A glorious end it was. Easterns at Dartmouth had sweet courses. I am still very upset about the failure to deliver on the promised water bottles...(promoters, take note, it is the little things that people remember!)
Though the courses were awesome, the weekend was to put nicely, a suck-fest for me. I was disappointed about the crit. I don't know what I was doing, except that I was not racing, or keeping up. The Frat-Row crit course is one of my favorite, especially "Carnage Corner." Not because people get hurt, but I just love riding it. Anyway, it was an epic fail. A bunch of the ladies I spoke with after the race asked, "are you ok?" "Did you crash?" "What happened?" I am thankful that they think I should have been riding better as well, but my only answer was that I was unable to keep up. I'll work on that.
Then at the staging for the road race, Pat noticed that my fork was broken...greaaattt! :( Jackie loaned me her bike, which I liked a lot... but was unsuccessful on.
So, I went back to Boston with my tail between my legs, took my last final and moved home to VT. I spent the next week thinking about Nationals, riding my mountain bike, and sleeping.
We had an epic Road Trip to Nationals, it was myself, Gregg and Katy. I will write a full blog and post pictures when I get home from Florida.
But to end with the ECCC, it was an amazing season. The intro categories flourished, as well as the Women's fields. I was proud to see how rapidly the level of racing increased, how the B women took no beef stomping on A's, and also, how many more spectators stuck on the sidelines to watch the women's racing. It was awesome!
So, I slacked off a bit. For a variety or reasons, or excuses, which us ECCCers love so much. But long story short, this weekend is Easterns. The best weekend of the season. Whether because there will be a banquet, one of my favorite crits, or because I am excited to see what kids will do to ensure they make a mark in everyone's memories until next year... I love Easterns.
Before I ramble about the shinanigans to come, Let us review what I have missed. 1. Bucknell 2. Yale 3. ARMY BUCKNELL'S BEAUTY: Oh what a weekend this was. The weather was awesome. All the lame kids stayed home because they thought it was 'too far away' or 'had to catch up on homework.' Please, you missed out if you were them, truly. The road race was a sweet course. The women's A/B field took the road race at a leisurely pace, but with the wind on the back stretch I was thankful. The final lap involved the only 3 crashes we saw that day. Yep, 3 crashes in a road race, in 9miles. What a day! This gave me the odd pleasure of my first real bike crash, unfortunately it was about 200yards from the finish line and I truly thought I had my real shot at a photo finish in this field. But... some ladies had other plans for me. Went down, but as Sully will quote me on "I'm GOOD at falling" We were going over 30mph due to the downhill finish, the girl slid across my wheel, I tried to hop over her back, but knew the day was over. My yelling endured by my friends showed this. Crashes are more frustrating than I had imagined. So I decided to seek revenge in the Crit on Sunday. I loved the layout of that crit. Great turns, off camber and quick enough that you could pedal out of sight. So I bombed off the starting line trying to get the break on the first lap. One girl looked right at me and said "It's the 1st lap are you crazy!?!" Lucky for her, I am, but not about that, it was the move that allowed her to be in the top finishes. But I bonked and suck fested the last half of that race. Poor me. Oh well.
YALE'S DREAM: Fun Fun times. The crow's nest commentating kept the day moving. The circuit was not my cup of tea. Well neither was my stomach. Nothing I ate stayed in, and I was always hungry. Nasty cycle, but I experienced my first DNF. It was a strange feeling. I thought I would hate it, but it was the right choice. Some may be angry or not understand why I wouldn't just finish and get the points anyway, but if someone was sucking as much as I was in that race... they don't deserve the points either. So good job to the ladies that killed it. Again Yale had a fun crit, flat and not as technical, but relied more on racing smart. This was going great until people decided to do everything you should NEVER do in a corner. On the 2nd corner going over the bridge, the women at the back of the pack tried to move up, unfortunately they missed Physics class or something, but they cannot move up on the inside of a corner because the pack is taking that turn already, so instead they have to a) Hit the pack b) slam on the breaks and play Dominos. Obviously, option B was chosen. I saw that one coming (Thanks to what I've learned from being/teaching Intro) and hit the breaks, missing the whole crash, but losing a place in the final sprint. All in all, frustrated but glad to stay rubber side down.
