Riding against the wind, and against the clock

April 22, 2013

By: Margaret C.

The past week on the bike team has been filled with excitement. Two members of the team got new bikes, ultra-fast upgrades including an Orbea Orca and a Cannondale Super Six. Equipment may not make the rider, but as Coach Southam said, it can make some difference in converting your energy into forward motion instead of just into heat. (This is particularly true for one rider who has gone from a heavy but steady steel frame bike, to a much much lighter carbon frame.) The Gould Academy Cycling Team prides itself of being a climbing team, and though we all love tearing up the hills, riders can have very different strengths. This week gave us a chance to see how the riders fare with what I like to think of as two ends of a scale- climbing and time trials.

For those who may be as addicted to the sports as I am, you probably know that a good example of a climber is Samuel Sanchez, and Fabian Cancellera is one heck of a time trail rider. While our home course up Grafton Notch isn’t exactly Alp d’Huez, it is a significant pitch to pull you bicycle up, especially for newer riders.

The cool thing about riding Grafton this year has been that it wasn’t as bad as I remember it being. I think cyclists in general enjoy ‘talking up’ a climb, or adding some embellishment to the ride when they talk about it with their friends. Graftron Notch is a ride that does deserve respect, it’s long, it has three major kickers in the middle and a long gradual slope that I often lovingly call ‘the wind tunnel’. But last Wednesday, it wasn’t as bad as all the things we on the team say about it. We split into our usual groups (although we don’t really have usual groups) to ride up the notch all the way to the top. There was a van and trailer to bring the younger/newer riders back down (congrats all of you guys for getting to the top!). The rest of us turned around and started the super fast rolling descent back down. The headwind on the way up made for a nice tailwind on the descent. While a few riders went all the way back to Bethel, about six of us stopped at a van that had been left where the road flattens out, and the river runs next to the road.

A swim in Grafton Notch? We saw the snow melting to feed this stream just a few hundred feet up.

Cool off swim anyone? The water was super cold, but we all had a lot of fun. Everyday is an adventure on the bike team.

The next day we had our famous intramural time-trial. 15km out and back on Vernon, our coaches use this to gauge what group we should race in (for boys: A, B or C, for girls: A or C) and to think about pairings for the Exeter Team Time Trial in about a week. Time trials are all about pacing, pacing, pacing. You want to go as fast as you can without burning out before you reach the finish line. The time trial is often called the race of truth, because it is just the rider against the clock, no one to draft or to pace off of, it’s just you and the road.

Here are the top 3 riders (for both men and women) from the race on Thursday!

1- Yacht
2- John
3- Steve

1- Melissa
2- myself
3- Kelsie

Our first race is coming up soon this Wednesday! It’s the Holderness Road Race, and the team is getting stoked to ride against other schools for the first time this season. As the only Maine team, we generally have to do a bit of driving to get to races, but as most riders will tell you, that is just part of the adventure.

Until next time!


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