Location: Redmond, WA.
Date: August 19-26, 2014
Type: 500m, Points Race, Scratch Race, Match Sprints, 2K Individual Pursuit, Team Pursuit, & Team Sprint
Participants: Andrea Brennan and Jo Johnson
From the perspective of Jo Johnson...NATIONAL CHAMPION!
Marymoor Velodrome in the Marymoor Park hosted the Masters Track National Championships. The weather was nearly perfect every day although one morning was really cold at 58 but temps usually climbed into the 70's and occasionally into the 80's. Winds were 5-7 mph out of the west or NW. The velodrome is a 400 meter concrete surface with metal railing all the way around and 2 entrance gates on each straight. No bridge or tunnel. Grass in the center with a small warm up, cool down circle between turns 3-4. Banking is about 23 degrees with a few bumps.
Date: August 24, 2014
Riders: Alli McCabe
From the perspective of Alli McCabe...
Arsenal Crit, Cat 4 The Arsenal Crit took place Sunday, August 24 at the Naval Yard in South Philadelphia. It was comprised of 4 corners on a 1 mile course. The field had 20 ladies to start and I was excited that so many women showed up to race! We started off slow into the first corner, it was a little tight, but definitely one you could pedal through. I tucked in around the 3rd to 5th wheel and held my position and remained patient. With 4 laps to go I found myself trailing a BreakAway Team member off the front, but was doing more work than I needed, so I dropped back to the pack and found myself on the front for 2 laps, I did not push hard and was contemplating if I was still using too much energy. Then on the final lap, the girls took off and I sprinted hard, but came in at 12/20.
Arsenal Crit, Cat 3/4 After completing the Women’s Cat 4 race I was excited for the 3/4. My goal was to sit in and complete the race. We started off fast and hit the corners at a moderate speed with explosive accelerations out. We had 60 minutes of racing ahead of us and these girls meant business. I had my eyes peeled for tired riders, especially since most of us 4’s had raced earlier. I felt good and was keeping up with the accelerations, which in the past has been my weakness. After 30 minutes of racing, the field had split into 2 groups. We were headed into the 3rd corner and 2 girls went down in the front of the pack, 4 girls stopped, while another girl and I continued on working together, alternating pulling every half a lap. The officials integrated the crash group back into the pack with a free lap and ultimately, after 40 minutes of racing, myself and the other girl were pulled from the race. 21/23 final standing. Overall I am so glad to have had a great day full of 70 minutes of racing with awesome women
Race Name: Fair Hill Classic
Race Type: MTB XC
Location: Elkton, MD
Riders: Nicole LaGorga
From the perspective of Nicole LaGorga...
I raced my first MTB race yesterday down in Elkton, MD. After not having been on my MTB in months, and having trouble during the preview in finding my way through a rooty and what I thought to be rocky (cause I was on the wrong trails) course, I decided to register in the Women’s open novice category. My main goals were 1. Not crash 2. Not get lost 3. Not come in last. I realize that non of these were “positive thinking” goals, but it was a little unnerving to register for a MTB race when you’ve never even done a MTB group ride before and had no idea how your skills stacked up. My strategy was to go all out from the gun in hopes of dropping the rest of the field before I hit the woods without blowing up, in order to have a time advantage because I knew there were climbs and I wasn’t sure my technical skills stacked up, so I figured that was my only chance was to have a lead that allowed me to not be chasing and passing the entire time. My strategy “sort of” worked. I was able to stay out front and break the field in two during the long stretch up to the woods. I spent most of the race chasing and passing the same three women. I was fighting for third place for half of the race, but when the course opened up and stopped TILTING up, I was able to move into third. I felt I had a solid chance at second, but I just couldn’t get up that last hill without getting passed for the last time. I came in 3rd. missing 2nd place by 13 seconds, and I lost first place by not being aggressive enough to pass as the course got tighter earlier on. I learned a lot of things yesterday- the most important of which is that I like racing in the woods and will definitely be doing it again.
