Date: April 26, 2015
Race: BLP 2209 Grand Prix
Location: Marlton, NJ
Rider(s): Maryanne Caruso, Nikki Ragonese, Alli McCabe, Andy Maher
From EPS rider Barbara Statton on the Womens 1/2/3 race:
This is my 4th race of the season, and I have been struggling in the open women’s races, after essentially having to take most of last season off. Each race finds me feeling a bit stronger than the last, so progress is being made. The ladies open had a small but stacked field of 15 riders on the line. We had riders capable of breaking away, and lots of sprinters, a good field with lots of talent.
From the gun, a Cawes rider hit it hard to drive the pace up and put us on notice that this was gonna be a fast paced race. Around lap two, I was still in and noticed that Deborah was on the front, I did not want her to get stuck there so I went up and put in a nice paced lap, unfortunately, I could not move back into the field before the slight rise and because an attack ensued up that hill, I got popped. It did feel great to be able to help my teammate, even if only for a lap!
As the race progressed, I could see Deborah maintaining a great position, with Andy hanging on towards the back. Attacks continued to come from both Action Wheel riders and H +H racing. With about 8 to go I was able to get back in with the field as the pace slowed a little and the cat and mouse positioning games began. At this point Andy moved to the front and controlled the pace for the next 3-4 laps, while Deborah maintained her position and marked some of the key threats in the race.
From Cat 4 rider Alli McCabe:
Sunday 4/26 BLP 2209 Grand Prix race was held at the Greentree Executive Campus. The Women's Cat 4 category lined up with 15 strong ladies. I was excited to be racing with teammates since it gave us the opportunity to put some valuable race skills into action. The first few laps were steady and it seemed as if everyone was waiting for Action Wheels to make a big move. After the 3rd lap there was no room for comfort zones! Attack after attack was thrown by various different riders. I found myself trying to bridge gaps and responding quickly to the attacks knowing that these ladies were strong and could hold a break. A group of 4-5 women kept talking about trying to break away together. I kept my eyes on them and a few times a break would gap, but was not held for long.
Maryanne and Nikki led out a few attacks to help string out the field. They worked hard to chase down breaks and keep the speed high. We tried working together to get a break, but nothing would stick. With roughly 3 laps to go a break stuck and I found myself too far back in the pack to catch up. I was trailing the break with 2 other ladies and in the final 2 laps I was pushing as hard as I could to hold my lead. The end was tough and the main pack caught us in the uphill finish.
Women's Cat 4
Nikki Ragonese-14th pace
Date: April 26th, 2015
Race: Bike Line Spring XC @ Fair Hill
Location: Elkton, MD
Rider(s): Nicole LaGorga and Shannon Grieb
Today's race at Fairhill was the first of the XC category in the MidAtlantic Super Series. Shannon and I pulled into an emptty parking lot this afternoon expecting to race the same course as last summers Fairhill classic. Nope. Different location different course. We skidded into last call registration and tied our numbers onto our bars as volunteers assured us of a mostly flat course. Ha. No. The entire 7.5 miles was full of climbs...up and down. Out of a field of 20 strong women I was able to come in 5th place and Shannon 9th. I will say this is the hardest I've ever worked for a 5th place finish. Lots of roots, water crossings, gravel and sweet downhill lines in this race. Good times under a beautiful blue sunny sky with friends across teams.
Nicole LaGorga 5th place
Shannon Grieb 9th place
Date: April 25, 2015
Race: Long Beach Island Individual Time Trial (LBIITT)
Location: Harvey Cedars, NJ
Rider(s): Nikki Ragonese, Shannon Grieb, Andy Maher, Teresa DiSessa, Sue Seyboldt, Danielle Ferland
LBI was the fourth event in the NJ Time Trial cup series with a flat course running up and down the island. With only a single turn around this year, the course was simplified to reduce confusion in the race, resulting in a slightly shorter course than previous years but less mix-ups for riders. Still, cold temperatures and windy conditions made this a very chilling and challenging effort.
In the women’s cat 4 TT Nikki placed 4th and Shannon placed 10th. Due to a mishap involving a truck and another rider, Shannon got off her bike mid-race to make sure the rider was alright, earning her the Riptide VIP of the race for an incredible show of sportsmanship. For the women’s cat 1/2/3/4 TT, Andy placed 5th. In the women’s eddy, Teresa made a strong 2015 race season debut taking 2nd followed by Sue with 5th and Danielle with 7th.
