Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter Weather got you down? Road Bike Party – Part 2 –To the Rescue!

I woke up a little later than usual today—somewhat depressed about the cold weather and snow that will prevent us all from training outside for the next few weeks.  But then I stumbled upon this new video from GCN—that is truly incredible. 

Here is the description:

“Incredible stunts and amazing tricks all completed on a £15,000 Colnago C59 Italia? It can only be a Road Bike Party! Lycra-clad trials legend Martyn Ashton's first Road Bike Party was a YouTube sensation, so a sequel HAD to be made, bigger and better than before! Martyn was in the middle of filming when his life was transformed by an accident during a trials display which has left him paralyzed from the waist down. Courage, determination and great friends have helped Martyn to complete his vision for what a Road Bike Party is.”

If you haven’t seen the first version, basically Martyn Ashton takes a super expensive road bike, I think it was a Pinarello Dogma 2, and essentially rides it like a stunt bike—flipping it over things, jumping over different objects, riding through a skate park, riding down mountains, through rivers, etc...  It is all very impressive, and from the moderate amount of mountain biking experience that I have, I can safely say that the amount of control that is required to do some of this stuff, on a 14 pound road bike no less, is pretty insane.  The first version was good, but this new edition, is on another level.  Danny MacAskill, and Chris Akrigg join Martyn Ashton for Road Bike Party 2—check it out below!

- caserace

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fall 2013 Recap – 2014 Road Season Preview

Hello!  Welcome back to the Bucknell Cycling blog!  I (caserace) have been on a bit of a hiatus lately (when it comes to blog posts), haha, about 8 months in fact, so sit back and enjoy this special treat – its gonna be a doozy.

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2013 Recap: Since I stopped blogging at week 4 of last season, you all missed out on events from the next 5 weeks of racing.  I’ll quickly try to sum them up.  In the men’s A category, Daniel Lazier and Sam Cowans comprised the top end of Bucknell Cycling.  Both riders had numerous top-10 finishes, shining most brightly on epic road race courses—including solid results at Shippensburg, Army, and Penn State.  In men’s B, the most notable discussion would have to surround the senior-year explosion of Sir Harry Chen.  Harry finished his career as a Bison ripping off a win at Navy’s criterium, and top-five finishes in the Shippensburg criterium, the Army road race, and the Army criterium.  These results added to his early season second place finish, earned in the snow-filled circuit race at the Philly Phlyer.  Harry earned a much deserved upgrade to men’s A for the final weekend of the year at State College, and was the lone Bucknell finisher in the frat row criterium—with a crushing top 10, in his first, and last, weekend in As.  With all due respect to the guy named Jeffrey Salvitti, Harry is without-a-doubt the suavest rider in Bucknell history.  The hair and charisma speak for themselves.  We wish HC all the best!  All three riders—Dan, Sam, and Harry, earned bids to the Collegiate National Road Championships in Ogden, Utah.  I finished out the year in Bs, peaking at the Shippensburg weekend, where I posted solid top-tens in both the road race and criterium.  From there, average finishes at Army, and a mad infection of pink-eye at Penn State, brought a slower end to my season.  Appearances from Miguel, Tom, and Abbott (racing men’s D), as well as Zander (who races men’s C) were also notable in the second half of the year. 

The 2013 race team could be summed-up as “small and fast.”  And while there is nothing wrong with that, one of our big goals heading into 2014 will be to carry the attendance of casual racers through the end of the season.  The prospects are looking good, thanks to the new class of 2017.

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The Class of 2017: This fall, the team has been invigorated, and with the incoming class of 2017—Bucknell Cycling looks to be a sustainable entity for the foreseeable future.  The new class is highlighted by top “recruit,” Alex “Keith Stone” Breakstone.  Alex is a 165 pound physical-specimen, seen below in the picture to the left, who can time trail, sprint, and also climb (a lot better than I can).  Hailing from the New Jersey based development organization that produced Harry, the Colavita junior racing team, Alex has a bright future in the baby blue, and we are expecting big things during the road season.