Location: Fort Washington, PA
Date: 8/6, 8/13, 8/20
Type: Criterium and skills clinic
Riders: Shannon Grieb and Deborah Leedale-Brown
The Battle for Fort Washington is a training race series that focused on women and new riders. A project of First States Cycling Alliance, this fun three-week series enabled first time racers and veterans to enjoy a fun and challenging course.
I showed up the first night not quite knowing what to expect. Everyone was so friendly and I knew that this was going to be a fun night. I knew many of the people there and it was great to meet other women new to racing. Each night held three races – the B race (men’s 4/5 and women’s 3/4), the women’s race (women’s 3/4 ), and the A race (men’s 2/3/4 and women’s open). After the races there was an off-course clinic and seminar. Even though this was a training series, there were officials and official results.
I participated in the women’s 3/4 race each week. The first night there was well over 25 women in the field, a mix of race veterans and first-timers. Joe Wentzell of Breakaway Bikes gave us instruction and the race began with two neutral laps. After the neutral laps the race was on! The course was a .09 mile circuit with a challenging, steady uphill and short, fast downhill. This uphill quickly broke the pack apart. During the race, Joe and his helpers rode with us, giving us valuable instruction and keeping the race together. For those that fell off, they were pulled off to the side and allowed to reenter the race to optimize the amount of time spent in the pack to help get the best experience for beginners. They were clear in telling us that this does not happen in a “real” race. The second and third week also had strong women’s fields and similar assistance and instruction.
Deb joined the women’s 3/4 race on the last night, using it to warm up and graciously volunteering to help coach the newer racers. I know I benefitted from her instruction. She then raced the A race and I believe was the only woman in the field.
After the race each week a skills clinic and seminar was held on the grass off of the course. Joe Wentzell and his team led the first two weeks. We practiced bumping, look-backs, track stands and bumping tires. The third and final clinic was held by Dana Walton of Walton Endurance. She set up a mock, six-turn criterium in the grass and held a series of skills exercises and two mock races! Before we raced on the grass she gave us helpful tips and encouragement.
It was a fun three weeks and such a wonderful event for those that are new to racing. The skills clinics were a nice bonus and led by two world champions! It offered a safe environment and I believe they accomplished the goal of getting new riders, and especially women, excited about racing!
ALL PHOTO CREDIT TO BOB WELLMON!!
Date: August 10, 2014
Type: Time Trial
Riders: Andy Maher, Shannon Grieb, Nicole LaGorga
Team Riptide took on one of the hilliest time trials of the year this pas weekend with great results! Way to push those pedals ladies!!
Womens 1/2/3: Andy 3rd
Women 4: Shannon 2nd, Nicole 3rd
Date: August 1-3, 2014
Type: Gran Fondo
Riders: Teresa DiSessa-Johnson and Erin Mandato
The Devil Awaits...
On Saturday, Teresa and I ventured up to the Catskill Mountains to participate in a 77 mile grand fondo ride with almost 5600 feet of climbing through the rolling countryside with challenging climbs and direct passes through cute, quaint towns with a max grade of 22% on the infamous Devils Kitchen Climb. Yes, this is what Teresa and I call fun for a weekend with no mandatory races. After an almost three hour drive up to the Catskills, we checked into our B&B, about 30 minutes away from the start. Pulling up to the B&B, personally reminded me of the homes in Bavaria in Southern Germany. We enter the main house and immediately the smell of old, musty, moth balls infiltrate our nose. Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad, the place was super clean but appeared not to be renovated since it's opening in 1936. After checking in at an office that smelled faintly of smoke and had the most annoying beep, we headed to our room. The room was super clean, outdated but had a magnificent view of the mountains. It was absolutely breathtaking. After relaxing for few moments we hopped back in the car, taking a nice unplanned detour through the Catskills before making our way into Tannersville where the ride will go off the following day. Once parked, we walked through the very small town, finally settling into a Mexican restaurant for lunch. Even after reading just the "okay" reviews on the place, Teresa and I still went in and afterwards, completely understood why the place just received mediocre reviews. Oh well, we were fueled and ready to pick up our packets at the cafe. According to the emails we received, pick up was from 5-7 PM, not until 6 PM did the promoters finally arrive! Yes, an hour late and not very professional in my minds as riders sit around and waited. With packets in our hands we headed back to our B&B.
