A Second Team Time Trial?!
By: Ian Sullivan
The Boston Beanpot is among the most storied races in the Northeast and in Collegiate cycling. In its previous incarnation it was one of the largest and certainly the best supported races in collegiate cycling. Adding to the legendary stature of the race was the two exceptional mass start races. While the veterinary School RR is dead and buried, the Tuft’s Criterium found new life this year. The crit has been described as one of the hardest in the US. A six corner Crit that features sizable elevation change, tricky corners, swirling winds and several cobbled crosswalks on the finishing straight. Every rider that has raced it regards the event with a mixture of respect, fear and longing to return.
Going into the weekend Anna McLoon (Harvard) held onto the Green Jersey by a tenuous 10 points over MIT’s Kate Quinn and Kim Zubris (BU) had a 15 point lead over Anna McLoon and 101 point lead over Kate Quinn in the Yellow Jersey. With Anna participating in the Redland Profession Bike race the dynamics of the field were sure to change.
The racing was further affected by the presence of some riders that had been conspicuously absent so far this year. Both Martha Buckley (2010 Overall Series Winner) and Yuri Matsumoto (previous ECCC race winner) of MIT were on hand to participate in there home race. This allowed MIT to line up 6 women in a field of 32 starters. Clearly numbers were on their side.
It was clear from the whistle that this was to be a race of attrition. Within the first three laps the field had been whittled down to a select group of 14 riders, without a single B rider in the mix. Demonstrating both the importance of starting at the front in this crit and the additional skill required for an A categorization.
At this point the racing really began to heat up. Kate Quin made several attempts to roll off the front. Each successive attempt was countered by Kim Zubris, racing in desperate defense of her Yellow Jersey. Eventually Kim was caught off gaurd and Kate and Laura Ralston were able to roll off the front.
The chase that ensued shattered the remainder of the field. Within a lap the battle lines were drawn and the groups established. Laura and Kate were leading the field with a group of four behind, containing Kim Zubris, Elle Anderson (Dartmouth), Martha Buckley (MIT) and Yuri Matsumoto (MIT). Another group of three was slightly off the pace set by the first chase group.
The firs chase group was doomed in their pursuit of Laura and Kate. Neither of the MIT women had any incentive to chase, where Kim had her jersey to try to defend. This inefficiency allow the front two to open up a sizable gap. With the gap secure, Martha Buckley made a vicious acceleration from the chase group and made a solo bridge up to the front group.
At this point any hope the chasers had of reforming the front end of the race was cast into a dustbin of despair. The three MIT girls are all very strong and as a team practice heavily in the discipline of team time trial. These three began to make quick work of the straglers out on course lapping up to 9th place on the road.
On the final lap Kate Quin came across first followed by Laura, then Martha. This finish brought Kate much closer to the Yellow jersey and also utilized her teammates to displace points between her and Kim Zubris.
How many places would separate the two in their private battle for the yellow jersey was still an open question. In the closing laps of the races the second chase group had reformed with the first chase (containing Kim Zubris). This made for a larger and more complicated sprint for fourth.
As the group of six hit the finishing straight the wind picked up substantially blowing debris, sand and a lot of resistance into the sprint. From the dirt cloud emerged the green and white jersey of Dartmouth’s Elle Anderson, leading out the sprint from a substantial distance. As the group neared the line Anderson started to fade. Zubris swung to the left side of the course and tried to accelerate past Anderson. There wasn’t enough road or pop to get Zubris by Anderson and the two came in for fourth and fifth respectively.
When the dust had settled Kate Quinn had claimed the green sprinter’s jersey but had fallen short of the yellow overall leader’s jersey. Zubris will get to start the Yale races in yellow, but with a much narrower lead.