Fun in store for this weekend at Easterns

Let's see what fun is in store for this weekend.

The TTT is decidedly not flat. It's full of these 100-foot climb false flats. As long as we're wary of those, and have people sag climbing as needed I think that our rotation should work.

Oh... wow. The Men's A race is 85 miles of this up-and-down nonsense. I know exactly where the attack will be: on the first climb. Do I have what it takes to keep up with the anorexic climbers?

This crit is flat and has lots of corners, just like the one at Nationals. It should suit me well. There is no advantage to staying in the pack, as it will just get strung out and take those corners slowly.

This looks like a great weekend of racing! I just hope the weather cooperates!

State College, PA:
Friday Night: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Cloudy, with a low around 52. West wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Saturday: Showers and thunderstorms likely before noon, then a chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 66. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Saturday Night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 47. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Sunday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 63. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Sunday Night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 45. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Race Report: ECCC MIT X-Pot

Another weekend, another TTT victory! This weekend brought unseasonably warm temperatures (in the 80s) and plenty of sunshine to Westminster, MA for MIT's very own race weekend.

The weekend was off to a great start, with Team MIT leaving campus at 0530 to host our own race. The team time trial (now with four riders!) won by 15 seconds, instead of our usual margin on the order of tens of milliseconds.

For me, the rest of Saturday was downhill from there. I had an incredibly stressful week. I got insufficient sleep, no riding, and had to fly across the country for on-site interviews (which I bombed). I also had a big problem set, an exam, and plenty of bike work to keep me busy. Add in a thorough reaming by my advisor(s), and a similarly bad week for Jane, and there was little I could do to be prepared for the weekend. On top of all this, I sat (baked) in the sun for two hours marshalling, running out of water in the process.

I built my Roubaix road bike with lighter parts, less aggressive geometry, and a compact crank for this weekend's hilly road race on bad roads. The bike, weighing in at 16.0 lbs, was comfortable. Unfortunately, the handlebars and stem that I chose are super flexy, making me nervous. Ultimately, I just was in a poor state for the road race. After getting dropped the second time up the 16% grade, I pulled myself from the race. Tim finished 3rd, his best result this season.

Sunday was a better day for me. The morning was stressful. I manned the most busy intersection on the course as a marshal. It took me and a police officer to keep people from driving onto the crit course, and we still failed.

The criterium saw me back on my trusty Fuji. I've taken its solid ride for granted all season, but it's an ideal bike for me. Jason Sears joined us in the crit, helping to mix things up. Once again, the race winning break took off without me, but I did manage to finish a somewhat acceptable 9th.

The real highlight of the weekend was exterminating UVM's points lead. MIT is the ECCC champion going into Easterns. Will double points let us pull away from UVM once and for all? Will we be a D1 school next year? Stay tuned!


Race Report: ECCC Dartmouth Weekend

We had a fantastic week of racing. We won the Men's A TTT by 80 milliseconds, with three riders and two dropped chains. I soloed off the front of the crit for 40 minutes in the cold and rain. I got caught, but scopped up a ton of omnium points. In the hilly road race, a flat prevented me from catching the race winning break, but Tim won the field hill climb for 7th. Jane raced her first bike race ever, and won the Women's Intro road race by over 90 seconds! We're now scrambling for the MIT race weekend, which will be nothing short of awesome.


Dartmouth Course Profiles

This looks like an amazing weekend of racing, and the weather is supposed to be nothing short of beautiful.

The TTT course will be a true test of will. The long flat sections favor raw power and aeroness, but there are two major climbs on the course that will test our ability to work together. I look forward to being the anchor that makes sure we go 60 MPH+ down those hills in full aero gear.

The crit looks short and fast. Lots of corners means that the pack will get really strung out, so I'll be relying on my strong cornering skills. There is a slight (3%) downhill going into turns 4 and 5. I just hope there are no crashes.

This looks like it could be the best race of the season. A long road course with some epic climbs. Where will the race-winning break happen? Who will drop who on those hills? I'm just glad that the weather calls for calm winds. The Men's A race, at over 70 miles, is long enough that nutrition is a huge strategic thing. I'll eat a big dinner for the next few nights!

Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 35. West wind between 3 and 10 mph.

Saturday: A slight chance of showers before 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Calm wind becoming northwest between 4 and 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 30. Light north wind.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 53.

Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 28.


Race Report: ECCC Yale "Lux Et Velocitas" Weekend

In summary: a mostly strong weekend for me. Cat 2 upgrade points: 7/25. MIT grows closer to being the top ECCC team.

This past weekend saw us racing in New Haven, CT, home of delicious Pepe’s pizza. Try their white clam pie if you get a chance. It’s quite good, well worth a 30 minute wait and riding in a rainy headwind with a pizza pie in your hand. (From experience.)

