By Bryan Jew, VeloNews Senior Writer
A day marked by sloppy conditions and sloppy racing drew to a close with an almost perfect performance, as DEVO’s Adam Craig took the men’s under-23 title at the USCF national cyclo-cross championships in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday. Craig’s stars-and-stripes jersey was the last of 11 handed out on the first day of the nationals weekend.
A night of rain, and some intermittent showers throughout the day, softened up the turf at Patterson Park, less than two miles from downtown Baltimore and the Inner Harbor. With temperatures on the day near 60 degrees F and high humidity, the course quickly turned slick and muddy as the first of more than 300 racers on the day hit the course, in the weekend-opening collegiate men’s race.
University of Kansas’s Jed Schneider won that opening race, repeating as national champion, and offered some insight into the course, which featured constant elevation changes. The course made the most of the terraced landscape of the park and with the moisture, the corners were slick, and the many grass-pavement transitions were treacherous.
“I think it’s gonna get slicker and snottier all day,” said Schneider. “I don’t think it’s gonna get any easier.”
“It’s hard to ride easy on this course,” he added. “If you’re not gassed from pedaling, you’re gassed from worrying about crashes.”
If the winners on the day had anything in common, it was their ability to crash less than the opposition, as the conditions caused chaos in all of the fields.
Following Schneider, masters racers Paul Curley (Gearworks), David Rath (GMBC Excite-SmartFUEL) and John Elgart (Webcor-Alto Velo) took wins in the men’s 45-49, 50-54 and 55+ categories, respectively.
In the days women’s races, all run concurrently, Katrina Davis (Richard Sachs), Elizabeth Coleman (SoBe-HeadShok), Jodi Groesbeck (Putney-West Hill) and Bonnie Stoeckl (Evolution) took the women’s 30+, 35+, 40+ and 45+ races, respectively, while Alicia Genest (Boston University) took a convincing win in the collegiate women’s race.
The speeds increased as the men’s masters 35+ field took the course next, with Steelman’s James Coats running away to a solo win, while turning in lap times of just over 9 minutes on the long, twisty course.
The men’s 30+ race followed, with a tight four-man battle for much of the race. Jeff Weinert (Independent Fabrication) pushed the pace for most of the race, with Brian Hludzinski (Jamba Juice), Shannon Skerritt (Bike Gallery) and Todd Hoefer (ABS-Steelman) in close pursuit. The final lap came down to Weinert and Hludzinski, and the Independent Fabrication rider was able to open up enough of a gap to cruise comfortably to the win.
The long day was brought to a close with an impressive performance by Craig in the under-23 race. The mountain biker stayed out of trouble on the opening lap, which was led out by Alan Obye (Team Grimace), and then jumped to the lead on lap 2 of 5. Bunny hopping almost all of the barriers, Craig was never seriously challenged after that, despite strong chase efforts from Tyler Johnson (Richard Sachs), Jackson Stewart (Olympic Club), Obye and Barry Wicks (Bike Gallery).
“That was totally my gameplan, to get by myself early and be able to ride my own race,” said Craig, “be able to ride the lines I wanted to ride.”
It was a gameplan that worked, and earned Craig the first automatic world championships team berth awarded on the weekend. Not bad for someone whose preparation for the event wasn’t all that focused.
“I have a single-speed mountain bike, I’ve been riding it in the woods, and that’s about it,” said Craig of his pre-nationals training program.
If he finds the funding, Craig will be headed to Zolder, Belgium, for the world championships in February. On Saturday, more stars-and-stripes national championship jerseys, and more berths on the world’s team will be at stake when the junior and elite men and women take to the course in Baltimore. Check in on VeloNews.com for complete coverage and results.
