Season Opener

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Race Season Starts!

This year’s ECCC race season was kicked off in Nyack, New York this past weekend at the Columbia Rockland Lake Circuit Race. All was well and good on Friday evening when seven of us piled into the van and made it to our swanky destination (a Best Western complete with world renowned cheesecake and cheeseburgers, not to mention a disco dance party), but come Saturday morning, things were starting to look a little rough. Throughout the day, the RISD van was no stranger to old (and cold) friends looking for a sanctuary from the chilly weather.

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With a constant, steady rain throughout the day and a chilly temperature reading of 38 degrees F, the day ahead did not look too promising. No matter! Women’s C/D was up first at 9:40 am, and Lizzie, Yueping, and I were eager (nervous may be more accurate) to start our first race as RISD team members. Lizzie and Yueping held their own amongst the combined groups (despite a small chain mishap for Yueping), while I was dropped on a climb before the last lap. C’est la vie.

13 - Lizzie - 50:02

15 - Yueping - 50:47

16 - Tia - P&P

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Next on the team’s roster was Men’s B, where Brian, Nik, and Henry had their go at the rain and mud. This race being 33.3 miles, the boys got extra exposure to the steady stream of rain water and gravel. Regardless of the elements, though, the course proved to be a fun one with great views and a steady pack, though Nik found himself ending with six broken spokes from a minor crash.

11 - Brian - 1:29:05

DNF - Henry (I’m assuming he cramped up)

DNF - Nik (wheel of misfortune)

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And last but not least, Men’s A proved to be a great ride for Jules. Though the race was shortened to 90 minutes from it’s original two hour length, the group had its fair share of the terrain as well. No one was spared from the post-race-mud-mask.

4 - Jules - 1:41:38

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So ended the first day, and by that evening we were in New Jersey, enjoying late night junk food and washing our muddy kits and socks for Sunday’s race.

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Another Criterium race, Sunday found us completing a one mile circuit on Rutger’s campus. With significantly less potholes and no sign of rain, this race was already looking to be more manageable. Everything really came down to the flats in such a short course, and lapping did occur, as well as placed sprints in each race.

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In Women’s combined C and D, I was once again dropped earlier on but finished with the others this time. Lizzie held strong with the pack for a good while, and Yueping held tight with the pack till the end (she was also able to place 4th in the second sprint—way to go Yueping)!

7 - Yueping - 31:58 (1 point)

13 - Lizzie - 1 lap

16 - Tia - 2 laps

Once again, Men’s B gave Brian, Nik, and Henry a good run through the 21.6 mile race. For the whole of the race, Brian and Nik remained in the top 10 keeping their pace towards the front of the pack. And though Henry was pulled, he made sure to get in his work-out, going hard on the trainer for the remainder of the race.

5 - Brian - 51:05

10 - Nik - 51:05

32 - Henry - P&P

The Men’s A race of 24 miles ended up with a strict divide of a five person breakaway group, the pack, and two groups of three that fell behind. Holding steady for the entirety of the race, it proved hard for any other breakaway groups to form despite Jules’ best efforts, and in the last pull the leading group lapped the pack as a whole.

10 - Jules - 1 lap

Overall, the weekend proved to be a great start to the 2015 ECCC race season. Us newbies got a good first taste of the racing world, while the hoards of stolen fruit, muffins, and bagels stolen from The Met kept us all fed throughout the three days of travel and racing.

Looking forward to the races that lie ahead for RISD Cycling!

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Rides&RacesAlec Babala