Monday, December 27, 2010

What I want in 2011

There are of course a lot of personal things which are really borring that I want, but I thought I would share what I wanted the most out of the ECCC in 2011.  Without further ado, and in no particular order

Road Season
  • 1300 racers at the reincarnated Beanpot?! Who knows it could happen (this would require a Men's Z field for the crit, but we would make it work)  Realistically I dream of a 1000 racer event, you should all be part of it.
  • Needing to split the women's A/B field in Crits.  The A/B field was a big sucess last year and this was reflected in big fields.  I see no reason for the energy of last year to slow down.  If anything, I hope that growth will accelerate again.  Hopefully a lot of our WC racers have been filing their teeth, riding their rollers and performing hours of snow covered hill sprints to get ready to join the A/B field.  The numbers it would take to split the field would depend on how technical the crit course is, but it would probably require at least 50% more women A/B riders than were at Dartmouth in 2010.  I think it is possible.
  • Chris Hamlin wins the overall?!?  Maybe, why not, somebody has to do it.
  • See a team challenge MIT's rock solid run of the conference.  I would love to see the overall come down to the finish line of the MA crit at PSU.  It is a great venue, course and crowd.  It would be all the better if their was a fierce team battle that could be decided in the final race.
  • The Jamey Driscoll and Anders Newbury to show up to a couple of ECCC races and show off what VT bike riding really looks like.
  • 5 ECCC Individual wins at Nationals, I mean we are the bigest conference, we should get most of the wins.
  • Maggie S wins a bike race, make it happen.
Mountain Season
  • Women's A mtb comes back.  I really want to see starts with more than 4 racers..... please race your bikes
  • Collegiate Nats are in West Virginia.  Time for an ECCC'r to step up.  I don't think an ECCC'r has brought home stars and stripes since 2009 in DII short track (Katherine Harris MIT).  It is close, no altitude and their might be mud.  All those Colorado roadies won't know what to do.  Get training
  • See an even better UVM race weekend.  Each of the last two years have showcased some f the finest race promotion that the ECCC has seen in the mtb season.  With a couple of tweeks I think that this weekend would surpass the quality experienced at many national level events.  Hopefully we will see you all there.
  • Have some more of the Southern ECCC schools find mtbs and go to races.  Even when we raced in Pa twice in 2010 there wasn't great turn out.  I hope that 2011 will see a rebound.  

Things that I will profoundly miss:

  • Rose Long.  She is on a big Jet Plane for France and won't be racing in the ECCC.  She has graduated and gotten a real job.  In 2008 Rose won the Women's overall and that fall was hit by a car in a training ride.  She is an amazing girl and somebody that I am glad to call a friend.  She has an indomitable and irrepressible personality that exemplified what collegiate bike racing was all about.  The conference will be much duller without her.  I am sure the whole ECCC wishes her well and all the sucess in the world in her exploits.
  • The final season for Chris Hamlin and Maggie Sullivan.  Both of these 'classy' kids I have known a very long time and have contributed and raced in the ECCC a lot.  With any luck both of them will continue to be involved with the ECCC for years to come.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Army Classic: A Eulogy

Preface:  these views are my own and not those of the ECCC


The Army classic was the longest running collegiate event in the country.  I imagine that it would be very very hard to find many events in the world of USAC races that have been as long running.  To say that the organization that occurred at these races was anything less than superb would be a bald faced lie.  The riparian zone that West Point is located in provides terrain with sharp relief and stunning opportunities for racing.

I have always been a huge fan of legacy and tradition.  I think that one of the paramount virtues of these things for races is that people know what to expect.  If it is good, then you can count on good turnout.  Army has been ale to provide us with this consistant quality over the years and I think there is a lot of respect for the weekend within the racing community.  In the loss of the classic, one of the longest running traditions in the ECC is gone.  2011 will be remarkable for the absence of two halmarks of ECC racing: no Rutgers river ITT to start the year and no Army HCTT.

Over the years the courses which have been used have varied and shifted.  So too has the conference.  When Army was first hosting races clip less pedals hadn't even been invented yet.  Greg Lemond hadn't won a Tour yet, cycling was even farther out of the mainstream than it is today.  As a result the conference was a lot smaller.

