HORWITZ’S PEAK PERFORMANCE AT BOSTON’S TD MAYOR’S CUP CRIT
Ted admitted to getting caught up dealing with pre-race logistics and was a little late to the start of the race.
Off-the-grid he was starting the race mid-pack, not ideal. He quickly moved his way to the front after just one lap, on good legs and seeing things well out there. The race was very fast, the pace seemed relentless and hard charging, and the legs remained strong and consistent.
Mid-race a very strong break of three got some room. Ted knew who was in it and instantly made a hard dig to bridge up. But when he attempted that solo bridge, he didn’t consider the hill and that hill ended up taking a lot out of him.
Ted kept the three within a few seconds for a single lap while holding off the field. As that lap ended, though, he finally faded and the field brought the move back.
“From there it took me almost the rest of the race to recover and get back to the front,” Ted said. “I recovered quickly, but the speed was high in the second half and no matter how many times I tried to move up, swarms would come and set me back.”
Finally, with about 15minutes to go, he was able to ride with safe aggression and make his way up near the front.
He was not far enough to be in a winning position. “The rider in third wheel braked for the final turn,” Ted said, “and it forced me to cut hard to the inside of the rider in front.
Ted was able to sprint hard to the line for 6th. “Happy, but wanted more,” he said. “The more I race, the more I can see it happening.”
HORTON BATTLES TO 3RD AT CXR ARLINGTON RACE IN WASHINGTON STATE
In the morning, Ian Horton was focusing on his race preparations for the CXR Arlington Race, in polar opposition to his last-minute scramble for Woolley Cross the day before. He arrived a solid two hours early, set up the team tent and got out for a couple of quick preview laps in the cold. He nailed his pre-race fueling and took a leisure cruise on the gravel trail around the perimeter of the Arlington Airport.
By race time, the grassy course was in good shape: dry, but not overly dry, some fun loose loam in the singletrack and technical sections. The course had a tolerable short sand-hump, which was really good for practicing technique: some laps he would hit it just right and fly through while others he would get slowed down.
The first lap was congested, but he made up time on the barriers and the run-up. “I was working my way up pretty quickly through both fields over the first two laps,” Ian said. “Mid-race, I had run out of guys with the same-colored numbers in front of me and was slowly climbing up through the open group who’d started ahead of us.”
Ian was with another rider who put in a dig to pass him but couldn’t build a gap. He stayed on his wheel, letting him set the pace until the part of the course where he was trying to attack every lap, where Ian passed him again. The riders stayed close and attacked again right after the warm ups.
“This time I thought he might get away,” Ian said, “but I stayed close enough and passed him again in my ‘attack section’ right before the end of the lap.”
Ian crossed the line with a nice gap, elated to hear he was 3rd! “This was my first ‘cross podium finish!” Ian said. “That was fun racing. Bummed I missed one of the Dick’s Burgers hand-ups.”
COLAVITA & LARINO REPORT: A WIN & A PODIUM
Team Colavita’s Jennifer Defalco and Stacey Barbossa recently raced the Gloucester CX Weekend. DeFalco was 13th on Day 1 in the 45+ race, then battling to 37th on Day 2 – her successful result took something from her on Day 2. “This is fine,” her coach Kenneth Lundgren said, “Her build for Nationals has been slow and steady – not surprised to see high-end race efforts shock the system, but also happy to see her performing so well early into the season.
Stacey Barbossa was in the pro race. She was 22nd on Day 1 and then flatted and pulled on Day 2.
Dan Larino raced in the 35+ race and was 9th.
At the absolutely stacked pro races in Providence RI, Stacey battled to 25th on both days.
In the 50+, Jennifer DeFalco was 9th on Day 1 and powered to 3rd on Day 2!
Dan Larino has been working on raw leg-strength in the first half-of his build for ‘cross season. He was able to muscle his singlespeed CX bike to 1st at the Providence Singlespeed event! His program is designed for a full peak of fitness in early-January’s Cyclocross Nationals. Dan is a cyclocross specialist and these coming months are his time to shine.
Dan raced to 12th on Day 1, then fought back from a mechanical on Day 2 to finish 8th.
BERRIOS CLIMBS TO NEAR TOP-10 @ HIPPO CX; NJ CX RESULTS
“At Hippo I started dead last,” Louis Berrios said. “I had a bad start but made my way up to 9th somewhere around lap five.
