2018 Road and Mountain Bike Team. Top Row L to R: Erin Healy, Alli McCabe, Sara Iepson, Beth Bonilla, Amanda Rinderer, Diane Elmore, Mckensie Walker, Jo Johnson, Cheryl Clark, Deborah Leedale-Brown, Shaina Kravitz Bottom Row L to R: Serena DeFelice, Katrine waterman, Sarah Hauze, Danielle Ferland, Andy Maher, Owners Teresa DiSessa and Jeff Johnson, Taylor Armstrong, Emily Underwood. (Not picture: Manger Bobbie Mach, Jessica Kutz, Meredith Ehn)
This is my first year as a rider on the Riptide-Cawes Team EPS/M3 p/b Brielle Cyclery, and the kick off meeting was incredible! It is clear that Teresa and Jeff care a lot about each woman on the team. They spent a lot of time organizing for a day packed with information. The meeting was at Brielle Cyclery (best bike shop in the land if you haven't heard already!). We were able to meet most of the women on the team, and were also introduced to some of our amazing sponsors, including Toni from EPS Corporation who has been with the team as a sponsor since the start in 2005, Mary Mease from Ocean Gate Yacht Basin as well as Dr. Majeski from Main Street Foot and ankle.
Next up, we met with Castelli clothing representative Phil Penman, and were able to try on samples for our kits. It will be difficult to choose which pieces to buy because there are so many incredible options, many of which are also worn by team Sky. A sample design of our kits was also revealed - they are going to be so awesome!
Next up, Steve Hawkins from Powertap/CycleOps/Saris gave a presentation on pedals and power trainers available to us, and I'm glad he did - it can be hard to navigate all the pedals and power trainers available on the market. It's good to know that the Powertap products are what DC Rainmaker compares other new products to, so the standard is obviously set.
Team group pictures was next up on the schedule. We are a great looking group! No we didn't plan the black Tee shirt and jeans, we are all just that connected. hehe
Right before lunch which was provided by Teresa's family place Bruno's in Neptune City we received our helmets, sunglasses and any other products we had ordered. This was pretty exciting - it felt a little like Christmas. Then (almost) all of the amazing bikes that had been ordered from Trek by teammates were revealed. Talk about some serious bikes. Teresa also received a new bike, which was a complete surprise to her, and it is a beauty!
After all this excitement, it was down to business talking about contracts (read it, follow it!), team ride dates, and racing for next season.
It was a lot of information to take in all in one day, but, fortunately all the documents and links are available to us online.
I am grateful to be a part of this amazing team with incredible sponsors and team owners that make it all happen!
Thank you again to Brielle Cyclery and their crew for hosting us, building all the team bikes in time for our meeting, and for treating us like family. We are truly lucky to have such an amazing shop who supports women cycling. Thank you, James Erb for all you do to make sure our team is on the best equipment possible.
Thank you to our sponsors. We couldn't be where we are or go as far as we do without the awesome support from all our sponsors and their commitment to women's cycling.
Thank you for believing in us and providing the resources to do what we love!
Thank you to Toni Musorrafiti from EPS Corporation and "Moose", Meg Moore "Goat", Greg Wright from John B Wright Insurance, Mary Mease from Ocean gate Yacht Basin, Dr. Majeski from Main Street Foot and ankle, Bruce Robinson from Miles Ahead Sports, Dr Dana Fallon from Dana Fallon Studio For Cosmetic Dentistry, and Sara Iepson "Flying Pig"!!
Two different riders with two very different experiences at the same race!!! Check out what Shaina Kravitz and Amanda Rinderer thought about the 6th Annual Cooper River CX race last weekend!!
Shaina Kravitz's reacap of the day!!!
"4th today. I wasn’t aggressive enough at the start and had to work too much to drop the group of four I got stuck in. We got gapped off the front group by lap 2. It’s a power course, wide turns with a lot of flow, so lots of pedaling. It was drizzly early in the day, so it was finally tacky, not dusty and dry. Felt good, could have put more power down, but wanted to stay upright and keep from cramping again. It’s still too hot for cross!"
2018 teammate Amanda Rinderer's thoughts on the day...
