Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lindenwood TTT

The A road race got cancelled today because of the storm that started 10 minutes in, so I ended up with a 20 mile easy ride in pouring rain instead of a nice sunny race.  Anyway, today's post is from Zach about the Team Time Trial.
-- Adam

Hani is blissfully unaware of the impending storm.

Lindenwood TTT:
Today was the first day of the second race that the cycling squad travelled to: Lindenwood. Lindenwood University and their race course reside in St. Charles which is on the western outskirts of St. Louis. The road race courses had a similar flair to that of the Lindsay Wilson course but with noticeably less hills (although similar amounts of total climbing – close to 1200’ per 21-mile lap).  The first event of the day was the Team Time Trial where Michigan unveiled their newly assembled Men’s C Team: Kevin Schumaker, Brad Stark, Eric “Bones” Jones, and Zack Benet.
3/4ths of the C Team
These brave and courageous riders attempted to practice the week prior but rider miscommunication lead to multiple problems.  This was not the case in their first race. Nervous about the next 35 minutes of anaerobic pain, they lined up at the start at 9:13 A.M. and quickly assembled into a tight pace line once given the signal to enjoy the pain. Shrugging off the 9 hour drive and the hardwood box beds that they had slept on the night before, the first 5-km of the 20-km race went by in a breeze with Brad Stark taking the first pull that set the pace at a brisk 23.5 MPH (37.8 KPH for those engineers and ultra-euros out there).  
Brad and Kevin working in the TTT.
Near the start of the 6th kilometer began the first and only hill of the race – 254 feet over .7 miles. The team stuck together during the climb making sure not to drop a single racer – something they had done in training – and passed their first C squad of the day which had started one minute before. In fact, they briefly held King of the Mountain on the Strava segment.  Taking 30-seconds to 1-minute pulls, the team continued to put bike lengths between them and the team they had just past while closing in on one of the NCCCC teams that was also at the race: Minnesota.  Minnesota, having started about 2 minutes earlier, was overtaken at around 17 minutes into the race and was left to stare at the maize block M on their jerseys and incredibly well defined calves of its rider. 
Zach and his incedibly well defined calves.
With confidence from passing two rivals, the team picked up the pace as the entered the second half – hammering a pace that would have given Fabian Cancellara a run for his money. Entering the final 5-km, they caught sight of just one more team ahead wearing the blue numbers of C-racers. Determined to add to their list of downed squads, the team switched to quicker pulls that upped the pace to around 25 MPH. They caught only a glimpse of the third team that they passed – possibly a team from Missouri, possibly a second Golden Gopher team, or maybe just a figment of their imagination due to a mix of lack of oxygen and lactic acid build up. 
Eric's distracted by the mirages.
With confidence that they were going to at least secure a respectable placing, there was one more call to pick up the pace as they began their last mile. Zack lead out the squad in the first pull – setting a pace of 31-32 MPH, with subsequent pulls being as fast. With the finish line in sight and Adam ready to snap a few pictures, Brad and Kevin picked up the pace one more time on the final straight away and crossed the line, laying down a time (33:36 over 12.9 miles) that gave a victory of about a minute to Michigan. Congratulations to Kevin, Brad, Eric, and Zack!
Congrats guys.
Here are some more photos from the road race:
Brad leads out the C race and a Minnesota asshole pushes Zach off the road.

The D field rolls out...

... with Hani.  Sorry I didn't get a picture of you Jared.

Lead pack of the C field finishes lap 1 ... and a hottie from UIC.  Notice there is no hail or lightning. The A's weren't so lucky.

-- Zack

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