Before heading to bed, we painted our nails in Riptide colors and added funky designs to each nail. I really dug deep to find my inner artistic side and was surprised with the artwork I created on Teresa's nails! After hydration and few more laugh we were asleep. For once, there was no rush or alarm setting to get ready for this ride considering the fondo didn't depart until 10 00 AM. We took our time getting ready, packing up before leaving for Tannersville. We arrived around 9, scored a sweet parking spot right at the start and prepped ourselves for a challenging, adventurous 77 mile ride. We were ready by 9 30 and didn't really feel like waiting until 10 for the official departure so we went up to the promoter and asked if we could start earlier. He was very kind and said go right ahead so we were off.
The first 20 or so miles were fantastic, nice descents, steady low grade ascents and absolutely beautiful scenery! We knew this wouldn't last long and were mentally preparing ourselves for a challenging climb. We made a right hand turn from a beautiful town and our first challenge was staring us right in the face, yes a nice climb. This climb went on forever! Over X miles! I kept it slow and steady knowing I had to conserve my energy for many more climbs and the infamous Devils Kitchen Climb. Teresa was Super Women, strong, amazing to the point I thought she had an invisible motor attached to her bike. I knew we had a rest area coming up at mile 33 so my focus was to get there, hydrate refuel to be able to continue on. Somewhere around mile 23, I lost it and I mean lost it. Now I was burnt out before going to Catskills but I figured I could conquer this ride, going slow and steady, well guess what? My body said No Way Girlfriend. I'm done. I'm fried. At this point, I am going into survival mode trying to get myself up this climb and to the feed station. Teresa is next to me talking me through it. As I am climbing, I'm realizing, I have nothing left in me to even tap into. The tank is empty and not many fumes to even use to keep going. When I was finally able to get words out, I told Teresa I was having a very vulnerable moment. Oh and to make matters even worse, I drop my chain on one of the climbs. Yup, that's right. Just what you want at such a crucial point. When we finally approach the feed station, we were greeted with no water, apples and fig newtons. Who gives riders apples and fig newtons?!! Where is the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bananas and most importantly WATER! Well, I'm on the ground having my vulnerable moment while Teresa is scrounging for water. One person offer us some of the Pro water for the pro riders that would be racing through a few hours later. Oh thanks a lot! I told Teresa that I am not sure I could go any further but she convinced me that the next 30 miles are easy and that if we could get to the next feed station at mile 64, I would be a lot closer for a pick up. Even knowing my body was done, I tried one more time. I got on the bike, found the decent even hard to handle. At mile 38, an official drove by just asking how we were doing and I said I am done! DONE! Yes, for the first time, for as long as I could remember, I pulled out. This was a tough decision because I didn't want to let my teammate down, but there was no way, I was going any further. We decided that Teresa would continue on and I would wait for SAG support and when I got back to the car, I would go get her from the 2nd feed station.
The official asked me to turn around and bike 1/4 mile to the corner where a volunteer was positioned and a cop so it would be easy for SAG to find me. Now a 1/4 of mile is nothing but it felt like an eternity for me. I arrive, put my bike down and lay down under a beautiful tree. The women volunteer was extremely nice, living in the house just down the street. The Officer, Officer Scarey, yes you read that correctly, was an older gentlemen with two hearing aides who was also nice. As I waited for SAG, I was chatting away with the volunteers; being introduced to the town drunk who was walking down the street and the other interesting characters. As I continued to sit there waiting, the first hour passes by, no SAG. The second hour passes by, no SAG. Now, I am growing frustrated because I am supposed to meet up with Teresa and my phone is going dead. I'm in touch with our teammate Cristina who is there to support Ronald and finally asked her to come pick me up. Well, by this time, I got to see the Pro Men race by, all the stragglers and the race/ride is pretty much over. Officer Scarey departs but states that he can give me a ride when he is on his way home if I am still around. Well in the meantime, the pin I dropped on Google for Cristina wasn't working, there was no SAG insight and so when Officer Scarey passes by, I decide to take him up on his offer, plus he had a phone charger! We put my bike in his car, plug my phone in to call Cristina to tell her I have my ride back and we are on our way back to the start.
