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2012Army

Army Weekend

Race Results


Team Time Trial

  • D field
    • 4th (Tom and Dan)
  • C field
    • 3rd (Nick, Neal, and Brendan)

Circuit Race

  • Men's D1 (28 starters)
    • 15th Dan
    • 19th Tom
  • Men's C1 (47 starters)
    • 2nd Neal
    • 10th Nick
    • 30th Brendan
  • Women's C (25 starters)
    • 22nd Alyssa
  • Women's A (15 starters)
    • 4th Julia

Individual Time Trial (Hill Climb)

  • Men's D1 (19 starters)
    • 13th Dan
    • 10th Tom
  • Men's C1 (31 starters)
    • 1st Neal
    • 5th Nick
  • Women's Intro (4 starters)
    • 4nd Alyssa
  • Women's A (14 starters)
    • 5th Julia

Crit (College)

  • Men's D1 (28 starters)
    • 6th Dan
    • 3rd Tom
  • Men's C1 (38starters)
    • 21st Neal
    • 11th Nick
    • 30th Brendan
  • Women's intro(9 starters)
    • 9th Alyssa
  • Women's A (16 starters)
    • 5th Julia (Also got 3rd in two sprints and 2nd in one)
  • Crit (USA Cycling Men's Cat 4/5) Pending
    • DNF Dan
    • DNF Tom
    • 20th Neal
    • 11th Nick
    • 30th Brendan

Race Reports


This weekend Army had several non-collegiate categories for their
fantastic hill climb and crit (nothing for the circuit or TTT).
In the open hill climb I got crushed by Charlie Avis
(Trek-LiveStrong), but I'm pretty ok with that. More importantly,
various Drexel, UVM, and other riffraf were held at bay for 2nd/7. My
time was still pretty low against the Men's A results. I was 4
seconds behind my previous best time on the course. I'm still
debating if that's an "only 4s" or a "a disappointing 4s."
On that note though, results from the past couple years (setting aside
the year w/ a course change) bears out the theory that the very top of
the conference has been fairly steady, but the talent pool has
deepened. Men's B has basically dropped 40s (on a 10--12 minute
climb) from 5 years ago. The long standing, wide discontinuity
between the top 5 Men A and that field has also steadily dissipated.
The Men 2/3 crit was to some extent a very spirited group ride, with
only thirteen starters, but it was a pretty legitimate group---the
green jersey (ECCC sprint points leader) and both the weekend's Men's
A winners were all in there. Most of the guys were pretty game so
there were plenty of attacks, but no one had the sustainable power to
stick a break so it all rolled into a field sprint. I lost focus in
the last lap and got pushed off the wheels of the clear contenders, so
I rolled in right behind but just out of the front line sprint, for
6th. My head was not in a racing mindset going into the race, so my
cornering until I could get settled was not efficient and definitely
cost me. Ultimately though, I was pretty happy to be able to hang
with those guys fairly easily on a solid crit course.
One general note is that a day like that can be kind of rough
logistically; when to eat, staying warm, not getting sunburnt, and so
on. My hill climb was at ~9:15 in the morning, and my crit not until
~5:30. Personally I find it can be easy to screw up eating either too
much or too little on that kind of day, particularly if you're running
around and doing stuff like I am. A strategy I've developed is to
continuously eat small amounts. I don't particularly eat any set
lunch, but every two hours or so have a PB sandwich, Clif bar, (soy)
yogurt, or similar. That way I'm continually digesting everything and
never wind up with an overfull stomach, but also stay fed.
Similarly, that's a long day in general; we started setting up at
~6:45 and didn't finish tear down until near 7. In this case there
were also officiating and other problems that needed to be mitigated;
I wasn't even sure I'd be able to get away to do the crit until
minutes beforehand, and was definitely not in the mood. That's all
pretty draining even without a morning race. To help deal with that
as well as general fatigue, hard racing/riding the day before, etc.,
I've come to accept pre-race caffeine. I don't drink any caffeine on
a normal basis, so if I have a Dr Pepper or something, it has a
notable effect. Red Bull or such has an almost unbelievable effect
for a couple hours if your baseline is no coffee, and I confess to
having a stock on hand for particularly dire days. I'm not convinced
the effects of these aren't mostly psychological, but whatever works,
works, psychological or not. The zero baseline is probably critical
to the efficacy of this though.

