The 26th Annual Army Spring Classic got off to a terrific start Saturday in cold and very winding conditions. But at least the rain and snow stayed away from the 200 or so racers. The Team Time Trial and Circuit race were held around Camp Buckner West of the Main West Point Post. Camp Buckner is home for the cadets in the summer months with barracks, obstacle courses and beautiful lake.
I watched the circuit race over a course was just over 2 miles and asked the racers to use every skill set. Starting at the low point the riders had a flat start to get started on before a small hill and twisty bits as they hung a left onto rt 263 where the wind blasted them nearly head on. Speeds stayed low on this open part of the course as few wanted to lead into the strong whipping winds. A right turn into Camp Buckner started with the biggest hill and required most to use the small chain ring, while some muscled on the big ring at times. The top of the hill after a left turn was the finish line. Next was a daredevil descent required great technical and forgiving bike. The descent had a few curves and was scattered with potholes. The last half mile to the starting area was rolling.
The scene was terrific as the teams all staged with tents and trainers set up for the riders to warm up. The atmosphere was collegiate as the riders chatted between teams and remembered past races and chatted about the difficult race ahead.
The races are broken down into A, B, C and D for men and women. A is the best and would be equal to category 1, 2 racers. The bigger teams were Princeton, Yale, USMA, McGill, MIT, Unv. of New Hampshire, and the regional Powerhouse Unv. of Vermont.
This year a new introduction to racing category has been started. This allows students interested in becoming racers a comfortable place to start. The key to this comfort are volunteer coaches who mentor them during the race. The mentor rides next to and behind the riders giving guidance and advice in real time. Then share advice and encouragement to the new racers after the race. In the photo Mathew Feiner who works with the Yale cycling team shares advice with Boston College’s Ryan Distefano about his race and riding position.
The men’s D race was won by U.S.M.A.’s Freshman Brenden Siekam of Rising Sun Indiana for his first lifetime win. Here his teammates congratulate him. He had this to say about how he won, “ Everyone was just waiting for the final push, and I didn’t want to hit the hill slow. So I decided to just get up and go just before the hill. That straightaway is really windy. I just jumped off the front and hoped I had enough to hold it and luckily I did.” He has a teammate to thank for allowing him to use his bike since his own bike was having shifting troubles before the start.
I will post a photo gallery Monday.
Here’s the top three and top cadet from each race – click here for full race results on VeloCityResults.
Women A 14 miles
1 7 Kimberly Geist – DeSales University 80 43:46
2 3 Eve McNeill – Dartmouth College 70 st
3 6 Courtney Rehwoldt – US Military Acd. 63 st
Men A – 30 miles
1 153 Joshua Lipka – Unv. of New Hampshire 80 1:17:03
2 81 James Driscoll – Unv of Verrmont 70 at :03
3 141 Vincent Scalia – Unv of Vermont 63 :07
4 95 Derek Merkler – US Military Academy 57 :41
Women B – 14 miles
1 172 Laura Ralston – Massachusetts Institute of Technology 48 43:01
2 155 Jessica Kutz – Penn State University 42 at :25
3 238 Jennifer Aitken – Queen’s University 36 :48
7 129 Nicole Hilaire – US Military Academy 21 2:0
Mens C – 16 miles
1 541 Gregg Izzo – Northeastern University 32 43:36
2 417 Blake Hawthorne US Military Academy 24 at :03
3 499 Rocco Repetski Princeton University 18 st
Men D1 10miles, D1 is larger schools
1 704 Spencer Gilbert – New York University 20 46:55
2 817 Tristan Baldwin – University of Vermont 16 at :11
3 905 Sam Mellen – Northeastern University 12 :14
Men D2 10 miles, D2 is smaller schools
1 634 Brenden Siekman – US Military Academy 20 27:11
2 624 Raymond Junkins – Stevens Institute of Technology 16 at :05
3 900 Jonathan Wu – Yale University 12 st