TIFFANY SCHWARTZ TOP-10 AT DUATHLON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
The night before, she slept very well.
She woke up at a quarter-to-four, she felt relaxed, sleep was still there, she rolled over and fell back to sleep, up at 5, a very relaxed pre-race morning/fueling/packing process, on the road by 5:45.
At the venue, she set the bike up at T1, figured out the movements of the transition, mentally preparing for the movements.
As the athletes warmed up, she chatted with teammates in hopes to move the nerves in the other direction.
Pre-race time burned fast – the horn went off and a group of ladies took off, Tiffany was with them. The pace was brutal. She was sitting a 9th at the first mile, a group of women beginning to swell behind her, on her heels. The speeds were uncomfortable.
Tiffany kept the hammer down at the 2-mile mark and charged hard before T1, she was happy with the performance thus far, humming nicely into 6th.
Tiffany moved to the bike, grabbed a GU, put it into her uniform. As she hit the road, she heard the family she was staying with yell, “Tiffany!” She smiled big. The bike felt smooth, she was fast and keeping up with the gal in front. She caught on and they played high-speed leapfrog, just kept pressing and the pain threshold was high. She drank when she could, so focused ahead that she nearly forgot.
“I am sure there could have been more I could have done on the bike,” Tiffany said, “but I kept pushing and pedaling.”
The second lap, she was calm and in her element –chaos around her with the other waves on the course but this meant there was less of a chance to get penalized, she kept a beeline to the finish, in a tunnel.
The second transition was fine. Being super-close to the run exit was right up Tiffany’s alley. She dumped everything at the spot and took off.
Her chest was instantly tight, she knew what that meant and just kept pushing, not going to focus on it. She pushed into a smooth motion, passing plenty of people who were running on the standard.
Tiffany thought forward motion. She was running up an incline and felt breathing labor. She looked down at the watch and she was at 6:08pace. She knew there was no way she was going to hold it with her breathing.
As the path cleared, she tried to follow the sprint males who passed her along the way, just trying to elevate the pace. She spotted a girl up ahead and thought, ‘Breathe and catch.’ Tiffany kept gasping and made one last push, up the hill, turned right, spotted her friend holding American Flags, she grabbed one, she heard him say, “One last push!”
She took off as hard as she could accelerate.
She could barely breathe. She started walking and someone grabbed a hold of her. He was holding her up. He helped her walk to the medical tent, which felt like a forever away. He said, “You really gave it all, didn’t you?”
She received an Aussie inhaler.
Tiffany’s takeaway of the event: “Literally finished with nothing left in the tank. Nothing.”
Tiffany Schwartz’s official World’s results: 9th 25-29 AG, Adelaide, Australia.
ERIN MASCELLI WINS WHIRLYBIRD 40+
Erin has been racing very well this year, racking up a number of victories and racing with real confidence.
Whirlybird was flat and bumpy, with the exception of the start. The start was on the grass, a slight uphill, a fast descent, sweeping 180, a climb back up with multiple turns and then barriers at the very top. The key was to get away at the start over the barriers.
Erin had a great start and the group stayed together. Erin confidently kept on the gas. She went to the front, wanting to lead into the woods. She wanted to be smooth.
“I dismounted before the log, took a few extra steps before mounting,” Erin said. “I made sure I was in a slightly easier gear before the dismount, so I wouldn’t use up extra energy on the mount.”
Erin kept her breath in check and the legs moving on the small climb. Once she reached the top, the last half of the course was stupid fast. She made sure she kept pedaling and used the lines she had practiced, which avoided some small ditches.
After two laps, Erin was building a gap to the women behind. On the final lap, Erin just concentrated on riding clean and smooth.
Erin finished with a 51-second lead.
Erin has had smashing weekends in the MAC Series, claiming 1st at both Charm City races, and then also winning both days of HPCX. Full race reports coming soon!
LEO BAIRD RACING ROAD IN JAMESTOWN, RHODE ISLAND
Racing for Liberty Cycle, Leo Baird felt well-prepared going into Columbus weekend’s Jamestown Road Race. The course was fast and rolling, running the perimeter of the beautiful island. The main group averaged 23.25 mph. The winner averaged 24.75
Leo was at the front of the disintegrating main group as the riders came up the 30-second power climb, through the fast descent to a long, near-downhill finish.
Leo was 5th, missing 3rd by one second. Two riders had broken away early and kept the lead, ended up winning by three minutes. The next eight came in as a pack, and Leo was able to ride with this group all race. Midway into the chase, Leo tested the legs and tried a break, was able to dangle in front, getting reeled back in by a mighty chase.
