Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wells Ave- Final Road Race?

 Last weekend, Rock and I headed over to Wells Ave to race the A-race in the final crit of the year. The race was pretty painful and we knew that going in. We had gone to bed late the night before, which wasn't the best pre-race sleep schedule, so we knew going in it would be rough. Fortunately, we had our usual pre-race dose of Top-40 hits on the ride there and we were ready to go.

The race started fast and it never let up. After the second lap, they rang the bell for a muffin prime and the race sped up even more. These primes continued basically every other lap of race, which kept the pace high. It seemed like every time the race would settle down, someone would attack off the front and pick up the tempo. Rock and I both decided to sit and wait through the first 45 minutes of the race to save energy. There was no point going for prime after prime and tiring ourselves out early in the race. We were comfortable, even with the high pace, and our goal was to burn as few matches as possible and lead Rock out at the finish.

With ten laps to go, a group of 10 racers went off the front after going for a prime. This group included most of the strong riders, but I had held back on the prime to not waste my sprinting legs. I thought that the main pack would come back together after the sprint like it had the past ten times...but that is where I made my tactical error. I was sitting in the top 5 riders and I realized that the gap between us and the 10 guys ahead was increasing slowly. At this point in the race, I decided to go for it and I started to bridge. After a full lap in the wind I was 75 meters behind the leaders, but then the lactic acid build up took over and their gap increased to 100 meters, then 200 meters, and then I admitted to myself that I had missed the move and sat up to wait for the main pack.

After expending a lot of energy trying to bridge I knew the last 5 laps would be a trip to the hurt locker, but I had to get Rock to the finish. We came through the bell lap with me sitting 3rd wheel and Rock right behind me. Perfect position. The leader kindly pulled until the final turn where I took over and drove the pace home. I looked back to see Rock still on my wheel and I made my jump. As I did, we were swarmed with other sprinters and Rock unfortunately got boxed in. We crossed the finish line in the top 20 or so, but nothing to be completely excited about.

Even with the lackluster result it was still a productive race. We got in a 33 mile speed workout on a Sunday morning, learned from a tactical error, had a good lead out, and left completely exhausted. Once we get Alex back on the train this spring, we should have a strong lead out train to control the last couple of laps. Spring will be here in no time, as will the ECCC season, and we will be ready to roll. It was also a great race because my whole family, including my dogs, came down to watch, and then we went out to lunch to celebrate my dad's birthday and my parent's anniversary. That was definitely an enjoyable part to waking up so early on a Sunday morning.

Now that the road season is over my focus will turn over to long miles, rest, nordic skiing, and some cyclocross races. It is a personal goal of mine to field a strong Tufts team at cyclocross races by next season!

Keep riding,

Cycling Skills

Hey Folks,
This weekend we have a couple of great rides planned out for everyone. On Saturday, we are going to be doing a skills-focused ride and on Sunday we will have a group ride with our generous sponsor Dan Byrne.

Saturday will be the first of a few skills rides this fall. We really can't stress to everyone how important these skills are. I still work on these skills while riding or quickly after a ride even though I have had a lot of racing and riding under my belt. These skills are important for winning races, riding in the pack, and avoiding crashes. In a sport of high speeds and many unexpected variables, crashes are inevitable. Everyone experiences a crash or two, but hopefully these skills will help you master your bike handling skills so you can avoid the majority of sketchy situations. Trust me, you don't want to be the racer in the peloton that everyone is worried about...Alex has some first hand experiences with these types of people.

But anyways, don't be scared about crashing. I didn't mean to get you all worried. These skills are actually really fun to work on and they really do help! If you are exposed to these situations in a practice setting, you will be a pro in the peloton when you have to deal with them!

Things that we will be covering during these skills sessions are:
1. Bumping- so you won't freak out when this accidently happens in the pack
2- Bike handling- picking up bottles off the ground, crazy-cyclocross dismount balancing acts, bike limbo
3- Looking back safely in the pack
4- Braking- getting use to skidding and stopping fast
5- Cornering- learn to do it with more speed, safety, and skill
6- Pacelining
7- Descending- safely, aerodynamically, and quickly
8- Sprinting- you all want to win races right??
9- TT starts, TT turn arounds- great race situation exposure

Come out and have some fun and improve your skills. You will see the progress when you ride and race!

On Sunday, we are lucky enough to ride with the generous Mr. Daniel Byrne. He is the man who graciously funds our team, supplies us with aero helmets, tents and more!! Come out for a great group ride around some our favorite training roads. We will cover a new route this week!

Here is what you need to know:

Saturday. Skills. 2pm. Campus Center.
Sunday. Group Ride. Mr. Byrne. 1pm. Campus Center.

Hopefully we will see you all there!


ps: here are a couple of great cycling videos showing off bike skills (Tufts Cycling does not encourage the use of either of these techniques in races---they are not optimal):
Cav's Bunny Hop
Lance's Cyclocross Experience (poor Beloki)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Homecoming/Jersey preview

Two big things for this post, a look at our new kit design for those who haven't seen it, or incase you just didn't get enough the first time around, and our homecoming ride, Oct. 2nd from Grafton to Medford with our incredible alumni.

I'm a huge fan of how these jerseys are shaping up, logo placement and other clothing articles are in the works

Homecoming: Saturday Oct. 2nd Tufts Cycling will be continuing our tradition of riding from Grafton to Medford/Somerville with members of the Tufts Cycling Alumni community. What you need to know is that this ride is a lot of fun and we would love for you to join us, to do so please RSVP with me, alex at by Sept. 24th. The ride process will begin at 8:15 am across from cousins gym by loading our bikes and persons onto a bus, followed by a pretty easy (in both tempo and terrain) ride back to the undergrad campus, getting back in the early afternoon to tables of free food down on the J field. any additional questions can go in the comments section below or to my inbox.

Additionally, group rides are continuing throughout the foreseeable future Saturdays at 2pm. Thank you to everyone who has already come out, we've had some large groups out there, and I promise that the coming weeks will be at a more relaxed pace for those of you (self included) who one of our excellent team dad's Tom C. dropped this past weekend.

also, the Mayor's Cup is this coming Sunday Sept. 26th races start at 2pm, with the PRO 1/2 race starting at 5pm, and going on for 90min in downtown Boston. more info here and I hope that we can get a strong showing of Tufts Cyclist out there to see some of the best go at it right here in Boston.

keep riding,
Tufts Cycling