by Michael Landry, with pictures by Andy Barentine and Michael Landry
As the sun rose behind heavy gray clouds over the eerily deserted corporate park that was to be the site of Sunday's races, Michael Moore-Jones and Andy Barentine rolled to the line to race with the Category D Men. Andy churned the pedals relentlessly at the front in the early going, carving grimaces into the faces of many in the strung-out field. Michael M-J was also an animator, attempting a couple breakaways that did not succeed. Both of them put in numerous turns at the front attempting to whittle down the field, but a group of 12 riders entered the final lap together.
|Our D Men before their start.|
Next was Liz Eldridge in her first race ever with the Category C Women. Liz rode like a seasoned pro, and gapped her field with ease to snag a win for the Bulldogs, our third of the weekend.
|Liz, preparing to decimate the field.|
The final competitors of the day were the Category A Men, and our Captain, Mike Grome, had a tough race ahead of him. The field was stacked with several pros and semipros, and a deep Virginia Tech team was hoping to leverage their numbers to secure the win. Additionally the dark clouds, which had been threatening all day, finally opened up and proceeded to release their watery payload upon the riders starting around mile 5 and continuing through the finish. Combined with dropping temperatures and an average speed of 40+ kph, the meteorological misfortune reduced even the hardest in the field to shivering post-race wrecks.
|Mike Grome charging.|
After the moist and hypothermic affair, the Columbia team treated our racers to pizza at the local Whole Paycheck. We all excitedly relived the weekend's races before starting the convoy back to New Haven. Next weekend the ECCC season starts up with the Philly Phlyer, and with our solid preseason results we will be entering the fray with confidence and know-how.