Philly Phlyer Report

In case you missed it, this weekend was a beautiful two day span to spend in the Philadelphia sunshine, hanging out with your friends in the ECCC (because who needs to drink on St. Patrick’s Day when you could be bike racing?). While the weather was beautiful, it was likely a lot prettier for one team than it was for all the rest: though a few schools seem to be making a valiant effort at the team competition this year — notably Penn State and Yale — MIT proved once again to be untouchable in the points competition. Both their top men and women posted big results throughout the weekend.

Racing got underway early on Saturday with the season’s first team time trial, on a flat but windy 12.6 miles through Fairmount Park along the Schuylkill River. The MIT Men’s A team came in at 26:15, a full 1:23 ahead of the second-place team, University of Pittsburgh. In the Women’s A race, the Engineers also took the top spot, 36 seconds ahead of second-place Yale. Penn State won the Men’s B race, and the Women’s B prize went to the only team in the race, Yale.

As the early morning faded, the circuit races began to roll through the technical chicane sequence, down the hill to the river, around the harder-than-it-looks Strawberry Mansion climb, and back up to the start/finish to complete 6.3 mile loops. In the Men’s A race there were a few attempts at a breakaway during the first few laps, but no move was allowed to stick. However, on the last lap, Eric Levinsohn of Williams College attacked up Strawberry Mansion, and despite valiant attempts by the field, was able to hold off the group until the end. However, his win came down to the wire, and the field, led by Swarthmore’s Robin Carpenter crossed the line just seconds after Levinsohn.

The Women’s A/B race was less homogenous, with small groups forming after the first lap. As fans have come to expect, MIT’s Katie Quinn pulled away from the group early, although Temple University’s Lindsey Knast (in her second week as an A racer) stuck her wheel and kept up to the very end. The two pulled further and further away from the competition over the next hour, and eventually Quinn took the win ahead of an exhausted-looking Knast. The first chase group included top sprinters Mandy Marquardt (Penn State) and Mary Costelloe (Kutztown), along with Bucknell’s Kelly Desharnais in the ECCC leader’s jersey and Penn’s Allison Tetreault. In the long sprint to the line, Costelloe wasn’t able to hold off Marquardt, who inched ahead of her at the line. Tereault, the only B racer in the second group, took the Women’s B win.

After a long break got swallowed at the very end, the Men’s B race went to Vinnie DePalma (University of Pittsburgh) in a sprint.

On Sunday, the swarm of collegiate cyclists took over the center of Temple University’s main campus, and most certainly shocked the various hungover St. Paddy’s Day revelers (we know because they were both wearing green and looking green) doing the walk of shame through campus among hundreds of overly excited ECCCers in spandex. The dreary gray morning was significantly improved thanks to Bike Temple, the campus organization graciously provided anyone loitering near the start/finish line with unlimited free  bagels and fruit (yeah, if you missed that, you really missed out). But on to the bike racing.

In the Men’s A criterium, Carpenter took his second crit win in two weeks. Like many of the races on the .9 mile, four-corner course, an early break stuck and rolled in significantly ahead of the field. Originally, Carpenter and Edward Grystar (Brown) pulled away from the group, though later they were joined by UVM’s Matthew Buckley. The chase strung out the field, splitting it into two groups. Of the 50 starters, less than half ended up finishing on the same lap as the leaders. MIT’s Adam Bry took the field sprint for fourth place.

The Women’s A/B race was, once again, dominated by Quinn, who was marked for the first few laps by Costelloe, but eventually rode away by herself to a solo win (for the second time in two years on the Temple crit course). She came across the line on the last lap to a crowd literally bowing down before her. The small field behind her came down to a field sprint, which again was taken by Marquardt just ahead of Costelloe.

Harvard’s Heather McLaughlin was the first Women’s B to cross the line. Joseph Halo of Penn State took the Men’s B race.

Written and reported by Shane Ferro, with additional reporting from Chatura Atapattu (that means blame him for any inaccuracies in the Men’s A race accounts). Photo courtesy of Chatura Atapattu. Questions, comments, concerns? Email

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