The 2006 Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) Spring Road Racing Season marked the inaugural season for the Colgate Cycling Team. The road schedule comprised nine consecutive weekends of racing in March and April. Most weekends consisted of an individual or team time trial, road race and a criterium stretched across two days.
The 2006 season began in true Colgate form; the temperatures at Rutgers University were well below the freezing mark. However, the frigid weather in northern New Jersey could not keep Colgate off the race course. March 4 and 5 saw over 300 riders from over 40 different collegiate teams take to the road in the individual time trial, criterium and road race events. Junior Jamie Simchik and senior Scott Dunberg represented Colgate in the Men’s C road race on the second day of the weekend. Despite not scoring any overall points for the team, the Rutgers weekend set the tone for an exciting season.
The first collegiate race that saw any of Colgate’s female riders in competition followed on the heels of Spring Break, as senior Alissa Fideli raced in the Lehigh Mountaintop Criterium, on March 25. Although cycling is primarily a male dominated sport, the Women’s A and B racers are serious about their competition and put forth a fantastic display of athleticism. While the season only has a few weekends remaining, the female contingent of the team is training hard; Fideli plans on racing in upcoming weekends, but the ultimate goal is fielding a competitive team next season.
Junior Eric Battaglioli and first-year Andrew Krulewitz also competed at the Lehigh Criterium for Colgate. Battaglioli, Krulewitz and Fideli found a challenging race course at Lehigh, which included a slight uphill that proved to be quite brutal when climbed multiple times.
Battaglioli and Krulewitz faced stiff competition against the Men’s C racers and were outclassed by riders from warmer locales, while Fideli competed in her first race and put forth a strong showing. Battaglioli and Krulewitz continued on to race at Bucknell on the following day on a course that was more suited to the two racers’ riding styles. Colgate faced tough competition against the Men’s D field as well, especially from Army, who controlled the race from start to finish. However, regardless of Army’s team tactics, both Colgate cyclists finished in the top-20.
On April 15 and 16, Colgate competed at Mercyhurst College in the school’s inaugural Tour of the ‘Hurst. The weekend consisted of a 7.5-mile individual time trial, a road race and criterium. In the Men’s D field, Krulewitz won the individual time trial in a time of 19:43 seconds, with Battaglioli placing second, just 13 seconds behind. Dunberg was the final Men’s D racer for Colgate and, despite appearing in only his second collegiate cycling competition, posted an impressive 16th-place finish.
The Mercyhurst road race, a grueling 24-mile race with nearly half of it on an incline, took place only two hours after the time trial. Amongst the Men’s D racers, Krulewitz still managed a second place finish, with Battaglioli and Dunberg placing seventh and 18th, respectively.
Sunday brought about the criterium, in which Colgate fielded three riders. Battaglioli and Krulewitz worked well together in the Men’s D race and controlled the field, allowing Battaglioli to make a breakaway in the final lap to take the win with Krulewitz coming in fifth place. The weekend ended with Krulewitz finishing first overall in the Men’s D point’s classification, earning him the leader’s jersey for the event, with Battaglioli coming in third in overall points. The event marked the end of the racing season for the team, but it was a noteworthy finish for the fledgling program.
The Colgate Cycling Team hopes to continue its road season success next fall by hosting one or more races in and around Hamilton. The team also hopes to compete in its inaugural Fall Mountain Bike Racing Season next school year.