To finish off 2017 I got my butt handed to me at Cooper River. Low power, low stamina = 16th out of 24. I was tired and sloppy on the few obstacles they had and not enough power on the straight a-ways to pass other riders after the second lap. I was also anxious at the start and took time to settle in. Still, it was a good time. And I didn’t fall or face plant! Looking forward to being strong again!
Results: Shaina Kravitz - 1st
Town Hall Cross kicked off the 2017-18 PACX series and my first race of the season. Conditions were hot and dry, and the notorious St. Luke's Staircase was back in all its blazing glory. The course winds its way through the woods and up a hillside before sending you flying back down and through multiple series of turns, single set of barriers and fast gravel and grass straightaways. I lined up with about a dozen fast ladies ready to start the local season. I took the hole-shot and never looked back. I opened a gap early and rode a conservative, clean race, trying to save as much energy as much as possible in the heat. I rode in for the win after thinking I had one more lap to go, which was a double win! Hats off to organizers and racers who suffered in the sun for a great early season race day.
Results: Shaina Kravitz - 3rd
Bridgeton Cross is back! As the first race of the NJCX series, this favorite was missing for a few years and recently returned. The course is extremely varied with lots of sandy, loamy turns, short kicker climbs, barriers, rideable log, beach run and this year featured a super steep, loose run up that had me grabbing onto the fencing each time. (Thankfully, the amphitheater weren't included in the course. The bane of short racers!) I didn't realize how much the previous day's race had taken out of me, because I had a slow start. I was sitting 6th wheel as the course shot up a short road climb with a sharp left into sandy double track. The run up was early in the lap and the group started to split at that point. I'd made up a few spots at that point, but lost them immediately when I couldn't easily engage my pedals (switched pedal system this year and not too sure about it yet). I gained one spot back before the first time through beach run. The next came after the barriers, and the final spot on a rocky climb by the third lap. I was focused on putting down as much power when possible and keep it controlled through turn after turn in the sand. I finished 3rd with no one around me. I was zapped again by the heat, especially drained from two nearly 90 degree race days. Here's to hoping we get more cross-like weather soon!
Results: Shaina Kravitz - 3rd
HippoCross was stop #2 on the NJCX schedule. The course was run in the opposite direction as the previous year, but most features remained the same. It was still a power course with lots of long, bumpy straights, a nice mid-course climb and a few false flat sections that really drained you legs. There was a set of barriers, but also a new flyover, stairs-to-ramp style, that everyone approached differently. Remount at the top, or run down and remount at the base? It would all come down to a race time decision. I lined up with the largest field yet, due in part to the super supportive promoters and sponsors who offered equal payout to the for the men's and women's elite fields. The day was much cooler with windy conditions and drizzle on the start line. I was too conservative due to the rain and a hard right turn through gravel, putting myself in a tough spot early. I found myself shouldering through the first few turns, latching onto the back of the front group. I burned a few matches in the process and had trouble settling in. It took a lap before I was able to start making passes as the riders in front of me began to fade. I made a big pass of three riders at the barriers. The rest of the race was a struggle. Constant bobbling, overcooking turns, difficultly navigating lapped rider traffic had me trapped, unable to make any gains. I rode in for 3rd, with the next riders pretty close behind. The beauty of racing is that there is always another race, another opportunity to try it again. (And I ran the flyover each time to save my poor seat rails!)
Results: Shaina Kravitz - 2nd
Caffeinated Cross is one of my favorite races on the NJCX calendar. It is a course that requires good handling skills (very mountain bike-y) with rideable steps, ride/run-up, logs and sand. It was another hot, dry day and my legs were not happy. I made an early foot-down mistake and lost my front position, letting the now lead rider get away. With too much of a warm-up and lots of dusty, loose single track, I started getting calf cramps by the second lap. I kept botching every feature and had a trouble turning the pedals. I was battling with another rider for two laps and was getting frustrated by my mistakes. Rather than admit defeat, I tried to stay patient and, importantly, to have fun, taking as many dollar bills (and a few hand-ups) as possible. I finished 2nd, and a few bucks richer!