McGill Cycling sent five of its stallions down to Lewisburg, PA (as if there weren’t enough Amish in PA) for the second weekend of collegiate racing this spring. Having had the previous weekend off from racing, the five racers had fresh legs, great hopes, and were looking forward to a fun weekend of smashing pedals.
The Bucknell Cycling Classic kicked off with a road race, comprising of a 10 mile loop with a few kickers, and otherwise rolling roads through scenic pastures. The Men in A (Nicolas Kleban), the Men in B (Félix Fournier, Adithya Lakshminarayanan, and Jose Antonio Jijon Vorbeck), and the Women in A/B (Mary Hnatyshyn) started their races in quick succession.
It was not long after the start of the race that Nicolas earned his new nickname, ‘glass shoes’; clearly he was racing with wit, ensuring to stay with the peloton, and preserving his matches . This characterisation proved to be true 60 miles later, as being the only courageous McGill Cyclist to ride in A this weekend, Nicolas pulled off an applaudable seventh place.
Meanwhile in B, after a selfless and valiant effort by Antonio to reel in breaks during the first two laps, Félix decided it was time to press the gas and work with a break that launched up the 4 minute Sunrise Road Climb; Félix and the rest of the riders in the break managed to hold off the main group, in which Adithya and Antonio remained for the rest of the race. Félix however, playing it smart and going well into the pain cave, dropped the riders in his break, with 5 minutes to go, and pulled off an impressive 1st place!
As for the Women’s A/B race, there was not much to report apart from the fact that Mary had it all under control, smiling through each pass of the start/finish line as the other racers in her group were visibly in the red. As the rest of the team eagerly waited for Mary, everyone knew that she was positioned for a well-earned first place. No one, however, would come to realise that Mary had dropped her fellow racers by a jaw-dropping seven minutes, obliterating any hopes that the outcome would be different the following day.
On Sunday, the five racers took part in a 2.5 mile circuit race, best described as punchy and enchanting in its smooth transition between asphalt and gravel. The blistering wind on race day meant that everyone had to leave it all out on the field.
After the previous day, it was not out of the ordinary that Mary would ruthlessly drop her pack on the uphill leading to the finish line. Similarly, Félix found the strength from within to tell his legs to shut up, and chase a strong two-men break. However, Félix could not quite bridge the gap, finishing with a nonetheless outstanding third place. Adithya and Antonio did what they could during the race, ending up with finishes in the groups that formed after the field split. Nicolas comfortably finished with the peloton in the A field, after a race that saw two riders from Queens and Penn State attacking from the gun and successfully pulling off first and second place , respectively.
All in all, the race weekend saw McGill Cycling walk away with three victories, a podium finish, and loads of wonderful memories. Our racers now have their eyes set on the upcoming race weekend in Vermont, which never fails to disappoint! In the meantime, the squad will make sure to recover well, spin their legs out, and concentrate their efforts on producing another set of outstanding results. Once again, a shout to Félix and Mary for their fantastic work!
Please find photos here: https://lightroom.adobe.com/shares/74c32cf666a9417f881903acf63dfcf8