Week 4: L'Enfer Du Nord
For week four of the ECCC racing season, Penn State riders ventured up to Vermont to compete in L’Enfer Du Nord. While school and work obligations kept many Team riders at University Park, Jose Aguilar and Charlie Li roadtripped up to the Northeast in the Club Sports van. The ECCC’s take on the classic Paris-Roubaix course of the same name proved difficult. Hosted by Dartmouth and UVM, the courses led riders through mountainous New England terrain. Winter weather still lingered up North, and Jose and Charlie bore temperatures under 32 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday. Unfazed, they still competed in all events except for the TTT.
The most challenging course of the weekend was Sunday’s road race. A gentle morning snowfall dusted the riders at the starting line, and only the most dedicated braved the elements to race. The course itself guided riders through ten mile laps in scenic Vermont. The constant change in elevation offered no flat straightaways for riders to take advantage. Brutal ascents followed by blisteringly fast downhill segments rocked riders of every category, and called upon all their skills to finish. The final lap of the race demanded a difficult climb up Mt. Philo, where riders slogged up a 20% gradient to the finish line.
The punishing weather as well as health problems kept Charlie from crossing the finish line, but he nonetheless put forth a good effort in the challenging races. Jose completed all of his races, a victory in of itself given the nature of the courses.