As the conference has grown in size, so too have the expectations for promoters.  One expectation that has been slowly coalescing is that Road races and Circuit races have to be big and well organized enough to hold multiple races on course at the same time.  I don't think that many racers realize this but the day is very tightly packed in the ECCC.  When promoters can only have  one race on course at a time it means shorter races to get in all of the fields that we have racing.

At the meeting this year it was pretty clear to me that there was a reemerging interest in promoting road races and circuit races.  I think that for many of the teams in attendance this fueled their voting against the classic.  Opportunities to have longer races over bigger courses is something that the ECCC is craving and Army wasn't able to deliver.

I for one really hope that this is like a a cold shower for whoever the 2012 Army promoter is.  I hope that we will return to West point and find the classic resurrected and in better shape than ever.  I dream about an ITT on rt. 218 and a 10-20 mi loop road race.  Nothing is impossible and I think that this might have given the gals and guys of West Point the shock they needed to innovate on the race model that we have seen for the last few years.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Good Day to be My Mouth

This isn't mine, but it looks just like it.
For those of you who don't know, I broke my Scaphoid September 25th.  I know, huge bummer.  But what is a Scaphoid?  Good question, it is a tiny little bone with bad blood supply that is a huge PITA to break.

So, what have I been doing with my life?  Other than reading books and studying law (both super lame)?

Stuffing my face.  Yeah, I like good food but never have the time to make it.  When I was super busy in undergrad and running 70+mi a week I routinely subsisted on Pop Tarts, coffee and Power-Burritos (Tina's frozen burritos).  Now that I have had time I have eaten a little better.

My Menue Today:

  • Breakfast:
    • 2 Eggs
    • Homemade Frech bread toasted
    • Bowl of oatmeal w/ Craisins
    • Black River Roasters Nicaragua Coffee (really Fresh Coffee Now.  Why would you change the name and lable of your business?!?!)
    • Cider
  •  Lunch
    • Chocolate covered espresso beans
    • Walnuts
    • Granny Smith Apple
    • Sandwich
      • Homemade french bread
      • jalepeno jack cheese
      • Turkey
      • Spinach
  • Post run snack
    • Banana
    • Nature valley bar (peanut butter)
  • Dinner
    • Homemade Orange soup
      • Butternut squash
      • Acorn Squash
      • Carrots
      • onions
      • broth
      • cider
    • Homemade Olive/onion/pepper bread
    • Salad
      • spinach
      • walnuts
      • craisins
      • onions
      • olive oil
Conclussion:  I am never going back to a sport that takes up so much of my time.  Don't you know that I could be eating?!?

Just kidding, it is almost time to get back on my bike.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

An argument not often heard.

As always I apologize in advance for spelling and grammatical errors.

Often when health care is debated in the national political arena you get one of two arguments.  From 'conservative' elements you will hear that universal health care as a public obligation will cripple the economic force and viability of the country.  From the 'bleeding hearts' you will hear slogans like, "health care is a human right."  Both sentiments are of course designed for the attention spam of the American public.  If you will bear with me I would love to explain my point of view on the subject.

Contrary to either of the arguments that are on the forefront of national debate, I would argue that some form of universal health care is essential to the economic viability of the country.  There are of course other reasons to take these actions, but I am not going to focus on them.  For me, the most compelling reason to tackle health care is an economic one.  Our current health care system favors large companies and inherently disadvantages small entrepreneurial efforts.

Health care, like many industries is affected by economies of scale.  Through the course of history insurance companies have collected a wealth of information on people and their tendencies.  Collective bargaining of certain groups has lead to substantially lower rates.  For the insurers they have been able to look in large policies at lower rates.  When individuals or firms representing small groups have attempted to become insured, they have had to pay higher rates.  This is of course a super simplification of the way the industry works.  I know that there are levels of complexity and nuance that I haven't touched on and even more that I don't understand, but this is the broad strokes of the way the industry works.

As the cost of health care has gone up and the complexity of the procedures has intensified.  Out of pocket payment of medical bills has become basically impossible.  The costs of medical care have exponentially risen for insurers as well.  They are in business, no doubt about it.  To maintain coverage and profit margins they have been forced to raise premiums.  Premiums have not categorically risen at the same level, the proportional rise has been felt the most by individuals or  small group payers.