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During the first week of school, out of the woods, popped 2 mountain biking enthusiasts: Ward “SquidWARD” Prescott, and Erim “Mountain Man” Yildirir.  Ward hails from Virginia, and has already produced a top-ten ECCC finish this fall in the Penn State cross-country mountain bike race, where he and Breakstone competed during parents weekend.  Erim adds international flavor to the team, as a exchange student from Turkey, Mountain Man has quickly established himself as a very funny individual.  He completed his first Milton TNR on a mountain bike, and will be counted upon as a team-workhorse this spring.  The third member of the presumed first-year men’s C squad, is Steven Robare.  A frequent Ward training partner, Steven possesses leg muscles that no-one else has.  Early in the fall, he could already be observed glued to the back of Sam Cowans’ wheel, at speeds well in excess of 30 miles an hour, cruising down route 405.  Proposed nicknames include “Mash,” “Smash,” and “Tugboat Jr,” –so its clear that Steven means business.  Best of all, he always has a giant smile on his face.  I would be remised if I didn’t also mention David Schell.  A early rowing-convert, David has been unable to ride with the team due to a road bike shortage.  He has done very well on a few Tuesday hill rides, just using his hybrid.  We hope to see David at some races this spring too.

Last, but certainly not least, would be our sole female recruit—Dominique “Dominator” Ruszala.  I first met Dominique as her Buckwild pre-orientation trip leader this August, and it was soon clear to me what a cool kid she is.  She spent much of her high school years competing across the country in a marching band, so she plays quite an obnoxious number of instruments.  Dominique has been a staple of the weekly Friday ride crew, and has expressed a super-awesome attitude in possibly trying racing this spring.  She definitely brings  a unique perspective and sense of humor, and has been another fantastic addition to the team.

This Fall

The fall is always a time for lazy rides and becoming overweight (as I look down right now, I can surely tell you this is true).  BUT, its also a really incredible time to ride, because the new members are so wide-eyed and excited, and it is really  nice to show them around our beautiful countryside.  The trees slowly change color, and many rides pass with everyone trying desperately to catch the falling leaves, without crashing of course!  Sam Cowans ran away with the leaf catching competition this year, hauling in 5 I think? …to make up for his violent crash last spring, when while extending for a leaf, he “forgot he was riding.”  The fall is best displayed in pictures, so have a look at some of the shots that I (and others) have captured over the past few months!!



The Season Ahead – 2014

1If we do this right, the 2014 road season could be a coming-out party for Bucknell Cycling.  Us current riders always hear about the yester-years of glory, now 5 to 6 years ago, when the team was huge and fast, with lots of girls!  The six individuals that I mentioned above, are the strongest class of riders that we could have ever asked for.  And when combined with the foundation that we already have, the hauling van should be a lot fuller this spring, which is sure to make Papa K smile. 

We once again welcome back Phil Cable, our coach for the past two years, and we are super excited about that too.  If you’re bored, Google his name, there is a super cool picture of Phil attacking off the front of a Tyler Hamilton led peloton in the 1996 US Pro Championships.  We had our first training session with him for the year just a few weeks ago, where Phil had the whole team weaving through cones, jumping over blocks of wood, doing figure-eights inside a parking space (try it!) picking up water bottles, and hammering around the Lambda crit in the new part of campus.  And that was just the morning!  Phil will be an invaluable asset this spring with so many fast (but perhaps inexperienced) new riders.  

The roster for the upcoming season is as follows, making educated guesses on potential categories.  I went back and forth about whether I should lay everyone out in this post, and decided to, because I think it really shows the promise of our upcoming year.  Not everyone below will be racing every weekend, or even more than once for that matter, but the best part of this team, is that there is something for everyone—and I think our vast array of ability levels really plays tribute to that.  Nothing expresses this sentiment more, than a blog post that was written by Sara Chuirazzi last March after her first race.  You can read it here, located on her personal “Magical Musings” blog…which I have to say, is pretty cool in-itself. 