My ride with Officer Scarey was an interesting one. I was shown his personal gun that he kept in his console and was told that he had others in the car. He informed me that he comes from a family of police officers and that he retired in 1986 with a pension of $36,000. He currently works in a one man department in a small town, part time. When he receives his weekly pay check he gives it to his wife who then in return gives him his weekly allowance of $100 a week. He has been married for 26 years but was married previously as well. I also heard about the time he got whacked over the head with a cast iron skillet when responding to a domestic violence call. I tried to ask questions and talk at times but quickly realized that even with two hearing aides, it was still hard for him to hear me especially with the window down. I just sat there listening about his dogs and his grandchildren. The ride back to town was about 20 minutes, interesting but quite enjoyable. I got back to my car and turned my head just in time to see Teresa! Yes, she finished the ride! I was overwhelmed with emotion because I was happy to see her get back safely considering our original plan of me going to help her was scratched since I was stuck waiting for SAG for over three hours. I met her at the finish line and gave her a huge hug and told her how proud of her I was.
We packed up the car and headed home. It was a long ride home as we were both in pain on many different levels. For me, I was very disappointed I couldn't finish the ride. I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't finish something I started but if I continued I knew I would have seriously injured myself and that would have been way worse. There were many lessons learned and some deep thoughts contemplated on those climbs for the first 38 miles for me. In the end and now that I am home and feeling better, I actually had a great time in the Catskills and I am glad I got to share this experience with Teresa who I go to know even better on this weekend ron de vue. Now for me, I am taking some major time off from working out (minus the Flanders Time Trial) so I can come back next year ready to conquer!
From the eyes of Teresa after venturing off on her own.
The motor officials told me it would be best for me continue on and leave Erin behind. They had no idea how long it would take for Erin to be picked up and how much room they would have in there vehicle. For anyone who knows me really well knows that leaving Erin was not easy task for me to do. However, I knew I had to get back on that saddle and continue on. My goal was to just get to the next rest area. I thought for sure Erin would have been dropped off and on her way back to picking me up off the course. During the next 40+ miles of rolling terrain I knew I had to just pedal away and keep on trucking until I met up with Erin again. I got into a groove and really enjoyed the scenery around me. Along the way I passed many other riders and many who were in the same boat as Erin. During my adventure I had a honor to meet such a sweet young girl Jillian. Jillian almost wanted to quit several times due to her knee and painful feet, but she toughed it out! I pulled her along on and off for many miles to the final rest area. It was a pleasure chatting with her and hearing the excited in her voice about the sport of cycling. As we arrived to our 2nd and final aid station I was happy to hear they had water, but still no food besides Hershey kisses and apples. It took me several attempts to get my call to go through to Erin. Looks like she was still sitting at the same corner. I couldn't believe it and felt horrible that we were not together. At this point I was debating skipping Devils Kitchen and finding a quicker and shorter route back to the start. There were several riders who called it quits from this point and Jillian was on the fence as well. I was told to stay on course since I was alone in case of an emergency. One last call to Erin to let her know that I will be on the course continuing my way to the finish. At this point I just wanted to finish and give Erin a big hug. I knew how tough it was for her to listen to her body and stop. But I knew I had to get my head back in it and my butt back on the saddle as Erin is no where near rescuing me. I refilled my water and off I went heading towards the famous Devils Kitchen. The next 6 miles consisted of rolling hills and started gradually climbing more and more as you got near the climb. I saw this guy at the bottom of this next hill. I knew It was here when he told me take my last big breathe because the next few miles are going to hurt. At this point I was alone. Jillian fell back and I was conquering this beast alone. I