This weekend fifteen McGill racers (and one intrepid Concordia cyclist) made the long voyage down to just outside of New York City (or Massachusetts, if you’re Emma answering the border guard). Excitement ran high, as it was everybody’s first race weekend of the year, and the first races EVER for nine MCTers.

Saturday brought clear skies and short sleeves for the Rutgers Campus Criterium, a 30-60 minute race around a short fast circuit with killer pavement and an uphill drag.

First up was Men’s D. Zach, Noah, Jordan, Craig, Andrew, and Brian did the team proud in the first crit for many of them, showing off our new jerseys with style and staying aggressive throughout the race. Brian made many legs hurt as he powered the group around the course, and Zach had the best finish in the sprint, finishing 5th in the chase group and 19th overall.

Next up was Emma in Women’s C. She was looking strong in the group before an early crash brought down her hopes of victory, sending her flipping through the air and obliterating her front wheel. Oh well, who needs spokes, anyways? Be sure to watch for her in the coming weeks, she’ll be back for revenge.

Niki and Karissa repped McGill in Women’s D. Niki flew out of the gate to start the race in the lead, but unfortunately overestimated the starting speed of the group and burnt a few too many matches. Karissa was plagued by a flat, but thankfully took a successful pit lap and made it back into the race for a strong 7th place finish.

Up next was Men’s B, with the fearless team of Alexandre, Antonio, Oliver, Maxence, and Cameron, making McGill one of the best-represented schools in the bunch. Joining them was Tim, repping Concordia. The boys worked well together, staying strongly positioned in the pack. Oliver’s derailleur decided that he would be fine with only one gear—impressively, he still managed to stay with the pack. Two UVM riders rode away with the win, but Maxence showed everyone he was likely the strongest in the race by storming to 3rd place, winning the bunch sprint convincingly.

Last up for the day was Dominique in Women’s A. She made it into an early break of 4 riders, whose lead grew quickly to over a minute. Not willing to chance it on a bunch sprint, she made her move with 2 laps to go, but was unfortunately caught with half a lap to go, just as the break was lapping the field. With nothing left in the tank for a sprint, she finished in fourth place. (She then attempted to race with Men’s A, but called it quits after a lap, blaming tired legs and a mouthful of Triscuits.)

Saturday evening brought the most impressive performance of the day: Maxence and Antonio tied for the win in the eating category, each finishing an immense double plate of Portuguese barbecue. The rest of the team will need to work hard to someday match such a feat.

Sunday was the Rockland Lake Circuit Race, a multi-lap race on a fast 7km circuit with a couple of punchy climbs and a sprint finish.

The Men’s D crowd hung tough, dealing with some sketchy crashes and a fast pace. Even a rogue bicycle flying through the air—hitting Craig in the head and Jordan in the shoulder—failed to bring down our boys. Once again Zach brought our best finish at 11th, with Craig right behind in 12th. Following them were Jordan in 15th, Andrew in 22nd, Brian in 28th (held up behind a late crash), and Noah in 39th.

Karissa and Niki were again a one-two punch in the Women’s D field, looking strong and aggressive throughout the race. Karissa sprinted to an awesome 4th place finish, and Niki wasn’t far behind in 14th.

The Men’s B boys showed intelligent team tactics, chasing down moves, entering breaks, and sticking together at the front of the pack. Near the end of the race, Alexandre made his move and Cameron followed, leading them to top-10 finishes, with Cam in 5th and Alex in 10th. Disastrously, behind them there was a huge crash, which slowed down Antonio, broke Oliver’s shifter, sent Tim for stitches, and tore a tendon in Maxence’s shoulder. A sad, sad day for McGill and Concordia Cycling. Maxence and Tim showed their always-positive dispositions by somehow finishing the race and looking good while doing it.

Last race of the day for MCT was Women’s A. Dominique tried three times unsuccessfully to spice up the slow race with breakaways, but the 5-woman Navy squad shut down the attacks each time. The race came down to a bunch finish, and Dominique sprinted to second, losing by less than a bike length.

Overall it was an impressive start to the season (injuries aside), with McGill earning 2 podiums, 8 top-10’s, and 12th out of 28 in the all-important Team Omnium. Onwards to weekend #2, hosted by Dartmouth and UVM!


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