Remains largest collegiate race in the U.S. for the third straight year.
By Promoter's release
Hundreds of collegiate cyclists from the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) convened on the Boston area for the 6th annual Boston Beanpot Classic. The three race event once again set a new record with over 470 collegiate racers from 60 colleges and universities across 11 states and two countries. The large turnout makes the 2006 Boston Beanpot Classic the largest collegiate race in U.S. history for the third straight year.
History was also made when – to accommodate the increased number of women’s competitors – race organizers instituted a women’s C category for the first time in collegiate cycling history.
More than 30 women competed in the first-ever C races which according to conference director Mark Abramson “were designed to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for women to enter the sport of cycling and ensure that their first racing experience would be positive.” He went on to say that “it is critical for women entering the sport of cycling to have a support system and with women comprising 22% of our conference we try to give them that support system in the ECCC”
The Women’s C race was particularly unique in that their one lap road race was neutral for the first half-lap while veteran riders and coaches rode alongside coaching. In a similar move on Sunday the first 5 laps of the 15 lap criterium were neutral and the women were divided into smaller groups of 5. Each group was assigned a coach to coach them in pace-lines and cornering on the technical 6/10ths of a mile course containing six 90-degree turns.
Sunday also included a free racer clinic for expert tips, tricks, and skills taught by the pros of the ECCC. The clinics ran throughout the day and were open to all collegiate racers. The free clinic enabled the 100 men’s C and 124 men’s D category racers to develop. Skills covered included: sprinting, riding in a pack, pacelining, and racing to win.
For the second straight year the town of Grafton proved themselves to be the most cyclist friendly hosts providing plenty of volunteers, large numbers of spectators, a Lion’s club chili/pasta lunch around the start/finish on the town common, and a 32 page spectator guide for all spectators, racers, and visitors.
Abramson described the weekend as “remarkable,” and said that “despite the historic numbers the student organizers ran the event with un-paralleled organization and professionalism.”
The University of Vermont claimed top honors overall with 767 points while the University of New Hampshire came in 2nd with 656 points. MIT finished third overall but was the first Division 2 school and the top host school with 389 points. The other host schools were: Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, Tufts, and Wentworth.
The Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) includes colleges in Delaware, New England, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. As they compete from early March through April, ECCC teams vie for the top of the season-long team points standings, Collegiate Nationals qualification team spots, and the Ivy League trophy. The inexpensive races feature team-oriented bicycle racing for all abilities with team pride, glory, and honor as the only prize list.