Lou was passed by a rider he consistently duels with, then two laps later passed by a strong road racer, finishing 11th. “Hard race, I felt flat the entire time. I couldn’t jump on the climbs. I felt stronger than Nittany but am missing the top gear, zero matches, stuck in upper-tempo all race.
“Lou will be stronger into October and November. Maybe I should’ve started his CX prep sooner after road season, but I’m confident he will rebound and build form through the weeks. He is riding completely clean out there and starting to feel comfortable on the new bike.
Rich Wolter was 8th Master Men 40+, protecting his top-3 in the NJ CX Cup standings. Donna Tozer was 7th in the Women’s 1/2/3.
Nelson Martins was a stellar 7th in the Men’s 3. He has been building performance all ‘cross season: 19th at Caffeinated Cross, 8th at Cooper River after getting the holeshot.
Always moving forward.
At Cooper River CX, Scott Sugent was 5th in the 50+. Scott, the GC winner of the 2015 Elite Endurance TOUR, is aiming to be top-5 in these races all season long – his consistency will pay off.
At Caffeinated Cross, Rich Wolter fought to 2nd in the 40+, he will be contending season long for cup victory.
Sugent was 4th in the 50+ race.
NORLING’S WINNING WEEKEND
Brian Norling was able to win back-to-back races at Cooper River and Caffeinated Cross, both in the 4s.
“I wanted to drop the hammer and see what happens,” Brian said.
Cooper River had a fast road start and as they roasted into the grass, he was 8th. He felt good in the corners, able to take confident tight lines for easy passes.
Before a good power section, he dove into the corner to take the good line, slotting into 3rd. With his head down, he powered up to 2nd, and by the barriers he had moved up to the leader. He stayed on that wheel and now there was a hustle.
In the second-half, the rider dabbed and Brian powered by and never looked back. “Final two laps were wide open and putting distance between us.”
The next day at Caffeinated CX made for flat, fast riding and also a nice tech section in the woods. Add a sticky run-up and you get one gnarly race.
Brian had another good start and was 5th into the first straight. He immediately began to pick off riders and in the end began dueling with a few rivals. He raced aggressively to make it harder for everyone. Brian raced from the front and set the pace, feeling flowy and quick. He hit the water bars in the woods and knew the left line was rideable. The riders behind had issue with the line, Brian could feel the gap – he dumped some gears and hammered out of there.
He had some good space in the final laps and was able to cruise through the final lap to take the win!
At Canada’s Hop Hardcore Hop & Hurl, Donald Gross was 21st and then 26th the next day at Jim Horner CX
TEXAS, OHIO, DC, & UTAH RACING
Ryan Hobbs was 4th in his first CX race in Texas after making the big jump from the east coast. “Last night’s first race was a blast,” Ryan said. “I thought I would be dead from the drive and lack of miles in the legs. Finished up 4th and was chasing down 1st when I got tangled up with lapped traffic in the barriers and hit the deck
Ryan recently earned 3rd at the Six Shooter CX race in Austin on Day 1, then earned 7th on Day 2. Ryan will be racing a full fall of cyclocross and then coming back east in peak condition for Nationals.
Birgit Reeves scored 3rd in Ohio’s OVCX Series race.
At DC’s Psycho Cross, Scott Thompson was able to battle with the top riders in the 45+. The course was very hard, a course with lots of technical off-cambers where you must commit to the rut, two run-ups, and a climb. A bunch of heavy hitters have aged up to 45+ this year and Scott was elated to smash a good start. The deep bog section after the pavement was tough for him, he slotted into 5th or 6th.
A life-long Cat-1 road monster was lurking behind. Scott knew he had a Cat-4 road engine but was going to clean and smart on the ‘cross bike. Mid-race the rider used that Cat-1 road power to plow through the bog section and catch him, but on the technical parts Scott could put a big gap into him.
The last lap, the two riders rode together. Scott went to the front and the other rider was able to follow the lines. In the final sprint, he was outkicked but was happy to hear in the huge stack of riders he was 7th in the firestorm. The front four were Cat-1s Mike Birner, Chris Auer, and Jay Morali.
At the Utah Cyclocross #1 at Weber County Fairgrounds, Elite Endurance Pro Factory MTB rider Jessica Robinson stuck her nose into the fray and took 7th. At Race #2 at Draper, she was 4th. In 2016, watch for Jess to build peak performance on the MTB and be a contender in both ‘cross-country and endurance MTB events.
