Race Report: ECCC Philadelphia Weekend

In summary: a disappointing weekend for me, but a good weekend for Team MIT.

Another all-too-familiar six hour drive brought Team MIT to Philadelphia, PA for a weekend of racing hosted by Temple, U. Penn, and Drexel. Many thanks to Max Feldman of U. Penn for hosting four of us, saving us a hotel room.

Saturday’s road race was on a familiar course for me; it was disappointing that the result of the race was familiar too. All of the people I marked as being likely participants in a breakaway ended up staying in the pack. In the second lap (of four), the attacks that formed the race-winning breakaway formed, and the pack did nothing – at all – to counter. At the end of the race, there was a pack sprint, which is not my strength. I knew in that second lap that the race was over; the rest of the race just became an increasingly irritating Saturday group ride. To be fair, I was spending too much time in the wind, and felt absolutely horrible. I suspect a mild stomach virus.

Sunday morning’s team time trial played on my strengths. The long, flat course was the first time that I worked with Guo-Liang Chew, Tim Humpton, and Mike Garrett in a TTT. We took the course conservatively, on account of the rain, and came in second place to Princeton in the Men’s A. I think we can win this race in the future.

The weather improved for the Sunday afternoon criterium, with temperatures in the 60s and sun. Frustrated by the laziness of the Men’s A pack, I joined the only breakaway in the race and stayed off with about four other guys for most of the race. Of course, none of the power sprinters were in the break, and – for the first time I’ve seen – the pack decided to work. We were caught, and it came down to a pack sprint, which is again not my strength. At least I put on a good show for 30 minutes.

After placing every weekend to date, this was a frustrating weekend of racing. I missed the move on Saturday, and got caught on Sunday. Oh well. I’m looking forward to more climbing and time trials next weekend at Army.