Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Collegiate Nationals

Frank Cusimano and Nicky qualified for Collegiate Nationals in Madison, the Wisconsin capital hosting the race for the second year in a row. Not since Samuel Weyand went to track Nationals in 2007-8 have we sent anyone to compete for a National title and the stars and stripes jersey.

The road race was first, a 5 lap affair through Blue Mound State Park. Really tough with numerous rolling hills and one big hill, Nicky and Frank rode well, with Frank suffering from a slow wheel change after a late flat. Despite a lengthy chase, he was unable to finish as his race was over when the D1 field rolled past. The staggered start meant that if you were behind the race, you were vulnerable to being pulled if detached. Nicky hung with the leaders, Andrew Baker of Mesa State and Bissell pro cycling took a well deserved win after dropping the group on the final hill and Nicky rolled in with a fine 9th place. We said at the time that that was like Tom Boonen finishing Liege in 9th place as Nicky is tall strong rider whose size is still a problem on hilly races.

Sunday was the criterium for the two SMU racers (not enough racers to compete in the Team time trial) We were able to watch the race from a ustream podcast from the coach of Cumberland Cycling, first words we heard was one of our racers attacking through the finishing straight. A mid race break with Cumberland, West Point, Mesa State was threatening to stick but a Western Washington rider worked furiously to bring it back and it was gruppo compacto with 2 laps left. The final sprint saw Nicky finish a strong 7th and Frank 28th. With his consistent results for the two races, Nicky podiumed in 5th place for the men's D2 Omnium, our first medal at the National level, and the first D2 podium for the conference since 2005.