2012 Army Spring Classic
There is a good reason why West Point is located where it is. The hilly terrain of the Hudson River valley 50 miles north of New York City was thought of as perfect base location, far from any possible foreign attacks. This part of the country in early spring is breathtaking. The roads that wind along the mountains while hugging the Hudson is the type of terrain that makes you happy to be a cyclist. The United States Military Academy put together an impressive schedule of races to utilize the best of their back yard.
Team Time Trial
Early Saturday morning MIT continued their stranglehold on the team time trial, winning the men’s and women’s A race. Almost all of the racers were impressed with the rolling 15 mile course. The Cadets demonstrated there logistical prowess in a couple of ways: Camp Buckner not only more port-o-johns than one large conference could need, USMA also supplied water from a military issue trailer, had a mobile shower station and Humvee’s as pace cars for the race.
The afternoon circuit race blossomed into a beautiful day with temperatures soaring into the 80s and plenty of sunshine to etch in tan-lines. Many of the ECCC larger teams staked claims of land along the side of the course for some serious “Bro-ing.” UVM were out in full force along the course, in Jorts (jean shorts to the rest of you) waving more American flags than even the West Point guys. UNH not to be outdone by their neighbors were equal to the task. Cultivating in a “Jort Off” to highlight next weekend’s events.
Later in the day a short 2.2 mile challenging circuit race through West Point’s military training facility Camp Buckner. This course was mean. The courser featured a straight false flat section on the highway with a strong headwind, a steep power climb, and a treacherous descent. Numerous flats and crashes, left many riders with road rash and an unlucky few with broken bones. Thankfully the Humvee’s would sweep the course for fallen racers to bring them back to staging. Samson McHugh (Pitt) won the men’s A race with powerful sprint up this finishing climb. The women’s A/B field was won in a similar fashion by Christina Birch (MIT).
Hill Climb Time Trial
Sunday’s beautiful weather coupled with the amazing scenery of the USMA campus helped create a festive atmosphere for the on campus action. To begin the schedule, a demanding 2.5 mile Hill Climb ITT up from along the Hudson River to the top of West Point with multiple pitches of 10+% grades. Katie Quinn (MIT) blew away the women’s A putting a minute between her and second place, as Daniel Holmdahl (Dartmouth) edged out a strong field in the men’s A.
As the day moved on the temperatures began to flirt with 80 degrees, but did not dampen the enthusiasm nor the pace of the afternoon’s action as large crowds created a great finale for the weekend. The 1k three corner crit was fast and furious, with a short uphill sprint finish to keep things interesting. The A races made for a storybook ending for the host team. In the Women’s A/B race Gabriella Allong (USMA) took the win with an impressive field sprint. Her margin of victory was great enough so she could indulge in a two handed victory salute to her home crowd. The Men’s A race feature several attacks and small breakaways, but in the closing laps it became clear to everyone that the race was coming down to a field sprint. Two Killington Mountain School riders lead the field into the final corner and lead out the sprint. Only Nick Garcia (USMA) was able to come around them by the line. He took an emphatic victory in front of a home crowd while being the race promoter. There are few more challenging or glorious settings to win a bike race.