By: Garrett Lynch
With one weekend to go before the ECCC Championships, a smaller but dedicated cadre of cyclists headed to Dartmouth for L’Enfer du Nord.
Beautiful warm weather greeted racers on Saturday. Beginning with a fast 2.8 mile ITT. High schooler Brendan Rhim (Killington Mountain School) torched the A field by 13 seconds to show up the strong collegiate men of the ECCC. Katie Quinn (MIT) won the women’s A.
Saturday afternoon headed to Dartmouth’s Frat Row for a challenging criterium. The originally proposed six corner crit with the “Turn of Death” was scraped for the fear of inclement stormy weather. The elite races were some of the most memorable crit races of the season. Sophy Lee (Harvard) attacked the women’s field early in the race building a large gap only to be reeled in by the field. Katie Quinn (MIT) counter attacked half-way through the 50 minute race. Her ferocious effort propelled her around the four corner criterium at mind-boggling speed, causing her to lap the entire women’s A/B field. The early laps of the Men’s A race saw repeated sorties by ambitious riders dreaming of breakaway glory; none of them lasted more than a lap or so. Finally, Spencer Schaber (MIT) and Joseph Reis (UVM) rode away from the field. Once their gap was established their teammates effectively shut down any chasing effort, slowing the peleton to a crawl. With three laps to go the two leaders had all but lapped the main field. The officials were fearful of the leaders sprinting into the back-end of the peleton and decided to finish the main field a lap early. Schaber lead out the sprint from the final corner. When Reis swung out to vie for the win, he found his legs unequal to the task. The hollering hoard of UVM racers assembled to celebrate a victory were left to stew in their still winless men’s A season.
Cold temperatures followed racers over to the Green Mountain state for Sunday’s punishing Walls of Jericho road race. The Walls of Jericho were just that, an intense 1.5 mile climb which averaged 8% with grades that pushed upwards of 20%. The men’s A made eight trips up that climb, adding up to over 7500ft of climbing, shredding the field leaving Edward Grystar (Brown) to ride in alone to victory. On the first lap of the Women’s A/B race an elite five woman breakaway was established. After several laps, a MIT tandem discarded the other three and rode alone for the remainder. At the line Yuri Matsumoto took the win and Christina Birch rolled in for second place.
While the conference championship is next weekend, one champion was crowded this weekend. UVM,UNH, Harvard, and RIT competed in this seasons “Jort Off.” After some of the most bizarre and awkward displays of posturing for the fickle judges Jon Cusick (UVM) took home the coveted ECCC Jort Champion Jean Jacket. UNH took home the team classification.
The weekend also included a semi-annual peep-off competition between Dartmouth and UVM. See the video for all of the action.