(USAC) Weekend Recap: April 16-17, 2016
We hope you enjoyed yesterday's coverage of the Rasputitsa gravel-grinding adventures! But don't think we've all jumped ship and bought 700c x 40, hydro-disc, 1x11s, thru-axel, gravel-grinding machines! Sure, some of us have. But we also still like to race those other, maybe more familiar types of bikes: road and mountain. Here's a short recap of the weekend's exploits:
Muddy Bunny TT
Mike and Ian went to the Muddy Bunny MTB TT at Al's in Rhode Island. The idea of a mountainbike time trial - conceptually similar to riding an all out effort on the trainer while someone whacks at your shins with dowels wrapped in stinging nettle - would be a non-starter save for the attention the King of Spring TT series organizers gave to course design. The trails (so far, at Al's and Freetown) are top-notch and a legitimate challenge technically as well as physically. These races have been a great way to get tuned up for a long season of New England (and beyond) XC racing.
For this particular event, both Mike and Ian were on unfamiliar bikes - Ian on his new race machine and Mike on a borrowed rig (thank you Dr. Matt!!) The course was 8 miles long and had between 850 and 980 feet of climbing, depending on whose Garmin you asked. The technical sections were quite demanding, requiring a conscientious combination of good line selection and old-fashioned body english to maintain forward momentum.
Ian, dealing with the lingering effects of a broken face and a sudden onset of mechanical issues (seriously, threaded plastic?!) chose to ride the course more to build skills to prepare for his first-ever Transylvania Epic than to go all-out and chase a result. Mike, on the other hand, pursued a decidedly more Mr. Toads Wild Ride approach to his run. Unfortunately, he discovered that Shimano - though most excellent performance-wise - had just enough functional differences from SRAM to cause significant consternation when selecting gears. It didn't help that he was chasing local MTB legend and always-personable Mr. Neal "this is why Mike stopped eating ice cream" Burton.
In the end, Mike and Neal ended up on almost even terms - with Neal edging out a handful of seconds for the win.
Thanks to the all the folks who put in so much time and effort to give us an early-season series to sharpen up our skills and get psyched for a truly incredible summer schedule. The King of Spring series wraps up on May 7th at Diamond Hill, which is also the day of the first Kenda Cup. Which means Mike is going to have a very, very busy day.
ECCC - Army Spring Classic
Saturday was the ECCC Harriman road race hosted by Army. There were six B2C2 members racing in all. Racing started in the morning with Women's C where Tess put up a top 15 result. In the afternoon the rest of the B2C2 collegiate squad hit the road. In Men's B, Brandon notched a top 20 . In the Women's A field, Jen and Anne were working together to get some points for MIT and saw some great success, finishing 6th and 7th respectively. In the Men's A, Nick and Kenny saw two riders sneak away, but managed to survive till the final lap with a reduced field. Nick made the gamble of matching moves on the final lap, while Kenny made the gamble to stay hidden in the back of the field. In the field sprint Kenny's gamble paid off and he was able to log his third straight 5th place finish while Nick grabbed a top 15 result.
Sunday was the Army Crit where a reduced squad of five B2C2 members took on the Men's C, Women's A, and Men's A races. Espo used some impressive pack skills to stay upright in the Men's C field. In the Women's A the MIT duo had another great day with Jen cracking the top 5 and Anne repeating with another 7th place finish. In the Men's A race, Nick and Kenny raced hard but in the end were too soft to take the risks needed to be at the front of the field. Next week is the finals ECCC race of the season hosted by MIT, and where we're hoping to see many of our collegiate (and not) riders shine on a "home" course. MIT is kind enough to cater to us elders, providing a Men's 1/2/3, Men's 4/5, and Women's 3/4 race at their Turner Fall Criterium! Registration is open here!
GVCC - Bloomfield
Despite the plethora of racing options in New England, Preston and Lydia opted to travel a quick 400 miles all the way out to Rochester, NY to race in the Bloomfield Spring Classic. After last week's lack of results, both were looking for a little something more to show for their winter training efforts.
Lydia, for her part, decided she was going to have a smart race and do the minimum amount of hard pedaling necessary to get a result. Unfortunately for her, the "neutral" start featured a rather lead-footed pace car, some good hills, and watty ladies to drive the pace. By the time she reached the START she had already logged her hardest 5' effort of the entire day. Then the race actually started and she was able to chill out for a bit, using lap 1 to fully recover and do a little course/rider recon. Lydia tried testing the water a bit on lap 2, but the field would have none of it and promptly shut down her move. ("Thank god, that was hard.") Promptly, back to more chilling in the pack. On the final lap, two of the strongest ladies - Chelsea Knapp and Christine Shryver - managed to get off the front. Cognizant of her time off the front in lap 2 and the sheer power in the legs up the road, Lydia opted to stay with the field rather than bridge and blow up. Better to just get as much rest as possible and take what remained of the field to the line. Which turned out to be a great strategy as she was able to LIGHT IT UP and take 1st in the field sprint, 3rd overall - good for a spot on the podium. And certainly good enough to vanquish the haunting, windy ITT of an experience that was last Brumble.
Preston decided he would try last week's tactics again, except this time hopefully not miss his group. Things started out fast, as they did last week, and a group was off the front almost immediately. Again, his thoughts on the matter were, "LOL - 100k TTT's. NOPE". That small group stayed in sight for a little while, but eventually pulled out to an almost 5 minute lead, meanwhile everyone else was simply racing for 4th. A little more than half way through a "chase" group of four riders formed. This time, Preston was able to spot the move, get into position when it appeared to stick, and bridge across. And to make a long story short he was able to stick it out with that group, nabbing 2nd out of five, good for 5th place overall. Not quite on the podium, but certainly well within the uhhh, WIDE-angle podium.