This past weekend was one of my favorites of the season, the Army races. The team finally got a chance to experience the Harriman road course, something we’d never had the chance to race (it hasn’t been run for the last 3+ years) but a course that our coach Jon, along with many other in the conference, peg as the greatest road race in the conference. It certainly lived up to the hype!
The road course was a 13+ mile loop (our various speedometers/Garmins/internal compasses disagreed on the specific length, though it was almost certainly longer than the listed 13.3 miles). It began with a screaming downhill with a 180 degree turn at the bottom. Then racers were faced with a 3 mile, 600+ foot climb which blew apart the races (separating the men from the boys, especially in the lower categories). The rest of the course was more or less rolling, though it featured a significant set of rollers in the miles before the finish. It was certainly not a course for the timid, but was absolutely gorgeous, located in Harriman State Park, with lakes, rivers, woods, and wildlife.
Men’s D2 (2 laps) – We brought a full D field with Eric, Josh, and Adam (first race back from his fractured foot). They all rode strong races. Eric was riding with the guy who eventually won when he crashed at the bottom of the big decent. He and his bike were both a little banged up so he didn’t end up finishing, though fortunately both were okay for Sunday’s races. Adam and Josh turned in strong race, finishing 21st and 23rd, respectively.
Women’s C (2 laps) – I (Becca) finally had another teammate, after Holly’s premature end to her season with a broken collar bone last month. Nicole made it to her first collegiate race, with the goal of not getting injured (as a really good varsity squash player, she has a bit more pressure not to crash than your average racer). She surpassed that goal and more, taking 2nd in the road race in a breakaway win, though she does need to work on that sprint. I got dropped on the first climb but finished out a very beautiful road race.
John in the road race.
Men’s C2 (3 laps) – John was our lone Men’s C representative this weekend, as Tanner upgraded to the B’s. He rode a strong race, finishing 24th in the C2 field that broke apart a lot, getting intermixed with the B’s that started up the road from them. His orange helmet is pretty much perfect, thinking about making them a required purchase for everyone next year!
Men’s B (4 laps) – David, Anthony, and Tanner came up just for the famed road race. In his first B race, Tanner made an impression, hanging with what remained of the peloton for most of the race, eventually ending up in the second group at the finish. Unfortunately, there was a finish line crash in the first field of finishers that neutralized the rest of the race before the finish (the guy who crashed ended up okay, fortunately) so while Tanner never got an official finish place, he would have ended up somewhere in the early teens. David and Anthony were likewise lost in the messy results.
Tanner and David in the road race.
Men’s A (5 laps) – In his first weekend as an A, Jacob scored some nice points in the road race. The race was won by a Penn State guy off the front of the field by 30 seconds, but Jacob rolled (well, at 45+ mph on the downhill finish) in with the pack to finish 16th!
Jacob in the road race.
Hill Climb ITT (aka “Climb Trial”)
The Army ITT is well known at this point, clocking in at a hair under 3 miles, with 700 feet of climbing (from the Hudson to the top of campus) and grades up to 10%. Jacob, the first A racer on the course, was misdirected by marshals into a parking lot where he lost 45+ seconds. He still turned in a very respectable 30th place finish. Nicole absolutely dominated the women’s C race, winning by over 30 seconds (she’d have been 11th of 18 in the women’s A race!). Eric recovered from his Saturday crash to end up 4th in the D2 ITT; Josh was 11th and Adam 16th. In the C2′s, John was 26th.
The crit course is my favorite – a short climb followed by a tight (<90 degree) turn, a nice sweeping downhill, and a straightaway along the train tracks. Gorgeous views of the Hudson River, and right on the Army campus. Can’t ask for a better course.
Eric, Adam, and Josh (from left/closest to right/farthest) in the criterium.
Men’s D2 – Eric continued on his strong morning, nabbing 2nd in the criterium! Frustrating in that he though he had the strength to come around the guy who edged him out by a wheel-length if there’d been room to maneuver, but a really great finish for him. Adam and Josh turned in similarly strong pack finishes. Adam took some sprint points in a prime and finished 13th, Josh was 17th. Moving up to C’s is looking like a real possibility for these guys!
Women’s C – After dominating the ITT and road race, Nicole was most worried about the crit, and having to ride with other people. She pulled it off though, finishing 18th in a pack finish, though afterwards remarked she should have just gone for it off the front and seen how she fared. Next race! In my last collegiate race, I ended up 12th. It was a good race to go out on.
John in the criterium.
Men’s C2 – John continued the morning’s string of pack finishes, coming in 22nd. He clawed his way back to the pack on multiple occasions, and you could watch him get more comfortable cornering and riding with the pack as the race went on. Being off the road bike all fall while he was studying abroad in New Zealand doesn’t seem to have knocken him off his game at all!
Men’s A – Jacob stayed safe in the pack for almost the entire race, chasing down breaks and riding smart. Thus, it was so frustrating and heartbreaking when he went down with one lap to go, losing the pack. Fortunately barely injured (the Army medics gave him a Hello Kitty bandaid afterwards for a cut on his palm) he leapt up and chased hard for the last lap, and while he caught some stragglers he wasn’t able to catch the pack. But that happens in racing, and we’re just glad that he (and his bike, more or less) are unharmed.
Jacob in the crit.
Check out more pictures from the weekend here.
Jacob’s our only representative at the RISD/Brown race in Providence this upcoming weekend, but then we’ll send a good contingent to Easterns at Penn State. Jacob is hoping to qualify for Nationals in Ogden, Utah, too.
Check out our team Twitter account for real-time weekend updates.