Check out our pictures from the season here:
Check out our pictures from the season here:
Every February, the ECCC releases the upcoming Road Racing schedule, and sprinters everywhere groan as they look at the names of the hills they’ll have to battle their way up next season; Names like Purgatory, Horse Killer, Stony Lonesome, and worst of all, Black Moshannon. I had a slightly different reaction: I like hills, I’m just not that fast going up them.
It’s kind of embarrassing, since we’ve got some great hills near Hamilton, beasts such as Eaton (short, steep, and punchy), Peterboro (steep and rolling), and Gravity Hill (switchbacks and a never-ending drag to the top). I like to think I know the roads in and around Clinton, NY pretty well, and I’ve grown to enjoy the various ascents and descents of the area. However, when it came time to start the major climbs of the ECCC, with the winter lingering on into a cold and wet spring, I wasn’t quite ready to take on the hills head on.
Things really started to go uphill in week 5, at the MIT X-Pot. Their Criterium had a bit of a hill with a stream running down the side of the road (I definitely rode through that a few times). Little did I know that this hill was just a little preview of the Hell that was to come. I really should have known better – you don’t name a road race Purgatory for nothing!
The Purgatory Road race took place on an 11-mile loop through the Purgatory Chasm and Sutton State Forest in Sutton MA. The last mile or so of the loop consisted of a soul-crushingly steep climb up to the finish. Those poor Men’s A riders had to climb it 6 times (I got away with 3 laps in the Men’s C field)! Passing right through elevation 666′, the climb certainly claimed some victims; there were quite a few DNFs on the day, and I personally saw a rider walking his bike up on the final lap.
Things only got worse for those of us who like flat roads and tailwinds at the Shippensburg Scurry. After a sweet Criterium on the Shippensburg University campus, the ECCC drove over to the Southampton Township Park (PA) for an awesome addition to the spring climbing calendar: the twilight South Mountain Hill Climb. I really didn’t know what to expect from a mass start hill climb event, since I’d never raced one before. Since we seemed to have lots of time, I decided to go ride my bike. I pre-rode the hill climb.
I got to the top in a bit under 40 minutes, really just taking my time and enjoying the scenery. After the two miles of flat prologue, the road wound its way up South Mountain, ascending steadily for about 4 and a half miles before flattening out for a charge up to the finish. When I turned around at the top, I started to see Women’s C riders making their way up for their finish. Uh Oh. I got in my drops and shifted into my littlest gear, racing down the mountain to get back for my race up it. By the time I got back to staging, my race was the next to go off. I quietly got in the back of the bunch and prepared to turn around and go right back up. Alan yelled “go”, and we were off again. Although I didn’t get to see the big climbers sprint for the win, I got to ride my new favorite hill all over again. Would I advise pre-riding the course? When the hill is that good, Oh yes I would.
The titular Horse Killer climb proved to be pretty aggressive in Sunday’s road race, taking out a large number of riders. With three short but painfully steep sections, the crowds turned out in droves to watch the riders battle their way up. My thanks to everyone who turned out to support the racers on that hill and especially to the guy who gave me a big push on my second time up the climb. I needed it.
With the close of the Scurry, we come to an absolute gem of the ECCC calendar, the Army Spring Classic. With a new road race course line up for Saturday and the always-awesome Criterium and ITT hill climb on tap for Sunday, it would prove to be another weekend for the climbers.
The Harriman State Park Road Race course certainly lived up to its reputation as an excellent venue for bike racing. With a never-ending ascent almost right after the start and some beautiful, rolling terrain (with roundabouts!) the race proved to be an instant ECCC classic. I have to mention the roundabouts again, since they made me feel like a Tour rider and were just awesome in general. We entered the first one by taking a sharp right coming down a hill before riding counterclockwise for about 3/4′s of the circle and exiting with another right. We entered the second one after a long straight section of road and navigated half of the circle before taking another right out of it. If anyone from West Point is reading this, please congratulate your volunteers. I have never seen someone perform a more enthusiastic gesture indicating that I take a right out of a roundabout.
Alas, the end of the road race meant that we were soon to face the pain of Stony Lonesome road. Many cyclists may not be familiar with this climb, since it ascends more than 700′ from the banks of the Hudson up to the West Point Ski Area on the military reservation itself. Suffice to say, it was a long ten to twenty minutes as riders fought their bikes and wished for a lower gear as they climbed to the top. Coming back down, we were all very careful to keep to the 25 mph on-Post speed limit. I haven’t heard that anyone got a ticket for going UP the hill that fast, but I certainly decided not to risk it when it came time for me to race. I stuck to a more sedate 14 mph average speed.
With the end of racing in Week 7 of the ECCC Road Race season 2013, we look forward to what’s coming right up. This weekend we’ll travel to Rhode Island for the RISD/Brown weekend, and then it’s off to Penn State for Eastern’s and Black Mo. I’m terrified of returning to ride up that mountain twice for my 40 mile road race. I’m thinking of the depths of the pain cave we’ll all be in on the second lap, as the leaders start their accelerations. I can’t wait.
– Brandon Wilson
ECCC Race Recap (3/2-3/3)
This will be the first of our weekly race recaps. I will be enlisting team member to write weekly guest posts, so you can expect a variety of perspectives on our ECCC racing season over the course of the next eight weeks. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, we are a fairly young team with seven new members, so right now we have riders in Men’s Intro, D, C, and A, as well as Women’s Intro, C, and B.