One of the biggest hiring factors in the past has been talent.  There are lots of different ways to quantify this, but suffice it to say that as an employer you want talented employees.  Large business hold a numerous advantages and disadvantages for an employee.  One that we don't hear about is the advantage that large companies have a huge advantage in hiring.  When offering the same salary they may offer a larger benefits package.  The problem isn't that they are effectively offering more, in actuality the economy of scale advantage they get means that they are actually offering less.

The central theme of my argument for a universal health care system is that it would offer small and mid size companies a better chance at recruiting and retaining talented employees.  Our current system has a centralizing effect on talent, placing most of the talented people in the hands of companies that are already enormous and cumbersome in their movements.

Were there universal health care, people would have one fewer economic hurdle to clear in beginning entrepreneurial ventures.  Right now there is already an enormous risk in self employment, the economic repercussion can be devastating if you fail.  However, the medi - economic (I don't think that is a word yet, just roll with it) dangers of being uninsured are staggering.  You would have to be a little crazy to undertake any sort of even mildy risky activity while uninsured.  It doesn't take a very serious injury to rack up thousands and thousands of dollars in medical bills.  A relatively minor accident for an uninsured small business owner or employee could easily mean the end of the venture.

With all of the rhetoric across the political spectrum that is played to how great the spirit of American ingenuity is, I think it is important to find a common ground and try to unleash it.  You know that there are probably thousands of bright ideas that get shelved at major corporations because they are too out there.  Maybe a few more of these dreamers would leave the nest and strike out on there own were there some sort of webbing beneath them.

Even if this would only result in 1 huge American venture and a series of smaller ones.  The economic impact would surely be worth the burden.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Changing who my Heroes are

Once upon a time I had sporting hereos.  Who didn't?  Since the sports that I was into as a kid and even now aren't super mainstream, I kind have had to make an effort on learning about the sport and the men and women who colored its past.  As with any sports, the history of each era is defined by great athletes and by great personalities.  These things are the stories that make sport so compelling and so applicable to our everyday life.

What I have always enjoyed about individual sports is that you are the antagonist, the hero if you will, of your own story.  In this way you can be analogous to the heroes that you look up in the sports, sporting mags and websites of your sport.  You can suffer the same way, train the same way, race with the same panache and hold the same world views.  It is truly great.

Running was one of my previous passions.  As a high school runner I heard about two men who colored my understanding of how I was to interact with my sport.  They are Sir Roger Bannister and Steve Prefontaine.

At that time I had a totally single minded approach to running.  Every part of my year, month, week, day, meal, and snacks was (in my mind)  geared towards getting the very most out of myself athletically.  If it was going to get in the way of going faster, it wasn't going to happen.

At that time, my running hero was Prefontaine.  He was a runner that set a ton of US record in a short time and was an ardent advocate for the sport.  He strongly believed that you should race each and every race as though you would never get another chance.  In a sport where the elites had become infamous for sit an kick (sprinting in cycling), Prefontaine was never afraid to try to grind people down by running at the front and pushing the pace.  The internet is replete with bad ass Pre quotes.  All great things for an over - enthusiastic high school runner to feed on.

In high school I had heard of Sir Roger Bannister.  First man to break four minutes in the mile.  The due was eccentric.  He decided that he wanted to take running as far as he could, within certain constraints.  He was a med student and was training on a plan that emphasized speed over all else.  There are all sorts of crazy stories about him doing @ race pace 1/4 mile repeats durring his lunch break.  He also did this with overwhelming repetition.    None the less running was secondary in his life.  Finishing his medical degree and romancing his future wife were the real goals.  Running was the sideshow.  Two days prior to dropping under 4 minutes in the mile he went for a hike!!

For those of you who aren't runner dorks, at the time the 4 minute mile was akin to summiting Everest.  It was said to be the perfect exercise of time and the human body.  Four full rotations around the track (still on the imperial standard tracks) and four full rotations of the second hand.  It was perfection of movement in every sense of the word.  Numerous runners had gone through 3/4 on pace or faster, but they had all floundered in the last 1/4 sometimes even in the last straight.  To add to the mystique real live doctors went on record saying that it was physically impossible.  They contended that the heart couldn't match the incredible pace for such a long durration.

At this time the best tracks in the world were either grass (trimmed like the green of a golf course) or cinder (like a kitty litter box).  It had rained, making the track slow.  Good reason to bag it.  Nope, Bannister wouldn't let even the weather get in his way.