-Joe Kopena


Now you all get to enjoy one of my long winded race reports, though
this want isnít as long as a normal one but if you get to the end of
it there are some tips from things I saw this weekend.
In typical Joe and Tim fashion, we decided to skip going up to the
race Friday night and ride our mountain bikes around Belmont instead
and then leave in the morning to get up to Camp Buckner. Using my great
decision making skills, instead of going to sleep at a decent hour in
order to not fall asleep in Joeís car like I normally do, I decided to
watch Futurama episodes until I realized that if I didnít get to sleep
soon Iíd be getting about 4 hours of sleep. It turns out that Joe
actually got more sleep than I did for once.
Driving up there was a pretty quick drive even with Joeís gps taking
us a weird way, I swear the thing is an anti-gps it never takes a
straight forward way to get anywary (secretly I think Caitlin has
reprogrammed the gps to get Joe lost). One the way up we decided we
needed to try and convience someone on the Drexel team or Sully to do
the maximum number of races for the weekend which was 6 races; TTT,
Circuit Race, Collegiate HCTT, Open HCTT, Collegiate Crit and Open
Crit. Dan, Neal and Tom got the closest with 5 races. Some NYU kid
did the collegiate and open HCTT so it would be interesting to see if
he did the Open Crit and the TTT to complete the sweep of the weekend.
After the circuit race was done, Joe and I booked it in the Prius (with
Joe thatís possible) over to the old Army Road course to see why it
couldnít be used and for me to relive the moment that Steve Bronstein
said he would beat us all on the road course and did. Look him up on
the website, his info is still there. Basically my freshman year, he
told all of us in Dís that he would beat us around the road course and
we all laughed at him. Ah, karma how I hate you. There were three of
us in the race other than Steve and he beat us all due to all of us
having something happen to us that didnít allow us to finish the race.
Back to present time, Joe and I road around the course, which for
those of you that donít know it starts with a decently long by shallow
decent into a 180 that kicks you into the 2ish mile long climb. After
the climb its pretty flat until you hit a set of 2 rollers that carry
you back to the a long false flat that leads to the finishing
area/starting descent. The lap is about 12-13 miles long. We ended
up doing 1 whole lap and then riding for another 20 minutes before it
started getting too dark. Other than about a half mile stretch of
road that was closed for reasons we couldnít tell (we rode on it and
there werenít any issues with the road) the course was fine and pretty
empty of cars because of the stretch that was closed made most of the
course useless to drive on. There were definitely a lot of wild life
out due to the lack of cars driving on the road so that made up for
not having cars to deal with. After riding we ended up finding a
pizza/pasta place to get dinner where I witnessed Joe eat what most
have been his first meal of the week (Caitlin doesnít allow him to eat
in their house apparently) because he pretty much devoured anything
that wasnít meat that was in reach of his arms. In what must be a
record for a collegiate weekend we actually got more than 6 hours of
sleep that night after meeting up with the Drexel team at their hotel.
That morning on the way out of the hotel room, I discovered a cigar
which I pocketed to give to Brett that morning so to cause him to have
a poor HCTT. He ended up trying it after the HCTT spoiling my plans
but if he had taken more than one puff (based on his description of
what it was like) the plan would have work. I was using the HCTT to
make up for never doing it while I was actually in college. Joe made
us have a gentlemanís agreement not to warm up which I now suspect was
because deep down (though he wonít admit it) he was actually scared
that Brett and/or I would actually beat him up the hill. We made sure
to stack the order of the ITT so that Joe and I would have a chance to
catch Sully. Going into the climb without a warm-up definitely cost
me a bunch of seconds and probably lost some more by not realizing
that I was near the top. I definitely had too much left at the end of
the climb, which means I didnít put forth enough effort on the final
main slope. I ended up with a decent time, though Iím definitely not
happy with it looking back on it now.
I was using the crit more for getting some more race fitness/speed
work in than an actual race since I havenít been able to do Greentree
yet (though that will change tomorrow). There were only about a dozen
people signed up for it which meant it would be like a small, fast
group ride. There were only 3.5 people that I was concerned with in
this race since I had raced against most of the field in Aís that past
couple of years. For me, I knew I had to be concerned with Samson
from Pitt and Nick and Brenden from Army. I knew I also had to watch
out for Mike from UVM but not as much since he would be more tired
than the rest from doing Battenkill on Saturday. Like the HCTT, I
didnít warm up for the crit, though I did ride around for about 5
minutes and stretch to make sure the legs were still attached. I did
this since I knew, at least for me, that the race wouldnít be too fast
to start with and I could use the first couple of laps to get the legs
warmed up since the main guys would need the first couple of laps to
get their legs going after racing the A race earlier. The race pretty
much was just watching attacks and make sure that none that contained
people I was concerned with got up the road or I was in them. I made
one real attacking move up the finishing hill to see how I had to set
myself up for the finish. Of course Alan made sure to ring the bell
for a prime so my solo effort didnít get too far on the course but the
gap I got told me what I needed to know about my fitness level right
now. We ended up slowing down the last couple of laps after the main
guys (Samson, Brenden, Nick, Mike and I) decided to stop attacking and
