Cyclists compete at RPI, Williams
By Jeremy Hylton
The MIT cycling club competed in a pair of criteria this past weekend, and placed second in a field of six at a meet at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Sunday. The team also competed at Smith College Saturday.
The Williams criterium, run on a .9-mile circuit, was a hard course. The course had a long slight incline just before a steep hill that led to the finish line. "It was the kind of course that is just guaranteed to shatter a field," said co-captain Tom Moyer G.
The East Coast Cycling Federation, the collegiate division MIT competes in, groups riders in four classifications: A, B and C division for men, and a women's division. Each division completes a different number of laps on the course. The top 20 finishers receive points towards the team score.
Only six of MIT's 18 riders finished the race in the top 20. Kjirste Carlson G, competing in her first collegiate race, finished in fifth place. In the women's division, two cyclists rode away from the field. Carlson was part of a five-person chase group that finished ahead of the pack.
Three MIT men placed in the A division race. Jim Preisig G, seventh; Joe Armstrong G, ninth; and Moyer, 16th, finished with the pack. Charles Oppenheimer G finished 20th in the B division, and Chuck Benson '91 finished 20th in the C division.
Piersig was part of several failed break-aways during the race. "He was in several breaks that didn't make it because the other teams weren't riding well as teams," Moyer explained.
MIT finished fourth overall at Williams, behind University of Massachusetts Amherst, Princeton and Williams. For most of MIT's riders, however, it was their first race. Several first-time riders started too far back in the field and could not work their way forward. The steep descent just past the start-finish line kept much of the pack in single file, as speeds approached 35 miles per hour through sharp curves.
MIT bested teams from Princeton, Williams, Yale and Army to earn second place at the meet at RPI. MIT scored 176 points, just behind the University of New Hampshire's 187.
The RPI oval was a relief after the Williams course, though the circuit did have one small hill. The oval was bumpy though, and several MIT riders crashed on the course.
Moyer improved on the previous day's performance in division A, finishing in third place. Moyer and Armstrong, who finished seventh, lost the race by inches in the final sprint. Adam Schwartz '91 and Albert Lew '91 finished eighth and tenth, respectively, in the B division.
In the women's division Carlson again finished fifth, sprinting up the outside of the field. Carol Chen '91 finished ninth. After approaching the finish line at the lead of the pack, several riders swept past her in the sprint.
The team competes again this weekend in a stage race at the United States Military Academy. The course is the same one used in the 1981 national championships.
The team is also pleased with its success developing sponsors for the season. "We got a lot more money than we expected," said Moyer. Sponsors include Smartfood, Bridgestone Bicycles, Pearl Izumi and International Bike Centers.