Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 2: Philly Phlyer!

This Friday, the Yale Cycling Team traveled to Philadelphia for another weekend of racing!

The Philly Phlyer weekend started with TTTs on a double-hairpin-turn, 14 mile course in Fairview Park by the unfortunately named Please Touch Museum (which Elif thought was the "Please Touch Me" Museum, and very creepy, and almost called it that in this race report). The course, which included a short descent into a sharp corner onto Schuykill River Road, featured echelon-blasting side winds off of the river, a tight 180 leading up to the Strawberry Mansion climb, and another fast twisting descent to return to the river to be blasted by side winds from the other direction. It concluded with a short and punchy climb, around a traffic circle and into a finishing straight with a brutal headwind. The race day tactics were defined almost entirely by the wind and the long drag race up and down Schuykill, with many a breakaway attempt squashed and any stragglers blown off the back (literally).

In the morning, Portia and Kristin raced the Women's Intro TTT, while Matt, Matt's dad (who will get the Best Yale Cycling Dad Award) and Jan formed a team to race the USAC Open TTT.

Womens Intro TTT. Getting the game face on!

Later in the day, Siyuan did the Men's Intro race and placed 11th; Jan raced the Men's C RR after a fresh upgrade from D's, hopped back on the bike after a brief brush with the pavement, and placed 35th. Portia and Kristin did the Women's Intro RR and placed 7th and 8th, respectively, guided by our hero host and ECCC coach/figurehead/friend of Yale Cycling, Brett Houser. 
Elif, after tumbling over the pavement with another unfortunate MIT rider in her Women's C road race, ran away from the paramedics faster than she had been racing all along, to finish her race 22nd. 
Under the unusually bright and warm afternoon sun, Matt raced the Men's A road race, which featured an early breakaway of two racers, from Penn State and Shippensburg, and finished 25th.

On Sunday, the team was feeling strong and fueled by Travis's killer vegan avocado basil pasta recipe from the night before. (Secret ingredient, garlic; secret race weapon, garlic breath! ECCC vampires, beware.) The crit course at Temple was a classic four-corner downtown criterium with a slight downhill into turn #2 and a slight uphill into turn #4. The course was as pothole-, manhole-, and oblivious post-St. Patrick's Day-Temple student-ridden as any Philadelphia criterium could be expected to be. Again, a strong headwind into the finishing stretch and sidewinds blowing through alleyways would shape the tactics. 

The day started out with the Men's C crit, where Jan fought hard in the pack to catch the Northeastern breakaway, and finished 20th. Shortly thereafter, Kristin raced the Women's Intro crit and fought hard against the strong wind that picked up in the early afternoon, and placed 6th. Elif wasn't allowed to race the Women's C crit for lack of an intact helmet, so she marshaled and cheered the team instead.
Siyuan raced a strong Men's Intro race and placed 8th.
Matt raced a fast, dirty and strung-out Men's A race, which was a race for 4th place with a breakaway early on, to finish 25th.

A great week overall - huge shoutout to the Bulldog Ladies for playing a big hand in gaining our team this weekend's points in the TTT, crit and road race.

Stay tuned for the Bard Crit and the Uncle Sam Road Race!

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