Teresa DiSessa- 2nd
Danielle Ferland- 7th
Nikki Ragonese- 4th
Date: April 19th, 2015
Race: Lower Providence Criterium
Location: Lower Providence, PA
Rider(s): Cat 4: Alli McCabe
Womens 1/2/3 Deborah Leedale-Brown, Monica Volk, Carren Stika, Evelyn Korbich, and Barbara Statton
Cat 4 write up by Alli McCabe
Today's Category 4 crit was a 4 corner flat course lasting 30 minutes. The field was comprised of 14 strong female riders and started off at a good tempo. I tried to sit 2nd-3rd wheel, but found myself on the front pulling a lot more than I should have. I paced myself and tried to do little work. There were a few surges, but none that stuck. In the final lap I was sitting second wheel, the tempo picked up and I held on, but turning into the final corner girls came sprinting from the back and it was too late for me to make a good move. I crossed the line with 7th place.
Women's 1/2/3 write up by Deborah Leedale-Brown
Lower Providence as it is known is a popular early season race that has a fast and clean course and consistently attracts a strong women's field. This year was no exception, with 24 women pre-registered including the talented Laura Van Gilder and many other great women racers including a large number of strong sprinters, it was obvious that it was going to be an attacking race. The weather was near perfect temps, a little on the windy side but not too severe. The race started out at a good pace, everyone jostling for key riders wheels. Attacks happened almost immediately and so it felt like a lot of surge in pace. A couple of riders did get off the front on occasions but not for more than half a lap or so. With each attack our riders were there to provide cover and bridge the gaps, as the attacks continued it became a race of attrition trying to stay in the main pack. With everyone heavily marked it was no surprise that any breakaways were unsuccessful and so it all came down to a pack sprint finish that takes you around the fast last corner and slightly uphill into a headwind.
Alli McCabe 7th place
Deborah Leedale-Brown 8th
Evely Korbich 16gh
Carren Stika 18th
Barb Statton 22nd
Date: April 18th, 2015
Race: Allamuchy TT
Location: Allamuchy, NJ
Rider(s): Cat 4
Nikki Ragonese, Nicole LaGorga, Shannon Grieb
The Allamuchy Time Trial was the third event of the NJ Time Trail cup series, and the second event of the NJ Women's Cat 4 Cup series. The course was a flat circuit with a full U turn in the middle, in beautiful farm country of Sussex County. It was one of those days that starts cold but was set to warm up to near summer temperatures, making clothing choice difficult. We had Sue Seyboldt and Daneille Ferland in the Eddy women category. Andy Maher was in the senior women category. Shannon Grieb, Nicole LaGorga and Nikki Ragonese were in the Cat 4 category. The competition in every category was tough. Nikki took home a win in the Cat 4 category. Sue placed 2nd in the Eddy category, with Danielle finishing a respectable 6th in her very first race ever. Shannon and Nicole placed 4th and 5th, respectively in the Cat 4s. Andy placed 6th in a stacked field.
Nikki Ragonese-1st place
Shannon Grieb-4th place
Nicole LaGorga-5th place
Danielle Ferland-6th place
Sue Seyboldt-2nd place
Andy Maher-6th place
Race: Tour of the Battenkill, Women 3/4
Date: April 18, 2015
Location: Greenwich, NY
Rider: Evelyn Korbich
The Tour of the Battenkill, also known as America’s Queen of the Classics, happened to be held on one of the most beautiful days of the year thus far; warm with a lovely breeze, which unfortunately turned into a stiff wind by the end of my race. I had pre-ridden the course, fueled and prepped well, and I was ready to start one of my absolute favorite races on the beautiful roads, both dirt and paved, that surrounded Greenwich, New York. It was with 45 Category 3/4 women that we rolled out of the starting gate. I was on, or near, the front for most of the first nine miles so when we hit the first climb I was one of the first to see a lone rider take off from mid-pack with amazing speed and continue to accelerate away from us on the climb. A few people tried to get on her wheel but no one could keep up with her and all it accomplished was to pull the faster riders to the front of the pack. Thanks to the climb, six riders, including myself, pulled away from the main field and by the time we hit the first dirt section we were solidly away. However, the mystery rider was also well away and there she stayed for the rest of the race, finishing first with a 20 minute lead on my group.