just wait for the finish since none of us could get rid of each other
when we attacked. The last lap came down to the group finish with
Brenden attacking on the flat stretch and Mike following him with
Samson and I chasing with Patrick on our wheel. Brenden stayed away
for the win dropping Mike up the finishing climb but Samson and I
couldnít quite get up to them with Samson beating me for 3rd so I
settled for 4th after pretty much leading him out from the flat
stretch to the finishing climb. Afterwards Alan, Joe and I went to a
pizza joint right outside of the main gate of West Point before we
head back to Philly.
So now that you have read the race report part you can read my notes.
1) I can understand why the D racers were upset about the finish of
their crit but some of the responsibility of what happened falls on
the riders too. Iíve said this before but Iíll say it again, you need
to know how your race is setup with primes and such and should keep a
pretty close track of the laps as the race winds down.
2) Its important to observe the racers around you and figure out who
you should watch during a race for making attacks or following wheels
in a finish. You race with pretty much the same people week to week
so figuring out who likes to attack is good if you are a person that
likes getting in breakaways because you might not be able to sprint.
Or if you are a sprinter and donít have teammates knowing which teams
have people the finish strong is good to know to follow their wheel
the last couple of laps.
3) Sprint finishes: its important to get into position a couple of
laps before the end. If you arenít in the top 10 going into the last
lap you can pretty much toss out a group finishing position because
you will be wasting too much energy getting around people not
sprinting or not able to hold the fast pace that happens at the end of
the race. It is also important that if the pace slows that last lap
that you increase the pace for a little bit even though it might drain
you for the finish (unless you have teammates in which case make them
kick up the pace). The reason why is if it slows down the race will
bunch up and people shouldnít be sprinting will think that they can
sprint since they are at the front. In my opinion, it is better to
get the pace back up to speed for a couple of seconds to save yourself
from getting swarmed and then recovering and riding someones wheel
until the finishing sprint instead of getting swarmed and losing your
top position in the pack. You could also, if you trust your TT
abilities attack if the pace slows that last lap and try to ride it to
a slow victory.
4) Food: bring food for the weekend so that you can eat through out
the day. I normally bring a loaf of bread, pb&j, pretezel, fruit,
oreoís (lots of oreoís), granola or fruit bars, sometimes pasta, trail
mix and plastic ware to use to eat it. It will help your recovery
after a race if you are eating though out the day and not just at
night when we get back to the hotel.
5) Recovering after the weekend: You should make sure you ride or do
some kind of exercise the will cause your heart rate to go up the day
after racing. Otherwise the lactic acid that builds up in your legs
will remain and cause you to still hurt a couple of days later. For
example, I went for about a 60 minute easy ride Monday night and also
went for a walk for about 30 minutes too. You guys/gals could
probably get away with just riding for 30-45 minutes or
walking/running/swimming for about 30 minutes.
6) Race strategy: Julia asked me about this on Saturday afternoon but
I forgot to talk about it except to Neal and Nick before their race.
Tom and Dan seemed to have figured out their own strategy which worked
(though not the way they planned) on Sunday which was a good and sound
strategy for the army course. The main thing with coming up with your
race plan is knowing the course and what normally happens, aka is it a
breakaway course or a sprint course. Army for the most part is a
sprint course (both crit and circuit) just because of the sight lines.
This means if you want to get away you either have to be really
strong (or a sandbagger) or you have to get a decently large group
(4-8 people) together to ride away. The important part of riding away
is getting out of sight as soon as possible otherwise the field can
gauge the effor they need to bring the break back. You also have to
make sure that the group isnít too big otherwise everyone and their
parents will want to join you and it wonít work. Another good thing
to do is make friends with some of the other smaller teams so that you
can all work together against the bigger teams. This helps not only
in collegiate races but also USAC races. For example, the past week
at Yale I knew a decent amount of people in the 1/2/3 race and near
the end before I had the mechanical I was asked by another team if Iíd
want help in the finish since I had been helping them try and chase
down a break. I told them not to worry about me but developing
relationships like this can help you in races in the future. Another
key is knowing what type of rider you are, this takes a while to
figure out and a bunch of racing which is where practice races come in
handy. Try things at Greentree/Malvern/Rodale and see what happens,
worse case you get dropped and you just join back in. I know that I
canít go into a breakaway unless its has a couple other people in it
because I donít have the long term speed needed for a solo effort on
most courses but I recover quickly so Iím good if there are other
people sharing the work. Likewise I also know that Iím not good in a
long, straight power sprint; rather Iím a good sprinter if there is a
corner that sets up the sprint so that its more about the acceleration
than power. The key to most racing plans is knowing your abilities
and those of the main people around you so that you know who to watch
for breaks or sprints and set yourself up accordingly. Also, be
willing to change plans if you have to, always going with the same
course of action will lead to people expecting certain things out of
you.

