Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Army Spring Classic 4/17-4/18 (For Real)

After Blogger ate my last post, here's my rewrite.  Two drafts never hurt anyone!


Up to the beautiful hills at West Point, NY, the United States Military Academy for an excellent weekend race put on by the great Cadets team.  The weather treated us pretty well and because we only had B Riders- only Garrett, Justin, and I made it out to ride for the weekend, we decided to drive up on Saturday morning.

This did not work out as planned.

Though we arrived with a decent amount of time at the race course, our warmup time was unfortunately compressed; we got back to the parking lot and a frantic F&M rider let us know that the race was starting.  Bummer!  I had to make a late bathroom break of course, which left me chasing the field.

HT: Chatura Atapattu of drexel for pics!

That may look like a smile, but it's not.  Fellow Lenape Valley Regional graduate Gina Denunzio cheered loudly as I climbed the hill by myself a few hundred meters behind the field, and I was heartened to see friend of the team Aaron Horvath jump in and join the race late... but it wasn't meant to be on Saturday.

Justin and Garrett fared much better, making it only about a hundred meters behind the race and catching the pack, working solidly through the race.

New friend of the team Stephen Wright of Hamilton won the race in spectacular fashion, staying away for the whole race because of his anger at the field!

Let's get this kid some glasses!

Garrett and Justin maneuvered their way ti 18th and 28th place finishes, respectively.  Not too shabby for a late start!

And at the end of the day, what the heck is cooler than a Hummer Pace Car.

Maybe only Garrett visiting Orange County Choppers HQ!  And also, a team dinner at the Junkins Residence.  Ray, a great friend of the team and leader of the Stevens squad, had a great dinner for us at his house near West Point.  Many Thanks!  And congrats to Kim Junkins (Ray's Sister) from Syracuse for her intro class win.


Expanding our Northeast Diner Tour at the Neptune Diner near Newburgh, NY.  Kudos to Ali, Garrett's girlfriend, for sticking it out with us this weekend!

A beautiful day at West Point for a climb up Stoney Lonesome.  Justin and I rocked out on the Hill Climb Time Trial.  In much pain, I finished 7th in the trial; not so bad.  Justin (and season leader Max Korus) pulled a James Miceli and took a wrong turn on the way up, oh well.  Of course, good friend Aaron Horvath won the time trial; that man is a glutton for pain.

B Criterium

After saving himself from the HCTT, Garrett had a spectacular performance in the criterium.  The Army course is one of the best for viewing; from a spot on the hill a spectator can see the entire course.  With the train in the background and wide turns, the course made for great racing

Garrett and Justin worked well together to net a Villanova presence in every single prime, like myself and Garrett at Yale- a solid effort.

I jumped into a breakaway that tried so hard to stick, but it just didn't happen.  I was extremely burnt up from that hill climb, and I have something weird going on with that course; after being whistled in a driving rain storm in my first D race there four years ago, I think the West Point crit got into my head.

A great race by Justin, for sure; hard work net great finishes- 11th place!

Garrett jumped into a remarkably well formed Army train right at the end of the race for a stunning second place finish, maintaining his lead in the Division 2 B class ECCC rankings.  Very Well Done!

And last, Kudos to friend of Villanova Nick Garcia of West Point, who rode a great leadout train to victory.  A great weekend put on by the West Point squad shows why it's the longest running collegiate race in the country.

Thanks for making this post work, blogger!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Army Spring Classic 4/17-4/18

Blogger exploded my post!  Something about "double editing."  Just as I finished it.  Argh!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yale University, 4/10-4/11


There it is, the site of so many emotions for Villanova Cycling this weekend.  Yale University set up a great race at East Rock Park in scenic New Haven, CT.  And Romeo and Ceseare's market runs a great deli in New Haven.  Villanova Cycling collectively dropped about a hundred bucks on the most delicious subs and fine Italian confections and lusted after a 5kg ($60) jar of Nutella on numerous occasions this weekend.

Hill Climb ITT

The weekend began well for Villanova Cycling.  Look at this guy trucking up the rock!

Those long intervals on the trainer this winter added up to a win for Rob.  The course was moderately un-hilly for the first two thirds, and then a grinding but quick ascent to the top of the rock.  Beautiful views up top!  I was a quick five seconds behind Rob, leading to a personal best fifth place finish for me.  Garrett and Justin did well also, finishing 21st and 27th respectively in a field of 49.  Joe finished 25th in a monster field of 95, and Will Kavanagh worked hard to finish 13th in his second intro experience.  Villanova made a strong showing as usual in the time trial!  

