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Date: 2002-03-02
By: Joe K

Long story short, here's the numbers from the crit put on by Rutgers this weekend:

  • ECCC Men's D - Rutgers Crit
    • 10th Mike Castellan
    • 12th Joe Kopena
    • 32nd Chris Gilman
  • USCF Men's B - Rutgers Crit
    • 31st Lou Lanzilotta

Full results are available at [1]. I was pretty disappointed, but I guess it isjust the first race and there were a couple bright points. Long story longer:


With no offense to the Iceman, coming into the race I wasn't sure if he'd be able to hang on or not. Riding around occasionally over the winter he seemed much improved, but I wasn't sure if it'd carry over well to actual races. As it turns out it did carry over, at least for flat races like this one. If I'd known that beforehand I would have made sure he started up with me and maybe we would have been able to work together.

This was Chris' second road race and he again hung in there until the finish. If he could kick it up just a notch he'd be able to draft off someone and move up through the field quite a bit.

Never, never, never disregard to eat the traditional pre-race cupcake.


The Iceman and I only made four U-turns during the weekend. Five if you count a little more strictly. Sadly, this is not a team record. However, a new team record was set when we were forced to make a U-turn within the first five minutes of leaving campus. I was excited about that.

  •  - Course:

The course was essentially a triangle, with a longish curving downhill false flat through the start line to a 90 degree corner onto a slight uprise, through another 90 degree corner filled with holes, bumps, and manhole covers onto a narrower road, followed by a wide 90 degree corner onto the main portion. By the time the ECCC races started a significant head/side wind had kicked up fairly prominently on the main stretch and a little bit on the uphill.


Late in the week Lou decided to do one of the USCF training races held before the ECCC races. We were staying at Lou's place and it was easy for him to enter since the race was only a couple minutes away. This of course meant that on the one weekend were we could have enjoyed a late start (11), we instead had to get up anyway for Lou's race (8).

Registering for the race, we took it as a bad sign for Lou that most of the people signing up for his race were also signing up for the USCF A race to be held immediately afterwards. However, powered by his morning cupcake Lou rode a smart race, tucking himself into the pack and just hanging on to the draft the whole time. He even looked like he was doing ok, except that one lap where he came by making the signal for "Oh my god, I'm having a heart attack!!!" Towards the end he got a little over-ambitious moving up the field and got forced into taking a pull for a bit. This may have hurt him a little as he lost a lot of spaces as everyone sprinted for the finish. Still, we took it as a good sign that despite some concern over being out of shape Lou managed to hang on until the very end and finish with the main group.

I had high hopes going into this race. I did fairly well last year I thought and figured I had to be a little stronger this year. A little shakier on my cornering, but decent enough to hang in a D-class race. Lining up I was a little anxious because there were a lot of guys in our race who we knew raced C through most of last year. Everybody sandbags at the start of the year, but it's not a good excuse.

At the start of the race I jumped with a small group of 3 other leaders, which left me a little more exposed than I wanted to be. However, soon a couple more people caught up so we had a little group of 10 or so people going on. Within a few brief minutes the pack had shattered and there were people everywhere in little clusters. It ended up being one of the most confusing races I've ever done in terms of trying to figure who was in front of you and who was lapped traffic.

Unfortunately, right around 10 minutes my pre-race preparation caught up with me. I'd warmed up about as much as most people do, but I know from experience and training that I need a much longer warmup and stretch period than most people. At this point I should have been stretching and then starting the race, instead of already being in the race. My legs couldn't keep up and I fell behind the lead group along with some other guys.

In a couple minutes my legs came around, but we were already way behind. I spent the next 10 minutes catching up, and was gaining visible ground on the lead each lap, bringing them back into sight. Unfortunately, the other guys who'd fallen off with me fell behind, leaving me by myself to face the wind for the remainder of the race.

Even though I'd reeled in the main group quite a bit by about the 23 minute mark, it'd taken a lot to do it through the wind. I started cramping up and had to sit up a little. At this point the Iceman passed me, along with the small group he'd joined, formed mostly by the people I'd left behind before. The only good point about this was that it was hilarious to watch the Iceman to go on a suicide run through the corner with all the holes. He cut it so close inside, I swear I really thought he was about to go off the road and into the grass to avoid the bumps. That he did not do, and instead nailed the biggest one. All I could do was laugh as I heard a shrill "Aaaaiieeee, my grooiiinnn!!!"

Anyway, unable to really work through the cramp, I was sort of glad the race ended before more people could pass me. In the end I think we can chalk it all up to not warming up enough and not eating the tradional pre-race cupcake, which clearly helped Lou out alot. Hopefully the Iceman and I can pull off something better in the coming weeks.


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