Date: August 20, 2016
Race: Flanders Time Trial
Location: Long Valley, NJ
Racers: Andy Maher, Nikki Ragonese, and Danielle Ferland
The recent hot weather took mercy on those who came out to face the hills of Flanders Saturday morning with warm, but not over bearing, temperatures. Although Andy, Nikki, and Danielle had all competed in this TT in the past, the first climb still gave the riders a good challenge.
The 11 mile loop opened on a short flat stretch, allowing racers to gain some speed for about 2 miles before beginning the climb. The hill at Flanders is a bit over a mile long climb with grades as steep as +/-20% at parts, certainly making sure the legs are awake or ready to fall off. Once making it up and over, the rest of the course is beautiful rolling hills with a few great descents for those who like to fly down hills. Many strong riders came out to test themselves against the hills and the clock; Andy improved her time from 2015 by an impressive 4 minutes placing her 5th in the senior women, followed closely by Nikki in 7th place. Danielle also improved her time by 2 minutes over last year’s time, earning her 2nd place in the cat 4 women.
Andy – 5th
Nikki – 7th
Cat 4 Women:
Danielle – 2nd
Thanks to Jan Curan for the great action shots of the girls!!!
Location: Frenchtown NJ
Date: August 6, 2016
Riders: Andy Maher and Nikki Ragonese – Senior Women
Victoria Cotero – Junior Women
It was the perfect day for a fast and flat time trial down Route 29 along the Delaware River. It was calm and warm, but the field was stacked with tough competition for the senior women. After a good, long warmup Victoria, Andy and I all set out for the 10-mile trek down Route 29. I felt pretty good and was a few seconds off from setting a PR on this course. I always enjoy Kingwood, since it is a flat, point to point race you can really just fly down the road without worrying about any twists or turns or turnarounds. In the end, Victoria won her category for the junior women and Andy and I came in fifth and sixth place respectively.
Victoria 1st place Women 15-18
Andy 5th Senior Women
Nikki 6th Senior Women
Race: Tokeneke Classic Road Race
Location: East Hartland, CT
Rider: Andy Maher
This was my fourth time racing Tokeneke and I have had very different experiences each time. This year would be no exception. Day four of a heat wave with temps in the mid nineties and the real feel over 100 degrees it was going to be a tough day, especially as my race did not start until 1pm.
The course was 3 laps of a 22 mile loop around the Barkhamstread reservoir with 2100 ft of climbing per lap. After a 30 min warm up I lined up with the other women ready to start. The first few miles of the course are mainly downhill with the exception of a few rollers. We made the a right on to the first climb and I made sure I was at the front of the group. The second climb came and by mid way up I started to feel light headed and experienced ringing in my ears, I knew I had to back off. As I eased off the pace the ringing dissipated and I was able to make it over the top but had now lost contact with the main field. Another rider had fallen off the back and I could see her not too far in front of me. I had her in my sights and kept pushing trying to bridge the gap. A mile or two later I heard the deep breathing of another rider behind me, happy I had been caught and now had someone to pace with. We stayed together for remainder of the first lap but eventually the heat was too much for her and she started to drop off, I was alone again and now had lost sight of the rider in front of me.
The heat was overwhelming but I pushed on and made sure I replenished my fluids at the feed zone. Pockets of riders from the mens fields passed me along the way and I would try and stay with them but could not match their pace.I rolled through the feed zone for a second time taking on more fluids. I was not feeling great but was determined I was going to finish this race. The finish line was just a kilometer or two up the road and as I passed by for the second time with one lap to go I was pulled from the race. Due to time and impending storms any riders who were not with the lead group were pulled. In hind sight it was probably a good thing I stopped when I did as I started to exhibit some of the tell tale signs of heat exhaustion. I finished in 8th place. Another tough day at the Tokeneke Road race!
Date: Tuesday, August 9
Race: 10 km Points Race
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Rider: Jo Johnson
This was a fast field of 12 women age range 55 to 75+. On the front at the roll off, I took off too fast and had to slow down for the pack to join me, then everyone kept the pace so the pack stayed together, with no one really wanting to start attacking. But then the group decided to up the pace and the real race began. And it was not a lap to earn points on yet. From then on, the group would surge on the bell lap to race for points, then slack a bit. That enabled me to stay with them before I lost some momentum. That enabled me to switch to TT mode and I gained my way back towards the main group. With 6 laps to go I caught several riders and saw that one rider in my age group was on the apron. Was she giving up or was she pulled? I later discovered she had been pulled.
