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Official Website of the Women's Cycling Association of Arizona (WoCAA)

Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference season opener, hosted by Rutgers

Redlands is just around the corner, but here up north in New England, the USAC road season is still a ways off. Lucky for me, however, as a full-time student at Harvard, I get to race the ECCC collegiate season. I love collegiate cycling, and the Eastern conference is awesome with tons of great people and some fun racing.

The first races of the year were this past weekend, hosted by Rutgers University down in New Jersey. The Harvard team piled all our bikes and gear into a rented cargo van, and the riders into a minivan and made the long schlep down past New York City to New Jersey, where, after a very short night in a hotel, we got up before the sun to get in some racing action. There were time trials in the morning, and in true prolog form, this year’s course was short; close to two miles long. It was shorter than the course that Rutgers has used for the past few years, so a number of us crossed the finish line and were confused that the race was over already…although we could partly blame that on waking up at 5am!

Afterwards, the whole of the ECCC rode or drove a few miles over to the athletic campus for a crit next to the football stadium. The pavement was pretty miserably rough, but suddenly, the sun came out and it got warm-ish!!! Some people were racing WITHOUT LEG WARMERS!! For those of you reading this in Arizona, that’s perhaps not so exciting, but since there are still piles of snow lining many of my favorite training routes here in Boston, it was quite a treat to sit in the warm sun and watch my teammates race. Finally, my turn to race a crit came around, and well, it was a fun one. Kind of. A rider from MIT and I decided after a lap or two to pick up the pace a bit, and then proceeded to lap the field. And then started in on another lap before the race ended. What can I say, the big races are coming, and I need to be ready!!

Picture by Chatura Atapattu. OK, so this is really from Sunday's race. Still, women, racing, the ECCC, and small bits of Exposed Skin!!

Sunday, we woke up to a wet and miserable looking day. It drizzled on and off and we spent a fair amount of time huddled under the picnic shelter in the park or huddled in vans trying to stay dry-ish. Well, the pavement was smooth and the course seemed nice, and when you get sick of huddling in the van, the next warmest thing is to just get out there and race. So before the women’s race, I decided to race first in the B men’s race.

Picture taken by Chatura Atapattu. Clearly I need to start wearing my pink gloves again so it's clear I'm not just another one of the guys.

The race was a points race, and overall placing was determined not just by the final sprint, but by how many points you earned in sprints during the race. I didn’t get any points with the guys, but finished 6th or so in the final sprint, placing 13th overall. Of course, I don’t actually get any points for my team in the men’s race. Ah well. Lots of people were cheering for me, so at one point, I decided I needed to entertain my fan-base, and moved to the front to make the boys hurt…

Picture taken by Chatura Atapattu. That's really a smile and not my pain face. Trust me, I make some interesting pain faces!

But I couldn’t stick around to ask them about it, because as soon as I crossed the finish line, I had to roll to the starting line for the women’s A/B points race. It played out much like the crit from the previous day. A rider from MIT (Katie Quinn) and I lapped the field and took the lions share of the points. In the ECCC, we have combined A/B women’s fields to help cat4 women transition into riding in the A field (we have women’s intro, women’s C, and women’s A/B fields each race; I think there were 70-80 women total each day). Katie from MIT was a B rider, so we each won our own fields within the race. Only I get to wear the leader’s jersey this coming weekend, though. I will try to post pictures from our next races to prove it as we race a criterium around Grant’s tomb in New York City…wish me luck!

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