Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer - time to ride!

Summer is a great time to get into cycling or to build your fitness and become an even better cyclist.  Whether it's mountain or road riding, the weather is just right for all sorts.  Here are a few quick things to think about when you get into riding mode this summer:

Group riding is more fun.  Getting together with friends is great for breaking up the monotony of training rides.  It is easier to commit to riding when you are going with other people, and can also spark a little competition.  Local bicycle shops are a good place to look for group rides.  If they don't host their own, they can probably point you in the right direction.  Remember - at the end of the day, cycling is supposed to be fun!

Be prepared.  It's never good when you get a flat and don't have the equipment or the know-how to fix it.  However, this tip isn't only about mechanical issues.  It's also important to have plenty of food and water to last the entire ride, and to have the right equipment.  Do some research to be sure that you have everything you need before your next riding adventure.

Safety is key.  Always be aware of what's going on around you.  Remember that if you go head on with a car you'll probably lose.  It's never a bad idea to have some lights on your bike to be a bit more visible especially if riding alone.  When riding in groups, be sure to point out potholes, sand, and water on the road.  In the trails, point out low branches, debris, or washed out areas.

Racing is great training.  Be on the lookout for races in your area.  You can meet some awesome people at bike races, as well as push yourself to be even better than you already are.  Riding new trails is a great way to work on your reflexes and handling.  Also, riding new roads can help you experience terrain that you haven't before like steep climbs and technical descents.

If any of this seems foreign to you, remember that the internet is an amazing place.  Also, cyclists are generally friendly people that are willing to talk about almost anything bicycle related.  Now get out there and ride!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Seen The Posters Around Campus, More Info Here

If you have seen the flyers around campus and they have brought you here, you are one step closer to becoming a member of Lehigh cycling. If you have any specific questions feel free to email our club leaders:
President: Brandon: blo214@lehigh.edu
Captain: David: dad315@lehigh.edu

The information session is tentatively on Tuesday November 19th at 6pm in Hawks Nest. All interested in becoming part of the team must either come to this meeting or email Dave and he will contact you with more info.

First off, you do NOT need a road bike to start off with the team. Winter training will start in November, with spin sessions 1-2 times a week in the spin room of Taylor Gym, for more info on winter training, follow the jump here. This is the perfect time to start getting in shape, and to slowly build a base up to what is needed to win races which start in March. As long as there is no snow on the roads, there will be someone going on rides, and the opportunity to ride in the winter is there. Around February (depending on snow and weather) is when we will start to go outside and work on skills like pace lining, group riding, and race tactics.

The one thing that is important to know is that all of this training is recommended but highly optional. The wonderful thing about the ECCC (Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference) is that it is as serious as you want it to be. The races are categorized by INTROS, D, C, B, and A so whether you want to have a casual race or mash the pedals like Mark Cavendish, you will be accommodated.

Regardless of how hesitant you may or may not be to try cycling. We highly encourage you to come to the first meeting and open spin sessions. Meet the team members, and learn about what the program has to offer before you make up your mind.

"My favorite part of joining Lehigh Cycling was the camaraderie in the team and the sense of accomplishment from racing. I had never raced bikes before and I did not realize how rewarding it was to see all this hard work pay off in the races. Not to mention... The UVM guys are a bunch of rednecks at heart and it is always funny to see what they have in store for the races"- member of Lehigh Cycling

Monday, June 24, 2013

Incoming Freshmen

Welcome!

On behalf of the entire Lehigh Cycling team, I would like to thank you for coming to check out Lehigh Cycling, and considering joining the Lehigh Cycling family. We sincerely look forward to meeting you and telling you more about the club.

First things first, if you have any questions at all, please email either myself of Brandon Onopa, formally known as other Brandon. We would be happy to address anything you want to know. But first read below.

Dave DiFrancesco-  dad315@lehigh.edu 
Brandon Onopa-      blo214@lehigh.edu

First Things First: Bring your bike no matter what!

The most common mistake made by freshmen is not bringing their bike and not having it for the first rides, whatever they are. Don't worry about having a place to put it, myself and Brandon will be on campus long before you all, and will be able to get your bikes as soon as you move in and bring them to the team's designated bike shed.

So, now what?

So you have a bike on campus, what are you expecting to do with it? That is completely up to you. Lehigh Cycling will be featuring three different riding styles this year (more on this later). It can be as relaxed as you want. Whether you like riding slow, fast, through trees, on gravel paths, or on paved roads, you can be sure to find a group who likes your style. Oh, and we get free (or heavily discounted) stuff.

What is Club Sports?

It is the level of competition between Intramural and Lehigh Varsity. Think high school varsity, but completely optional. It is as serious as you want it to be, no pressure to do anything, and a great way to get involved. Cycling is a little different though, since there is no Varsity Cycling Team at Lehigh. The best of the best ride with us. That being said, don't be intimidated; we have all levels of abilities in all disciplines. 

What do I want to ride?

There are three main categories of riding:

Road: Skinny tires, light bikes, no suspension, high speeds, pavement, loads of fun and the best cardio workout ever... This is the only time you will be able to whiz at over 20 mph under your own power. 

Mountain: XC, DH, STXC, CycloCross. Fast between trees, jumps, cliffs... however big you want to go, we accommodate (neither confirming or denying that the edit is through Leigh's campus) Plus Lehigh has its own large network of mountain biking trails.

