Monday, April 19, 2010

Ending a season, Closing a chapter

The 2010 conference championship weekend hosted by the Virgina Tech Hookies marked the end of the ACCC season, but it also marked the end of my 4 years as collegiate cyclist. This weekend definitely marks as a highlight for my career not only for outcomes but for a great time.

Leaving around 5pm on Fri, the wind was tremendous for the entire drive there. With a motorcycle, 3 bikes and also some vitamin water, it was struggle but we arrived at our destination, staying with a graduate hookie, my spot on the couch was rather comfortable.

Waking early on saturday we headed to the race, bundled up and hoping to not blow away (this was probally the earliest we have ever made it to a race). Everyone got ready, and mingled with the other riders. Some of our riders also rode around the little girls bike that was brought around.

Soon the men's A and Men's B races were off. The men's B rolled out smoothly but unfortunately there was an early crash about 5 miles sending an UMD rider to the hospital. The men's B went over the first climb as a group only dropping a select few. Over the long shallow climbs to follow the pace dropped, and I saw an opportunity to attack and jumped. After getting away from the group I hit a huge head wind and was very happy to see a Duke ride bridge to me, know I head two of my teamates and now his teammates helping to block. We were out of sight of the peleton quickly and never looked back. We negotiate the intermediates giving him the sprint and me and the KOM. On the final lap, unfortunately he rode off from me on the hill, and we both soloed into the finish. After waiting for awhile at the finish line, I was very excited to see teammate Brad taking the 3rd place finish with a small group right behind him.

Next, the second wave of races went off, and our Boys in D came around looking strong going to the finish line.

The past part of the day involved the Team Time Trial. James B, Duncan O, Brad D., and myself lined up for the men's B send off. James got us out on a great start making sure to keep all of us intact. After James got us started he pulled off and left it up to the other 3 of us. With little talking but plenty of grunts, moans, yelps, and in duncan's case whimpering/crying we sat at and above our thresholds for the next 16.5 miles of rollers, hills, and high wind, clocking a time in the 40 minute mark. Brad was the strong hold, leading us over the hills, and making sure to give us the strength the push forward, I was to give duncan a helping hand over the climbs, and set the pace on the rollers, and duncan gave us the tempo and lead the descents. Duncan, has spent over the long shallow climbs as Brad escorted and I made sure to lend a hand to carry, after my long solo ride earlier in the day, I felt the pain in the last mile and turned myself inside out to not let my team down, and the result was well worth the pain, as we won by a mere 5 seconds.

A great dinner and some celebration was at hand after the day followed by another night of sleep on the couch. My sleep was interrupted by James sleep walking in the middle of the night. We got to sleep in a bit and then headed to the crit.

Our riders in the morning looked good. And enjoyed the course. Our next riders where in the Men's B, where Brad covered all the attacks and duncan held in the front nicely. I tried a flyer which failed. The final lap was intense as the start finish was on a brutal climb each lap. Duncan and brad sprinted for 5 and 6 respectively and I took 11th. Brad was able to pick up two primes, I took 1 and Duncan took a 4th place prime also.

This was a great weekend, and I couldn't have asked for a better closer to my collegiate racing career.

James M. Schulte

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reflections on Putting on a Collegiate Race Weekend

Government officials say they’re “here to serve the people”, but most are in it for the money. Celebrities say they’re “here for our entertainment”, but they too, are mostly in it for the money. You see, I believe that in the modern era, there are very few of us who do things for the simple reason of giving back, for the sake of even calling philanthropy an art. As a first time Road Race coordinator, I approached my job with the aforementioned idea. I had a blank canvas, with the problem being no paint to fill it with.

Thankfully though, I had been assigned help – or perhaps I had been assigned as her help, since Janel Bedard was the brute force behind all of the race preparations. My experience was partly vicarious because of Janel’s determination for putting on a successful event. That’s not to say I wasn’t resolute in my pursuit of achievement; just that my inexperience left me slightly too bewildered to care as much.

Determination is a remedy for obstacles, but it doesn’t prevent them from occurring. Janel and I had our fair share. From conflicting ideologies with superiors, to funding, to road conditions, we faced our ration. There is a lot more that goes into a race than one might think. You have to deal with a bureaucracy, and their seemingly endless amounts of paperwork and red tape. You have to be considerate of rider safety, and still have a fun and challenging race. And finally you have to ensure that the local residences are informed and respected.

All of these hurdles were effortlessly jumped, thanks to the City of Clarksburg. From my perspective, they came out of left field and gave a homeless team a place to stay. What I mean by this is that in years prior our Road Races were in different locales, and they moved like vagabonds from one place to the next. Clarksburg not only gave us a place to come back to, but they were a tremendous help and were eager to support Cycling as a part of their community.

It goes without saying that any early skepticism I had was cured once I witnessed how tenacious a force Janel and Clarksburg were – and they were supplemented by the rest of our team, all of whom wanted to see just as awesome an event. It may have taken a few months, but the colors on the canvas I mentioned began to appear in all their vibrancy; stemming from a common source: the desire to make sure everyone had a fun weekend of racing.

There is a unique sense of satisfaction in receiving praise for effort; a sensation I experienced after seeing the last Men’s A rider cross the finish line, and Pfeiffer’s Coach congratulating me on a successful race. I knew in that moment that his pat on the back was felt by more than just me – I was just one of many in a supporting cast of individuals with a similar love: Cycling. And if anything, our labors proved what an accomplishment a Home Race weekend is. Maybe people should take note, and realize that good service comes from common a passion to better your life as well as the lives of those around you. In my eyes, philanthropy is a dying art of kindness, but it is alive and well within our club.

-Elliott Iannello