Winter Riding: The Lesser Evil

By John Herrick

The state of Monkton Road in Vermont on February 20, 2013
The state of Monkton Road in Vermont on February 20, 2013

Today, some of us woke up to sound of the plow scraping down the
street. Instantly, the plan for a five-hour day reduces to a two-hour
day. Then you look out the window and see that the trees hang heavy
with snow, the roads are flooded with a dark salty slush and cars spit
what mess is left on the roads onto the shoulder. Now you think rest
day.

For us northernmost collegiate cyclists, this sequence is an
unpredictable routine. During the winter, we have three options: the
gym, rollers, or coffee and riding outside before more coffee.

Because staring at the wall or freezing is not always fun, some of us
hit the grunt box. During my limited time in the gym, I got to see a
unique component of testosterone-laden athleticism foreign to many
cyclists. I learned that the mirror is not used for checking posture
or technique, one rep is not a weakness but rather the bravery to lift
more than you know you can, girls do cardio and others do their
homework, people can get really big, and people can get really hurt.
Actually though, these people have a better understanding of what they
are doing with that equipment than I do.

The rollers are not bad if you have a 10,000-watt stereo system and 20
years of cobbled classics on your hard drive. Matt Buckley, UVM
Cycling alumnus, is currently testing a new interval training
philosophy coined “Paris-Roubaix Intervals.” You ride your hardest
gear on the secteur pavé and play with your phone on the pavement.
Five minutes full gas across Touée d’Arenberg, ten kilometers of
texting, and then hammer from Hornaing to Wandignies. You get the
point.

Derek Harnden, UVM Cyling Alumnus, showing off his new bike this winter.
Derek Harnden, UVM Cyling Alumnus, showing off his new
bike this winter.

However, some of us put on a base layer, and another, a jacket, a
vest, a coat and another vest to brave the outdoors. Winter riding
means that you are tired of Roubaix. It means that when your
derailleur freezes, you stop to pee all over it, you desperately chew
on your salt and grit-covered ice bottles, you do not eat because you
fear your teeth will shatter against your frozen candy bar and you
ride an extra hour because you know that thawing hurts more than being
cold. Basically, it means that you believe you are tough until you stand
crying in the shower.

Winter can be hard. However, we keep our eyes on the prize: the
Rutgers Prologue – the most prestigious five minutes of early morning,
cross-eyed, and practically UCI-prohibited caffeine-induced collegiate
glory.  With this in mind, winter is easy.

Guess Who’s Back.

By Ben Civiletti

Get Ready.
Get Ready.

Back again. In December, the season is never coming. In January, there’s no point in thinking that far ahead. In February, it’s too late to do anything because the season is here. Ready or not, bike racing is three weeks away and it has been waiting for you since May. Time to get out those rollers, play some music you will soon hate, and pretend you’ve been doing this for months… Well that’s if you’re like me and you haven’t turned a pedal since October.

If you have, congratulations! You’ll be excited to know that you will be faster than me this season. Much, much faster. However, there are aspects of collegiate racing that do not involve fitness, and it is those areas that I devote my attention to in the long Winter months. My training has included: Short-short design, testing, and fabrication, caffeine tolerance building, techno brain-washing, thinking about bike riding, ignoring Lance Armstrong, looking at bicycles I can’t afford, and eating like I’m riding 5 hours a day. It’s been fantastic, but enough about me. This is about the ECCC.

Welcome to the Blogosphere. This is the place for race news, school blues, and strange views. We will feature blogs from all over the East Coast, present bootleg tech updates, write full race recaps, and have conversations with real pros who got their start in our little conference. It’s going to be a killer season, and an entity as glorious as the ECCC deserves a glorious home on the internet.

Stay with us as we follow the best circuit in cycling: collegiate competition in the East. Tired of the doping scandals? Care less about the UCI and more about looking fly? Want shorter shorts and tighter shirts? Your search is over. Prepare for the day of reckoning: 3/2/1(3). It begins.