Recreation: Looking to get in shape or just something to do, do it with friends. Ride bikes down paths, through town, whatever goes. Mellow paces, food stops encouraged. Any bike goes. Childish behavior recommended.

I don't have a bike, but want to!

It is certainly an investment, but also one of the best decisions you can ever make. Whether you want an entry level or serious bike of any kind... Email us whenever. We will help you out in making your decision. If you (or parents) need any convincing to spend your (their) dollars on your bike, we also do that.

How do I Club Sports?

Look for us at the club fair, we'll be the ones with bikes!





The Army Spring Classic

For those of you ever given the privilege of racing in this historic race, take it. 

The Army Spring Classic, held at The United States Military Academy, is unanimously thought of as the greatest race the ECCC road season has to give up. A crushing 66.5 mile road race for the A riders on day one, three mile hill climb on day two, and it is all capped off on day two with The Shea Stadium Criterium. The only crit where you can see a whole laps worth of carnage from one spot.... and there was blood.

---Day 1----

All of Lehigh's riders agreed upon the outcome on the road race, "It sucked....hard." Even though only a few of Lehigh's brave survived the entire distance, we were ecstatic with the results. Both Brandons pulled in huge finishes, especially Brandon K, who contested what was probably the fastest field sprint of the year Read: 50 mph, for a 4th place finish in A's. 

When asked about how fast he was going, all he was able to say was , "If I looked at my speedo, I would have probably died."

---Day 2----

While day one brought much misery on unparalleled levels,  day two also promised a sufferfest. Dave who babied out the first day luckily had fresh legs and was ready to take on the hill climb ITT. With a fantastic result of 7th place, and Brandon O. Close behind in 11th. We were all ready for the crit.

With the A's being speedfreaks, B's being lazy A'riders, and C's being a bloodbath. The crit was sure not to disappoint. First C's

After watching an epic crash right before going off the line, the riders were definitely a little shaky  Dave managed to keep good position at the front the entire race, but took a bad line at the end and was boxed in at the finished. Nothing he could do... Except maybe ride a little faster

B's: Fast as hell, close as hell, and with Riders constantly breaking away; the pace never relented. Kevin held in there and gave it his best effort. But in the end eventually had to toss in the card's.

When asked for a comment, all he could muster up was some heavy breathing.

A's: As always, Brandon further impressed us with his riding. He was able to keep towards the front for the entire race, and was again in contention for the gut wrenching field sprint. In the end, no podium, but still a great result for a brand new A rider. 8th!

This race is always one to be remembered, and is always a pleasure to attend. All-in-all the best weekend of racing this year. (Besides Road Natties that is)
Shea Stadium Criterium, Dave at the front. | Photo by Kris Flynn

Friday, May 10, 2013

2013 Collegiate Nationals Road Race Recap - Ogden, Utah

Today's theme at the nationals road race was much the same as yesterday, lots of fast guys fighting for position, some big attacks, and a big group battle leading into the finish.

The road race course was a 77+ miles crossing the mountain ridge East of Ogden. The first 50 miles consisting of smaller, flatter loops, followed by an amazing descent through a rocky canyon past a waterfall, a long and grinding climb up to 6000 feet of elevation on Ogden Canyon Road, and finally a short descent into the finish.

The first 50 miles of short loops were flat and fast from the start, with several riders attacking to try and get gaps off of the front, only to be pulled back after a while by the bigger, stronger teams including Duke (team time trial and crit champions), Air Force, and Mars Hill.

Finally, after one of the more fun descents I've ever done through a canyon into Ogden, the climbing commenced. As a larger rider, long climbs have never been my strong point, so I knew this might be a rough day for me. Still, I tried to stay near the front and give myself a shot at a good finish. As we neared the final two (and largest) climbs of the day, a couple of riders were still hanging off the front. One the first climb Zach from MIT, one of the stronger riders from the ECCC, went to the front of the pack and put the pedal down, sweeping up the last riders and making life miserable for everyone.

After a short respite, we hit the biggest climb, climbing more than 1400 feet over 4 miles at an average gradient of well over 7 percent. By the end of mile one, it was clear that I had made a poor choice of gearing and wasn't prepared for the steady slopes. I popped off the back of the pack, now down to about 30 riders, and started the slow, lonely grind to the top. At this point, I would like to say thank you to the dozens of awesome people who poured cold water on me, shot me with squirt guns, and yelled encouragement over the next 3 miles of miserable, painful climbing. These things might not sound enjoyable, but when your heart rate is hovering around 200, a blast of cold water can be a life saver.

Anyway, I eventually rolled over the top and began the wide and fast descent back toward the finish line. Fortunately, I had driven the descent by car before the race and had some idea of what I was up against, so I was able to catch several riders in the closing miles. Still, I ended up right near the middle of the pack in 40th place. This was good enough for 19th place on the weekend omnium, which again, was a result beyond my wildest dreams.

To wrap up, once again I'd like to thank all of our awesome sponsors for their support this season. Cutters Bike Shop in Bethlehem once again provided us with some great Specialized gear and lots of top-notch maintenance. My new CycleOps Fluid2 trainer was a huge upgrade from my previous non-existent trainer. Additional support from Barb Turanchik, Doug Strange and Campus Athletics, Rodale/Bicycling Magazine, Around Town Bikes/Rich Adams Custom Frames, and LU Cycling alumna Kiki Schuck helped to keep the team rolling this year and fund our travel. You are all much appreciated!

-Brandon K.