Saturday, 2:30 am. My alarm, to the tune of Katy Perry’s The One That Got Away, starts playing. My alarm clock soon wished it was the one that got away as I hurled it across the room in a fit of confused anger after being woken up after sleeping only 4 hours.
“Oh, it’s race day,” I said to no one in particular, realizing why I was up so early. I sat up in bed and vigorously shook my head. ”OH, IT’S RACE DAY,” I shouted to everyone in particular. I jumped out of bed, quickly dressed, and ensured that everything I needed for the weekend was packed. Then it was off to Somerset, NJ for the start of the season!
1.1 miles. Turn around. 0.9 mile.
Not much to talk about here. Did about what I was capable of power-wise and finished 32nd (of 42) with 4:51. Michael Garretson (Penn State) absolutely destroyed the course in 4:24. Insane considering he didn’t even race A’s last year.
After Saturday morning’s rude start to the season, it was time for the first criterium of the season! After taking advantage of the Rutgers student center facilities, I sat down to watch some racing. The course had three corners, the second being pretty rough pavement-wise, then after the third corner, a long slight uphill drag to the finish.
Notable races included the Women’s C race with Amanda Swords (Millersville) making a solo break from a long way out, holding off the field to win in style (and UD’s own Becca Gripp coming up with a very tidy 7th). In the men’s D1 race, New York University dominated the field in numbers and in quality, placing 3 riders in the top 4. We’ll all be expecting them to upgrade next week for fear of hearing the label “sandbaggers” become synonymous with their school.
Finally came the moment I was waiting for: the Men’s A criterium. Robin Carpenter (Swarthmore) of the Hincapie Development Team was always going to be the favorite to win, but there were plenty of other high-class riders present to make the race interesting and painful. Early on, a break of three, Brendan Rhim (Killington Mountain School, also current 17-18 Criterium Champion), Kevin Ordons (Pitt), and Joseph Reis (Vermont), formed.
I soon found that the long drag up to the finish line was into a significant headwind, making it difficult for everyone. That being said, that was really the only place to move up significantly on the course, so it you had to burn a couple matches if you wanted to do so.
They didn’t have a huge lead early on, so after 8 laps, I made my way to the front to try to get off the front with some guys and maybe bridge up. I got my opportunity pretty quick and got a very slight lead with Wyatt Stoup (Penn State, former ECCC Series) and a few others. The elastic didn’t snap, however, and I returned to the front of the field, pretty much on the limit. After another lap, I had had enough and drifted backwards. By some miracle, I managed to hang on to the back of the field and stayed there for most of the rest of the race. I got very dangerously close to being dropped a number of times, but I managed to stay on and save some of my pride.
Up front, Rhim somehow ended up on his own for a handful of laps. With only a few laps to go, Carpenter and Jeremy Shirock (Penn State) went off in pursuit. Because Penn State was doing pretty much all the work on the front for the second half of the race, once their guy was up there, the field shut down, and I was able to move up a bit for the last lap, sprinting for 26th (of 49). Robin Carpenter took the win with Shirock in second and Rhim holding on to finish off the podium. UD’s Eran Preble got a good result, finishing 7th.
I turned into Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino after the criterium, coughing up a storm as a result of my lingering cold. I returned home with the team, ate a milli calories, showered, and passed out. 7 hours later, I woke for the second day!
In the criterium, I averaged 25.6 mph with a weight average power of 252 watts for 55 minutes. My fastest lap was the last lap at 27.7 mph and hardest was lap 9 at 328 watts. Average cadence was 100 rpm. In the time trial I did 316 watts for 4:51.
Check out the coverage from Day 2 of the Frozen Toed Season Opener.