Trials and Tribulations of a Collegiate Cyclist

It all starts way back in January. There's just a point when you say...I want to be in shape come the spring ECCC season....and then it begins. Riding in just about every type of weather...snow, rain, clouds, fog...everything but sun and warmth. I often wonder how many people realize how dedicated of athletes we collegiate cyclist are? Training upwards of 18 hours/week, funding our own race weekends, leaving school on Friday and returning early Monday morning...heck we even create/run/promote our own events! But it all pays off...

This weekend PSU had a great showing at the Philly Phyler, even with the lack of toliet paper that was available. PSU scored points in almost every event, and perhaps even more important...worked as a team to score those points in every event. It was not very often that you could find a lone PSU cyclist in the peleton this weekend...we were almost always accompanied by a fellow rider. Crashes were present in most races, and the D's suffered a few losses due to this. Is it just me or does both Columbia and Crash start with a C? Arnaud BORNER crashed his Madone 6.9...but did not break his colar bone and Mike M wrote on Lance Armstrong's wall. The PSU ladies brought home many points and our Men, from D to A, were high in the standings. We may not be at many races this season...but the ones we are at...watch out cause we are ready!

The Uncarved Block

Lao Tzu said of the sage, "If he would lead them, he must stay behind." I don't think he was talking about bicycle racing.

After my very sagacious performance this weekend, I realize that I'm going to need to do some serious work to get back to racing strength. However, I am so psyched about Penn State's results this weekend - especially those of our newest riders. I am always surprised to the sorting out of those who have never raced - it's impossible to tell how they will perform in their first race. I was also enthused to see the improvement of our returning riders. We placed 2nd overall for the weekend, beating out even UVM, who were racing in great form. Congrats to everyone!

Lao Tzu also wrote, "Ruling a nation is like cooking a small fish." He really was a most mysterious man.

Mountain Bikers, Triatheletes, and Marathon Runners, Oh My!

This weekend's Philly Phlyer may eventually be remembered by some seasoned vets as just another rainy ECCC road race.  But for a group of mountain bikers, triatheletes, and even a marathon runner, the 2009 Philly Phlyer will be remembered as their first ever weekend of road racing.  Unfortunately, for many of the Penn State riders entered in the D Circuit Race, this would also be their first experience with a crash in a road race.  Despite the troubles, Andy Haughton, president of our Tri Club, was able to cruise to an easy victory after riding off the front without any attempt from the peloton to chase him down.

Sunday morning's TTT had very wet and miserable riding conditions.  Even with two of the riders dropping off early on due to being beaten up from the previous day's crashes, Andy Haughton was able to lead our team to a second place finish with the help of fellow triathelete Troy Stam.

Although the roads did not entirely dry out for the crit, the racing conditions were much improved over the time trial.  To avoid the possibility of another mass crash, we entered the race with a new strategy:  keep the pace fast to drop the weaker riders early and spread out the field.  By having a large number of PSU riders near the front, we were able to keep pushing the pace while having riders in ample position to gain points in the primes.  When the bell sounded with one to go, I sprinted off the front causing most of the riders in the field who chased to burn out just halfway into the final lap.  Andy Haughton, who was able to remain protected in the draft for much of the race, was then able to move through the field of tired riders and sprint to the finish for his second victory of the weekend.

Although the weekend left many riders and bikes beaten up and abused, overall, it was a successful, fun weekend for a large group of first time road racers.



How do you spell "band wagon" with only four letters?

Yes. Penn State Cycling is following the lead of collegiate teams in the ECCC making a blog. Like many teams, we want to create a face to our club which is more personal and more active than our webpage. Look for race reports, new racers experiences, thoughts on cycling in State College, alumni posts... and who knows what else. The club is a diverse group, so I think this could have an interesting outcome.

But there are some "Thou shalt not"! No proselytizing. Let's not try to imitate the bike snob too much. No training logs (zzzZZZ), either, and, duh, let's keep it at least a little PSU Cycling related.

If you're interested in contributing, let me know.