After the first, and worst, dirt section was completed, my group formed into a quick rotating pace line in order to keep away from the pack. We stayed like this until the first feed zone at mile 28 where we had a contingent of seven or eight chasers catch us. With our now larger group, we headed towards the dreaded Juniper Swamp climb, where we knew the group would explode once more and only the strongest would be able to stay away. Luckily, I found myself to be one of the strongest and I pulled away from the stragglers with six other riders. The seven of us, including two juniors and a few fours, were well matched and we were able to keep a steady pace up until the second feed zone, at mile 50. Then we hit Joe Bean, or as I like to call it “The Hill That Just Keeps Giving”, which split the group and left a few stranded behind, trying to catch up on the descent. However, it was a long smooth descent and everyone was together by the bottom. Once back together, we settled back into a pace line, which was marred only by the gusts of wind that caused us to slow down. As we entered into the second-to-last stretch of dirt road I found myself climbing at the front and thought that since there were less than 15 miles to go I might be able to out-climb the others on the final climb, which was about 1.5 kilometers from the finish. I continued to feel good but everyone was climbing well and I didn’t have a chance to break away until the last 500 meters. I jumped from the back of the pack so I knew that no one would be on my wheel but we had to turn away from out tailwind into a strong crosswind and I was caught off-guard by it. While I was coming out of the corner three people managed to get around me, on the side away from the crosswind, but I still sprinted for all I was worth because I thought that I had 5th place in the bag. Unfortunately, I had someone on my wheel and in the last few meters she jumped around me and got 5th place by half a wheel-length. I was so disappointed that I had been jipped at the line but looking back I realize that 6th is still a pretty okay placing for a race of that length and toughness.
Race Date; April 15, 2015
Race Name: Newmarket CC TT Series
Course: Ashley B
Location: Ashely, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
Rider: Bobbie Mach
Result: 1st overall female
The TT series I am participating while I am here in England is put on by the Newmarket Cycling and Triathlon Club. It runs every Wednesday between April and August and the series rotates between 4 different courses so you get to repeat on all courses at least 1x during the season! I had never ridden the course that was run last nite and it was much harder than I had anticipated. For my 1st official TT of the year it was a tough one even tho it was only 8 miles long!
The scenery on the course was GORGEOUS. The lay out of it was what was tough for me personally. There were steep climbs (10% grade at time) that came right after having to slow down nearly to a stop to make very tight turns! And of course all the downhills where a rider like me can make up time all ended were interrupted by previously mentioned tight turns. So needless to say this was not an ideal course for me personally but I feel I handled it well, pushing myself to the point of almost vomiting :) and at the very least now I have a solid time to try to beat next time we take on this course!
Race Date; April 12, 2015
Race Name: Arizona State Masters Criterium Championship
Location: Mesa, AZ
Rider: Jo Johnson
A nice course on wide city streets in Mesa, AZ. The course could be potentially very fast and furious with 3 left turns, one right turn and a turn around. All in the shape of an L. The u turn was at the top of the L. The base of the L was the large city block we rode around. The manhole covers were not many and those were marked well. They did not pose a problem. All the women started together but quickly separated into 3 groups. I had a good start and found myself playing around in the lead of my group of 7. By lap 3 I wanted to try to catch the group ahead but then decided not to tow the group with me. Then it became a revolving lead change amoung 3 of us. With 2 laps to go the pace quickened then coming to the line with 1 to go, we were overtaken by the fastest group. I jumped to catch the back of that group and ahead of my group but just barely. The announcer stated "sprint for your finish" when we were approaching the line. I knew if that group crossed the line ahead of us our race would also be done. Those of the rules.
So top spot on the podium is a nice way to cap spring training. By my being an out of state rider, I win but the hardware and state champion jersey go to the first AZ rider, in this case, my friend who came in second. I do come home with a nice set of Victoria tires.
Thank you to those who support me in this effort: EPS/ CSS, Shebell & Shebell, Brielle Cyclery, Cannondale, PowerTap, OSMO Nutrition, OGIO bags, Honey Stinger, and Team Manager, Teresa Di Sessa Johnson.
Race: Bakers Dozen 13hr MTB Race
Location: Leesburg Virgina
Date: April 11th
Riders: Deborah Leedale-Brown EPS/CSS p/b Shebell & Shebell / Meredith Ehn Team CAWES p/b Specialized
Results: 2nd place!
So this was the day that two NJ based teams decided to join forces, Deborah Leedale-Brown and Meredith Ehn combined the orange and green to become the 'Blonde Bullets' and tackle the well established Leesburg Bakers Dozen 2015. The weather for the week leading into the race was pretty wet and so expectations of a muddy suffer-fest were plentiful.