Leo was in the back-half of the pack coming into the half-mile sprint. He made his way up the outside as the group throttled towards the finish – 5th.
LEAH KIVIAT RIPPING TOP-5 AT OREGON’S CASCADE CROSS SERIES
The venue was Bellingham.
Since she started a training program earlier this year, Leah Kiviat’s fitness has been moving forward. She has raced four cyclocross events, and each race she surprised herself. Maintaining speed, attacking up a long climb, passing nearly the entire field on a short steep climb, and sticking with opponents that in season’s past left her so far in the dust they were effectively racing different races.
During her last race, her husband noted a buzz on the sidelines. “I don’t remember Leah racing with the leaders before.”
Leah is this year racing with the leader, and she has no sense of her upper limit. She decided for the Bellingham race she would find that limit and push it until she cracked.
On Lap 1, as the group ascended the first small climb, Leah felt like she could go faster, but opted to just wait and see. The women rolled into a short sand section, and she passed the lead rider unintentionally, taking the lead for the rest of the lap.
Leah felt good – the speeds were not easy, but easily sustainable. She let another woman take over the lead for Lap 2. Leah rode her wheel well, taking great lines from behind. She noted she felt very strong. Barriers, run-ups, the remounts felt smooth thanks to all those cyclocross workouts.
The beginning of Lap 3 and a woman in the group launched from behind and passed everyone with authority. Leah’s riding partner was able to make the move, but Leah fell back quickly. Leah wondered why she didn’t push it to the max?
The woman who won, she always cleans up. In past years, Leah would finish four-to-five minutes behind her. Leah thought if she went to hang on, she might toast her legs. Leah rode with the two leaders in sight. The leader was lenghtening a gap from her breakmate. Leah could see she was not too far ahead.
Early into the last lap, Leah slipped, dropped her chain, fixed it, remounted, immediately dropped it again, repeated the whole deal, and was finally was on her way. The rider who was behind was able to make a clean pass and leave her in the dust.
As the lap went on, Leah relaxed her shoulders and her hands, slowed her breathing – I can go harder than this.
Leah stepped on the gas for the remainder of the lap, finishing just five seconds behind. Excellent result, excellent learning experience.
RYAN HOBBS FLYING IN TEXAS CYCLOCROSS
At the NTX Cup Series stop at Ft. Worth, Ryan Hobbs earned 6th on Day 1 and 4th on Day 2.
Day 1: “I was fighting 2, 3, 4 until three laps to go. I got a flat and lost contact and by the time I got to the pits they were gone, and 5th place just rode away.”
Day 2: “Much tighter race in the morning. Ran Clement LAS tires, should have swapped out the front for better handling – went down two times in off-camber turns and once hopping the barriers. Chased 3rd and thought I might grab him but just ran out of laps. Good weekend, feeling strong, the front of the race is waiting for me.”
At the following weekend’s Crosstoberfest, Ryan was 4th on Day 1 and 3rd on Day 2.
DAN LARINO MARCHES TO BALTIMORE’S CHARM CITY
The course is always a fun test – power climbs, flyovers, sandpits, running. On Saturday, Dan Larino executed a good start, went to the front and pushed the pace in the lead for three laps.
Larino, Roger Aspholm, and Dan Staffo powered a big gap to the field. Dan was feeling pretty comfortable when Aspholm came around with Staffo. Dan was able to stay with them for a lap.
He began to slip and steadily lose time across the course. By the beginning of the final lap, he was 5-10 seconds back. He knew he couldn’t catch them and wasn’t going to get caught by 4th – he cruised the last half-lap and was about 30-45 seconds behind. 3rd.
On Sunday, he slotted in at 6th during the first lap. Feeling strong and wanting to ride hard, Dan quickly went to the front and led for one-and-a-half laps. At race pace, Dan could feel the course was much hillier the second day.
Aspholm and Staffo attacked on a series of climbs and Dan fell back a few seconds. Each lap on those hills, he’d lose more time. For the remainder of the race, he rode comfortably behind Mike Yozell in 4th and thought he would ride him off his wheel on the last lap – the opposite happened, Yozell was able to drop him to roll in for 3rd, Larino 4th.
“I had big plans for this race about a month ago,” Dan said, “but last week, nursing an injury, I was happy just to race both days. I was very surprised with the efforts I was able to put out. Looking forward to a strong performance at HPCX.
At HPCX Day 2, Dan finished 2nd.
JENNIFER DEFALCO | CONTENDER
At HPCX Day 1, Colavita’s Jennifer Defalco had a good start, top-three. She got swallowed up in an early turn and throught she was 8th, 9th, 10th.