I picked up the pace a bit more with a few laps to go and came across the line after 30 very fast laps. Coming off the track, I had to make several cool down laps before I could catch my breath and come to a stop to get off. I was surprised that I was not more worn out though as in past races of this distance. I must be getting stronger.
Date: August 10, 2016
Race: Scratch Race/ Track
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Rider: Jo Johnson
Day 2 of the National Championships brought schedule delays due to rain but eventually skies cleared and the evening session went off without a hitch. The 55+ women's group of 12 would be the same as the previous night. It would be fast and furious. This time my goal was to stay with the group as long as I could. Starting again in the front I was able to work with the fast, younger women staying up track, close to the wall at 30 mph. That was a bit scary. At one point it felt a bit more uncomfortable and I wanted to move to the middle of the track but with no where to go, I ended at the back and down track. Wanting the women to come around me so I could grab their wheel, they just stayed even with me. Finally one of the riders surged ahead and I grabbed the last wheel. But in a few laps, I found myself off the group. Now I have to work hard to get back to them and I was determined to catch one of the riders in my age group so I pushed hard with 2 laps to go, I began gaining, first it was half a lap, then one quarter lap, then with one lap to go, I kicked it again and coming around the last turn I passed her within 20 feet of the line. That was exciting. And hard work but worth it.
Date: August 11, 2016
Race: Flying 200 m and Match Sprint
Location; Indianapolis, IN
This day is a 2 part effort with the Flying 200 m being the qualifier for the Match Sprint which will be a best 2 out of 3 races. I feel great and cannot wait for this Flying 200 as my goal is to set a new PBR. I start winding it up and almost can not focus as the advertising on the boards flies by on my right. I take off where I wanted to and down to turn 3, hug the turn as best as I can and push hard for the finish line. I can hardly slow down as my legs and arms feel like jelly. I make a few cool down laps and then stop in front of my coach. She says "Excellent". WhooHoo! A good grade. I dropped my PB again. No wonder I felt I was fast, I went 31.5 mph. Now for the Match Sprints. I am jumped from behind with about half a lap to go and loose the first sprint. On the second sprint, our speeds are equally matched but my competitor has a quick jump and sprints the last half lap to win.
Date: August 12, 2016
Race: 2k Individual Pursuit/ Track
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Rider: Jo Johnson
Learning how to pace myself has been hard but I see some reward for all the training. My start was not the best one I have done as my foot rubbed on the front wheel and kept myself upright. Standing and accelerating to turn 3, I settle down on TT handlebar and get into a nice rhythm. Still feeling good at the half and not slowing down much until the last lap but push harder through the last half of that lap. I finish just off my PBR. I later find out the winner, is a former 3 time Olympic rower. Talk about tough competition!
Race: Tour de Milersburg
Date: 8/6 & 8/7 2016
Riders: Evelyn Korbich, Gabby Longchamp, Deborah Leedale-Brown, Emily Underwood
(As told by Emily Underwood)
What a weekend of racing and amazing team work, that lead to huge wins for team EPS/CSS p/b Shebell & Shebell or RipTide, RT, Team Orange, Green & Blue and whatever other nick names that were given by our wonderful host family, and painted all over the road race course! Truly an experience for any team to have had!!
The race began with a flat and fast TT course! Deb was are only one who had a TT bike and the rest of us did it Eddy Merckx style. I ended up coming in 7th, so a position within the top 10 was really great. Had I been aero I may have won it! Hahaha (kidding!)
So we started our race weekend off well and went into the Crit planning to work for Deb who was lying 3rd in the GC. The Crit was a short 1km loop that was narrow and technical in that it had a fast descent, sharp right corner into a power climb, being a short loop, meant that it felt like a hill repeat session within the Crit! The plan was to get it strung out from the go so I started out very fast, and girls were popping off the back right away. After the 3rd lap I was hoping for a counter attack to create a separation and it actually worked! Deb read the attack well and got into a 4 person breakaway, our job now was to police the field and not do any of the chasing.
