished 9th and 13th respectively in As while Hannah finished 7th in Bs.

The snow, hail, and freezing rain returned just in time for the start of the Men’s A race, and while conference organizers had promised to cut laps if conditions deteriorated the mood ranged from tense to resigned at staging. The first lap saw Nick and a UVM rider attack from the gun in a move that lasted roughly until the base of the climb. From then on, leaders attempted various probing attacks, but the field was not keen to risk a breakaway with the possibility that the race could be suddenly shortened. After two treacherous descents on slippery paint, at least one crash in the field, and a sudden dip in temperatures causing the wet roads to freeze, the Men’s A field decided to neutralize therace after two laps of racing. Given the risks to rider safety and sheer awfulness of the conditions, officials decided to cancel the race with no results. All would live to fight another day.

After some well-deserved dinner (and not-so-well-deserved hassle with the bill), Yale set off Sunday for a day of criterium racing on the Temple University campus. The deceptively simple course geography belied a nasty uphill finishing drag, complete with a headwind to boot. In addition, two sets of tram tracks and dubious pavement in multiple sections of the course increased the usual risk of flats and accidents. 

Conditions were improved over Saturday’s brutal storm, but clouds and wind throughout the day blunted the uptick. The men’s D race saw multiple splits in the field, but Jimmy again rode a strong and skillful race to finish in the top-10. Upgrade in the near future? As Gandhi once said, the only way to go is up. Amogh continued to hone his skills in the Men’s Intro category, finishing 12th but winning the competition for best pedaling form. In Cs, the Dans continued their consistent work. Dan Spakowicz navigated several splits in the field and finished safely in the lead group, while Danny Schlingman took third in the first prime of the race to score his first points for Bulldog Cycling. Good work chaps! 

In the women’s races, Julia continued her excellent run to win the Women’s C field sprint in dramatic fashion. Great job Julia! Despite a mid-race crash that nearly ended her race, Julia rallied to unleash a massive seated sprint that dashed her competitors’ hopes on the rocky shoals of disappointment. The A/B race began with bad luck when a start line crash trapped Marina behind the leaders and forced her to chase for most of the race. While Hannah attempted to pace her back into the lead group, it was alas of no avail and Marina ended up in the third group on the day. While a frustrating criterium debut, we’re confident the women’s A field doesn’t know what’ll hit them in two weeks...
Erica for her part made the lead group and worked hard to maintain her position in the lead group of 15. Despite numerous unsuccessful attempts by Katie Quinn to break the will of the field, the group held together and Erica took an impressive sixth on the day. Behind her, Hannah rode a solid tempo to finish 9th in Bs. Awesome work!

 By the end of the day, the men’s A field was rarin’ for some hard racin’ after yesterday’s frustrations. Unfortunately, Spencer Gilbert continued a string of bad luck for the Bulldogs and flatted on the first neutral lap of the course. Thanks to the fortuitous location of team mates, however, a quick wheel change meant he was ready in a jiffy. The early laps came fast and furious as riders sprinted out of corners, and Nick did his best to move his team leader Spencer up into the top-15. Riders bounced about over potholes, chip seal, and tram tracks, and the tight corners exaggerated the accordion effect in the bunch. A breakaway carved out a 10 second advantage by the end of the race, but the strong headwind through the finish gave the field a stronger hand to play. Nick for his part flatted midway and took a free lap after an errant staple found its way into his rear tire. In the end, Nick ended up on the wrong side of a split in the field and was dropped with two laps to go, while Spencer needed to hit the brakes in the final turn and lost valuable ground for his sprint. While a consensus emerged between the two on mediocre sensations and nerves during the race, the men’s A team will look to hone its form over the next few weeks with an eye toward those field and group sprints.


The Yale team returned to Grant's Tomb on Saturday for an exciting day of criterium action. The famous five-corner course took riders out on to the mean streets of New York through two 90-degree left-hand corners, up a sharp uphill kick back into the park, and around a sweeping 180-degree left hand turn into the long uphill drag to the finish line. Noticeable winds out of the northwest made for challenging racing, but the otherwise balmy weather meant the pale legs of riders saw their first sun in several months.

The day's racing began with the amateur events. Re-frozen melt from the recent snowstorm made for treacherous conditions in the early morning events, and despite the race organizer's claims to the contrary patches of black ice still dotted the course. Matt Lloyd-Thomas, eager to test his mettle after last week's showing, rode a solid and attentiverace in the Cat. 4 event, coming in 10th. In the Cat 3 race, Spencer and Nick missed their start after organizers decided on a whim to move the start up in the schedule. True to form, Spencer chased furiously for 20 minutes until organizers pulled him from the race, while Nick opted to maintain his composure and turn his attention toward the collegiate races.