Men’s A – Daniel Lazier ‘15 (President) and Sam Cowans ‘15

Men’s A/B – (we’ll see how the winter training goes, eh Breakstone?) – Brian Case ‘15 and Alex Breakstone ‘17

Men’s C/D – Wade Baldwin ‘14, Erim Yildirir ‘17, Steven Robare ‘17, Ward Prescott ‘17, Eric Wengert ‘16, David Schell ‘17, and Zander Slavitz ‘15, Miguel Garcia ‘16, Max Wagner ‘14, and Kolbe McKee ‘16

Women’s Intro – Audrey Love ‘16, Sara Chuirazzi ‘16, Stacey Carpency ‘16, and Dominique Ruszala ‘17

See you all back here in the Spring…if not sooner for some winter training updates!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Naval Academy 2013

Bucknell Cycling Competes Out-of-Conference in the ACCC…HC Gets a Win!

Eric’s first weekend in C’s – Tom’s race weekend debut

Navy- 2013 100When the ECCC schedule was announced in the early winter, this weekend was the awkward unknown.  Initially, the ECCC had the weekend as “TBA,” so we went to work on finding some alternative racing options.  Conveniently for us, the ACCC was holding their northern-most race at the US Naval Academy, just 3 hours from Bucknell, so we jumped at the chance.  Along for the racing with me included Harry, Sam, Eric, and Tom.  Some other members of the team had other things going on at Bucknell.  Something about houses having parties? I don’t know, I am still confused.

The experience with a new conference was an interesting one.  The ACCC has a much different dynamic than the ECCC.  Beside being a bit smaller, the conference standings are dominated primarily by large universities.  There are far fewer small liberal-arts colleges and other division two universities competing.  The main contenders for the ACCC crown, as we soon learned, usually includes Navy, Duke, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina State.  Others who fielded large teams included UNC, William and Mary, the University of Virginia, West Virginia, Johns Hopkins, Appalachian State, and VCU.  Getting to know the culture of a different conference was certainly refreshing.

903354_403011883128700_417483211_oThe criterium on Saturday looked like the outline of mickey mouse's head from an aerial view.  With two 180 degree turns (one of which followed a sharp narrow downhill) and a small climb up to the top of the cemetery, it was certainly a unique course.  Navy’s campus is a very picturesque setting, with people running, walking, training, blowing things up (kidding), rowing, and just being active.  The whole campus was up and going very early on Saturday morning—quite unlike most campuses. 


I had the team at the course by 8 in the morning—and we were the first team there (awkward).  Tom was the first to go off in the men’s D race, and despite some anxious nerves, worked very hard to do well in a field that split entirely to pieces.  It was Eric’s first weekend in C’s, and again, the race split into many small groups.  It wasn’t Eric’s best day, but it certainly wasn’t a disaster.  He finished in the middle of the field and drew his attention to the next day’s road race (which is much more suited to his skill set).  After Eric finished, Harry and I battled through a pretty active B race.  One of the commonalities that we noticed in the ACCC was in the importance of sprint points.  I think more points are up for grabs in the ACCC than in the ECCC, and with only 3 major schools really contending for the title, the sprint laps are like finishing laps.  The field was blown to bits by attacks from Virginia Tech and Navy riders, until Harry and I composed a group of about 11 at the front.  Around the final turn to the finish, I was 5th or 6th wheel, while Harry was second.  Harry made up a tremendous gap on the leading rider to finish first in the criterium!!  For the second straight week, Harry had a top 2 finish.  I held on to 6th.  Sam did well to stick with the A race, which was made extra difficult by the excessive amount of sprinting required out of each of the 180 degree turns.  Here are the pictures:

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Harry’s Finishing Sprint Win:


After the criterium, the team hit up the Annapolis Mall for the second day in a row, enjoying some fresh Chipotle Mexican food both nights. We had to get to Virginia however for the next day of racing.  The road race was also something a little different than we are used to in the ECCC—having significantly less climbing than seen up north.  The course’s roads were spectacular—brand new and freshly paved the whole way, situated in a state park with little traffic and lots of tree cover.  Sam was off first with the A’s, while Harry and I followed five minutes behind in the B field.  In both the A and B races, a breakaway was established and then never caught.  In the A field, every major team had a rider represented, so the A peloton essentially stopped racing.  Sam later commented that it was one of the more bizarre races he had ever experienced.  Harry and I held in with the lead chase group—coming in for a respectable 9th and 15th.  Sam made a move at the end of the race to grab 15th—one of the first finishers from the peloton.

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Eric was super pumped for his first significantly long road race in Cs.  One could tell he was nervous, but the legs he had from training around the Lewisburg ridges throughout the fall had him more than prepared.  Each time by, Eric was definitely digging hard to stay with the main pack, but he still looked comfortable, especially as the pack ramped up the only major incline on the course.  With 1 lap to go, an attack split the C field somewhat, and Eric hung in with the second big group on the road.  He finished a very respectable 15th.  This ended up being Eric’s last race of the season.  We look for Eric to keep improving as a C rider next season, and hopefully an upgrade to B’s??

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Tom’s field blew to pieces right from the outset.  For the majority of the passes by our cheering section, Tom was by himself, riding about 6th or 7th wheel for most of the race.  He had to navigate the women’s B and C fields as well, both of which had intermixed with the D race during the 2nd and 3rd laps.  In the end, Tom finished 7th following a well fought out sprint with a rider from William and Mary.  Here he is coming in for his finish. 

Navy- 2013 103  Papa K’s Observations from the weekend:

1. Lazer won two weeks ago.  I haven’t seen him since.  Where could he be? 

2. We have two motels this weekend—each within five miles of each day’s race.

3. Maybe Lazer is still celebrating

4. Hot tube and a free bathing suit.  You can’t beat that.

5. Case races better when he sleeps with Sam.

6. We were the first team to show up to the race on Saturday.

7. Maybe Lazer is writing poetry.

8. President Case ordered Harry to win.  So he did.

9. Sunday morning, NO COFFEE.  Sam felt he could win if he had coffee.

10. They yell at you if you don’t wear your helmet.

11. Maybe Lazer went pro.

12. Congrats to Harry on his win.

13. Dear Audrey—I took some pictures just for you (see below).

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(see Rutgers blog post if you don’t get it)

- caserace

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Philly Phlyer 2013

Harry Chen Comes to Play – Vol. 1


It is now April 9th, and I am writing about a race that happened about 4 weeks ago.  So yeah, this ship is certainly off course.  But today is going to be dedicated to catching up.  There won’t be any “abbreviated” race posts.  I’m whipping out the summaries of 4 weekends in one day.  Here we go.

Following the success at Columbia, it was only going to be Sam, Harry, and I at the Philly race weekend.  Harry, Papa K, and my dad and I, all arrived at the warm and cozy Tino household Friday night for pasta and salad.  We would meet Sam at the race course the next day.  The main concern when we woke up on Saturday morning was going to be the weather.  The forecast called for a chance of snow/rain/sleet, but the chances were about 50% or so.  In my ECCC career I have never had a bad day of racing when it comes to the weather—so I think we were due for some cats and dogs.  

Philadelphia-2013 004We arrived at the course with a feeling that the bad weather had passed for the day, but our St. Patty’s day luck would soon change.  First, we were issued a parking ticket for having a portion of our van on the grass (next to 10 other cars also parked on the grass who also received tickets).  It was a bit unnecessary if you ask me.  The funniest part was watching the park rangers driving all over the grass while they issued tickets for cars that were “ruining the grass by parking on it.”  We spent the next hour before our race costing the park rangers money by helping people get their cars off the grass before being caught.  Papa K had a great time with that.  In the end, we realized that the ranger had put the wrong ticket (it had the wrong vehicle license plate #) on our car…so we got out of it anyway.  Haha.  But seriously, check out the ironic situation above, with the ranger parked on the grass, ticketing someone else parked on the grass.  It’s a head scratcher if you ask me. 