In high school this made no sense to me.  I respected the achievement but I didn't really respect the man. I couldn't immagine anything more important than quantifiable achievements.  Didn't he realize he might have given up a couple of seconds on his mile time?!?!  (Dripping with sarcasm at the thoughts of my previous self)

What a difference a couple of years will make.  Now that I am ancient and have other more temporal concerns it seems crazy to put every ounce of your being into something like that.  I guess that growing up, having bills to pay, going back to school and falling in love all tempered that part of my life.  Now I am blown away by the achievements of Bannister.  He took on the impossible but refused to let what *really* mattered to him take a back seat.

Pre's legend had the luxury of never growing up.  He got to live on in the world's memory as perfect devotion to his sport.  Oddly enough that does not do it for me anymore.  I am so much more impressed with doing the impossible when you are trying to live life too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nothing to do with bike racing

Simpsons always on the edge of something.  Just skip to 0:43


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quick thoughts on the leading teams.

Two weeks are already down in a what promises to be a very very exciting year of racing in the ECCC.  I love competition, doesn't really matter who wins or loses.  So long as the competition is closer and kinda fiery, I get rediciously excited about it.

Before the season started, I put down a few thoughts on where the teams were going.  I was wrong about a few of them and missed a few others.  I think it is time to reassess where the top teams are at, and what there prospects are like for the remainder of the year.

I just want to note that I like everybody, and don't want to hurt people's feelings.

The Main Show:

  • MIT:  Last year's winners.  They have certainly come out of the gates very very strongly.  As a team they are deeply reliant on their Women's squad.  This is what I call smart team composition.  If you start a women's A race with 3-4 racers, it is going to be very very hard for other teams to beat you in the women's point tally.  As A result of this we have seen the MIT women take maximum points in a lot of the races this year.  Their men have been good enough to help them stay at the top of the points scoring.
  • UVM:  Last year's second place team.  I hold out a soft place in my heart for my travel companion's and my Alma Mater.  You never know, they might be able to vie for a high overall finish this year.  At this point it is definitely an uphill battle.  As a team they employ a totally opposite approach to scoring points.  They have a multitude of Men's racers but very, very few women's racers.  The first weekend they scored no women's point's while they maxed out on men's points.  The trick with men's points is that they are very very volatile.  Even with a lot of very good racers, if things go south in the closing 300 meters of a group sprint you end up empty handed (See MA UVM results from Steven's Circ).  They are bringing in women, the question is really if it will be enough.  
  • BU:  These guys are gals are a hot commodity at this point in the year.  At the beginning of the year I didn't think that this team had the firepower to put up big team scores.  Boy was I wrong.  They won there first team event in the men's Steven's Circuit race.  Placing 3 racers in the top 10.  It is also really important to note that they have the potential to score a really solid number of women's points as well.  They currently have two really strong Women's B racers.  Either of these girls could certainly make a good A racer.  In the right situation I think Anna Einstein could even win a race.  As I have hinted at in my assessment of the other two teams, it is all about having a strong women's team.  It is the most surefire way to the top of a season overall.
  • U Penn:  These guys are pretty solid as well.  They are a fairly small team.  In years past their attendence has tapered off as the year has progressed.  With a few Men's A racers well placed in the overall and a top 5 current standing, maybe the ECCC will hold their interest this year.
  • Dartmouth:  Another moderately sized team.  They pack a big wallop in the A categories.  Elle Anderson in the Women's A and a plethora of MA racers generate a ton of points for the team.  Teams with smaller numbers like this are a little more prone to swings in point scoring.  One or two racers staying home to do a term paper can really affect things.   
Outside Wonders:
  • Harvard:  Anna McLoon.  Enough said right?  If the team can scrounge up some high test male racers they could be really serious contenders.  On the other hand, if Anna skips a weekend, the team will precipitously drop in the team standings.
  • Bucknell:  These guys and gals have been coming on wicked strong this year.  Their men are in the heat of the action in almost all of the races.  They haven't quite landed any huge trophies yet, but it is just a matter of time.  They also have a fairly substantial women's side. While they haven't put up huge points yet, I think this team as a lot of potential
  • Yale:  Another team that has a lot of potential, but hasn't yet put up enormous team points.  If all of the stars align they could win a weekend.  Rudy and Anna can both win A races and their are a lot of supporting riders in lower categories.
  • Columbia:  While they graduated a lot of their big hitters.  There is still a lot of spirit an potential.  We just haven't seen any of it going full throttle just yet.
  • Penn State:  Spring break did a number on their attendance this last weekend.  They will have to show up really big for the rest of the season.  Which hasn't happened for a while.  Hopefully these guys and gals can make it to more races this year than last.
  • Rugters:  With Molly Hurford nailing it in the Bs (soon to be As if I was a betting man) and a decent contingent of men racers, they are certainly a force.  If they bring out a few more key players and up their game.  They could definitely finish the season in the top 10.
  • Northeastern:  With Maggie S and Katy A racing they substantially upped the team's point scoring ability.  Notice the difference in point totals for the team from weak 1 to week 2.  This team will certainly finish in the top 10.  