With 4 laps to go the successful breakaway actually lapped the field. The Breakaway had at this point just split, with two riders creating a gap. As they passed I looked around for Deb, who was joining our lapped field with the other breakaway rider, I wanted to ensure that Deb was getting a wheel to sit on so I got in front and pushed on the pace. Evie then made a great attack off the front which kept the pace high. and I encouraged Deb to sit in and hang on, finally launching her to sprint for a 3rd place finish. I finished in 5th place and I held onto my 5th place GC while working for Deb, who had solidified herself into the top 3 GC!
Following the Crit our amazing host family took care of our every needs and we spent a relaxing evening in the pool, followed by grilling, a game of ghost in the grave yard with the kids and S'mores!
The next morning our plan was to help Deb keep her 3rd place in the GC. The course was 3 laps of rolling beautiful roads and local Amish pulling their buggies over to watch us, with one key hill it provided opportunities for climbers to put in their attacks. That happened right away on the first time up the main hill which actually forced the pace very early in the race, We made sure that kept Deb in with the main contenders at this point and finally the loan breakaway riders was pulled back. The field remained together starting lap 2, however early into lap two a 2nd attack occurred taking the top two GC contenders with it. Deb made sure to keep an eye on the rider who would be a threat to her 3rd place GC, and I made sure to stay with Deb. Evie and Gabby were riding solidly to also be around Deb as we prepared to chase the break. I suggested a pace line.. which actually took place pretty successfully, but due to all the different strengths and skills within the field we were unfortunate, and didn't catch the break. On the last lap I told Deb not to leave my wheel as it was becoming evident that it would be setting up for a field sprint, the finish was fast, involving a steep downhill, sharp right turn to a straightaway, with a final right then left turn onto the finishing straight. I took the lead at the downhill with Deb firmly on my wheel, flying into town at over 35mph I took the last corner so nicely and actually created a little gap between Deb and I. She told me to go and her momentum through the corner got her back on my wheel. I went and left it all out there taking her towards the last two corners. With the rider in 4th place GC jumping off Debs wheel, Deb then jumped from me to her taking the final corners in a key position to sprint out for a 4th place finish, with my legs absolutely toasted, I hung on strong for 7th.
This was a goal race for us, and our solid teamwork throughout the weekend ensured we secured 3rd and 5th place GC, Gabby and Evie rode a stellar race at every stage, in particular the road race, putting time on the front to keep the pace high. Along with our GC results we had an extra bonus as Deb took the win for the PA State Road Race championship, Cat 1/2 and Evie took gold for Cat 3. Our post race podiums were full of smiles and medals and a few $$$ too! Once again our biggest shout out must go to our host family who embraced every part of this race and looked after our every needs, we can't wait to be back again next year.
Womens Omnium 1/2/3
Deborah 3rd place
Emily 6th place
Evelyn 11th place
Gabby 15th place
Race: NJ State Road Race championship
Date: August 7th
Rider(s): Andy Maher, Nikki Ragonese, Danielle Ferland
This year's State Road Race was being held for the first time on the Jersey Devil course. A 4.4 mile loop of rolling hills with one large climb was going to make for a tough race.
My race started at 10:30am and I arrived with plenty of time to get a nice long warm up. I rode two laps of the course to familiarize myself with the roads. Along the way I saw pockets of riders from the men's races that were on the course. The fact that the fields were split was a good indication it was going to be a hard race.
The first two laps were a relatively moderate pace but things picked up on the third lap with the lead riders hitting the climb much more aggressively. I fought to stay in contact with the wheel in front of me. As we made the second turn and started to descend I looked back and noticed we had dropped a few riders. By the bottom of the descent there were four of us at the front. We held a small gap for a short time before two riders caught back on. Just before cresting the hill for the fourth time another small gap was forming with three riders starting to pull away. I pushed hard but this time couldn't stay with them and slowly our group of six was split in half. Our chase group of 3 fought hard but the fifth time up the hill split us again, I was starting to fall off the back and before I knew it I was riding solo. I almost clawed my way back on the hill on lap 6 & 7 but couldn't quite make contact. I finished in 6th place. A really tough race.
Andy 6th womens 1/2/3
Danielle 6th womens cat 4
Nikki 8th womens cat 4