MASCELLI’S STEADY SEASON & SHE’S ONLY GETTING BETTER
Erin Mascelli recently had a winning double weekend at Baltimore’s Charm City. In the week prior, she was 4th at Cooper River and 2nd at Caffeinated Cross – in our next Rider Update, we will profile Erin’s training goals through the CX season as she builds for success at Nationals.
TEAM ELITE ENDURANCE CYCLOCROSS RECAP
TEAM Elite Endurance is currently leading the team standings in the NJ CX Cup.
At Hippo CX’s Pro/1/2/3 event, Lauren Dagostino was able to ride off the front early and set the pace on a very hilly and bumpy course. She opened a large lead during the race to finish 1st. Kristine Contento was 4th. Mandi Pearl finished close behind in 6th.
In the men’s Pro/1/2/3 event, Eric Oishi was 4th.
The men’s Cat-3/4 race was fast as race winner Justin Dipalma was able to open a gap after the first lap-and-a-half chaos. James Pearl was able to surge out of the lead group, in 2nd and in no man’s land. The story of the race was that battle for 2nd as a rider from Van Dessel was closing the gap in the final laps and it was a nail-biter – Pearl was able to take the first turn in the lead and just hold off the surging rider to claim 2nd. Great work, James – the ride of the day!
Oscar Diaz finished 8th in that same race. His race performances are improving. He was 17th at Cooper River and 12th at Caffeinated Cross.
Nick Morell was 2nd in the 3/4 race at Caffeinated. In the 50+ and 3/4 event, Shawn Erickson and Mike Zak both fought to 11th, nice work, boys!
At Cooper River, Jesse O’Donnell was 16th and Greg Pizarek was 21st.
At Providence, Eric Oishi strung together sensationally steady results, 4th on Day 1 in the masters, 8th on Day 2.
Day 1 saw heavy rain overnight but the course was not a mud fest – slick and tricky but manageable conditions. He was 2nd row based on Cross Results points – there were 135 riders in the starting grid.
The start was paved and slightly downhill with 20mph tailwind. Whistle, clip, shift, pass a bunch of guys before the pinch heading into the doubletrack climb – Eric was sitting 6th-8th wheel or so, want to get a great start and avoid the cacophony of chaos from behind.
Steady start, no mistakes, and he begin picking off riders in the corners, Eric kept realizing line choice was a big big deal today. One of the things that makes Providence such an amazing race is that there is usually two or three different lines through the corners – creativity and handling helps a lot.
Eric’s legs felt great. He was closing gaps on people during the long run-up, no problem closing down gaps on the straights. Keith Garrison is in the mix for a lap but he is slower through the tech bits then falls off the pace. Halfway through the race, one-through-three have a big gap and Eric is in the group of four for 4th.
With 1 to go, Eric slotted into second position through the tech turny bit. He waited until the last opportunity to pass and made a strong move to pass just before a turn. Eric railed it hard, executed a perfect clean pass.
After that it’s under the flyover, past the pit, then crank it up for the final sprint. Eric sprinted hard as he exited the final turn. Over the curb, onto the pavement. Now, in the drops, 46×12 gears maxed out, cadence of 115, head down, not looking back until after I cross the line.
Eric was able to finish first in this group for 4th place. His lap times: 8:36 9:01 8:49 8:52 8:43. That is racing.
Day 2, he had a first-row start. Same fast, paved tailwind start but today they routed the group directly back into the headwind after the initial straight.
Whistle, clip, go! Eric can take the holeshot, the start clicked smooth and strong, and he let two riders charged ahead. \
The course was very fast. He was able to stay 3rd wheel through the barriers and I nearly crashed on them. The terrain was Mach-3-speed straight-on barriers. He tripped on the first one and his front wheel plunked into the second one. He spun 360 degrees and jumped through the second barrier backwards. He stuck the landing and didn’t lose a spot.
The first lap overcooked him and the field was huge. The run-ups and flyovers are severe pinpoints that cause major logjams. Eric knew suffering the consequences of an overcooked 1st lap were worth it. He got through the first lap clean with zero errors and hit the Start/Finish in damage-control mode.
Four riders came around him and he was able to ride with this group the entire pace, chasing the lead while opening space to the large remainder of the field.
Eric felt his bike-handling was a strength compared to the group’s, but these guys were all super strong on the road sections. Eric noted to have a good wheel every time into the long headwind power sections…
Eric rode the run-up and felt very good on the turny bits, finding a sweet rhythm as the laps ticked off. “Tactically, I think I made a big mistake by trying to attack these guys too many times throughout the race,” Eric said. “I would make a pass and lead the techy sections, get a nice gap – only to have them use roadie power to catch up with me on the long power sections.”