As most of you probably know, our collegiate road racing season began this past weekend in New Brunswick, New Jersey at Rutger’s aptly named Frozen Toed Season Opener (my toes were certainly frozen throughout the weekend even with my heavy-duty, wind/waterproof shoe covers). Temps may have risen into the 40s, but the wind-chill and lack of sunshine led to cold riding and spectating conditions. We even noticed a few flurries right before the Women’s A/B Crit on Saturday. I guess I’m basically trying to say that we, members of the ECCC, are pretty hardcore starting up our road race season in early March. Several racers ingeniously sported full, mummy-style sleeping bags while cheering for teammates alongside the circuit course on Sunday, and I have to admit that I was pretty jealous.
The weekend kicked off early Saturday morning at 7am with a flat out and back 2.2 mile time trial. Alex and Jamie placed 10 and 11th respectively out of 37 riders in the Men’s Intro field. Peter placed 11th in Men’s D, and Brandon and Ben placed 38 and 39th respectively in Men’s C. On the women’s side, Courtney placed 17th in Women’s Intro, and I (McKayla) placed 7th in Women’s B.
We ate lunch around 9am and got back on the bikes for a full afternoon of crit racing. Highlights include Jamie’s 12th place and Peter’s 19th place finish. I think most of us were just happy that no one crashed! On Sunday, we headed over to Jamesburg for the Thompson Park Circuit Race (this course was actually the Crit course last year). Courtney and Alex both placed 11th in their Intro races, and Peter rounded off his weekend with a respectable 15th place finish. I placed 6th in Women’s B.
Overall, I’d say we had a great first weekend! As a team, we’re ranked 15th out of 19 D2 schools (leaving ourselves with plenty of room for improvement as the season progresses). Major props to Courtney, Alex, Jamie, and Peter who all competed in their first bike races this past weekend!
We’re bringing another team of 7 riders to Columbia this weekend, so stay-tuned for our next race report early next week.
Photos by Ben Conley ’15
Ben just sent me this inspiring/absurd YouTube video. She can cook an omelette while riding on the rollers. Is this for real!? Maybe one day……
Just thought I’d post a short update on team happenings on this sunny snowy afternoon here in Clinton, NY.
First off, Louis Garneau is in the process of cranking out our new team kits. After spending the fall and early winter solidifying our design and sponsors, we’re all anxiously awaiting the arrival of our fresh new kits. If all goes accordingly in production, we hope to have them within the next four weeks – just in time for our first weekend of ECCC racing!
It’s hard to believe we’ll be heading off to Jamesburg, NJ in 24 days (yes, I’m counting down) for the Frozen Toed Season Opener. March 2 is just around the corner! We hope to ride outside as a team at least a few times before March, but who knows what the crazy weather of central New York has in store.
In the meantime, we’ve made the CoOp basement our team training headquarters. Our new team rollers are certainly testing our balance and skillz. I’ll admit that I’ve primarily been riding my trainer out of fear that I’ll crash my new bike or injure myself if I make a mistake riding the rollers. Ben and Brandon, however, are rapidly developing their roller techniques and strategies. I predict they’ll be attempting roller tricks by the start of our season.
We’re excited to welcome FIVE new members (Courtney, Lauren, Jamie, Peter, and Hunter) to our team this year! In total, we’ve got NINE members. Yes, we’re a small team, but we’re one person more than last year. At this rate, we’ll be larger than the UVM and Yale cycling teams in like….30 years. Watch out, ECCC.
Well, those are all of the updates I have for you right now. If you haven’t already paid for your kit or team dues, please do so before Feb. 18.
Questions, comments, concerns, roller riding advice, alumni wanting to sponsor???? Send your words my way: firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy (mostly indoor) riding!
Check out our indoor training set-up!! We’ve got everything we need: huge fan, projector, surround sound, and mirrors.
Join us next Wednesday at 7:45 pm in the multi-purpose room! You won’t be disappointed. We experienced some technical glitches near the end of the race simulation DVD (I left it out on my common room table all week and it acquired a few scratches), but fortunately Brandon and I have watched the DVD enough that we were able to recite, practically word for word, the last five minutes of the race, which included a 2 minute steady-state effort, 1 minute power interval, 1 minute hill acceleration, and 1 minute sprint to the finish. WE CAN’T WAIT FOR THE RACE SEASON TO BEGIN. T minus 3 months. Also, shout out to our newest team member, Courtney! Today was her first ride with us, and she rocked it. Woohoo for more female riders on the team. We expect the rest of the team to ride with us next week after they see this picture of how wonderful a set-up we have in the multi-purpose room.
The Hamilton Cycling Team is back in action!
We’ve been riding as a group three times per week since the start of the school year, and we’re happy to have a couple of new freshman who will be joining us for the 2013 ECCC road racing season, which is now only 6 months away! WE CAN HARDLY WAIT.
Yesterday, Brandon, Peter, Ben, and I rode to Colgate and back.
We took the long, scenic, hilly, back roads route (thanks, Ben – I know I complained, but I actually loved the ride) and enjoyed the absolutely gorgeous weather. Nothing beats sunshine and 60 degrees on a Sunday morning ride. It’s really starting to feel like fall here in central New York, which is perfect for long weekend rides.
On our way back to Hamilton, the guys ended up taking a detour to pass by more windmills. I kept riding and was going to meet back up with them on route 20, but ended up making my way into Waterville (somehow the cycling team always ends up in Waterville), and I finished the ride on my own – ending at 56 miles. I think the guys ended up finished around the same time/distance too.
This week, I’d like to make it back over to “Gravity Hill” for one of our team rides, but today I think we will ride something a bit flatter as we’re recovering from the long ride yesterday!
In other news, we are ordering new team kits soon, so please email me (email@example.com) if you would like to be part of our order! If you’re interested in purchasing a royal blue Hamilton Cycling tee-shirt for $15, email me about that as well!