Monday, March 7, 2011

Battle of the Scarlett Scurry Parts I & II

With dark clouds looming overhead the epic Battle of the Scarlet Scurry begins...

Staging for the start of the Men's Criterium.
Today marked the start of the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference racing series.  The first three races stretch over a three day period with the Time Trial and Criterium on Day 1 and the Road Race on Day 2.  For this particular RR, the format is to be modified in to what is being called a "points race."  Every lap, points are awarded to the top 10 until the final lap when point values are doubled.  The rider with the most overall points gains the win.

PART I - DAY 1 - Time Trial and Criterium

This morning, started at 5am.  With the sweet charm of multiple cell phone alarms, the UVM Cycling Squad lept out of beds, cots and sleeping bags to awake to the call of the Scarlett Scurry.  Chamois' butt'red, and bottles filled, we arrived earlier enough to the Rutger Registration that USAC Officials had not even arrived to set up check in.  Collectively, UVM Cycling won the race before the race.

Before entering onto my own results, I would like to celebrate the virgin voyages of multiple riders on this fine and mostly sunny day.  While our results did not stack up to wins, UVM Cycling posted a strong showing of developing talent.  A tiger in it's cage so to speak.  For puns sake, a catamount in a cage (this terrible joke brought to you by BaDJK, a not real organization specializing in terrible puns and acronyms).

Time Trial - A time trial is an individual race against the clock.  Similar to ski racing, the fastest time wins.  I was once told by a teammate, "you know you've done a good time trial when you have absolutely nothing left in the tanks once you cross the finish."

Today, I rode my races with the intent to stretch my legs and gauge my strength.  With all the training done recently, I was curious to see how much it had all paid off and whether I would be in the same place I ended last season, or if I would end up slightly ahead.  Before I reveal any results, I would like to take some time to reflect on the results from last season, where I was pulled from, or DFL at every ECCC race I entered whether it be a ITT, Crit, or RR.

This season I am proud to say I ended up posting a 15th place result in the Time Trial with a time of 4:54:34 over a 2.5 mile course, a personal early season best.  While I did not collapse at the end of the TT, I am happy with the power I put out through the duration of the TT.  However, I also know where I could have exerted much more power.  Today being the first day on the FLAHUTE, as well as the first day back on the road, I am glad to say that I ended the TT with a good amount of energy left in the tank.

Arcing through corner four of the Crit.
Criterium - Criterium racing is a skill held by the balsy and sometimes stupid.  A high speed event which entails high speed cornering while surround by multiple riders of various cycling skills.  This is by far, one of the most entertaining events to be a spectator for.

Similar to the TT, I entered in the Criterium with the intention of stretching my legs and getting the feel of my bike.  While my field of competition was certainly not the fastest, it was potentially some of the most nerve racking racing I have ever done.  While I cannot attribute the fault to any rider in particular, on two separate occasions, was I either nudged off of the main path in to the dirt where I had to fight for my way back on to the road.  It was at this point, multiple teammates were nudged off of the main pack and pushed in to the chase pack for the remainder of the race.  On a separate occasion, a rider was pushed in to my by the wind.

Attacking with four to go in the Crit.
After two near race ending crashes, I managed to stick with the main pack for a 26th place finish.  Despite the pot holes, gnarly sand coated inner corners, and disgustingly strong wind, the track was demanding of mental and physical partnership.  Where you placed yourself coming through corners determined the amount of time spent in THE PAIN CAVE.  Being so early in the season, I put on the hurt and sent others in the main field to the cave de pain with 4 laps to go.  With no help on the far windy stretch I sat up and reserved energy.  In my mind, it is still base building season.  That said, I figure it's either a little glory now, or a lot of glory later.

PART II - DAY 2 - Points Race

The format of this race was very different from any other race I've done in the past.  In a points races, there are points awarded to the top four to cross the line.  This is similar to criteriums in that there are Prime laps which award points to riders and can be tallied to determine a sprint leader within a series.

Entering the pain cave after not warming
up before the Points Race.
Going into the points race, I was not mentally prepared for the current miserable rain conditions.  My 36th place result is completely attributed to my mental and physical preparedness for the race.  While I consider myself to be in decent physical condition, I did not take the proper time to warm up or stretch any part of my body.

As a note to those who are at any point in your racing careers.  Always warm up in some fashion that allows your muscles to be fluid enough to drop the hammer at any point in the race.  This can be accomplished in a number of ways.  My personal choice is a 35 minute trainer spin session with intense intervals every 5 minutes for a duration of 2 minutes or more.  To follow this up, I stretch out key biking muscles to relieve any tension and work out lactic acids from previous days.  Warm ups should start an hour before your race.

From here, we move as a team to Beech Mountain, North Carolina to train during spring break.

Arc hard, ride fast, go plaid!


  1. Sounds like a blast!

    Keep the rubber side down!

  2. Thanks Jared! Be sure to check out the update on NC training. We climbed 2069ft in elevation today in 20 mile ride.

    Hello pain cave!