look up and and told myself I wish I had my teammate with me. I have been feeling unstoppable all day, like I had a little motor in me. I was trucking along this 14-18% grade hill, but very slowly. I was making S turns to make the climb a little less painful. My lower left back started going into spasm, but I told myself I can do it. Until I see a car coming down this narrow hill and the roads were full of pot holes. With the car approaching my S turns turned into riding straight up! My back just couldn't handle it so I unclipped almost literally falling off. I took a breather and enjoyed the scenery around me as I walked little to a section I felt I could clip in again. Off I went again, but boy was this hill kicking my butt. This was the steepest thing I have ever climbed and it was relentless!! At this point I see the steepest part of the climb up ahead. My back and head just wouldn't let me pedal so it forced me to unclip and walk once again. All of sudden as I am walking I hear a voice scream my name. At first I smiled thinking it was Erin, but it was Jillian walking her bike up. I waited for her at the hair pin turn where this nice lady was there telling me to keep my head up that she has seen tons of riders walking today. I waited for Jillian and we took a picture of the beautiful scenery together. We walked past the steepest section and I was ready to finish last 3k where KOM climb ends. Jillian decided she needed to keep walking some more and told me to go on. I clipped back in with a help of a nice pedestrian who held my seat and gave me a big push. Off I went climbing to the last bit of this KOM section. I knew the worst was over so I couldn't wait to cross the finish in hopes that Erin has arrived safely. I hammered away knowing I only had 7 miles left. My legs felt awesome and I just couldn't wait to be done. It was a long day out in the Catskills. As I crossed the finish line I saw Erin and I didn't know if I want to cry in happiness that she was there or squeeze her hard for being such an amazing friend. It was a great weekend with Erin despite all that happened. She is an amazing athlete and friend and I am lucky to have experienced this with her. I know we will be able to conquer something like this again once she is better and fresh! And I can't wait! I am happy for my accomplishment and not giving up. I look forward to more challenging rides, but next time with better aid stations and water!!! I am bummed I never got to see Jillian again and I hope our paths cross again as she was such a fun girl.
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Date: August 11-18, 2014
Participants: Colleen Gulick
2014 Elite Track National Championships Preview:
This Sunday I will be making the 9 hour journey south to Rock Hill, South Carolina to compete in the 2014 Elite National Track Championships. I will be dawning my EPS/CSS p/b Shebell & Shebell kit for 6 days straight. : ) Over the six days of racing I will be competing in a whopping 9 events. The week starts with registration/packet pick-up on Monday evening. Racing begins Tuesday morning. The first two days are composed of entirely the omnium events; a series of 6 races where the riders earn points for their finishes in each race (with first place earning the most points and last place earning the fewest points). At the end of the 6 events the rider’s points are summed up and the rider with the most points wins the event. On Thursday I will be racing only the Miss & Out. On Friday I have the 25Km Points Race, which is a whopping 100 laps. On Saturday I have the Scratch Race Qualifiers and on Sunday I will be racing my last race of the week, the Scratch Race Finals. : ) I will be sure to keep everyone updated via social media while in Rock Hill. I am looking forward to dawning what seems to be a signature orange helmet and representing EPS/CSS p/b Shebell & Shebell at the Elite National Championships! Below is a summary of the week’s events:
Monday- Packet Pick up
Omnium Event 1: Scratch Race 7th place
Omnium Event 2: Individual Pursuit 4th place
Omnium Event 3: Elimination 5th place
Omnium Event 4: 500m TT 4th place
Omnium Event 5: Flying Lap 5th place
Omnium Event 6: Points Race
Omnium Miss & Out 4th place
OMNIUM OVERALL 4th place!
Points Race Qualifiers
Points Race Finals
Scratch Race Qualifiers
Scratch Race Finals
Date: August 3, 2014
Riders: Deborah Leedale-Brown and Andy Maher
The Bob Rodale Fitness park in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania was the venue for this PA BAR race. Team mates Deborah Leedale-Brown and Andy Maher were representing team EPS/CSS today. Having raced the iron Hill twilight crit just hours before with not much sleep, Deb wasn't sure how her legs would respond.