ARMY CHAMPIONS: Sorry, I missed this race. It is one of my favorites, not because I like climbing all that much, but because I like hearing everyone's excuses. Instead I went to Maryland to play in the NFHL (National Field Hockey League) Spring Tournament with my homeslices from NU. It was awesome we got 3rd out of 23 teams.... AND our goalie bailed on us. After a long weekend with a different crowd of people, I am excited to get back to bike racing and way less stressed out.
Sunday night was one of the best phone convos ever.... Maggie: Hey Boozer, How'd the races go? Boozer: OH my god... Katy... got 2nd! Maggie: What? Who won? Boozer: Some girl from Dartmouth... Katy beat Martha Buckley...AND Anna McCloon! Maggie: What!! Wow... Wow....whooooaaaa! NO, What? Wow!. YAY KATY! (Jaw dropped and stuttering) Ahhhhh the sweet taste of a teammates victory! Wish I had been there to see it. But instead, I ran to the sketchy liquor store that stays open past the legal selling time on Sundays, bought Katy a nice bottle of Champagne and had a rowdy celebration with the bike team.
Also, from stalking the results I noticed that a lady who previously raced intros this year has now gone on to WIN the Women's C race.... Congrats Carolyn!
Sorry there was so much talking and not enough pictures, but I must go pack my outfit for the banquet and someone remember how to ride a bike. Dartmouth, PennState and Steven's (09) Crit are my top 3 favorites... and I've been waiting a long time for some success at the finish line... wish me luck. See y'all in the AM.
For starters, Princeton and Stevens... hell of a job. Great races and toilet paper, so thank you.
A bunch of things happened this weekend that made me really really happy. But to keep me even, some things rubbed me the wrong way... few though.
About mid way through last week I was avoiding homework and stalking facebook when I got a notification from Miss Rose Long stating "are you going to Princeton Stevens?" This is where the great weekend began. Because this meant Rose was coming. Rose and I are a pretty good example of how biking allows you to 'make friends out of enemies.' Me being on Northeastern and Rose on UVM both racing mountain pinned us against each other, but at heart we're both Vermonters and have a common respect for 'getting rowdy.' This weekend was my first Road race with Rose and we started it with a win, leading out the crit for the first 100yards both yelling "we're winning!!!" and causing some hostile emotions with the more serious racers. As the race continued Rose and I held together in the same packs. My favorite part of the course naturally was the downhill, as I started sitting up and easing off on the hill to the start/finish Rose began to carry my ass, literally. I felt a bump on my hip, turned to tell some girl to watch it and realized Rose was yes, pushing me up the hill. So, thanks for the lift Rose. It was great to race with you on skinny tires.
Within that same hour, another great thing happened. Jess Kutz. Thank You. For the last few weekends it has been the same names holding down the Women's A races and I began to fear that a pedestal would form that eventually, no one would challenge. But Jess came to my rescue and pulled the mat right out from under that whole production. Pinnin it to Win it, my mountain biking home slice, Jess Kutz won the crit, with the rest of the field huffing in behind her. Way to be.
There was also Intro Clinic. Sully wasn't at the races this weekend so I helped out with the Men's intro too. Getting a flat tire (bummmerrr!) Anyway, Bruley recommended running a "Bump" Clinic. Which was the best idea, and ended up being a blast. I mean ramming into people on bikes with grass as the landing area, what could be more fun? The intro men and women keep on surprising me with their insightful questions and their continuous attendance, it is awesome. Having a real pack of riders to practice and race with makes intro much more beneficial. So thanks for coming out.
I want to give a little shout out to Allison from UMass, this girl has guts. She did the whole mountain season, after never having ridden a XC course and now she's a rock star in Road season too. Unfortunately she and Tia got pushed out in the left turn of the crit. They were Bumping and holding it up like pros and just ran out of road, luckily they're both okay, but I was glad to hear how much Allison had benefited from the clinics and her Mountain biking to be able to 'crash safe'. So, here we are: Allison rocking the clinic:
Plus the NU Women were rocking out, no so much myself but Katy is quickly moving through the points to apply for her A upgrade and hopefully we'll be sporting a sick group at Nationals this year, the first NU Road Team to ever go!! Also Ashley a new racer to the group upgraded from intro and although nervous managed two top 10 finishes in Women's C this weekend. YEAH HUSKIES!!!