The collegiate races commenced with some newcomers to the Yale team. Amogh Sivarapatna gritted his teeth in his collegiate debut, while in Men's D, Will Redden and Adam Simpson put on a fireworks display for the first third of therace before missing the decisive split (keep up that training guys!). In the women's C race, Julia (fresh off her dominant performance in Intros last week) and Colleen hung together to finish in the pack. 

In Men's C, Danny and Travis endured bad luck. Danny found himself gapped off the back after Princeton and Harvard set an aggressive pace at the business end of the field, while Travis suffered mechanical difficulties with his headset midway through the race.

Yale's fortunes took a turn for the awesome in the Men's B race. Matt Lloyd-Thomas attacked from the gun in a dashing display of panache, gaining a maximum advantage of 8-10 seconds over the field. Unfortunately, the strong headwind on the backside of the course made a solo effort a difficult one and Matt eventually rejoined the field. Despite concerns from spectators that he had burnt most of his matches in his early heroics, Matt put in a great turn of speed in the final sprint to win on the day. Great work Matt!

Bulldog Cycling's talented women's team lined up for the Women's A/B race. After their dominant performance last week in the B race, Marina, Krysten, and Hannah were riders to mark in the women's peloton, and Erica's consistent results meant she herself was not to be underestimated. True to form, Marina took first in the Women's B race, Erica finished in the top 10 of the women's A field, and Hannah hung on valiantly to bring home the omnium points. Sadly, another rider touched wheels with Krysten in the final sprint and crashed her out of contention. 

The Men's A field lined up for the final race of the day. Robin Carpenter, the ECCC's baby-faced wünderkind and winner of the P/1/2 race earlier in the day, was the undisputed favorite and was spotted making silly faces at the start line (secret pre-race relaxation exercises?). The first 15 minutes were a blistering combination of cursing, labored breathing, and grimacing as riders struggled to make it through the early pyrotechnics. Spencer moved smartly into the top third of the field, while Nick found himself working hard at the back of the field in his first criterium in nearly 8 months. Racing calmed down when the field let a group of 6 riders go clear, but with a few laps to go it was gruppo compacto and things were lined up for a field sprint. Carpenter took the sprint ahead of Killington's Ansel Dickey, while Spencer finished in the top 15 and Nick, content to leave the argy-bargy to the sprinters, rolled across the line fifteen seconds later.

After a short sleep thanks to daylight savings time, we relocated to Mountainside, NJ for the first proper road race of the season. The course consisted of a 6.2 mile loop through Watchung Reservation and was variously described as consisting of 15% grades and 70% descents. While both were undoubtedly exaggerations, the course was certainly fast but hilly with no clear advantage to climbers or descenders.

In the frigid sub-freezing temperatures of the early morning, our first racers to brave the couse were Adam S in a large combined men's D (3 laps) and Amogh in men's intro (2 laps). Both races quickly shattered, and the men worked hard to finish 24th and 12th respectively. Colleen and Julia were next in women's C (4 laps). The pack uncharacteristically clung together for the majority of the race (aside from a possibly mis-categorized Penn State woman who was minutes off the front) and, despite a dropped chain, Colleen and Julia finished side by side in the top ten, both snagging some points.

In men's C (4 laps), Travis's persistent mechanical difficulties made for a difficult race, and he and Danny suffered through the hills before being pulled with a lap to go. In men's B (5 laps), Matt continued his domination, riding comfortably in the front of the pack for most of the race until the final sprint. He finished third, keeping him at the top of the men's B leaderboard. Rumor has it there's an upgrade in the works...

In the final race of the day, Spencer and Nick set off with men's A (6 laps) followed by women's A/B (5 laps) who, unsurprisingly, were lapped by the men in their penultimate lap. Spencer managed to get into a 6-man break allowing him to take sixth place in the final sprint, while Nick hung in the main pack chasing down bridging attempts and protecting the break. The neutralization of women's A/B (due to being lapped) allowed the three-woman breakaway a comfortable lead. The main pack finished mostly together, with Marina taking second place in Bs, Krysten fourth (despite her road rash from the previous day), Hannah eighth, and Erica eighth in As.

Thanks to the combined efforts of our racers, Yale finished first in the team omnium for Sunday, and moved into second place in the conference. Great work, team!