Saturday started with the last individual time trial of the season. This course offered climbing, cornering, and long straightaways. It really favored an all-rounder. I had a strong performance, the strongest TT performance I’ve had all season, to place third. I was just two seconds behind second place! Darn. The winner was over 20 seconds faster, so I still have some work to do.

The favorable morning weather turned to cold, rain, and wind for the afternoon’s circuit race. Our race was shortened to 90 minutes, which was still long enough to make me and many other riders seriously hypothermic. I decided to race with a rain jacket, which was a stupid idea. It made me less aero. I was working so hard to keep up with the pack, that I was toasted by the time the obvious race-winning break took off. I held on for a depressing 22nd place finish.

That race really took a lot out of me. I cracked yet another carbon tubular rim on the corners on the circuit – great, more money to spend. I forgot my rollers at the course. In general, I was just exhausted and cross for the rest of the evening. It’s no fun when you’re the only A rider and everyone else just wants to leave while you’re coming in from your race.

Sunday’s races were both late in the afternoon, giving me plenty of time to get homework done in the morning. The crit course was the bottom of the circuit course, so we were all familiar with it. In the Men’s A crit, I stayed toward the front of the pack and avoided doing work. I had a good, but not great, line into the finishing stretch, taking a barely acceptable 9th. As soon as that was done, I started warming up for the USAC Men’s 3 / 4 crit. I was absolutely spent from the Men’s A crit, but the pace was so slow in the second race that I just had to wait for the end. Repeating my first mistake, I had a poor line and, lacking a real sprint, got third.

I’m looking forward to the Dartmouth weekend coming up. There will be a TTT and a road race to really put us through our paces. I’m most excited about Jane’s first race. She’ll be doing the Women’s Intro road race on Sunday.


Yale Course Preview

Dear Yale, thank you for providing MapMyRide.com versions of your courses. This allowed me to export them as .GPX tracks. I can view them in Topo USA to make profiles, and in Google Earth to do flyovers. You saved me a lot of work. Of course, you drew the circuit race backwards, but I suppose no one is perfect. Sincerely, Jose

The ITT course, as viewed from above, looks like a squid. It's only four miles long, but those four miles will be painful. There are lots of rolling hills that only get steeper at the end, like a sinusoid multiplied by an exponential. I need to remember to attack the climbs super hard, and recover on the downhills. I'll be riding the lightest and most aero equipment I can find, incorporating some of my aforementioned optimizations (i.e. no chammy butter).

This looks like my kind of circuit race. The 4.3 mile circuit features a wall every lap, followed by a long, fast, curvy descent. (The descent is not as bad as it looks; Topo doesn't know how to deal with bridges.) Depending on the wind direction, that long road section on the west side of the course could bring the pack together. If the roads are narrow, then the terrain will offer strategic advantages. The finish of this race, after 2 hours for the A racers, is the last 1.3 miles of the ITT course above. Ouch. I'm more of a climber than a sprinter, though.

The crit course overlaps heavily with the circuit race course. Everyone will know the turns and the ideal lines really well, so I'm guessing this will be a hard, fast race. The slight uphill finish suits me well. The Men's A race, 60 minutes long starting at 2:25pm, will be ideal practice for the USCF 3-4 race at 4:30pm. I'm looking for Cat 2 upgrade points in that 3-4 race. It looks like a beautiful course, round and round around a park. I just hope that the roads are closed. With the yellow line rule, it's one narrow lane for the whole course. With the road closed, it's two lanes the whole way.


Race Report: ECCC Army Weekend

We welcomed the shorter than usual drive to West Point, NY for this weekend's racing.

The Team Time Trial was the first event this weekend. We fielded two A teams in an effort to see who was in contention for nationals. In doing this, we went in knowing that we would probably not do well. It appears that this was not the case: with good team work and a little luck, MIT's Men's A TTT teams placed first and third, with my team emerging victorious. We beat UVM by a tiny margin.

The circuit race and the crit were instances of deja vu. Once again, the race winning break took off without me. In the circuit, it was the usual Lipka/Frey/UVM/USMA combination that stuck. I got tired of braking on the descent, so I soloed away about two thirds of the way into the race. Steve from USMA bridged, and together, we took 7th and 8th. In the crit, I did not race intelligently, dragging the pack with me wherever I went - even when I caught Frey. The break that did stick was not the one I expected, so even though I followed my strategy, it did not work.

The hill climb time trial had its ups and downs. The ups included 750 feet of climbing, and me setting a new power record of 421W for 10 minutes, or a little over 5 W/kg. I could have gone harder, and with experience, could have done better. Tim beat my time by a few seconds.

It was an excellent weekend for the team, however. We placed first overall, and we're almost the top ranked ECCC team now. Laura Ralston had a perfect weekend and is moving up to the A's. I also outsprinted a train (photograph courtesy of Tony Laidig).