Monday, September 29, 2014

One Month In - A Great Fall Thus Far!

After our first month of the fall semester, we're back at the blog to catch you up with all that has been going on with Bucknell Cycling.  As a friendly reminder, make sure to check us out at https://www.facebook.com/BucknellCyclingTeam, where you can find the most frequent team updates and cycling news.

Bucknell Cycling's new executive board for this academic year - President Ward Prescott, Vice President Steven Robare, and Treasurer/Sponsorship Chair Alex Breakstone - put in work in the weeks leading up to the start of school to ensure a big year for the team.  On the Monday of New Student Orientation, the team made sure to have a big presence at Activities Unlimited - Bucknell's annual fall club fair.  With the likes of Ultimate Frisbee, Squash, and Men's Crew set up nearby and competing for new members, Bucknell Cycling strategically utilized Papa K's tent to section off a large plot of land and make the team visible head-and-shoulders above the rest.  Also critical was the abundant supply of informational flyers, sign-up sheets, display jerseys, and enthusiastic, Bucknell-Cycling-t-shirt-clad members.  Brian Case's contribution was particularly commendable, as he spun on a Cascade trainer, in his kit, in the sun, for a good portion of the fair.  Our visibility and effort in talking to students who passed by paid off, as by the end of the day we had over two pages-worth of sign-ups.  Anyone who attended the fair knew Bucknell Cycling by the end of the day.

The following Monday, we had our first team meeting.  As expected, attendance was not nearly as high as the number of people who signed up at the club fair.  Still, old members were pleasantly shocked to see the small crowd we managed to bring up to the conference room in Academic West that evening.  The meeting went smoothly, and after all was said and done, thirteen new riders have been added to the roster for the 2014/2015 year.  While some ride more frequently than others, some are more set on racing than others, and some are in better shape than others, only time will tell.  For now, we're happy to welcome them aboard and excited to see them develop strength in and passion for cycling.

These riders are: Cole Davis ('18), Charlie Hanna ('18), Kerri Harner ('18), Stephanie Garboski ('18), Kanishka Suwal ('18), Arthur Brooks ('18), Kurt Schlosser ('18), Yang Gao ('16), David Zhou ('18), Christian Ouellette ('18), Philip Martin ('16), Ethan Pepin ('18), and Kaixiang Shi ('18).

After two weeks of incredible early-fall riding weather with the new team - weather that makes particularly enjoyable Friday afternoons, the weekend of the Milton Harvest Festival Road Race was upon us.  The attendance for the Friday Ride before Milton was unprecedented.  Among all the excitement, Breakstone slipped under the radar to take the first two sprints of the day.  After his second victory, the mood changed.  What started as a free-for-all competition soon evolved into an all-against-one mentality.  The efforts of the rest of the crew were to no avail, however, as Breakstone emerged victorious in the final two sprints, winning the mailbox sprint despite a strong, unforeseen attack coming just before the final turn.  This final sprint was hotly contested - a good sign for the next day's race.

Saturday's weather in many ways channeled what you would expect from a spring classic; rain and wind were key factors in the Milton Harvest Festival Road Race.  Bucknell Cycling had a huge showing, bringing ten riders from the current team in addition to alumni attendees Kevin Curran and Dan Wood.  New faces included: Cole Davis, a first-year Chemical Engineering and Management major from Colorado; Charlie Hanna, a first-year engineering major from New Hampshire; Kanishka Suwal, a first-year Environmental Engineering major from Nepal; and Kurt Schlosser, a first-year Mechanical Engineering major from Pennsylvania.  These new riders were great for braving the conditions and coming out for one of the team's long-running traditions.  At Milton, Bucknell also has a tradition of success both individually and as a team; this year's roster was highlighted by Sam Cowans and Alex Breakstone, both of whom have sealed top-five finishes in the past two years.