The course was a one mile, big ring loop with a short steady uphill grade and smooth surface. After a 30-40 minute warm up we were on the starting line. Deb is currently leading the PA BAR series so needed a strong finish to hold onto her lead. The plan was to keep the field together resulting in a sprint finish which is Deb's strength. Andy had two QCW riders to mark, responding to any breaks that might occur. With eight to go Andy went to the front for a few laps ensuring Deb could sit in and conserve energy. Deb was sitting comfortably mid-pack and with three to go Andy went back to the front ramping up the pace while Deb moved closer to the front. Into the final bend Deb took Finkraft rider Meredith Ehn's wheel and sprinted for a second place podium finish.
Deborah Leedale-Brown 2nd
Andy Maher 15th
Rothrock Trail Mix (June 14th)
Result: 2nd open expert women
Fat Tire Challenge (June 21st)
Result: 1st open women (4th overall)
USA Mountain Bike nationals:
CAT 1 Women 25-29
The second half of June I spent priming for mountain bike nationals. I raced locally at the Rothrock Trail mix, always a killer technical race, to sharpen to rock riding before nationals. Four hours and a lot of sweat later, attempting to navigate wet rocks with worn out tires, I ended the day in 2nd. I never like to lose a local race like that but the woman who beat me is a great rider (finished 2nd to me at Transylvania) so not too much to complain about- except my procrastination to get new tires! Next I went west and raced the Fat tire Challenge. This is a much smaller race with most riders opting for the short course. I race the open long course, finishing 1st for the women and 4th overall for all long course riders. The trails in western PA are amazing, though I always advocate for more arrows on course for those races- I only got lost twice, that’s improvement from years past ;-)
Finally it was mountain bike national’s time. I was antsy with anticipation as I tapered down for this race. I felt fresh, excited and well prepared! I made the drive out Friday and pre-rode the course. HOLY SMOKES it was technical, I made sure to re-ride all the touch parts and I reminded myself that it was just super rocky like home, what I’m used to! Late Friday night I got an email from USA cycling notifying me that all womens CAT 1 races would be cut to 2 laps (12 miles) instead of the 3 laps we should have done. They claimed this was for “time concerns” though all the CAT 1 men got to do their full race….where were the women at USA cycling advocating for equality!!!??? Anyway…. Race day arrived and I was ready to roll! My first lap was just O.K. nothing great. I couldn’t get going and my legs felt bogged down. By lap 2 I was flying, standing and grunting up the climbs and tearing up the downhills like I never have before! I moved from 4th to 2nd all in lap number 2 and had to settle with second for the day. It was tough coming to terms with crossing the finish line and not feeling like I had really given it everything (I just wasn’t tired yet- I wasn’t prepared for a race that was so short). There is no room for a slow/ not perfect start when you have such a short time to prove yourself. At the end of the day, the woman who beat me was an AMAZING technical rider (she passed me by launching off some built up logs). I congratulated her after the race and she said she was happy to not have done a third lap because she knew I was flying on the climbs. It would have been an exciting third lap- maybe next year!
Location: Evesham, NJ
Date: August 3, 2014
Riders: Alli McCabe, Shannon Grieb and Nicole LaGorga
From EPS rider Alli McCabes perspective on the second stage of teh South Jersey Omnium weekend series...
Sunday's race started off at 8:15am after a full morning or pouring rain. We spent some time taking laps on the course and getting familiar with the turns. There were 6, Cat 4 women in our field and I found myself off the front from the start of the race. I attempted slowing down to see if anyone would pass me, but after the first lap I crossed the start finish line and looked back to find that I had a small gap on the field. In that instant I decided it was now or never to make a move. I felt bad leaving my teammates behind without a warning, but I sprinted as hard as I could to get a good lead. Nicole and Shannon stayed with the peloton and fought hard for there positions. One girl caught my wheel and stayed with me for the remaining 15 laps. Shannon pulled herself from the race to cheer us on from the sidelines! Nicole toughed it out and pedaled hard! Towards the end the field was lapped and and I finished at a tough second and Nicole at a strong 5th. Overall for the (weekend) series, Nicole 7th, Alli 4th.
Alli McCabe 2nd place Cat 3/4 Women's Race
Nicole LaGorga 5th place Cat 3/4 Women's Race