Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Tree & Farm -- RESULTS!

The Tree & Farm Race, 2012!

Ship Cycling's annual collegiate road season shakedown ride went down Saturday with characteristic violent winds, cool temps, but relatively blue skies...and a record turnout! Seventeen riders started, including seven Ship Cycling students (Alan, Jay, Jeremy, Michael, Pete, Rich, Steve), three visiting students (Courtney, Luke, Micha), two Ship profs (Christopher, Goatesause), one Gettysburg College prof (Eric), two Ship alumni (Eric, Jon), one regular suspect (Brian), and one non-event newbie (whose name I can't remember, sorry!).

Rolling out.

What was up for grabs:

That's a horse (1st), a tiger (2nd), and a dino (3rd).
And, yes, that's gold spray paint.  Awesome.

The coveted limp chicken award.  For the last-placed 
finisher...but you have to finish!

The race really began to heat up at the third dirt road section.  Micah put in a monster acceleration up the hill on Brethren Church, showing he's ready to tackle the dirt at Battenkill, obliterating the 10-rider strong group behind him.  Causalities through the rocks included a dropped chain (Gettysburg Eric) and flat tire (Christopher).  

After the rocks, the front four (Micah, Alan, Jon, Goat) regrouped and caught Jeremy, who'd been up the road for several miles.  The five rolled along together to the Maclay's Mill Murder Molehill, where Alan put in a monster dig, separating the front group and dropping Jeremy for good.

Several miles later Pete fought back to rejoin the lead group, losing contact through the final rail-trail section, but again clawing his way back before the final lead-up to the decisive Stromsberg stretch.

Goat put in a dig midway up the Stromsberg dislodging Pete once more and setting Jon (who by this time had lost the use of his rear derailleur) and Micah for a sprinters shoot out.  Micah led through from 50 yards with Jon on his wheel, but unable to make it around.  Alan, sitting up comfortable in third (to comfortable!) reacted too slowly to a charging Goat who sneaked by at the line to steal back one of gold-painted trophies.

Micah, displaying his hardware.


Christopher & Eric (I'm not sure who finished first)

By the time I left the parking lot there was still a red Jeep with a bike rack and no sign of the Surley rider (whose name I can't remember) that I had just met that day.  So, it's still unclear to whom goes the Limp Chicken Award.  If the Surley rider finished, it's his.  Otherwise the prize goes Steve.  Stay tuned...

Friday, February 17, 2012

From the CRBC:

New PA Bicycle Safety Law Signed

Written by Paul Rito
Monday, 06 February 2012 15:12
"Pennsylvania enacted a new bicycle safety law on Thursday, February 2, 2012. The new law now requires motorists to allow at least four feet of space between their vehicle and a bicycle when passing a bicyclist.
The law also makes it legal for a driver to cross a double yellow line into an opposing lane of traffic, when necessary to allow for the four feet clearance when passing a bicyclist on the right. If there is oncoming cars in the other direction, the motorist would have to wait until it is safe to pass the bicyclist and provide the mandated four feet clearance.
The law further allows a bicyclist to ride slower on the road than the posted maximum speed, and makes it illegal for a vehicle to cut off a bicyclist when the motorist is turning right.
The law become effective in sixty (60) days and is deisgned to reduce injuries which frequently do occur when a bicyclist and driver are involved in a car wreck or car accident. Harrisburg and Central Pennsylvania tend to have more of these types of injury causing accidents due to the rural nature of the area."

Friday, February 10, 2012

announcing... The Tree & Farm Race, 2012!

The Tree and Farm Race is scheduled for Saturday, February 25, 2012.  The Ship Cycling website has been updated to reflect the new route.


I hope you’ll make a point of joining the boys and girls of Ship Cycling for this one.  It’s our traditional way of warming up for the collegiate season.

As far as what it is…well, it’s race, but only sort of.  There will be several race-and-regroup moments—meaning things will get fast, but we’ll wait at the next stop sign or whatever to make sure we have everyone together.  The last 5-10 miles will be more earnestly race-like, and of course there will be the super awesome (homemade!) trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, as well as a special prize for the last placed finisher (the limp chicken award)…but ya gotta finish the whole thing to qualify.

The route is sort of complicated (see the map on the website), so I’ll have cue sheets to pass out when we start, but cue sheets are only helpful if you stay on the course—they’re not going to get you back if you need to bail early.  So plan accordingly. 


I hope you’re excited.  I am!

(FYI, course pre-ride for Saturday BTOGS next week.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

tour of qatar

Hopefully a few of you have been following the Tour of Qatar?  Why? Because it's bike racing, that's why.

The Tour of Qatar is unique among stage races for its super, super flat terrain--and its complete lack of spectators (why the thing even exists is a mystery to me). It seems to be run entirely on super wide flat desert roads. Totally unremarkable...if it weren't for the crazy winds.

But because of the crazy winds the Tour of Qatar is a case study in echelon bike racing.

Because of the strong cross winds, apparently coming from the riders' left hand side above, you see the pack all strung out across the road, everyone trying to shield himself from the wind.  So with a strong crosswind sitting directly behind someone isn't best, you want to be beside them a bit.

When the wind is coming directly from the front, or there is no wind, the pack can be strung out behind the lead rider(s) indefinitely.

But when battling a cross wind there's only so much real estate.  Here you see those unlucky riders who weren't able to keep with the lead echelon.  Once you're off, it's pretty stinking hard to get back on.  Nearly impossible.  (It's how I was dropped, twice, in my one go at collegiate nationals years ago.)

And so while it would seem from an elevation profile that the Tour of Qatar is a snoozer--only a sprinter's playground--the wind provides enough of an obstacle that the GC time gaps become fairly significant.  Today, after five stages, Tom Boonen leads the GC by 31 seconds over Tyler Farrar.  Sixth place is one minute back.  

Wind matters.  

Don't miss the break.