Whew.  I think I covered a lot of the big players and a good number of the outside shots.  Again, I don't want anybody's feelings to be hurt.  Just for fun......


Thursday, March 11, 2010

How I learned to love women's cycling

I have a confession to make, I love women's cycling.  Why?  Good question.  I have lots of reasons, but it has really been an evolution.  When I got into cycling I was just as self-centered as anybody else.  I thought that the racing that I was doing was the most important racing that was going on.  I looked tot he fastest groups of guys as the pillars of the sport.  Anybody slower wasn't worthy of consideration.

Nice thinking, right.  In my defense I was 13-14 at the time.  At that point there weren't too many female mountain bike racers moving in the circle I was racing in.

Once I hit college things really started to change for me.  My little sister Maggie got into racing on the road and mountain bike scene for Northeastern.  At the point Maggie was the only girl on NU's team at that point.  Fortunately Maggie is wicked gregarious and didn't have too much a of problem with being the only girl.

After I left the UVM XC and Track teams I started racing the ECCC road season, needless to say it was great.  That year I was racing Cs and Bs and the following year Bs and As.  Anyhow, so much of the racing was crude.  It seemed like a lot of the movements within the group were conducted as though someone was conducting brain surgery with a club.  There was plenty of aggression and raw power.

My first year in the ECCC I watched a ton of Maggie's races (Women's B at the time).  We are a pretty tight and supportive family, so I spent a lot of time watching and cheering.  That year (2008) Magz was on the cusp, she was still finding her legs, even though she had the skill to corner and move within the pack amongst the best.  Given that was her skill set she was able to be pretty successful in crits, the road and circuit races were a little more of a struggle.

Around this time Emily (Super GF) started to get into mountain biking.  She pretty quickly got stronger and more skilled.  It was really great to watch.  One of my favorite memories of this time was a ride we did in the middle of summer at a local trail.  At this point Emily still only owned a chamois or two, and I think only one real bike jersey.  Her bike definitely didn't have clipless pedals yet.  Being a hot day she decided to ride just in her running shoes, chamois and sports bar (so she wouldn't have to wash the bike jersey before tomorrow's ride).  During the main climb on this trail we started to catch up with a masters sport racer, you know the type.  More testosterone and ego than skill or fitness.  As we got closer I made sure Emily was riding first and yelled, "riders back."  The gent moved to the side and let us roll through.  Evidently when he saw us pass him he didn't like what he saw (running shoes and a sports bra).  For the next 7-8 minutes of the climb I could hear the guy turning himself inside out to keep up with the pace Emily was setting.  I am sure that his opinion of women riders got knocked up a peg or too.  The assumption that he was operating under was that no matter how good this girl was, he must be able to match what she was doing.  Sad, but I think it is a pretty prevalent thought strain.  From my observations every woman racer deals with this sort of presumption just about every time she roll up to a race weekend.

The following Collegiate year (2008-2009) I had the great fortune and burden of being the President of UVM Cycling.  In this capacity I led some massive recruiting efforts, both for men and women.  Women were especially needed given the team's often dismal performances in the women's events (excluding Rose's of course).  At some mtb races we had around 10 women racing (Emily and a lot of her friends).  That was great.

During road season I got to watch a ton of my friends and loved ones (Emily and Maggie) rip around on the race courses of the ECCC.  I also had the great privilege of being around Rose as she tried to make a comeback to racing from the horrible collision that jeopardized not only her racing but her general health.  I spent a huge amount of time watching and cheering for Women's racing.  Their is a much more subtle structure and movement to women's racing in general.  A lot of the guys in the ECCC could learn a lot from watching the women's races and really paying attention.

This next weekend, watch, see what is going on. Respect the efforts that these ladies are putting out there, and make some noise for them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Top 10 List

I am shamelessly inspired to do this by the Penn State kids.  Thank you for the idea.  Anyhow, I thought that I might try to bring my own unique perspective to the things I am looking forward too this coming season.  Odds are you too should be super excited too.

10.  Seeing Chris Hamlin race on a bike that is his size and works:  That is right, he has been smacking around members of the A field on a bike that is so beat that the the seat was falling apart and he had to hold both sides of the shift lever.  If he didn't hold both sides it wouldn't return to its original position, the springs were that shot.  Last mountain season he did what he has been threatening for year, trained.  The result was cataclysmic for the rest of the Men's A field.  He won every single XC and STXC race.  hmmmmm...

9.  Pranks:  Last year there was some mayhem, a Prius wrapped in plastic wrap.  What will this year hold...

8.  Fashion:  Oh yes the ECCC is wick fashion forward.  Think of Leiderhousen, Captain America, Cut-off jeans, these are all fashions that emerged from the ECCC last year,  I can only guess at what this year will hold.

Hopefully this isn't actually something that shows up.....

7.  New Networks:  This is like the hottest thing right now.  USAC seems to care, velonews is running articles that kids right and the ECCC is poised to launch its own news website.  You will have so many more opportunities to engage in the narcissism  that cyclists love to engage in.  In a more positive light, I think that this will really let the ECCC hype up all of the great elements of our world wide organization.  While a results sheet lets you know who won, a new service can bring so much more color into the weekends events.  As we all know the actual finishing order is usually just a small piece of the weekends action.  We are starting to look for contributors.  Look for the official launch soon.......... 

6. Sullivan Family antics:  The first family of bike racing (Athertons who....?)  Will be on and around the roads of the ECCC.  Look for us in Intro Clinics (Both) In Races (Maggie) and Holding a Clipboard(Me).  Needless to say, everyones lives will be enriched by our presence.  Maggie is racing A's, Isn't that rad?!?!

5.  Team Show Downs:  There are a lot of mighty teams posturing for victory of the season long omnium.  Who has what it takes, and who are just pretenders to the thrown.  I will tell you what I know, it is in the strength of your women's squad that great teams are made.  With the smaller fields 4 A racers can secure a win in the weekend,  It is almost impossible for any number of A race men to dominate the points scoring in the way that a deluge of women's racers can.  Trust me we tried really hard to overturn that last year (when I was at the head of the UVM mob)  Some teams have got it, we will see.  If Columbia and Penn State can show up with their whole teams most of the time.  It should be really interesting to see how that plays out.  Army is of course going to be interesting, they lost their women's breadwinner and had some A racers graduate.  They are a strong program and it will be interesting to see how they fill the holes.  MIT  no longer has the Soltren, but I have heard his bike is really light and the the doughnuts only weight 0.0012 of the total bike weight.  The certainly have a lot of kids that can be in the mix in a women's A race, will their men be able to keep up with the ferocious point scoring appetite of the women?  UVM, Ahh no place like home.  Once again the countless hoards of the North will come teaming out of the Green Mountains to spew excellence all over the ECCC.  We will see, there are definitely some really good riders on the team.  The Jamey Driscoll might even grace the ECCC with his presence, who knows.  There are plenty of UVM Men who can win races.  The women are recruiting pretty hard, but it is the A and B racers that the team is light on.  With a healthy Rose long, who knows they could be unstoppable.

4. Individual Showdowns: a lot of kids graduated from the top of the ECCC men's Omnium.  It will be interesting to see who show up at Rugters and is in it to win it.  I don't really have a sense of how that will play out.  I have a hunch, but don't want to give anything away.

3. Shiny Bikes, Plastic Wheel, 'Euro Kits'.  I can't wait to see all the wizz bangery that people come up with to roll up to the ECCC start lines.

2. Count down to Caitlin and Joe's wedding.  Since Joe is a Level 38 Vegan - Raw Food Warlock, the gift registry was done entirely at a Philly Fruit vendor and NUTz R' US.  I hope that Caitlin wears the cycling hat she was proposed to at her wedding.  All joking aside, I am really happy for them.

