Thursday, April 19, 2012


Hani "HaHa" Habra

Hello fellow cyclists, cycling fans, and just about everyone else!

Whether you call it Purdue or Purdon’t, you gotta love’em for putting two uphill finishes in one weekend. Even if you don’t, I due!
Hani is excited about racing.
On Saturday we all got soaked to our bones in the Road Race and we devised interesting ways to get rid of the water, including pouring rice into our shoes! Well Sunday was a different day altogether: 80 degrees and sunny. Like last year, the wind on certain parts of the course was ferocious. Despite recovering from an illness, I felt very upbeat.

Brad on the climb.
The race neutralized for a mile or two before getting started. As always, the first few miles are always tense, what with the infamous tendencies of the D field. The hill would fix the problem, but create others: while some went out the back door, a group of seven went off the front. I remember screaming, “NO! GET THEM!!!” but alas, the hill was not long enough for me to get them, so instead I settled into the peloton.
Kevin's got a new bike.
 The three laps, ~14-15 miles, would follow a routine for which we’d agonizingly trek through the headwind as a pack, sweep through the downhill, and then accelerate or decelerate before the hill. Tactics for me were simple: stay in or behind the pack in the wind/ flat sections, be at the front (or close) at the downhill, descend as rapidly as possible (watching people fly by), and reserve energy while climbing (sort of…)
Kevin's drafting!!
 Apart from the one MSU rider who somehow managed to escape, everything fell perfectly into place. One rider made a massive move that successfully caught most of the seven-man break. I nearly lost the pack (and a top 10 finish) at some points on the final lap, but after managing to catch back on, the final sprint up the hill was a piece of cake. Unlike some uphill sprints, nobody was there to outsprint me in the end.
Zack's showing off the new kit.
Getting 2nd was a huge surprise considering I’ve never gotten a top-10 finish in a road race, never mind top-3. And so, I end on a personal note: I’d like to thank everyone, friends, family, and teammates, who supported and encouraged me throughout this season. I kid you not: none of this would’ve been possible without you.
Notice Hani's the only one who didn't collapse at the finish.
 Hope to have many more fun adventures with you guys. Until then: Happy Happy Trails!!!


I feel that it is only appropriate to first introduce myself as I have only met a few team members so far.  My name is Kaitlyn and my athletic background is in running and cross- country skiing but I have recently picked up cycling dealing with injuries.  My only racing experience was the Cherry Roubaix road race in August.  However, after a few rides and encouragement with Jane this spring, I found myself traveling to Purdue for my collegiate cycling debut.
Looking at the weather report for West Lafayette, it was inevitable that the weather was not going to be in our favor but it was questionable just how wet and windy it would be. The rain held off for the 10-mile team time trial on Saturday morning.  This featured a men’s C team of Zach, Kevin, and Brad and (drumroll please) a women’s B team of Jane and I.  There was one other women’s B team that we caught within 2 miles and so we decided to not hammer it and to save ourselves for the road race.  It was still a lot of fun to race and watch the teams coming the opposite way on the out and back course.  The guys ended up 3rd and Jane and I won.  Impressively, the Marian women’s A team beat all the guys teams, confirming that they not only look extremely intimidating, but actually are freaky fast.
Sinead Miller catches Brad on the climb. Damn straight those girls are intimidating.
 The road race included a great hill with one estimation of an 10% grade (I have my doubts but it was really steep) and the finish line located conveniently at the top. I was significantly nervous, heightened by the course marshal describing how dangerous the course was due to traffic and a windy downhill.  And on cue, the rain started as soon as we rolled out. The women’s B race took off slowly and nobody wanted to pull.  The first time up the hill broke up the field and left a breakaway of Jane, an OSU rider, and me.  
... and freaky fast.
A couple Purdue girls bridged and the breakaway of five lasted the first two laps in the pouring rain.  Up the hill with two laps to go, I dropped the others and decided to go for it.  I soon had a decent lead was realizing that I still had 14 miles to hold them off solo.  I decided to not think about that and just focus on catching men’s D shrapnel. 
Luckily Zack wasn't part of the shrapnel.
At the finish line of the third lap, they told me that I was done and the race was over.  I thought they had counted wrong and didn’t want to stop, but found that they had shortened our race by a lap due to weather but I was off the front when they told the racers the previous lap.   Yes! My bold move was actually well timed.  So glad I didn’t have to time trail another soggy lap.  Jane took 4th and we quickly rode back to change before we froze.
Thanks so much to Sarah for giving us a place to stay.
 After we returned to the parking lot and attempted to change, we realized how many crashes there were due to the rain and somewhat technical course.  Thankfully, all our riders returned in one piece- victory in itself. 
            Sunday’s conditions were the on the other end of the extreme weather spectrum.  Very warm and windy- about 25mph with gusts over 30.  And it was Indiana, so of course the circuit race was through wide-open farmland. This made the 4 mile loop basically consist of a fast downhill, windy uphill and sustained wind tunnel- fun stuff.  Our race inevitably went out slow but Jane got it rolling at the end of the first lap to mix things up.  I was tired and couldn’t respond to anything and missed the breakaway but thought they would come back. Unfortunately, I realized that the OSU girl from the road race and a strong Marian rider that didn’t race Saturday were out front and odds were slim at catching them.  Jane and I worked together to try but the gap wasn’t closing.  With one lap to go it looked like it would be a race for 3rd but I decided to give it one more try.  I put my head down and battled the wind solo; the whole time wishing I hadn’t missed it because there was no way I could catch them in the wind.  However, by some miracle I did, about 2 miles from the end.  By then I was figuring that bridging was a victory in itself because I was too dead to be able to sprint up the hill.  But, why not try? I took off a little too early before the hill and the Marion rider was on my wheel.  We hit the hill and I thought I had them until she came from behind and edged me at the line for the win. 
Sometimes racing bikes can make you tired.
 Overall a successful and exciting weekend of collegiate cycling with the weather conditions making it more epic.  I had so much fun and it was great to get to know the team and race with teammates representing the block M. Unfortunately this is my first and last weekend of collegiate cycling this season but I’m really excited for the road season this summer.

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