-Tim Manzella


ITT: Big-ringed the Hill Climb!
Suffice to say, I lost. I lost to Joe, Tim, and my ongoing nemesis
from Rensselaer, Pat. Which is pretty much everyone I was competing
against in the Open ITT race. That's discounting Sully, the N.Y.U.
C-racer who doubled-up, and one other lonesome entry, all of whom I
did beat. I figured that since several of us had agreed to Joe's
gentleman agreement to not warm up beforehand then I'd go big.
Surprise! Joe fooled us and was on the rollers for about 15 minutes
before staging. After looking at and comparing the times posted by
the A riders to mine, I would have only beaten 1 or 2 of them.
However, I came in at the middle of the B field. I was happy with my
dumb effort and really quite comfortable turning my pedals over at a
cadence somewhere in the low-50 range. I don't think what I had done
was indicative of my strength, per se, but it definitely gave me
confidence that the strength-training Alan and Sarah have helped me
with has yielded results. My strength is growing but I still have a
lot to work on; I can't seem to get a handle on sustainable efforts.
Crit: Treated it like Pokemon. "Gotta catch 'em all!"
I've always considered myself a good rider in races, with reliable
handling, comfort within a pack, and great lines through corners. Not
a "strong" rider, mind you, just a "good" one. However, often times
I'd end up at the front of the pack, maybe even off it, and stay there
as long as I could; too scared by the thought of everyone powering
past me and then not being able to catch back onto a reasonable wheel
somewhere midfield. Recently though, when people would attack around
me when I'm at the front I've been able to catch onto their wheels and
hit some new, higher top speeds while giving chase. Even more
recently, I've been able to negate an attack enough that those who
came up from behind to counter would still fall in behind my wheel,
putting me only one wheel back after failed attempts. But this still
left me dazed, stupid, and tired. Plus, attacks never end and I could
never get away from the front long enough because I was scared. This
weekend at Army (as well as last weekend at Yale) saw me racing with
both Joe and Tim, who have been able to bark orders at and coach me
through what I need to do and give assurance when something needs to
happen swiftly so as to keep me/us competitive and in the race. A
weak jump at the front of the pack? Tim was there to remind me to
make it bigger and how to lose the wheel behind you by moving
laterally. Losing a wheel that could turn into a gap while pulling
off of the front? Joe would pull in and yell at me to push harder and
bridge anything before the turn along with him. Moving slowly at the
front to force a jump, but losing track of who is behind me and where?
I'm reminded of Joe keeping his head on a swivel while looking back
to rejoin the group after sending Tim off to catch a break. With this
coaching and these fellow racers' orders -- orders from people I trust
as my mentors and tutors -- I began reacting as a racer and not just
as some "good" rider in a race. This is something I've never
considered before: I may be good at riding but I sucked at racing!
That's going to change. And I think I'm getting better. Final
result: 8th/12, but I caught every attack! ("Gotta catch 'em all!")
But I felt I learned a lot more in these last 2 weeks as far how to
"race" than my results would suggest.
Special thanks to Joe, Tim, Alan, Sarah and Dave Casale! (Dave,
because I still blame him every time I over-gear it!)