1. Women's Racing:  Big rule change rearranges everything.  Should change the way races look.  Hopefully it breathes life in the elite category.  We had a lot of vigorous racing in the B's Last year.  Hopefully all of that passion for racing lead these girls to jump up the the A/B field this year.  I am real excited.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

These Days

HI All,

This time of the year is always a little funny for me.  It is the peak of the skiing season, something that I have been real stoked about for a really long time.  Actually this is my 21 season of Nordic Skiing.  Awesome, right!!!  Anyhow at the same time there are all sorts of issues that are swirling around for the next season.  So I thought that I would give you all a look inside my world.  Here are some of the things I have got rolling around in my head.


This is the big one, in terms of people and logistical madness this is the world cup of collegiate bike racing (I am sure that if anyone from another conference read this, they would vehemently disagree.  I am not too worried that they are reading).  This is going to be my first go at the road season as Assistant to the Conference Director.  Yeah, this is kind of like critically acclaimed show, "The Office."  While I had a similar roll during the mountain season last fall, I am way more comfortable with the challenges and people that are involved with mountain season.  While I think this is going to be a big new challenge, I can wait for the show to begin.

My Own Racing:
Despite getting really sick several times and wrecking my summer season last year, I still managed to find a new team for this coming year.  For the last three seasons I have been a part of the Gary Fisher Regional team.  This has been a really great experience and gave me a bunch of awesome opportunities and bikes to race on.  Time marches on and things change.  For this upcoming year I will be racing as part of the Trek Mountain Co-Op.  This was formerly the Trek Racing Co-Op, which was formerly the Trek Regional teams. Some absolutely stellar racers have come out of this program, so I am really humbled that they took me in.  Anyhow, this is going to be my new ride

Seeing the Love of My Life:
Next weekend Emily and I are meeting in Maine (half way between PEI and VT).  We are going to rock our skinny skis all over the hills and dales around Bangor.  Needless to say, I am super excited.  Pretty much, can't even sleep at night.

Triathlon, Burlintron?!?!:

If you hadn't heard, which why you, Burlinton VT is going to host USA Triathlon's national championships in 2011 and 2012.  It is totally crazy.  Strange but true, for quite a while I was stoking the dream of becoming a professional triathlete.  I know, what was I thinking.  Cycling got me pretty side tracked from this, but the lure of having a big race in Burlington is getting me pretty excited.  I might have to bring my short shorts to some of the races to get in some miles.  Sarah P. Likes to rock running shorts while training for the political office she doesn't hold, and isn't running for (yet).  So it must me cool if I do it, Right?!?


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Hi All,

Recently a lot of hollering and getting blue in the face has occured.  A lot of this has been centered around the issue of the future of Varsity racing in Collegiate Cycling.

The ECCC doesn't have any varsity team, which is a little unusual.  Oh well, I don't think that this is a huge loss. 

While there are countless merits and demerits to the prospect of varsity programs.  I want to focus on just one issue here.  This is the issue of ownership, the connectivity and efficacy of each rider on the team.

My background prior to joinging UVM Cycling was as a member of the Varsity XC and Track teams at UVM.  I won't say too much about that experience, but there were things about the team that I wanted to change.  Sadly on a varsity team there is a tendency for the coaching staffs to view the athletes as just that, athletes.  In a club atmosphere their is a greater likihood that people are viewed as members.  Parts of the team and the leadership.

If the team wants to do well as a team (at the conference level) the whole team, from A to intro has to do well and has to show up to the races.  Don't be fooled into thinking that the big teams were always big or always will be.  There needs to be a constant stream of leadership, beating the drum to get new people out, and old people to retain interest.

What I enjoyed just as much as the racing, or the training, or the shenanigan, was the ownership I had of the team when I ran it.  I would frequently tell people that I was the corporeal form of UVM cycling, and while I usually said this as a joke, I did truly believe this.  I was more assertive, and worked harder as a result of my connection to the team.  When I saw our guys shortchanged or I thought somebody was skrewing up, I would speak up, this wasn't my responsibility and I was discouraged from doing this as an XC Athlete.

So what I am saying is that Clubs present a real opportunity fcor people to experience leadership.  A lot of the time that world is something that gets thrown around in situations it doesn't even apply to.  For a cycling team there is a lot of potential situations that one would need to be a leader.  With a staff assigned to the program, a lot of this would dissapreare the responsibility that breeds leadership would evaporate.  It would be sad, a missed opportunity.

So, I would encourage all of you to get active in your team and in your conference.  Be glad that you can make a difference, cause you can.