The race started fast from the gun, as a break containing Breakstone and three other riders formed following the first large climb of the day.  Racing among riders who were still in summer shape, Alex lost contact with the winning break following the largest climb of the day.  Once reabsorbed by the pack, Alex, Sam, Daniel Lazier, and Brian Case - the Men's A squad from last season - began to talk strategy, knowing that 4th place would certainly be contested in a field sprint.  Despite attacks of varying strength coming into Milton, the race panned out as the team had predicted.  Sam and Alex sat at the front, expecting attacks to come on the final steep climb of the course.  When the attacks came, Sam and Alex were ready, quickly reacting and maintaining position as second and third wheels.  Sam was ready to lead Alex out for 4th, but once Alex began his sprint, Sam knew they had the field sprint locked down and followed Breakstone to claim 5th.  The duo was followed by Dan, who took 10th overall.  All members finished the race, with especially strong performances by both Cole Davis and sophomore David Schell, who participated in the race for his first time this year.

Kurt Schlosser tackles the first climb of the day.

Dave and Charlie stay close up the first climb.

Kurt and Kanishka are all smiles reppin' the baby blue.

This excellent all-around showing earned Bucknell first place in the team competition.  Alex's 4th place overall earned him 2nd place in the 18-20 age group, while Sam secured 1st in the 21-24 age group with his 5th place finish.  Please note that all pictures from the Milton race as well as results and info for next year's event can be found at http://www.miltonharvestfestival.com/races/bikerace.php.



Ward and Alex accept the 2014 Team Championship for Bucknell Cycling.


Since Milton, the team has continued to rack up the base miles and show the new riders what it means to ride for Bucknell.  The next Saturday after Milton, Brian, Steven, and Cole went out for the first Saturday ride of the year, enjoying the morning's weather and riding Highlander at a steady pace.

This past weekend saw three days' worth of excellent riding with parents and alumni who were on campus for Family Weekend.  Thanks to Ron Marquette - Bucknell Cycling's hard-working, sage, and kind-spirited team adviser - we were able to offer eight rides to visiting families.  On Friday, we almost doubled our typical attendance with parents.  The atmosphere was very casual, and the team truly enjoyed spending time with and getting to know those who came out.  President Prescott was also an MVP this weekend, as he hosted all the road bike rides - two on Saturday and the 50-mile Jack's route on Sunday.


The crew on the Saturday of Family Weekend, led by Ward and featuring Dave and Cole.

Sunday's Jacks crew, again led by Ward and featuring Case and Cole.
In the coming weeks and months, the team and execs will continue to be busy with a lot in addition to riding.  First, as in prior years, we are ordering t-shirts that read "Bucknell Cycling" on the front and have our sponsor logos on the back.  We are offering orange and navy blue varieties, with white print.  Based on an estimate of quantity, expect to pay $10 (plus $2 for shipping away from campus).  Please submit the order form electronically by clicking here, and contact Daniel Lazier at ddl008@bucknell.edu if you have any questions.  The deadline for ordering is Wednesday, October 1st.  Later in the fall, we will also start kit and clothing sales for the coming season.  We are again working with Panache, as they provided a great experience and great clothing last year.  Rumor has it, though, that Dan, Brian, and Sam will be going out with a bang, designing team kits for their senior year totally different but drastically cooler than any before!  Look out.  Again, contact Dan at ddl008@bucknell.edu if you are interested in ordering clothing.

Secondly, we are planning Canada for the 25th of October and would love to have as many alumni there as possible.  This is a true team tradition that is made even more special for new members when alumni return to attend and participate.  If you are at all interested, please contact Dan at ddl008@bucknell.edu and sign up electronically by clicking here.

Finally, as many of you may already know, Bucknell Cycling prides itself on being one of the very few collegiate teams that requires no dues and pays for every rider's transportation, lodging, and race registration.  We try to make it as easy as possible for students to try cycling and hopefully find a life-long passion for riding and racing.  Many first-time cyclists also rely upon bikes that the team loans out for free to interested new members.  With a team that has doubled in size this year and a far-from-unlimited budget, we truly appreciate all the support we receive from parents, alumni, and friends of Bucknell Cycling.  Anything you can contribute is put to good use and directly affects our team's ability to ride, travel, and race.  If you love Bucknell Cycling as much as we do, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution through Bucknell University by clicking here.  Also remember that any time you are asked to donate to the University, you can specify that your money go to Bucknell Cycling.

1 comment: