After a ROUGH week at school (Nuclear Physics paper followed by an Automatic Controls 24-hour take-home midterm and a full-day video shoot for the Keller Center opening) I was pretty wrecked going into the Army race weekend at West Point, New York. No worries, the weather turned out to be better than expected on Saturday (no rain, only 30+ mph wind to deal with!) and Sunday (INCREDIBLE sun and 70s!!).
We had MANY Princeton cyclists, with almost the full team racing, so it was a blast--only Austin "The Roach" was missing due to a mandatory plasma physics geek-conference. No TTT for Men's A, but Bennette and I got in plenty of training outside of the races. My legs were FULL of crap in the very tough circuit race on Saturday, but I made it into the break with some serious heavy-hitters: Jamie Driscol and Vinnie Scalia of University of Vermont, Josh Lipka of University of New Hampshire, Chris Ruhl of Penn State, and Derek Merkler of Army.
We worked well together, and it was apparent that we had made the winning move after just the first few tough laps. The gap soon balooned to well over a minute, but I also knew that things were going to explode with the two best UVM guys in the break. With three laps to go of a two-mile circuit, Vinnie launched a HARD attack up the finishing hill and Jamie got a free ride for a lap. Josh, Chris, Derek and I worked well to slowly reel him in, knowing that Jamie would then launch his attack. Sure enough, just one lap after Vinnie made his move, we were about to catch him on the finishing hill and Jamie blasted off with Josh hanging on for dear life.
With just two laps to go, the situation was now 3 vs. 3, and Chris, Derek and I knew we had no chance of both catching Josh/Vinnie/Jamie and beating them up the climb. I especially knew my legs had some governors on them--whenever I went over 90% on the hill, they just locked up and had no fluidity to them. OUCH.
We kept them within spitting distance, but it didn't matter--I ended up going my 90% maximum up the hill the last time and getting last in the break. I was happy to have made the right selection and fought it out, but I also knew my legs were wrecked from a tough week and not being recovered. I knew the next day would be much better and the legs would be opened up . . .
The team hung out, enjoyed the beautiful weather, and raced all day long. We had some brilliant performances (Becca and Rocco mixing it up right at the front of the Women's B and Men's C) but also some sad events (Brian running over a guy on the last lap and breaking his bike, the second year in a row at Army!).
Army Criterium: not the hardest race I've ever done ;-)
Check out some sweet picture from the racing this weekend!!