Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bikeman and the Battle at East Rock - Yale Lux et Velocitas

Bikeman ventures into the heart of the Battle at East Rock, where he fought his first fight....
Riding amongst the peleton during Sundays Criterium at East Rock Park.
UVM Cycling traveled to New Haven, CT to compete in this years edition of Yale Lux et Velocitas.  This was the first race I did last year with UVM, in which I fell off the back of each race.  This year, I was out to seek revenge only after sipping on coffee and devouring sandwiches at a nearby Italian Deli who supplied it's customers with the fuel of champions (fresh veggies, delicious meats, and wonderful pastries).

Smiles at the line.
Day 1 - ITT and Circuit - East Rock Park

ITT - All of the races took place in East Rock Park, a large rock which rose 500 feet from it's base.  The ITT, which was labeled a hill climb was a mad grind to the top of the rock.  Averaging 25mph in the first half before the climb, my pace dropped significantly upon entering the climb which resulted in a 23rd place finishing with a time of 13:05.28, just over 1 minute behind the winning time.

Circuit - The Circuit race became a more challenging race than I was initially expecting.  We did multiple laps which were essentially a mellow climb into a slightly steeper switchback, followed by a technical and fast descent.  There were no places where the pace really eased up like they would normally do in a circuit race.  From the start of the race right up until the end, the pace climbing was higher than I could sustain without having warmed up fully.  Usually one can warm up throughout the course of a longer race such as a circuit race, but during this particular circuit, I was popped off the back off the pack no later than midway through the second lap.  In an attempt to chase back on I further strain myself and finally arrived in Bonktown, where I rode out the remainder of the race with a 51st finishing result, a low for the season.

Grinding into the finishing sprint, a close contest to the line
Day 2 - Criterium - East Rock Park

The Criterium was set on a straightforward track with 4 corners and a long straight away just at the base of East Rock.  Going into the race I did not feel on my game.  My quad felt pinched and the bone spur on my right foot was already throbbing.  With the persuasion and support of my teammates, I decided to at least start the race and see how long I would be able to last.  Pulling up to the line I figured I would hang off the back, which I ended up doing for the first few laps.  I eventually made the choice to fly up the side after corner two along the straight away and try to make a break off the front.

My efforts failed and I ended up sitting on the front of the pack for 3 laps until the prime lap which sent me returning to the chase at the back of the pack.  Throughout the rest of race I managed to play in different areas of the peleton.  Going into the final three laps, I was hanging onto the back of the pack.  Eventually I decided to make a move at the same place where I had tested the water with a pull earlier in the race.  While I wasn't sure if it was the final lap, I asked a teammate how many were left to go.

A close call at the line.  Just shy of 3rd according to the results.
Upon hearing it was the final lap, I figured I had enough juice to raise the pace going in to the finish.  With a downhill sprint, I ended up crossing the line in a very close 4th place, a top mass start result for the season.

Shenanigans atop East Rock during the Mens A Circuit Race.
Yes.  That is a golf club.  It's a shame the shorts can't be seen.
Picture a rainbow puking.  That's what the shorts look like.
Overall, a great weekend!

Arc hard, ride fast, go plaid!

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