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We did get some racing in on Saturday, and as I hinted at earlier, the weather was pretty interesting.  Joining the crew mid-morning included Bekah, Steph, Dan Wood (minus his hair), and Kevin Curran (who is now at Lehigh).  Sam was set for two road races on Saturday—the cat 3 with Wood, and then the Men’s A race later on.  Kevin, Harry, and I, were going off with the Men’s B crew. 

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To be honest, I don’t remember much about the circuit.  About 1 lap in, it started to snow, and then it hailed for about a lap, and then it started snowing some more, followed by rain, sleet, freezing rain, and every other kind of precipitation imaginable.  Both the cat 3 race and the Men’s B race (running at the same time) were cut short due to the conditions.  Sam decided to bag the Men’s A race (which was eventually cancelled) as we all huddled helplessly drenched in the car afterwards.  HOWEVER, Harry Chen put in a beast of a sprint toward the end of the Men’s B race to take 2nd place!  Here are some pictures Tino took before the weather got too bad.  The picture of HC mashing through the snow in the end is pretty awesome.  Notice above – I don’t ride with gloves (EVER). 

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After the race, we drove back to Tino’s new apartment to wash our clothing and decide on the plans for dinner.  We ended up getting some pizza from a shop around the corner, and enjoyed some of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2?  Maybe?  I don’t know my Terminator movies very well.  Anyway, the Temple campus criterium turned out to be much more enjoyable the next day.

Cheered on by Bekah, Steph, Papa K, and Tino—Harry and I had a solid race finishing next to one another in 15th and 16th.  A breakaway had gone of the front early on the in the race and was never seen again.  Sam participated in his first Men’s A race of the season, and held on until about a lap to go.  Actually, he looked rather comfortable.  Here are the pictures from the newly re-designed Temple crit.  And thanks to Steph and Bekah for the cupcakes!

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Overall, the Philly weekend was a pretty relaxed one.  Harry did awesome to start his string of top finishes with a second place in the snow-filled circuit race, while Sam looked more than ready to take on the rest of the year in A’s.  It was great to hang with Kevin, Rebekah, Steph, Wood, and of course B Tino and his parents.  There was however the following event, which I did not know was being photographed.  Apparently when making faces during Harry and I’s crit warmup, Tino was on the ball to capture the moment.  So here ya go, one of the goofiest trainer photos in history (left).

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A big thanks to the Tino’s for hosting us again this year.  It is one of my favorite places to stay during the season, and the food is always top notch!  The next weekend after Philly the team travelled to its first ACCC race ever!  I will be posting the Navy weekend summary when I get a chance.  Papa K’s observations from the weekend are below:

1. Case stuck his toes in the Tino’s m & m dish

2. It cost 101 dollars to park on the grass in Philly

3. I did not know that Case wears women’s jerseys

4. Kevin really needs a Lehigh kit

5. Sam did the Cat 3-4 race but was unable to do the A race due to weather – DON’T TELL PHIL

6. It is not always sunny in Philadelphia

7. Sam was saved.  They canceled the A race.

8. My camera holds 18 pictures without an SD card.  Thanks for picking up the slack Tino.

9. Quote: When Sam ‘s in a race, EVERYTHING SEEMS CALMER

10. Cupcakes are good even when its old out.  Thanks Steph and Bekah

11.  Another awesome weekend of host housing thanks to the Tino’s.  And while I’m at it, thanks to the Straton’s for hosting us for Columbia/Stevens.  It makes a big difference and Case doesn’t worry as much about the budget.

12. Saturday will make the list as one of the worst race days as far as weather is concerned.  But as I sat in the van at the end of the day with the heater blowing—thawing out my bones, I bit into one of mama Case’s chocolate chip cookies and all was right with the world.

- caserace