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Spring Series Recap
16th Apr 2015Posted in: Blog, Featured Posts 1
Spring Series Recap

Four seconds.

Divided amongst 15 laps, that time amounts to almost less than a quarter of a second per lap. That time is what kept Beta Cycling from wearing the White Jersey on Race Day.

This realization fell heavily on the shoulders of the team as Spring Series drew to a close yesterday. In our minds, we relived every event we raced—ITTs, Miss ‘N Out, and Team Pursuit—to see what we could have done differently to secure the Spring Series title.

Chris warming up during Spring Series

Chris warming up during Spring Series

Altogether, Beta Cycling finished in 2nd place in the Spring Series standings, as a very strong Black Key Bulls team claimed 1st. Amidst such a competitive field, this placement is a remarkably positive reflection of how strong our fitness is.

We couldn’t help, though, but to think of the corners we could’ve taken tighter; that time we could have accelerated faster; the moment when we were too aggressive, when we should have conserved; the move we could have made, but didn’t.

In the rest of this post, I’ll walk through exactly how our Spring Series competition unfolded.

ITTs – April 1, 2015

Chris Craig – 2nd Place

Kyle Knight – 3rd Place

Joe Laughlin – 18th Place

AJ Sood – 51st Place

John Hyndman – 63rd Place

Jack MacNamara – 122nd Place

We began Spring Series with momentum, as each member of the team showed good placement and competitive times. John Hyndman kicked the team off with a time of 2:31.; while he felt like he conserved too much energy in his first lap, he still showed an impressive time for a rookie. AJ Sood followed in a performance that fired up the whole team; he shaved nearly eight seconds off last year’s time.

AJ halfway through his ITT

AJ halfway through his ITT

Chris and Kyle represented in the team in the Power Hour, where both of them raced with the strongest riders on the track in back-to-back heats. Kyle absolutely shattered the fastest times of the day with his 2:20.75 to secure a temporary 1st place. Chris, of course, wouldn’t let Kyle take the title for the event he won last year. Chris threw down a 2:20.54, though he was narrowly beaten by Nick Thierry of the Cutters, who timed in at 2:19.94.

While I was originally scheduled to compete in the Power Hour, I had to switch my time to the end of the night to accommodate an interview that took place earlier in the day. Right before my run, Chris told me that in order for Beta Cycling to take 1st place in the standings, I would have to place 17th or better. My task was set out before me.

I opened my run more aggressively than usual, but my lungs and legs responded approvingly. Unfortunately, I had to navigate around the rider who started in the turn in front of me near the end of my second lap; I knew this maneuver would cost me precious time, but I forged ahead. I continued to push through the end of my race, and I looked up to see 2.24 on the clock; just the time I needed to secure Beta Cycling’s position as the out-right leader in the Series.

But, of course, the story didn’t end here. The three timers from IUSF each clocked me in at three significantly varied times, the average of which timed me at 2.24.92: thus, I had effectively tied with a rider from the Cutters. The tie-breaker gave the placement to the Cutters rider, and I was given 18th place.

We left the ITTs tied with Black Key Bulls, who placed riders at 6th, 7th, and 10th.

Miss ‘N Out

Chris Craig – Finals – 1st Place

Joe Laughlin – Finals – 5th Place

Kyle Knight – Semi-Finals

AJ Sood – Quarter-Finals

John Hyndman – Opening Heat

Jack McNamara – Opening Heat

Hyndman began Miss ‘N Out for the team, again displaying a huge effort. He fought his way to the final elimination of his opening eat, at which point he was narrowly beaten at the line.

Chris, AJ, Knight, and I all advanced to the Quarter-Final heats. Due to unfortunate seeding, Chris, AJ, and I were all placed in the same heat (only two riders per heat advance to the Semi-Finals). From the start of the heat, I was glued to Chris’ hip, and AJ was glued to mine before an unfortunate elimination. My legs, however, started to scream at me a few laps in; I had made some adjustments to my bike prior to the heat, which left my saddle nearly a centimeter too low. Chris pulled off some unbelievable maneuvers to help block for me heading into the final sprint—fractions of a second pushed us through to the Semi-Finals. Kyle, who competed in a different heat, advanced to the Semi-Finals with ease, holding the inside line for the entirety of his run.

Chris warming up for the finals

John warming up for the finals

Lining up for the Semi-Final with two of my brothers was quite possibly one of my proudest moments in the Series. The field of eight had to be narrowed down to three to advance to the finals, and we hoped to be those three. At the start of the heat, I immediately hopped on Chris’ wheel, and Kyle held his hip. After an unexpected attack in the third lap, Kyle found himself boxed in and unfortunately eliminated. Heading into the final elimination lap, I was still on Chris’ wheel; again, using his remarkable awareness, he was able to move to the outside coming through Turns 3 & 4, allowing me to fly inside past the riders sprinting on the outside of the track. Chris and I advanced to the Finals.

The Final was comprised of the following riders: Nick Torrence, Sigma Phi Epsilon; Rob Lee, Phi Delta Theta; Nick Thierry, Cutters; Tyler Hart, BKB; Chris; and myself. Again, I hopped on Chris’ wheel to start the heat. While I survived the first elimination, my punch between Chris and Thierry was launched too late to survive the second elimination round.

After eliminating Hart, Chris, Thierry, and Lee cruised through a neutral lap before the final sprint lap to determine the winner. As soon as the final lap began, Chris took over. He played on Thierry’s wheel for a brief moment for opening it up; his sprint roasted the other two riders, and he cruised through Turns 3 & 4 on the inside line to his second-consecutive 1st place finish in Miss ‘N Out.

We finished Miss ‘N Out with an out-right 1st place in the Spring Series standings. We were the only team with three riders in the Semi-Finals and two riders in the Finals.

Team Pursuit

Beta Cycling – 5th Place

Chris Craig

Kyle Knight

AJ Sood

Joe Laughlin

While we had managed our excitement well for the previous events, we struggled to contain our enthusiasm prior to Team Pursuit. We were seeded to compete with Phi Delta Theta, and we were ready to display the depth of our team.

This enthusiasm, unfortunately, caused us some complications during our run. We started out a little too aggressively, which opened a few gaps that required brief pauses in our efforts. AJ pulled off after Lap 6, and soon after, the fatigue in my legs started to cloud my focus.

Knight and Chris were both able to pull our group of three at a quick pace until the end of the effort, but without even looking at the time, we knew we weren’t as smooth or as fast as we had hoped to be. We ultimately finished 6th place. Black Key Bulls and Delta Tau Delta competed in the finals; BKB’s victory secured its team the White Jersey.

John competing in his first Spring Series

John competing in his first Spring Series

—-

We are proud to have finished 2nd in the 2015 Spring Series. But that second place left an interesting taste in our mouths.

I can confidently say that now, more than ever, this team is ready to win the 2015 Little 500.

As we commiserated over how those fractions of a second cost us the White Jersey, we started to realize how hard we’ve fought—all year—to be able to capture that time when it counts.

We thought of the extra mile we rode in during the base-building season. We thought of the extra rep on the squat rack. We thought of the support of our alumni, which allows us to race with the best components on the fastest bikes in the field.

Spring Series reminded us that the Little 500 is a race that requires dominance at every split-second.

On April 25th, we will be ready to take over.

One Response

  1. Rob Stiehl says:

    Thank you for taking the time to go though all that led up to a great second place finish. Although you guys are disappointed with the final result, it is apparent to me that there was extraordinary effort and training to achieve what you did. I am looking forward to coming to see you guys give it your all for race day!

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