-Brett Houser


West Point Race Report

  • D Team Time Trial*-

Dan Gray and I decided to race it despite it only being the two
of us. We warmed up by doing the circuit course and then showed up to the
line about 15 minutes late (in true Drexel fashion). After the official had
difficulty figuring out what to do with us, they integrated us into the
middle of the Womenís TTT. The course was not too difficult--it had some
rolling hills and a headwind going out, but we got a tailwind coming back
to the finish. We stuck together, took equal pulls, and communicated
efficiently. We passed some Womenís C teams, and then passed a couple Menís
D teams: Delaware, UNH, and I thought we passed NYU. We each took turns
pulling up the hills and kept a constant pace. We finished 3rd*

  • result has changed to 4th since Sunday
  • D Circuit*-

The course was exactly how Tim said it would be- just like the
Mann Center loop. The climbs are very similar. I tried my best to hang with
the group, but I kept losing ground on each lap at the top of the climb. To
compensate, I would sprint on the downhill and grab a wheel on the flats. I
probably need to work on pushing through the top of the climb instead of
easing up like I did. Dan finished 15th and I, 19th place.

I feel I didnít do well in this. The climb didnít look
difficult- I know it wasnít difficult; I trained on hills like it on the
Wednesday night rides. That hill is all about spinning early, and then
using the false flat to rocket ahead and to continue strong over the top.
Additionally, we went all-out on our TTT and I left little for my next
race. I feel that I could have recovered had I brought food/snacks (we
later stopped at a store to stock up for Sunday). I think this is why I did
so much better for Sundayís races.

  • D Individual Time Trial*-

I knew that this course was short, only ~2 miles; I expected
some steep hills too. I started off really strong and continued this way on
all of the climbs. I used the less steep sections as recovery.

I absolutely love uphill time trials- especially one with short
mileage. It takes great skill to successfully ride it. Go too hard and you
end up exploding on the steep gradients, go too easy and you lose your
momentum. I kept a fast pace in the beginning- I knew it was essential to
pass one person on the climb to keep me motivated. I quickly caught a
rider, then another. But then a Boston rider, who started 20s behind,
easily powered past me. I kept checking behind to make sure no one else got
close to me. Since I did not have a bike computer, I had to use this method
to judge my speed. I knew I was going fast when I couldnít see any riders
behind me anymore. Since I didnít know the course at all, nor how far I had
ridden, I had to use all instinct for this. Just before the race, Tim gave
me a brief rundown of the hills Iíd encounter and what the finish would
look like. I used this to help judge my pacing.

Unlike Brett, who big-ringed the ITT, I kept spinning. For the
steep sections I would use my easiest gearing, but, unlike many of the D
riders, I would not get out of my saddle. I kept seated for the majority of
the hill and only quickly stood up to keep a constant pace.

I made a few mistakes: 1) I did not know the course. 2) I
stayed in my small ring for the slight downhill before the finishing climb.
3) I should have upped my paceóI could have gone faster. I realized I could
have put out more earlier when I had more energy than I should have coming
up to the finish line. Being able to sprint to the line showed me that I
didnít use enough on the flat sections; I should/could have gone harder
instead of saving energy there. I finished 10th place, just shy of scoring
points.

  • D Criterium*-

One thing to add to my earlier report is that I actually warmed
up. Not on rollers or a trainer, but I climbed the hill a couple times
beforehand. I think this helped a lot.

  • Cat 4/5 Crit*-

After spending many hours in the sun, I finally had to do the
4/5 crit. I had a food plan for Sundayís races similar to Joeís, but not
vegan-friendly. Most importantly: I actually had food. Unlike other
weekends where I would survive on cliff bars, I bought many snacks.
Secondly, I didnít eat a full meal. I snacked all day on trail mix,
chocolate chip muffins, and beef jerky. It kept my stomach from going
crazy, yet sustained my appetite. I should have rested my eyes and legs
after my D crit @10am, but decided to walk around course and cheer on
everyone else for the next 5 hours. I should have at least found shade
because being directly in the sun drains a lot of energy.

I started out at the front of the group but quickly lost it. I
didnít do a proper warm-up; which is why I fell behind. I basically TTíd
for another 6 laps until the officials pulled me from the race. There was
another guy that was with me off the back that was just riding in my draft.
After pulling him for 4 laps, he felt the need to take a pull. I didnít
like his slow pace; he wasnít trying real hard in his pull, and
occasionally stopped pedaling to take a rest. So after his 2 minute pull
(compared to my 4 laps of pulling) I passed him and continued at my
original pace- not caring whether he hung with me or not; I just wanted to
catch the group.

In all, I feel I put out a great effort despite not catching
the pack. Unlike my Yale 4/5 raceówhere I got discouraged and pulled
myselfóI actually fought to stay in as long as possible.

I had a great race weekend and learned so much about my time
trialing, group riding, sprinting, and (lack of) training. I found a great
balance between having fun and being competitive.

-Tom Calcagni

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Page last modified on June 30, 2012, at 05:38 PM