So, I still haven't addressed the bugging issues. Here they are, I will try to keep as anonymous as I can while still being quite clear who was in error. 1. YELLOW LINE RULE BREAKERS! Really? It's bring Yellow, not that hard to miss, if you can't steer straight next to it, check your headset, it may need an adjustment, or maybe your brain. The yellow line rule is not just to limit space for passing and moving within the pack, that is the least of the issues. When racing on an open road and crossing the yellow line you are putting everyone else in the pack and in the Biking community at risk. Especially the girl, from an Institute of Technology located in Cambridge/Boston area, when on a hill drivers in the oncoming lane have limited sight, they fly over the hill and almost hit you, you swerve into a pack of riders, this is what you are risking. So like I said in our race, "Buddy, I'm not joking don't cross the yellow line"
2. People who cut the starting line. It's one thing to slowly weasel your wheel up a row, but to walk out in front of the whole field and try to back-in or reverse into the pack, oh... you've got to be kidding me. This was another reason I was glad to line up next to Rose, the girl who has done this every race so far tried to back in next to Rose and what was the response, "NOPE!" so, either show up on time, or get to the back, we were all standing in the cold while you were relaxing in a car or warming up, so beat it.
Other than that, SWEEEEEEET Weekend. Thanks, Maggie
OH right, y'all should pack up the cruisers and head to Bucknell because it is going to be the best Easter racing you've ever seen!
Hey All- You may think that this is going to be a instructional blog about how to achieve the top spot on the podium, or some hidden secret to creating huge muscles... but no, I am about to share with you something greater than the glory of winning a bike race (is there such a thing you may ask..yes, there is). I am going to enlighten you with the key to happiness: The Holy ECCC Packing List:
Towel (multipurpose: changing, showering, blanket, pillow whipping that annoying kid, distracting a bull)
Socks: Bring twice as many as you think you need, they are small and they get wet, and if your feet are happy you are happy. **I highly recommend purchasing battery powered heated socks, ask me at any race**
Plastic bags: for dirty/wet clothes, waterproofing your shoes, cleaning up trash, flying kites
Raincoat: two if you have them
Rainpants: dorky? VERY, but look at the people who wear them, Joe, Caitlin, Sully, Alan, Me....we are usually seen standing outside the longest too, get it?
Sweatshirts/Fleece/Warmth: again bring multiples, so that when you are done standing around and racing, you have a DRY one
Mittens/Gloves (Not biking specific): Just like your toes, happy fingers=happy you
Hat: you lose most of your body heat through your noggin, you've heard this since you are a little kid...it's true
Pants: sweatpants, jeans, manpris, leggings, jorts, shorts (get those tan lines ready).. pick your two favorites and go for it. You don't need a wardrobe, but a dry change/something to sleep in is all you need.
Shoes: your biking shoes, something waterproof (puddle boots, hiking boots...) and a DRY backup pair, because like at Columbia...GoreTex will quit, puddle boots will flood, and you need to call in the troops.
T-shirt(s): Some kids think it's cool to walk around in their jersey all weekend...here's a secret...Spandex jerseys with jeans...it's like wearing pleather (plastic-leather), it's not hot). So pick a sweet T-Shirt, it will define you, people will judge you, people will talk about it, you will be famous.
Your bike stuff: Kit, arm/leg stuff, shoes, HELMET (wear it whenever you're on your bike), Glasses, socks, gloves, bike, USAC License, Student ID, etc...
Toilet paper: when the Port-a-Potty runs out, you can make a LOT of friends and/or $$$$ if you have a secret stash. And always good to have for retaliation if you are pranked.
Homework: crucial part, we're all students, we all have work to do, but be realistic, you won't get 1/10 of what you want to or think you can get done, done. So MAYBE bring a book, or a notebook, or a stack of flashcards, but NEVER all or multiples, it is a waste of space and you will end up wanting to use it to start a fire to stay warm. Plan ahead, try to do it before or pull an all-nighter when you get back, you'll be happier if you pack a pillow, or a towel instead of that textbook.
Underwear: up to you, but a pair of Granny Panties to throw at someone could be funny.
Sleeping bag, pillow, toiletries: toothbrush, soap, chamois butter... Depends on where you are sleeping, or if you partake in dental hygiene.
Food: You will save money and you won't get nauseous from starving and having nothing to shove in your face, plus again... you can make friends and $$$$.
