Saturday, November 20, 2010

First Take on the ECCC Fall Meeting

This weekend West Point hosted the ECCC's annual fall planning meeting, which aside from working out any potential rule changes and improvements at the conference level the 2011 racing schedule needed to be decided. I assume none of you are terribly interested in any potential changes to scoring in the men's D field I'll skip down to a summary of what lies ahead.

Rebranded as the Rutger's Scarlet Scurry the Central New Jersey School will once again be home to the season's first race, around about 7am March 5th, 2011. The races will be slightly different this year in that the bike path prolog TT is no more. Instead the weekend is shuffled around, with a potential ITT to start the season of 1 lap of the existing circuit couse, followed by the circuit race, then Sunday would be the crit, same parcours as previous years.

Columbia and Stevens grabbed the second weekend that will feature a late starting Grants Tomb crit (11am first collegiate race with USAC races proceeding) on Saturday and a brand new circuit course from Stevens, with an ITT planned for one lap of the same course (may be changed to add variety)

Weekend 3 of the ECCC season and the front half of the Tufts Spring Break sees the team down in Philadelphia for the long running Philly Phlyer. Our first TTT of the season and the circuit race to follow later in the day are the same courses they were last year, with the technical upper section and fast, flat stretch along the water making up the middle half of the course. The Sunday crit may be on the Temple campus, and failing that, will return to the Naval Yard, home of what may have been last years fastest and safest crit of the season (baised? ...yes)

Racing during the second weekend of our spring break will be at RPI who have three races on the docket but everything is pretty trivial when placed next to their 9, as in nine, one less than ten, corner downtown crit. We ask, why stop at nine?

Week 5, marks the start of the extremely difficult second half of the season in the best way possible, with the BOSTON BEANPOT! Boston University, MIT, and Tufts came together in an 11th hour deal to get on the schedule bringing together the Xpot road course, a medium length TT, and on Sunday, the Tufts Criterium. If that doesn't strick fear and great excitement in your heart, your haven't been in the ECCC long enough. Don't think this is a big deal, check wiki
We're pretty excited about this, and with the most infamous corner in all of ECCC freshly paved, This is going to be BIG.

Maybe the easiest april race weekend, once again running up against the pro/am weekend of Battenkill is Yale. Though I may be taking liberties with "easiest". The circuit has been changed to remove the busy road on the back side and replaces it with half of the rock climb, which adds a great deal of decent as well. The crit stays the same and the uphill ITT remains. Also in place is the chance to win the KOM jersey for crushing your cat. in both the ITT and circuit.

Despite loosing their bid for Easterns we will still be headed up to the Hell of the North for a Dartmouth/UNH co-hosted epic. Saturday begins at the Northern Ivy with a neutered version of their crit (no corner of death) and what is hyped up to be an incredible TT course. Sunday brings us to the other side of the Granite state for a long TTT at UNH which will be followed by a rolling road course around one of New Hampshire's beautiful lakes.

Eastern's this year was on paper a three horse race but it was really down to Dartmouth/UNH and our winners and torturers Penn State. You should start doing hill workouts now, is all I can really say. Frat row crit, rolling TTs, and what really will get everyone to drive all the way down to PA is the road course. Over 21 miles a lap gaining 1900ft each time around. Men's A will climb almost a mile and a half into the sky by the end of the day, with Men's B clearing over a mile upwards. AWESOME.

So 2011 sees more 4 race weekends, road courses take the second half of the season by storm, and two northern races. So keep climbing, and good luck.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tufts Cycling Kits 2010-2011

Hey Everyone,
We are very excited to present to you our new kits for the following year. Primal Wear has graciously worked with us for the past couple of months on dialing in these designs, and I must say they came out pretty fly. We are definitely going to be one of the best looking teams in the peloton this coming spring in the ECCC.
Here is a look at our jerseys, bibs, arm warmers and leg warmers (the only thing missing is the DZ nuts logo):

I just received the sizing kits today for Jerseys, Speed Suits, Arm Warmers, etc and I should be receiving the sizing kits for the bib shorts very soon. We need to get quantities and sizes out to Primal ASAP, so they can get a roll on production. Therefore, Monday night we will be having a meeting to try on the sizing samples. It is highly recommended that anyone who is buying kits this year make this meeting because there is nothing worse than kits that don't fit right. 

