Live free or Nug out. NH Race Report

This past weekend, RISD Cycling headed up north for some New Hampshire insanity presented by Dartmouth and UNH. George Coffin, Oliver Henderson and I got in our ballin' swagged-out Ford Expedition rental and headed out to George Dyment's home turf to see just how much punishment our legs and lungs could take. It is worth noting that 2 litres of McDonald's milkshakes were consumed as well as 32 McNuggets. We were "Nugg'd Out."

Before delving any further, I have to send tremendous thanks to Tiger and the whole Shaw family for hosting the three of us. Warm beds, hot showers and lovely company was cause for celebration. Not to mention, the entire family are world class athletes; staying in their home was very good karma.

Oh yeah and, Chappy. The greatest named dog in the whole world.

I'm not going to describe the gesture oliver was making here...

Anyways, we woke early for Darthmouth's Bridge the Ridge Time Trial and upon starting up the hill immediately wished we hadn't. There simply aren't hills in RI like there are up there, and our spirits were crushed. Somehow Coffin placed 12th in the D's, however, and I scrambled an 11th in the A's. Oliver rode up the last of the D's to go and put in a solid effort with a broken chain (!) for 16th. This ITT basically sucked, but was really fun, sort of...

The Crit was a whole different story. ITT lactic acid buildup was no issue for Coffin as he demonstrated incredibly strategic crit skills. After sitting 3rd wheel for basically the whole race, and two breakaway riders were off the front, he sprinted in the field for a points-earning 5th place!

George has decided his racing style is best suited for criteriums, and I have to say I was impressed. Oliver was gassed from the time trial and fell off the back. Though his racing effort dwindled, he entertained the crowds each lap with various confusing and/or ambiguous hand/face gestures as he crossed the line until being pulled.

My crit sucked. I played all my cards during the beginning of the race, going with every move like an idiot, pulling the field around and losing prime sprints for various poor-strategy reasons. I also missed the fact that Jamie Driscoll was in our race, so yeah. Coming into the final sprint I took the lamest line and got boxed in barely eeking out 17th place. It also was hailing during our race. so yeah, it sucked.

We got some Mai Thai in Hanover, grabbed a 6 pack and headed back to Tiger's house for some rest. We stretched, ate bananas and fell asleep the instant our heads hit the pillows, fearing the 2 hr rainy drive down to Strafford for UNH's Live Free or Ride Road Race.

George Dyment met up with us at the race, providing bottles, a fresh attitude and coinciding with the rain stopping, clouds parting and warm temperatures. Hat's off to all three of our D men for racing the ~40 mile race. Oliver and Coffin came around after the first 20 mi lap just off the back, Coffin shaking his head at me later came back to the car. He warned me of the crazy steep finishing climb and declared then and there he would only race crits. Oliver fought hard to get back to the group but would finish the last 10 miles solo coming in at 33rd place out of 55. Not bad at all considering he never rides his bike. Dyment of course rocked it, familiar roads for the NH native, he took 11th place, less than 40 seconds off the leader. Too bad there haven't been more road races for this guy to do. Very nice Dyment.

The A race was just insanity. at just under 80 miles, it would be the longest I have ridden my bike since before Rutgers and knowing that the Harvard duo was in the race, I wasn't expecting much. It's that strange thing about long races where 4+ hours in the saddle breaks down into like three or four memorable moments. I remember Eddie from Brown taking off with 60 mi to go thinking he's nuts. Then later at 20 to go when he was still away thinking he's a genius. I remember wondering if I was going to be able to finish the race when UVM was chasing the breaks down on the last lap. I remember my poorly-timed banana consumption, right before the biggest climb (belching noises). And I remember the pee breaks.

With Harvard's Stuart McManus off the front for the last 15 mi, UVM chasing like banshees and being completely out of water I held on for dear life. A selection on the last climb saw two UVM riders and Ben Grass from Dartmouth round out any podium chances. I put my head down and hung on to the group I was in, just hoping to roll in somewhere in the top 10. Lucky for me, on the roll before the finish, Chris Hamlin (UVM) attacked the small group with me on his wheel. I sprinted around him and up the hill to take 5th and was stoked. I'm not sure how this happened, but this placing puts me at 3rd overall in the conference. I can't even tell you how much I can't believe it. An Art School is kicking ass.

(insert picture of me drooling with bloodshot eyes at the finish)

A lot happened this weekend that was super funny and also super difficult. We learned stuff and we ate stuff. I'm proud of our team right now and can't wait for next weekend's Easterns @ PSU.