Cross is coming? I don’t know, I’m not on Twitter and don’t understand hashtags — cross is HERE, we are here, we are ready, Granogue was the first race of the year — killer course, killer fields, killer conditions, killer heat.
Very stoked to see Stacey Barbossa of Midatlantic Colavita Women’s Racing Team hammer off the front of the women’s Pro/1/2 event on the first lap and not look back. She looked incredible in the warm-up, strong and smooth, instantly taking superior lines — I was excited to see how the women were going to deal with her. I told her this was a training day, go hard first pedal rep to last, and she did just that. Congrats, Barbossa! Set the year off in positive fashion. Allison Oishi did a great job fighting the heat and finishing in 9th!
In the men’s 35+, Dan Larino of CRCofA/ V5 Cycles stomped off the front immediately. His power was frightening. When he rose from the saddle, he created destruction in his wake — it was severely pleasant to watch. With 1.5 laps in, his gap to the field was huge — he was riding very smooth, zero mistakes. During our pre-ride, he showed me some gnarly lines he planned on taking — they were faster and smoother. Larino is a true CX wizard and I’m excited to see what we can do this fall… and January…
In the men’s Pro/1/2 race, TEAM Elite Endurance’s Eric Oishi showed courage and heart as he found himself in No Man’s Land early on, in 3rd, just behind the two leaders, a fast group of eight chasing hard. Eric was all grit and zero give-up, only a few riders bridging. He was able to attack Szyzmon, a top Cat-1 from NJ, on the final lap to get away and secure 5th! You earn respect, and after watching this volatile performance, Mr. Oishi has fully earned mine — this is going to be an incredible year.
In the women’s huge 3/4 field, TEAM Elite Endurance’s Kristine Contento-Angell started at the back of the field and calmly knifed through the field. Pre-race, I told her, “First race here, just stay in control, no mistakes, finishing with a clean effort under your belt is an A+.” And she did just that, maintaining a steady cadence up all the climbs and drilling the tech with controlled aggression — cream rises to the top and she was able to score a podium, 3rd! FANTASTIC ride for the NJ State MTB Champion!
Jennifer DeFalco of Team Colavita fought very hard in the 50+ race. She didn’t look great, suffering dearly — anyone can ride hard when they feel great, but not anyone can ride hard when they feel like $hit. Tremendous will and courage our there, Jennifer, you cannot teach these attributes — you powered to 4th, awesome result for an awesome effort. Days like this are what it’s all about #championbehavior
In one of the most thrilling races of the day, a huge 2/3/4 field with a huge cadre of fast dudes, Elite Endurance athletes were able to get to the front and drive some of the action! TEAM Elite Endurance’s James Pearl started near the back (:-|) and fought hard all race, steady and drilling it, always moving forward, finishing 15th! Stunning effort, worthwhile result, he means business, already he looks very strong, zero give-up — James is a pleasure with whom to work: incredibly positive attitude, works hard, dedicated to improving, and always asking questions about his training. Coaching is not the coach’s way — it’s the athlete/coach’s way, and the only way to find true potential is through constant feedback and communication. James is the model athlete.
During that race, Bikeline’s Ryan Thomas Stahnke, TEAM Elite Endurance’s Nick Morell, and King Kog’s Keith Garrison drilled the front group, whittling down the selection. Ryan had to dab after scoring a prime, and Keith was super-aggressive mid-race, throwing down a thrilling attack that stretched out the chase, but then suffered a mechanical.
In the end, as the dust literally settled, Stahnke was 4th, Garrison 6th, perfect results for this very first dress rehearsal of the year. Morell suffered a flat, still hammered home for 21st!
Granogue Cross was also my first event setting up the TEAM Elite Endurance tents: mechanic’s station, full seating, Cycle-Ops trainers, fueling table, Snickers bars, Laura Slavin and Mandi Pearl being awesome and helping make sure all athletes were 100% ready to freaking rock. 🙂 My goal is to offer professional race support for TEAM Elite Endurance members and other Elite Endurance athletes who are at the race venue. I spent all day pre-riding with athletes, breaking down the techy sections, dialing in tire pressure, adjusting bike positions, and going over pacing advice.
I am committed to this, I am always learning, I am committed to becoming the best coach I can be, I am stoked to see what Nittany will bring — 10:47pm, will be up at 6am, time to take it down.
A+ experience last week, life is good, we generate more positivity this weekend, every day is connected to the next… See y’all at Nittany.
— Kenneth Lundgren