1996 Coll. Road Nat'ls (verbose)
ta at cqs.washington.edu
Thu Jun 6 15:23:40 PDT 1996
So this is what you've all been waiting for (or maybe not, but here it is
The Huskies at the 1996 Collegiate Road Nationals
May 30-June 3, 1996
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA
This past weekend (June 1-2) the UW's Husky Racing Team traveled to Cal
Poly San Luis Obispo for the 1996 Collegiate Road Cycling Nationals
Championships. About 55 schools were represented, including 30 teams of
up to 4 men and 4 women (the rest of the schools were represented by
riders qualifying as individuals). The Huskies rode well, though a very
strong field, extreme hot weather (100 degrees on the day of the road
race), and a scoring technicality, in that order, prevented us from
producing results that were as good as we had dared hope for. UW placed
10th overall -- respectable, though obviously not as satisfying as last
year's 5th place finish or the podium finish we were hoping to get. A
brief (though perhaps not brief enough :-) account follows [Editor's Note:
as we speak, the results are being reworked and reworked; we just MAY win
this thing yet!].
The riding members of the team with the exception of Scott (i.e. Ben J.,
Randy, Ta, Vicki, and Andrea M.), arrived in San Jose by air on Thursday,
where we stayed with Ben's very hospitable Aunt and Uncle. Pete "Fleet"
VanVleet met us at the airport, the beginning of an tireless stream of
assistance that he provided. The drivers, i.e. Brett Schroeder, Emerson,
and Ethan Marquez, drove down in Ethan's van (thank-you Ethan!) and
stayed in Berkeley Thursday night, then picked us up in San Jose Fri AM.
In an effort worthy of a Dodge commercial, we fit eight people, 7 bikes,
and countless bags and wheels into the Caravan for the 3-hr drive to San
Luis Obispo. This required some contortion but no grave discomfort, and
even a detour to than carnival grounds of San-something-or-other could
not deter us from our destination, the glorious Camp San Luis Obispo.
Ethan drove the entire way in fine fashion, playing criterium with semi
trucks and otherwise conserving great quantities of over-priced
The camp was, shall we say, something else. We were greeted by large
piles of army surplus blankets and stonelike pillows (Steve Somers
helpfully informed us that these grew softer after repeated punching),
along with a note from Paul Johnson informing us of his location in
some swank hotel in downtown SLO. We stayed in pairs in two-bed huts
with fine storm windows but large cracks between the walls; bathroom
facilities were barracks-style and somewhat public in nature, though
some thoughtful early arrival had donated their bike box to the men's
line-o-toilets as a "Port-a-stall" (forgive the excessive detail here).
It was a BYO padlock security system, so Ben and I procured a $2.00
lock at Payless to protect our $300 wheels and $2000 bikes. Meals were
provided in the mess hall at the end of our dirt parking lot. Despite some
whining at the rider's meeting Friday night, the accomodations were not
horrendous, and presented a mutual challenge which bound all the
competitors together; we were lucky enough to be stationed in the same
shanty town as the WSU riders and EWU's Steve Somers, adding to the
Race #1 (TTT): Van repacked, we drove to the TTT course Saturday AM.
Equipped with the finest of aero wheels (thus robbing us of any vestige
of an excuse), we started off on the 20k TTT (simple, straight out and
back, with several gradual rollers). As has been the pattern this year,
I ceased being able to hold up my end of the team effort after about 9k
and missed a couple pulls; 3k after the turnaround I dropped off. Ben
was characteristically freight-training along, and Scott was in fine form
for this, his favorite non-velodrome event. We ended up finishing 6th out
of 20+ teams, with a time of 26:56. University of Arizona won with a
time of 26:05.
The women rode a spectacular TTT, beating out many 3 and 4-rider teams to
finish 6th. They passed the 3-rider team of U. of Georgia with a couple
km to go. I don't know many of the details, though from Andrea's account
their ride was one of unspoken understanding and fluid compensation for
each other's (minor) weaknesses.
The two TTT placings put us into 2nd place overall going into the RR.
After the TTT, Brett worked zealously getting our bikes in order for the
Road Race, taking orders for desired wheels, etc. Paul Johnson, Ethan,
Emerson, and Pete vV went to great lengths to make sure we had the
bottles we wanted ready for the feed zones (2 on each lap, 15mi apart,
making for some complex feeding logistics). We would have had a VERY
hard time making it TO the races, let alone THROUGH them, without the
help of all the non-riders.