She felt a bit panicked as she ripped through the first lap. ‘I can make up the time,’ Jennifer thought. She rode the gnarly uphill step section and was able to pass a couple of girls.
Jennifer found herself behind four girls, and she knew she could ride faster. She was looking for a place to pass. She could not squeak by, and up ahead she could see the front-four moving away.
She knew this was not great, and she was able to wait, time her acceleration, and make some passes on a faster section. She latched onto a wheel of the woman in the front of this chase group.
Jennifer was able to accelerate and make another pass. In her calculations, she saw herself as 5th. She was closing on 4th place, and then the woman opened it hard up the climb. Jennifer was able to see it was her teammate, a very strong racer.
“I did all I could to catch her but couldn’t,” Jennifer said. “I just need to keep it stronger after the start to get separation.”
STACEY BARBOSSA EARNS TWO HPCX TOP-10s IN PRO RACE
Arriving at the course on Saturday, Stacey saw that the course was very similar to last year. Her training week got shifted around and on the morning of the race her legs were feeling tight. She had completed a skills workout on her ‘cross bike on Thursday, terrific training, but also repeated fatigue.
In the starting grid, Stacey had a second-row call-up. In the chaos of the whistle, Stacey roared up the road and held her position.
The first lap was a mess. Stacey was able to avoid a few fumbles and crashes but she felt like she was trapped, the fast and steady course did not make it easy to pass people.
Stacey knew if she saw a pile-up, she would be dismounting fast and running immediately. She was able to do that in the first lap, all gas, zero waiting. She jumped off early at the barriers, before the tree, hugged the inside and passed people. She also jumped off early before the back stairs and ran.
The first lap felt long and at the end Stacey could really start to open it up.
She was 14th.
Stacey likes to stand and accelerate, but she also noted how important it was to stay in control, there were many hidden little roots taking riders out. Stacey was riding a very clean race. She felt lke she was suffering up the climbs.
Mid-race, Stacey was closing on a long-time rival. Closing, closing, closing, Stacey was right on her as they headed up the stairs – too close! Both women rode and at the top Stacey was stalled and had to unclip briefly, and that was all it took to get that gap.
Stacey held her spot for 8th.
CHRIS LABUDDE RACE DIARY | HPCX Day 2 – 44th
“I warmed up well. I rode the course best I could. They didn’t have it fully marked out when I started my pre-ride, but I got a good sense of the course overall. Did two course laps and a few road laps, too.
“Was # 63, so I was towards the back. My start was terrible. I had a hard time clipping in, then the chain skipped, and I popped out with my other foot. By the time I was going well, I was probably really close to the back. I pushed hard trying to make up positions and rode aggressively, passing several riders.
“I rode the sandpit both ways. On the way out, two riders went down toward me, but I managed to miss both and get through. Slowed slightly as I was going uphill and got passed a couple of times, but made it through.
“On the second lap, I bonked bad. I felt bad and couldn’t get anything going. I didn’t finish the first sand pit, decided to run the second one, but that felt horrible so I was determined to ride it from then on. I did ride the stairs starting my second lap and always rode them after that.
“The third lap I started to feel better and got faster. I rode both sandpits without trouble and made time on riders following me both times. I continued to do this on the final lap with good results.
“The fourth lap was my best with my best time. I passed several riders who had passed me on my second lap. I felt good and strong. Finished well ahead of my chasing competitor, but had no chance of catching the rider in front of me.
“Overall, I felt strong and good, but I’m not sure what happened to that second lap.”
DONALD GROSS RACING CYCLOCROSS IN CANADA
Puncheur Lights Out – 6th, United in Cross – 12th
Puncheur Lights Out was a night race. Donald finished 6th of 38. “Overall went pretty good,” Don said, “although I did go over my bars in the sand pit ended up bruising my ribs.”
At Sunday’s United in Cross race, the course was reversed. The course was mixed with grass, gravel, sand, pavement, and dirt trails. “Went reasonably well,” Don said. “I dropped a chain which cost me 20-30 seconds. Finished 12th.”
TANNER BROWNE 4TH AT VIRGINIA’S STOKESVILLE MTB
“The mountain bike race was great,” Tanner Browne said. “Just long enough to be towards my limit, but not too long.”
He was steady on the power through the entire race, a great test back after heart surgery. “I could go hard and smooth on the flats and downhills but on the uphill I would have to keep it tempo and steady or I would blow up, Tanner said. “I recovered quickly from the little tiny push over the tops and was able to rock downhills good enough to catch the person who dropped me on the climbs.”
Towards the end, Tanner began to push harder on the climbs but he had trouble recovering. He was able to finish well in 4th.
