This past weekend the MIT Cycling Team jumped from fifth in their division to second by placing highly in three different road races at the Boston Beanpot Cycling Classic, the largest collegiate cycling race in the nation.
MIT passed Army, Bucknell, and Yale to move into second in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Division II standings.
The event began before dawn on Saturday morning, when the MIT team began preparing disc wheels and aero helmets for the team time trial (TTT), an event in which teams of up to four riders race against the clock. MIT had the biggest showing, fielding nine squads covering every men's and women's category.
The Women's A squad (Caitlin Bever G, Ilana L. Brito G, Martha W. Buckley G, and Sonya J. Cates G) rode to third place, only 13 seconds behind first place University of New Hampshire and ahead of fourth place Princeton by almost a minute.
Operating with less than an hour of formal training, the Men's Intro squad (G. Issao Fujiwara '07, Adam D. Guttenplan G, Nicholas W. Parker G) knocked out a first place finish. These results were backed up by five other top 5 finishes.
Despite their tired legs, MIT went up against the other schools again the same afternoon in the Beanpot Grafton Road Race. This road race is known throughout the conference for its grueling hill climbs and technical descents that give an advantage to the most savvy riders. Fujiwara finished strong in the Intro Men's field, placing third in the pack sprint.
Yuri Matsumoto G finished eighth in the Women's B field and Zuzana Trnovcova '09 finished eighth in the Intro Women's category, her first road race.
Saturday's results put MIT in good position for the weekend, but Sunday's Tufts Criterium, a short one-kilometer circuit with six corners in nearby Somerville, was MIT's best event. Nick C. Loomis G put many months of hard training to work and took home his first win in the Men's D race. Jason A. Sears G launched a powerful attack in the first lap of the Men's A criterium. Over an hour and 55 laps later, Sears finished fifth overall and third in the field sprint.
With the help of his teammates, Anthony J. Schrauth took third in the blisteringly fast Men's C race.
For nine members of the MIT team, it was their first race weekend ever. One of them, Trnovcova, said afterwards, "I really liked the road race, especially because I could apply some of my drafting skills and stay near the front of the first pack."