Remember, anyone racing for the Tufts Cycling Team this year MUST buy at least a jersey as it is the official uniform of our team for this year. Racing in last years kit is not allowed under USAC rules.

Remember: Meeting, Pearson 106, Monday, 9pm, sizing for kits

See you all there,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fall riding tips

A rather unfortunate fact of living and racing in New England is that our most important months as far as training is concerned, Nov.-Feb., are also our coldest and most dangerous to the unprepared cyclist. Riding inside is one way to avoid the chill of the fast approaching New England winter, but not going anywhere gets boring very quickly and there is no true substitute for miles on the road. In the intrest of keeping as many Jumbos out biking on the roads for as long as possible that I've brought together a couple of fall/winter riding guides for your enjoyment below.

Note, wind chill factor is exponentially more important when the initial air temp is lower so in the coming weeks and months look for the "feels like" or wind chill temps, and base clothing decisions from that value.

55+F, no special considerations required unless it's dumping rain outside, but otherwise not really in the span of this post

45-55F, call me soft but I like to have knee warmers on once the mercury drops below 50F, Also helpful are some light gloves and a scull cap. Long sleeve jerseys or short sleeves with armwarmers are important starting around 50F. Socks that are slightly warmer than your summer weight cycling socks are plenty warm for most rides in this zone (smartwool midweight cycling socks are perfect in my opinion)

40-45F Knee warmers, or if you get cold very easily leg warmers, should be worn on these rides. Hats, full finger gloves, and shoe covers are all good accessories, or in leu of shoe covers you can get the more economical over socks. (avoid toe caps as they are not very effective and couldn't be less pro) Long sleeve jerseys and a light base layer or a regular jersey and a light coat should keep you warm in these temps.

30s This is going to feel pretty cold, so layer accordingly. Legwarmers, full finger gloves, shoe covers, a hat/balaclava, are all pretty straight forward, the problem usually comes down to your core. Your base layer should ideally be wool or some high tech synthetic, wool trumps because of termal regulation and its effectiveness at getting sweat away from your body, but synthetics do the same things just a little more slowly (wool moves moisture away from your body while it is a vapor while synthetics can only transfer liquids). The second layer is a great place for a long sleeve jersey, warm, synthetic, and comfortable. The third layer, as needed, should be a jacket, and windproof is a great quality in a cold weather jacket since even 5-10 mph winds have a much greater effect on feels like temp down in the 30s and below.

20s and below, time to head inside for most of us. To comfortably ride in sub 30F temps all of the above for 30s riding is needed, with some augmentation. Namely, very warm legwarmers, shorts and or bib tights that will keep warm the parts of you your legwarmers/jacket wont. A high quality base and mid layer that are going to keep you warm.

A word on snow, forget your romantic notions of snow, this stuff sucks to bike in. Skiing yes, biking no. The day of/after a snow storm are great for going to the gym and lifting, and not for being "epic". (acceptable exceptions are of course racing and inspiring a generation of American cyclists, see below)

(photo from

If you care to spend the money you can certainly ride in very cold conditions without too much discomfort, but at a certain point it becomes cheeper and safer to buy rollers or a trainer, or cheapest yet use the schools equipment and ride inside.

looking for a more organized source for cool weather riding tips? try cyclingtips
prefer charts?

from a great cycling blog created and run by a Dartmouth/ ECCC alum

Finally, the Thor Hushovd Index of hardness
HI1: Only the Spanish are in legwarmers
HI2: Italians are starting to look a bit chilly
HI3: French riders start to wrap up
HI4: The Belgians and Germans start to feel the cold
HI5: Even the Danes and Norwegians are starting to suffer a bit
HI6: Thor Hushovd puts on a light jacket.

I rarely go beyond JF3/HI3 but if nothing else this winter

keep riding