Circuit Race

Joe led off the day on the intense Yale Circuit course.  Racing around the grounds of East Rock Park, it seemed that the roads had taken a beating with the winter snows.  The weather was wonderful Saturday, a stark contrast from the rainy madness of a year ago.

(HT to Chatura Atapattu)

Joe maintained good position throughout the race, netting a 9th place finish and a point for Villanova Cycling.  

Will Kav had another solid effort in the intro field.  Unfortunately, a bum ankle kept him from finishing the race, but with some key stretching, Will should be able to take intro (and beyond!) in the future.

"What's the Gap!?"  Unfortunately Rob got a flat tire on Lap 1 of the B mens' circuit, so we couldn't send him to the front for the climb up the Rock to the KOM jersey.  Justin, Garrett, and I navigated our way through the race, its potholed course causing us (and our bikes) much pain.  Garrett and Justin caused the field a great deal of pain by taking monster pulls off the front.

The course diverted from its normal loop on the last lap to a climb up to the top of the rock, same as the time trial.  We raced up its curvy course, pounding our way up to the line, me leading the pack.  Near the top of the hill, with less than a hundred meters to go, a group of fans stood in front of the sign directing the field to the right.  As I led, I had no idea which way to go.  No marshal from Yale was present to direct me.  As such, I veered left instead of right to the finish line, and picked up a flat tire among some grass at the finish, leading me to a disappointing 19th place finish.  I saw that KOM jersey slip by... but that is racing, unfortunately.  Garrett and Justin finished 33rd and 43rd respectively.  The efforts of Villanova Cycling were not commensurate with finishes on Saturday... but Sunday is a new day.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Bucknell 4/3/2010

You're looking at a set of TTT winners right here.  By 19 seconds.  Heck yes.  After a nice night of sleep at the All Suites Inn, (replete with in room kitchen), we showed up nice and early at the dusty parking lot of the Bucknell Race Course in Central PA- lovely Mifflinburg.  I wasn't feeling too great before the start, but just focusing on short, complete, powerful pulls, we rode up and down the 12.1 km course.

KM you ask?  Yes.  Villanova Cycling has switched over to SI units in honor of our European Cycling brethren. Also, it makes you feel faster.  25 MPH no longer- now you're rocking out at 40KMH.

D Road Race

The course wound around a farming area near Bucknell University, by Amish farms and what-not.  The course had rolling hills and one moderate climb that made for pack racing and bunch-sprinting.  The finish was a bit sketchy, a somewhat narrow straightaway with a slight downhill, leading to a fast and furious finish.

Joe Pawelczyk led off the day in the D road race, netting an impressive 5th 4th place finish.  He held off challengers throughout the course, and maintained position at the front of the pack throughout the race.  Experiencing no contact lens difficulties, Joe saw his way through the pack to a great finish.

B Road Race

Powered by the presence of girlfriend and "Race Mom" Katie Beringer, and our bravado, Garrett and I convinced Justin to put in his upgrade to the B class for this weekend.  FOUR VILLANOVANS IN B!  Did anyone ever think it possible?

After much discussion of team tactics, we decided that we'd attempt a breakaway mid-race, working together as a team to make it happen.  Early in the race, a Penn State rider, who eventually won, broke off the front.  We maintained the gap at 20-30 seconds for a lap or two (each lap was 15 km, 75 km total race), but after lap 3, the time trialing, triatholon-ing leader had rode away from the pack.  As such, the race sat up until the last lap, until I took a monster pull off the front, for 10 km.

I wound my way down the backstretch and onto Dice Road in the front of the pack, pulling at 42.5 kmh the whole way, putting the hurting on the pack (and myself).  While this effort netted me a 13th place finish (and 14th for Justin in his first D race, Congrats!), Garrett and Rob turned the effort into 5th and 7th place finishes- a solid effort after a long day of work.  As we drove home in our rented Enterprise van along the Susquehanna, Garrett and I calculated- 6 hours on the bike on Saturday.

And I wouldn't rather be doing anything else- beautiful day, fun racing, and a great team.  Ride Bikes.  Fast.  Villanova Cycling.