Thursday, September 25, 2014

UVM Catamount Classic Weekend Recap

This past weekend the team made the trek far north for the UVM Catamount Classic.  Six members were there to represent Lehigh.  The cross country course was just short of four miles.  Seven laps for the top racers made for a long morning of racing.  High-speed fire roads and tight, winding single-track made up much of the course.  A fun section of fast berms and a short rock garden gave a quick breaks from frequent flat pedaling.

The dual slalom ran over a series of doubles and high berms.  Dry conditions meant that getting a bad start would leave you in the dust.  They also made traction a bit hard to come by.  Between the loose dirt and grassy descent across the line, everyone had a chance to get loose.  The final double led straight into the finish and was great for catching some big air and throwing whips.

Sunday morning's short track was through a snowshoe trail.  It was lined with roots on one side, with a quick dip through a muddy trench on the other.  A few rocks near the start made spectating a bit more interesting early in the morning.  The ability to power through roots and bumpy terrain allowed for the leaders to surge ahead.

The downhill course at Sugarbush began  with a sharp open berm, and then headed into the woods.  A short flow trail section led into the most treacherous part of the trail.  A long off-camber rock slab forced riders to maintain speed and control.  Those who didn't either lost traction or were forced offline.  Next came a muddy section with wet roots and a few dividing trees.  Sending it down two consecutive rock staircases and into a steep descent forced riders to jam their brakes for a sharp and loose turn.  A final descent through some trees and over rocks and the course was done.

Top finished by each racer:  Dean Zeffer 10th Mens A XC, Lenny Ancuta 8th Mens A DH, Andy Reslewic 10th Mens A DH, Matt Buell 17th Mens C STXC, Ian McCartney 14th Mens C XC, Lynette Sominara 4th Womens B DS.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Northeaster Wild Western Mass MTB Weekend Recap

Another great weekend of racing for the ECCC.  Northeastern University hosted their Wild Western Mass MTB Weekend, and it did not disappoint.  The XC races started off on a cool Saturday morning on Holiday Brook Farm.  A few early river crossings had everyone on high alert for the full race duration.  Some long, gradual climbs, and super fast descents made up much of the roughly three mile course.  There were plenty of pine needles and roots to go around.

The dual slalom started off right as the rain began.  The course was about 30 seconds of rollers, tight berms, and a few doubles.  Conditions quickly became more treacherous as the rain fell, and a few exposed roots and rocks claimed many victims.

Sunday brought the racers to Jiminy Peak.  The short track circuit was very open, with plenty of room for passing and maneuvering.  Mud and residual moisture from the night before made some racers question their cornering abilities.  There was one quick descent and climb on one side of the course, and many snaking turns on the opposite end.  Some found that cross bikes were favored as they worked their way through the open woods.

The downhill course was about four minutes long.  There were plenty of rock drops, a few opportunities to throw some whips, and enough pedaling through fields between sections to tire out some of the best riders.  A wood bridge drop across a fire road led into one of the better jumps on the course, with a quick brake check for a hard left afterwards.  Finding the best lines on parts of the course helped to shave off easy seconds for the best results.

Some top results for Lehigh's team include Lenny Ancuta finishing 8th in the Mens A DH, Andy Reslewic finishing 2nd in Mens C XC and 9th in Mens A DH, and Dean Zeffer placing 1st in Mens C DH and 7th in Mens A XC.

Monday, September 8, 2014

ECCC Mountain Season has Begun!

The Clarkson Season Opener was a blast!  The weekend began with a rainy XC race.  Two hours of playing in the mud really sorted the strong-willed from the weak-spirited.  For a flat and non-technical course, it required a lot of attention and determination.  Freeride skills were definitely favored.

Dual slalom followed the XC race.  The rain stopped, but that didn't mean a whole lot for the DS courses.  Confidence in the turns was a must.  It was great to watch and take part in all of the foot-planting, mud flinging, wheel-sucking goodness!

The STXC began on a much drier course Sunday morning.  A quick descent with a few jumps was followed by a tricky left turn covered with slick roots and a long, steady climb to complete the lap.  There was plenty of huffing and puffing to go around, but the course was fun enough to make you forget about the climb each time around.

The weekend finished up with the downhill events.  The course was a quick, one-minute speed test.  A steep drop in the beginning led into some roots and rocks with a steep chicane.  A nice double and hip jump were followed by the final rock garden into the finish.

This race was a lot of fun for the entire team.  Free camping at Seven Springs really topped it off.  There were plenty of activities available to pass the time from the races Saturday to Sunday.  Campfire, s'mores, and a bit of story telling added to the camaraderie and enjoyment of the weekend.  Looking forward to a fantastic mountain season!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Preseason Notes

As the school year draws closer, there are a few things that everyone should keep in mind when preparing for whatever is to come.  This is mostly for new or prospective members.  A list is probably the simplest way to do this... so here we go!

  • Bring your bike(s)!  Mountian, road, cross, hybrid, tandem, cruiser, fat bike, BMX - anything that you can think of to pedal.  There is always somewhere to put it.  It's pretty easy to fit two bikes under a bed at school.  There will also be access to a garage to store equipment in for those who pay dues.
  • Feel free to contact a club officer.  We'd love to get to know you, so check out the contacts on the right side of this thread.  Send an email with any questions, or just to say hello and let us know that you'll be coming!
  • Attend the club fair.  This will take place on Monday, August 25th at 4:00PM on the front lawn.  The cycling club with most definitely have a table there, so be on the lookout for two-wheeled objects.  You'll have to add your email address to our list to get notifications about meetings, rides, races, and other things.
  • Bring your bike(s)!  Nothing is worse than wanting to ride, but not having a bike to do so.
  • Ask to join our Facebook group.  Some notifications about rides and other things will posted there.  Just look for Lehigh Cycling!
  • Check out the race schedule.  It can be found on the ECCC Schedule link to the right.  The fall is mountain racing season, winter is cross, and spring is road.  However, all types of rides take place year-round.
  • Bring your bike(s)!
I think that pretty much sums it up!  Looking forward to this year!

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!