Eric noted he would’ve just sat in, saved every match for the final lap. In that last lap, Eric let a tiny gap go on the power headwind section, and a small gap turned into five seconds and two riders got away. Eric gave it everything in the sprint but was unable to beat the seasons ‘cross competitor he was with. He lead it out but was passed with 25 yards to go.
8th place on the day. Lap times: 5:32 (3/4 lap) 7:51 7:51 7:46 7:50 7:47
Allison Oishi, in the women’s master’s races, was able to score two top-tops, taking 9th on Day 1 and 6th on Day 2
XC MTB STATE CHAMPION CONTENTO-ANGELL ENTERS FIRST ENDURO EVENT OF CAREER
NJ State MTB Champion Kristine Contento-Angell has been racing ‘cross for TEAM Elite Endurance. She recently climbed back onto her MTB and entered her first enduro ever, competing in the MTB Creek Enduro pro event.
MTB Creek in Vernon, NJ is one of the most popular and challenging downhill MTB parks on the east coast.
At Stage 1, Kristine was second guessing slightly, readying to race her cross-country bike down this gnarly terrain at full race speed. But she knew she could ride it in training, she would perform well on race day. She didn’t have enduro racing experience, no European downhill experience.
Kristine blasted out the gate, in the red right away. Tunnel-vision set in, meaning she wasn’t as smooth as she should be. She could see Saturday’s pre-ride in front of her, but today’s route was slower, the lines were not as smooth.
The mud was chewed up and she felt tense going through it, like she was going too hard. She fell on a dip, the greasy-mud and her speed meant sliding into it off-kilter, not able to roll it at an angle. She backed off the ‘red line’ effort and focused on superior bike mechanics. She cleared the logs that she had bungled the day prior, cleared the roll-up that she also previously did not clear.
Kristine gained confidence as she finished out the stage.
Stage 2 was mostly cross-country trails and she felt comfortable here. One thing she noted was how tired her upper-body felt from the brutality of Stage 1.
Stage 3 was all grease, her Racing Ralphs not hooking up great.
By Stage 4, she was getting sticky rebound in her brake lever, but she was ready to go. The guy manning the stage said, “Well, that’s definitely the smallest travel bike I’ve seen today.”
The training element here is as long as you have solid bike-handling skills and are willing to learn in new race environments, you will be fine on the trails, it will help enable peak improvement. Stage 4 had a really gnarly section that she couldn’t hit on Saturday – a bad line, super-slippery, had to walk it – but on race day Sunday she cleared it with calm and poise.
The downhill was a jumpy trail – smooth with lots of tabletops and berms. She thought it would be greasy but the dirt was pretty solid. She also remembered pre-riding with someone on this section and followed their lines instead of riding solo and seeing her lines herself… She made a mental note to always pre-ride like a professional.
The final stage was the only red flag of the day. The trail is very technical, rocky, and steep. Parts are huge, smooth boulders that drop off abruptly, off-camber rock gardens of smallish-loose rocks. You cannot lose your line or rhythm or it’s over. Nowhere to remount, no way to get any momentum going.
On Sunday, riders had tracked mud up onto the rocks, so the smooth boulders were insanely slick. She went for it but suffered a crash in front of spectators. She had to yank the bike out of a rock pile and run the entire length of the gnar.
The run was difficult with the steepness and the slippery rocks. She took a mental check as she ran: no injury, hardly feeling bruised, actually. She couldn’t remember if she landed on her feet or what. She was wearing elbow and knee pads and not feeling any soreness. She made a smoot remount as the trail flattened and starting pedaling hard, trying to make up time. She was going too hard, too fast, barreling into absolutely everything. She burped her rear wheel and had just enough air to be able to roll straight, dinging the rim on every itty-bitty rock with the tire folding all over the place on any turns. The bike squiggled like crazy.
Hard final stage, she was not floored with her ride, she thought she was faster in the pre-ride. She knew her bike wasn’t set up for this terrain, but performances are performances – she knows how fast she can push that bike.
In a field of serious talent, Kristine Contento-Angell finished 5th overall in the Mountain Creek Pro KOM Enduro. “I think I would perform much better at the next one,” Kristine said. “A lot of the head-space would be out of the way.”