Race #2 (Road Race): The RR started at 1:00, in the same place as the
TT. Course was a relentlessly hilly 30 mile loop which the men roade
three times, the women twice. In the men's race (166 starters), there
was the usual race along the flats up to the first difficult part of the
course. This resulted in one collegiate-nationals-style crash about 2
miles into the race. The hot weather took its toll (we later found out
that it was 100 degrees), and by the end of the first lap, only 65 or so
of the original field remained. Scott can better summarize what happened
on the second lap and beyond, since I dropped my chain at the start of a bad climbs
10 mi into it and though I only lost about 10 seconds (soon to become 10
minutes...), was unable to
regain the pack. Scott stayed in and finished 19th; I took advantage of
the continuous attrition of the lead "pack" and came in 40th. Paul Read
(from Issaquah and the Thomas Kemper Sodas Team, riding collegiately for
Midwestern State U.) took 3rd in the RR, and Kraig Willett (brother of
Kirk, WSU alum) got 5th.
The women's RR shattered, leaving a pack of 4 to contest the sprint, then
many groups of one, two, and three riders. Andrea and Vicki finished a
very impressive 19th and 20th, respectively. Maybe they can supply more
details about how the race went.
That night, we had an awards banquet at the officer's club. Every dish
at dinner (though tasty) was laden with nuts, leaving Randell ("skeletor"
already) with nothing to eat but cauliflower, pearl onions, and dry
bread. It was announced that we were in fourth place overall, three
points behind Berkeley, going into the crit.
Race #3 (Criterium): The crit was on an interesting, technical (1km
'L') course through downtown San Luis Obispo. There was one significant uphill
(about the size of the Seward Park climb). The women started well, with
Vicki especially prominent in the front of the pack. The pace was high (as was
the temperature), and eventually both Husky women lost contact with the
front group, which was only about 22 strong by the end of the race. For
their first big-time crit, both Husky women did very well, solidly in the
top half to third of the field.
In the men's crit, the huge field size proved very disadvantageous to
those starting in the back. As in the women's race, the field was
quickly pared down to 70 riders from an original 155; we fared well in
that all 4 of the UW men remained in the pack for the first hour; very
few other teams had four riders in at this point. However, the heat was
too much (i.e. two bottles insufficient; one team did try to feed in the
crit and was summarily executed by Phil Miller); with 15 minutes to go I
started noticing signs of heat stroke in myself (goosebumps and shivering
a bad sign in 95 degree weather) and I went into damage-control mode.
Ben, Scott, and I all finished in the lead group though none of us scored
any points. Ben was the highest-placed, in 31st spot.
A technicality of the scoring system was changed after the road race,
with the result that we finished 10th overall rather than the 5th that we
would have gotten with the old scoring system. We are not crying too
much about this, but we are taking measures to ensure that next year (and
at track nationals) the scoring system is at least clearly delineated and
consistently followed throughout the weekend.
After the crit, our Californian vacation began: We all got our free
"smoothies" with bee pollen, spirulina, lizard tails, and other
nutritional additives which only our health expert and "Fat Nazi" Andrea
M. could explain the virtues of (don't get me wrong, these drinks were
very good). We then sat around, avoiding the sun, and watched the USCF
races. Randy and I yelled deliriously in support of some random rider
named Pacho, and we saw Ethan "Driver" Marquez cavort in the sun on the
crit course during the Cat 3 event.
Races over and Stars & Stripes jersies distributed (none for us -- yet),
we returned to barracks, where we packed up our goods, took one last
communal shower (etc.) and said a fearful goodbye to Camp San Luis
Obispo. Unable to resist the tidal attraction of the Pacific, we took
our army surplus blankets to the coast and toasted the end of a fine
collegiate season. I will not mention the weenies (there are many) who
did not adequately carry out the ritual immersion in the salty brine.
The story ends there; the well (master-)packed trip back to San Jose
had slightly less novelty to it, and seemed just a little longer. We all
returned safely to Seattle, where Andrea G. and Thia were nice enough to
retrieve us at the airport. The drivers took the scenic route home and
got in at 2:30 AM Tuesday; tales of Emerson's masterful manipulation of
the van would fill volumes, or so I'm told.
Look for the Husky Racing team at their very own Collegiate Track
Nationals, Sept 5-7 1996, Marymoor Velodrome, and next year at the 1997
Coll. Road Nationals in Albuquerque NM. Hopefully that trip will not
coincide with a SW heatwave...
Thanks for listening, and I hope to see you all at the party SUNDAY 6:00
(we will have Husky Bucks to distribute then).
The Cast (in alphabetical order):
Riders: Randell Boettcher
Indispensable Support Staff:
Paul Johnson (Sir Conference Director)
also: Parents, aunts and uncles (most notably Ben's aunt &
uncle for putting us up, or rather putting up with us, in San Jose,
and Randy's Dad for providing sandwiches)
More information about the Uwracing