First race report of the season! The 2013 road season kicked off this weekend in not-so-balmy New Jersey at the Rutgers Frozen-Toed Season Opener with a set of amazing results. Four -- count 'em, four -- first-place finishes (three from new Yale riders, no less!) and slew of other top tens. Also a puppy (de rigueur for team Yale). The details:

Saturday kicked off with the laughably short 2.2 mile ITT. Our men's intro riders were first, finishing 8th (Rohan Misra) and 22nd (John Wen) in the largest men's intro field we'd ever seen (a whopping 37 riders). Women's intro rider Julia Schlesinger went off next and, upon return, mentioned in passing that she'd passed three riders, gaining a full minute to finish in second place. Way to go Julia!

The second wave started out with men's A Spencer Gilbert finishing a solid 29th. In men's B, Adam Trexler took 33rd and newbie Matt Lloyd-Thomas WON with a solid seven seconds on the second-place rider. Our men's C team, consisting of three Dans and a Rabbit, were next, finishing 18th (Dan Spakowicz), 21st (Travis Rabbit), 33rd (Danny Schlingman) and 36th (Daniel Del Bosque). Women's B netted us a slew of points with Hannah Garrett in 11th, Krysten never-raced-before Koehn in fourth, and Marina Brown for the win! Well done ladies! And finally, I took 11th in women's A.
We then relocated to the Rutgers campus for the crit (new and improved, now with corners!). Our first race was men's C2, with the Dans & Travis. The race was fast and shattered quickly, with Dan S and Travis working together and sitting comfortably within the main group to finish 18th and 26th respectively (Travis, with an awesome save after going near-horizontal in the final lap), and Danny S and DDB in 38th and 41st.

The start of the intro race was off to a rocky start as John Wen was pushed over in the start line to a chorus of ohhs! but recovered quickly, losing no ground. The large field shattered early and the men learned to work together in small groups. Rohan finished 9th in the field sprint with John not far behind in 23rd. In women's intro, Julia took the wind for four laps and finished an impressive fifth despite pulling her competition for 98% of the race.
In men's B, Matt maintained an excellent position throughout the race, putting in several strong attacks and pushing -- no, driving -- the pace high enough to start spitting riders out the back. No breakaways stuck, and Matt finished in an incredibly impressive 7th place (as well as second in the last prime) after the day's second save from a final-lap-near -crash, followed by Adam in 31st.

With the absence of MIT's formidable and field-lapping Katie Quinn, the women's A/B race miraculously clung together for the entirety of the race, finishing in a field sprint. Krysten rode a smart race and it paid off with her first win, followed by Marina in 5th, Hannah in 12th, and me in 11th in As. Moreover, Krysten racked up a slew of sprint points, snagging points in every prime with two firsts, a second, and a third. Wow! In men's A, Spencer rode an incredibly smart race, staying near the front of the pack and out of the wind to finish 11th.

On Sunday, in the absence of any D riders this weekend, we were able to sleep in to the luxuriously late hour of 6.30. The former cornerless crit course was rebranded as a circuit race and consisted of a gradual climb, fun descent, and windy straightaway through the start-finish line for a whopping 0.9 miles. Needless to say, the initially innocent-looking hill became increasingly painful by the tenth or twentieth iteration. Our tent, erected to protect us from the cold, garnered us some not unexpected heckling from the race announcers.
First up, again, were the C2 men. In a show of remarkable consistency, Dan S bagged his third 18th of the weekend (apparently also his former soccer jersey number), followed by DDB in 32nd and Danny S in 35th. (Travis bowed out due to an unhappy ankle from the almost-crash in the previous day's crit.) In men's intro, Rohan seemed to be getting bored, easily finishing in 7th with John in 14th.

We were joined for the day by Colleen Feriod to represent in the women's C race. With riders lapped multiple times, the race was incredibly confusing for spectators to follow, and Colleen---despite a dropped chain!---finished 11th, scoring us some team points. Nice work!

In women's intro, Julia internalized her experience from the previous day and stayed out of the wind for most of the race in a five-woman lead group, sprinting easily to a first-place finish. Makin' it look easy, Julia!

Men's B was, as usual, a fast and fairly cohesive race with several attack attempts, some led by Matt, who replicated his previous day's result to finish again in 7th, with Adam in 38th.

Unlike the previous day, women's A/B saw several splits in the field, some of which (eventually) stuck. Marina floats-up-hills Brown stayed with the lead group for the entire race to finish 3rd in Bs, with Krysten in 8th, Hannah in 13th, and Erica 11th in As. In men's B, Spencer was looking strong and in excellent position until an unfortunate flat removed him from contention.

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