The car was loaded with two blonde ladies, one tent, 3 bikes (we decided a spare would be sensible), and enough food to fee the a small army and the Anglo/American team were on their way driving through the rain and fog to a farm outside Leesburg. Base camp was erected amongst the cow poop, no pre-riding was allowed because they were trying to keep the course in the best shape for the next day, so after a short ride around the farm grounds to stretch our legs we left the tent and bikes and headed for the hotel we'd booked for Friday night - a shower and a nice comfy bed was in order before 13hrs of chamois time!
The day of the race, weather was scheduled to be perfect, blue skies and sunshine and mid 60deg. It was meant to be windy but we knew that would help dry the trails. The race began at 9am, it was decided that Deborah would do the 1st lap which was a mass start so it pretty much takes half a lap to thin out enough to flow. The course was an 8.3mile combination of twisty turns through pine trees, rooty off camber sections, open fields, log and rock obstacles and short punchy climbs. The Blonde Bullets had decided that they would adopt a lap on/lap off approach and make changes if they needed to. This was the order of the day however and they managed to keep a consistent average lap time for the whole duration, pretty much having 48min-51min of ride and rest time. Rest time consisted of trying to eat, stretch and clean up the bike ready to go again.
The course was pretty much perfect after the first couple of laps as the wind was drying it out, so it got faster, at one point the Blonde Bullets had a small lead but a Virginia based duo of ladies were pulling out slightly quicker laps as the day progressed. By the late afternoon the race began to get mentally and physically hard and as daylight gave way to nightfall the laps took on a whole new meaning in the dark and the logs and rocks definitely got bigger! The race ended at 10pm and the winner is the person or team with the most laps however the rules state you can start at lap as long as you are starting it before 10pm so it was important for Deborah to get her lap in before the cut off so that Meredith could head out for one last time.
Using all their firepower, the Blonde Bullet secured a fabulous 2nd place with the same amount of total laps as the winners but in a slightly longer time. Importantly they had no mechanical, or major injuries, except for a little over the handlebar manoeuvre for Deborah and some tree hugging for Meredith!
Total Ride time 13hrs 38min 55sec
Average Pace 9.8mph
Total number of laps ridden 16
Total Distance ridden 130miles
Total Elevation 7880ft
Number of log and rock obstacles - too many to mention
Date: April 11, 2015
Race: Assault on the Carolina's
Location: Asheville, NC
Rider(s): Teresa DiSessa-Johnson, Alli McCabe, Audrey Wendolowski and Bonni Schervone
Bonni, Teresa, Audrey, and Alli packed the cars and headed to Bevard, NC to tackle the annual ride known as "Assault on the Carolina's" which had reached it's max of 1,000 cyclists. Upon arrival, the town was buzzing with bikes and many were in line to receive their bib numbers and a bag of goodies. The stations were strategically placed and very organized allowing the line to flow through smoothly and quickly. Great goodie bags too! There were 3 routes to choose from, 40k, 60k or 100k. We all came prepared to ride the 100k that encompassed 2 challenging climbs, Walnut Hollow (one mile steep climb) and Caesar's Head (6-7 mile 5%-8% endurance climb) as well as other lumps and bumps since we discovered no where in the Carolina's is flat. The ride started off slow and congested, but many spectators cheered us on as we rolled off to start the day. Police and many amazing volunteers guided the way and controlled traffic at intersections and sharp turns. This made for a safe and easily navigated ride. Around mile 8 was our first climb, Walnut Hallow. This is where riders started spreading out and some people even walked. We all made it to the top and started the decent of long swooping switch backs until we hit our first pit stop at mile 30. After regrouping we started our journey towards Caesar's Head, which would begin around mile 42. There was another rest area at the base of Caesar's Head, some of us stopped to fill our water bottles before starting the hour long ascent. The climb started at a steady 6%-9% for 3 miles before leveling out for a tiny break and then kicking back up to 6%-9%. Some cyclists took breaks along the guard rails, but I knew stopping was not an option. We all found our rhythms and chugged along up the mountain. On the ride we encountered many different varieties of riders. One lady was attempting the 40k and it would be the longest distance she has ever ridden on her bike. She was a local and sweet as can be. I met another cyclist from Maryland who was participating for his 4th year. He gave me great tips about Caesar's Head at the rest stop right before the climb. One man, Rich, who used to be a pro in southern California and is now in his 60s along with his girlfriend, Carol, completed the 100k on their tandem. Another man, Marshall, a 78 year old national Time Trialist that still races (and is fast!!!) and not to forget Danielle, a local rider who was kind, welcoming and a strong climber. It was a very successful day for Team Riptide and we were very happy to be a part of such a wonderful ride!