Sully and I were never good at dressing for the weather, our Dad used to make us wear our snowsuits to school, and then I would walk around in flip-flops when it was below zero just to show him up....(and you wonder why I need heated socks now). Anyway, we learned the ways of the wise and it all comes down to packing, if you are selective this can all fit in a small bag, I'll get some pictures for you.
Race vans/cars/weekends are a pigstye, try to prove me wrong. Every team has someone who is late for their start throws stuff all over the place, doesn't zip their bag stuff is all over the floor, you put clothes on the dash board to dry... you get the picture. So, another key to packing, is keeping it all packed/together. This saves you money cuz you stop losing one glove, or your shorts. It saves you time, because it is all in the same bag, if someone throws it out of the way, it all stays in the bag (because you keep it zipped). Try it, see what happens.
IF I have missed anything, please let me know... but this is a list that has worked for me, in all weather situations. -Maggs
Well it was wet enough Saturday to scare away all the ducks from coming out on Sunday. They must have been water logged in the Hudson. Anyway, hats off to both Columbia and Stevens for running some great races against some horrible weather. My toes are still thawing out from Saturday.
Women's racing blew me away this weekend. The category changes seem to be working out well. Women's intro on Saturday was insane. That was the worst weather I've ever raced in, I would have gladly taken a blizzard over that and yet we still had intro Women toughing it out to practice cornering and getting races under their belts. It was cool.
Joining the ranks of the Women's A terrified me, you girls are FAST. Even faster than you looked from the sidelines last year. I would have to ride my bike for 72 hours a day to come close to keeping up. But then... there is Anna McLoon... you are the wonder woman of the weekend. She raced in Men's B at the circuit, finished with the pack, turned around and took up camp in Women's A/B staging...I was jaw-dropped at that point. But that's not all. No, far from it. She went on to WIN the race. I only have one word: "Daaaammmmnnnn."
So women's racing has become very interesting there will be a close race for the Series Leader Jersey over the next few weekends, but for now I believe Anna McLoon will be keeping it in her closet.
Over and Out -Maggs
Oh P.S.: ECCC Women's Racing is so hot right now that even the New York Times took notice, yeah intro women, we got interviewed about what you are up to. Props, keep racing, see y'all at Philly!
Happy 2010! I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season, and that the cookies we all planned to avoid are sitting comfortably on love handles somewhere.
As is tradition I would say, the first days of January result in hindsight and foreshadowing. We reminisce on the days behind us and how quickly they sped by. Stupid things we did and the achievements we made. But now that the first week is almost over, my plans for 2010 or my 'resolutions' are put under deep consideration. Why? Because it is easy to come up with a list of every thing I hope to do, want to do, or should become famous for, but to actually stick to and achieve all of them may be, even for me... a far stretch from reality and bordering on impossibility. I was informed that the average resolution only lasts 23 days... they don't even last til February!
So, while reviewing my ideas for change in 2010, something quite elementary became clear. The age old saying, "actions speak louder than words" has always made since, but I needed to expand upon that; actions are greater than plans... instead of planing what to do for a resolution and putting it off on getting started or waiting for assistance it is time to do it- "JUST DO IT."
For example... road season will soon be upon us. I love biking, I love bike racing--well certain bike racing. I love mountain biking and I love crits. Road races are not my forte. I want to be good at them, I want to be able to breathe and pedal and keep my eyes open and not tip off my bike when I'm climbing up a hill... but sometimes it is just too much to multitask. So- as is obvious to most bike racers, training...training will help. I hate training. I fall off my rollers, I heat up our apartment, I don't have anything to look at, and training makes me hate living in Boston. But I can whine and I can stay slow... but then my resolution will only ever be a plan.
I guess what I am saying is resolutions and plans won't get you there, wherever it is you want to be. So I am not making a list this year, I am going to do one thing in each part of my life: Suck it Up.
For all of you, do the same. 2010 has the potential to be the best bike year of your life. Do what it takes to make that happen, suck it up. It may mean falling off rollers, breaking a bone, or even, yes...getting better at 'team shot gun.' But trust me, no matter what it takes it will be worth it. The ECCC is going to be a story at some point and believe me... you better have a good one to tell.
Let's go 2010.
Sorry- this was a random rambling--Suck it Up. Cheers, Maggie