The Blue Devils competed on Antelope Island today, starting a 4-man team time trial (Rob Ferris, Matt Howe, Mike Mulvihill, and Matt Rinehart) squad, and also Kaleb Naegeli in the individual time trial.
The winds were much lower than yesterday, and seemed to be coming from the S/SE at the start of the day. A haze hung over the lake too, which might have made breathing a bit difficult for some of our riders. The TTT course was a 20-mile north-south, out-and-back route, while the ITT was a 12 mile version of the same route with an earlier turnaround point.
Duke's TTT started third-to-last, two minutes behind Colorado Mesa University and two minutes ahead of King College. From Rinehart's perspective:
We started out fast, and none of us wanted to let up. There was a slight headwind & crosswind that kept us in an echelon from left-to-right across the road. The first couple of miles included a significant uphill, followed by a massive downhill. Mulvihill pulled through the downhill, with the rest of us tucked in spinning out our 53x11 gears. My max speed on the day might have come here, at 48 mph.
After the downhill, we settled into a rhythm and pullled hard to the turnaround, making sure to take the race line on the road whenever possible. Coming into the turnaround, we watched Colorado Mesa University overtaking Yale. We figured we had taken signfiicant chunks of time out of both of them. The turnaround went flawlessly with Ferris leading in and Mulvihill ramping it back up to speed. We had quite a nice tailwind for the return half.
We clocked in at 21:41 for the first half, the fastest split on the day so far. On the way back, we got into a groove with a nice tailwind. At about 5 miles to go, we ripped past Yale and approached the corner from which the final big climb is visible. As we shot down toward the base of the climb, we rotated a little quicker. Matt Howe hit the base of the climb first and set a perfect tempo uphill. About halfway up, I pulled through and kept the pace high. Approaching the top, Rob pulled around me and kept us flying onto the false flat.
At this point, we knew we had 2 miles to go, and that valuable seconds might be gained or lost on the long false flat after the climb. Rob popped off the back of the group on the false flat, leaving the three of us to keep the pace high. We rotated several times and finally crested the uphill, leaving about 1km of downhill speed to go. I made my way to the front and put as much smooth power into the pedals as I could (it's possible I hit my max speed of 48mph here). We rotated once more, and crushed it through the line to stop the clock at 42:37, an average speed of ~28.7mph.
Duke's TTT time set a new time to beat, and while King College, MIT, and Mars Hill tried their best, they were unable to top the Blue Devils. For the second year in a row, Duke took the D2 mens TTT title, this year by 48 seconds.
In fact, Duke's time even stood up to most D1 teams, besting perennial powerhouses Fort Lewis College, Stanford, and CU Boulder. Marian University proved victorious in the D1 field, with Lindenwood not far behind (both varsity programs). Rounding out the combined D1 and D2 podium is Yours Truly, Duke University.
Not long after the TTT, Kaleb prepped to represent Duke in the ITT. At 12:45, Kaleb took off with a slight tailwind, embarking on a ~30 minute individual effort. ITT riders were sent at 30-second intervals, making the the riders easily visible to each other while out on course.
One of the keys of a longer TT is to not start out too hard. Kaleb kept it controlled for the first couple of miles, and then started opening up his legs after the large downhill. He made gains on his 30-second man on the first half, however struggled with breathing problems through the middle of the race. After a long battle with the conditions, Kaleb crested the large hill on the return and shot in to the finish to stop the clock at 30:32 and slot in at 11th place in the ITT.
Today, Duke raced hard and showed collegiate cycling that they are a tough crew. Tomorrow, we will tackle the criterium in downtown Ogden at 3:00pm MDT.