SCOTT SUGENT AT HPCX: 26th & 19th
At Saturday’s race, Scott was able to hold his own for two laps, holding around 20th in a huge field, and then near the end of the third-lap climbs, rigor mortis started to set in. For two laps, he felt like he floundered a bit, but he was able to rebound and finish steady for 26th.
At Sunday’s race, he had a decent start. The race was fast from the start and he felt strong, felt like he was racing the whole race. “I was with a group for most of the race, 15-19th,” Scott said. “With a little more than one to go, I had a little bobble with my chain. I had to back off for five seconds and pedal backwards to get the chain right again, so I fell off the group slightly.
Scott chased for the last lap but could not close the gap. He thought he would, he thought the group would start trying to play the finishing game and start to look at each other. No such luck. He finished 19th.”
NICK MORELL OF TEAM ELITE ENDURANCE: MR. CONSISTENCY
At HPCX Day 1, out of the gate Nick felt like a mess – he missed his clip-in, four attempts to get clipped in. Once pedaling, he surged and entered the grass at 15th.
“I went into super-agro mode to minimize the damage from the crappy start,” Nick said. “I pulled every turn wide and came into every turn hot. Half-way through the 1st lap, I was able to bridge up to the lead group. At the conclusion of the 1st lap, there was a bad accident before the barriers and I was able to avoid it and accelerate into 2nd place.”
Nick held on to 2nd for two laps. He made a conscious effort to really push it Lap 2, knowing that he’s had energy at the end of races. He was in a No-Man’s Land, no way to bridge to the leader, 4-5 guys chasing. With 3 to go, Nick fell and lost his lead to the chasers. “I got passed and was able to hang on him for a bit,” Nick said. “With two laps to go, I passed again putting me in 4th place. I battled for 3rd place, exchanging positions 4-5 times inside two laps.”
On the final lap through the barriers, he made an inside pass for 3rd. The rider was hot on his heels, and then Nick hit the pavement for the finish uphill sprint, he fully buried myself.
“I saw his wheel as we neared the finish… I threw my bike and got the photo-finish 3rd place!”
Day 2: I got in a nice warm-up and was able to ride the course before-hand. I got a good start and a quick clip in to my pedals. I was doing well until about 50′ before we entered the course; seemed like a wave of 5 guys just blew by me. I had a hard time settling in and felt really gassed for the entire first lap. After the first lap, I felt myself settle down. After looking at the lap reports from the race, the first lap was my slowest. Once I got that lap behind me, I was able to settle in. Every lap after the first was progressively faster…..with my last lap being the fastest.”
Nick has been performing between first-to-fifth in MAC and NJ CX Cup racing. He is a contender to finish high in both series overalls.
In other TEAM Elite Endurance results, JAMES PEARL was 6th and 6th both days at HPCX, in the 3/4 event. ERIC OISHI raced the Pro/1/2 and finished 40th and 34th. In the women’s pro race on Day 2, LAUREN DAGOSTINO was 12th. ALLISON OISHI Day 1 – 32nd, Day 2 – 24th
KING KOG’S KEITH GARRISON RACING WITH ELITES
Keith Garrison had a successful cyclocross season in 2014. Racing the Bs in the MAC Series, he won Nittany and placed top-5 in several events.
In 2015, he has decided to upgrade and race with the professional and elite racers. He has been battling to mid-pack finishes in fine fashion. At Charm City Day 1, he was 35th. Day 2, he was 38th. At HPCX Day 2, he was 34th.
RICH WOLTER HOVERING TOP-10 IN MAC SERIES
Rich Wolter, coming off a successful MTB season racing the Pro/Open category in both the H2H and NYS Race Series, has been building condition through ‘cross season. At Charm City, he was 8th and 7th. At HPCX, he was 11th and 6th.
MTBNJ’s Jeremy Short has been improving all cyclocross season. At HPCX, he was 20th and 12th, and he will be looking to build his form straight through to the end of ‘cross season. His teammate Louis Berrios was 30th and 32nd both days – Lou has just finished peak training loads and can now enjoy a sweet taper through November and the rest of ‘cross.
North Carolina’s Adam Perez competed in both days of the epic NCCX and placed 10th and 11th. Adam is a contender on his road bike, TT bike, and is exploring his potential on the ‘cross bike – soon he will choose if he wants to peak for CX Nationals or to reset a bit and start a full build for Road Nationals later in 2016.
Adam also finished 2nd at the Cross Central Series Finale.
Donna Tozer pushed to 3rd in the HPCX 40+ event, superb result in a strong field.
Tea Rabbitt, who is preparing for serious goals on the track, placed 12th at the recent Myles Standish CX race. She is battling back from injury and is beginning to feel healthy on the bike again.