Collegiate men:; 1. Jed Schneider, University of Kansas, in 44:02; 2. Andy Jacques-Mayne, UC Berkeley, at 0:16; 3. Kirt Fitzpatrick, University of New Hampshire; 4. Toby Swanson, Lindsey Wilson College, both s.t.; 5. Barry Wicks, Oregon State, at 1:09; 6. Ryan McKinney, William & Mary, at 2:01; 7. Joe Alachoyan, UMass-Amherst, at 2:21; 8. Bobby Lea, Penn St., s.t.; 9. David Werling, University of Connecticut, s.t.; 10. Aric Hareland, North Dakota State, at 2:44.;
Men 45-49:; 1. Paul Curley, Gearworks, in 47:31; 2. Henry Kramer, Le Matin, at 0:56; 3. Timothy Groesbeck, CCB, at 2:50; 4. Norm Kreiss, Clif Bar, at 3:14; 5. Shannon Fox, Cody Racing, at 3:14; 6. Tim Bailey, Bike Link, at 3:40; 7. Steven Kinney, Snow Valley-Annapolis Bicycle Racing, at 4:41; 8. Karl Faruzel, Tioga Velo-Metalurges, at 5:00; 9. Dirk Cowley, Rocky Mountain Cycling Club, at 5:07; 10. Jerry Meyers, L’Equipe Cheval, at 5:51.;
Men 50-54:; 1. David Rath, GMBC Excite-SmartFUEL, 50:02; 2. Phillip Bannister, Putney-West Hill, at 0:20; 3. Fred Wittwer, Charlottesville Racing Club, at 0:26; 4. David Genest, Richard Sachs, at 3:10; 5. Darrell Vreugdenhill, Snow Valley, at 3:14; 6. Peter Wilson, Cyclonauts Racers, Inc., at 3:47; 7. Larry Smith, Durance Cycleworks, at 4:21; 8. Donald Morrison, Wissahickon-Comcast, at 4:54; 9. Bill Hellwig, Potomac Velo, at 5:32; 10. Leone Pizzini, First State Velo Sport, at 6:52.;
Men 55+:; 1. John Elgart, Webcor-Alto Velo, in 54:07; 2. Joe Saling, Somerset Wheelmen; 3. Rob Lea, Fuji; 4. Keith Gregory, Bicycle Man; 5. Giulio Porta, Potomac Velo Club.;
Women 30+; 1. Katrina Davis, Richard Sachs, in 42:38; 2. Christine Iltis, New Moon Media-Utah Premier; 3. Jennifer Maxwell, Cane Creek, 4. Nicole Amarel, Steelman-ABS; 5. Caroline Hacker, Evolution Racing; 6. Heather Peck, Wheelworks-Cannondale; 7. Christine Cunningham, Turin; 8. Margell Abel, Veritas; 9. Sami Fournier, TSV; 10. Suzanne Filippone, Trek Bicycles-New England.;
Women 35+; 1. Elizabeth Coleman, SoBe-HeadShok, in 42:34; 2. Wanda Howlett, Ti-Bond Agent; 3. Dorothy Wong; 4. Julie Lewis, Team Lake Effect Racing; 5. Kelly Yoder, Talgoamerica.com; 6. Stacey Gold, Evolution Racing; 7. Tammy Ebersole, Evolution-Independent Fabrication; 8. Dawn Richardson, Verizon Wireless; 9. Sabine Dukes, Steelman; 10. Donna Anderson, Evolution Racing.;
Women 40+; 1. Jodi Groesbeck, Putney West Hill, in 41:00; 2. Susan MacLean, BOB; 3. Kathy Savary, Midstate Cycling Club; 4. Vivian Chwalinski, Parkside Subway; 5. Joanne MacAyeal, unattached.;
Women 45+; 1. Bonnie Stoeckl, Evolution, in 46:34; 2. Katherine Farago, NEBC-Cycle Loft, at 0:51; 3. Linda Elgart, Webcor-Alto Velo, at 1:30; 4. Tracy Lea, Fuji, at 3:24; 5. Margaret Thompson, MVBC-Aegis, at 3:54.;
Collegiate Women; 1. Alicia Genest, Boston University, in 42:35; 2. Sarah Uhl, University of Vermont, at 2:03; 3. Courtney Bollman, Miami University, at 2:13; 4. Megan Elliott, University of Iowa, at 4:10; 5. Jessica Peil, William & Mary, at 4:14; 6. Sheila Vibert, University of New Hampshire, at 4:32; 7. Alicia Hamilton, University of Michigan, at 5:05; 8. Britt Eckstrom, University of New Hampshire, at 5:29; 9. Janine Verstraeten, Marian College, at 6:45; 10. Marissa Kellogg, Yale, at 8:10.;
Men 35+; 1. James Coats, Steelman, at 45:37; 2. Gunnar Shogren, Guinness-FORT Frames, at 0:30; 3. Doug Ott, Jamba Juice, at 0:35; 4. Jonathan Card, Cane Creek-Kavik Bicycles, at 0:45; 5. Greg Ferguson, Trek VW-JBL Easat, at 0:53; 6. Art O’Connor, at 0:57; 7. Dennis Farrell, Red Rocks Velo, at 1:09; 8. Chris D’Aluisio, Specialized, at 1:27; 9. Thomas Clark, ZG Velo Club, at 1:36; 10. Rich Maile, Team City, s.t.;
Men 30+; 1. Jeff Weinert, Independent Fabrication, in 45:36; 2. Brian Hludzinski, Jamba Juice, at 0:11; 3. Shannon Skerritt, Bike Gallery, at 0:22; 4. Todd Hoefer, ABS-Steelman, s.t.; 5. Chris Peck, Wheelworks-Cannondale, at 0:58; 6. Maxwell Kullaway, Boston Road Club, at 1:04; 7. Will Black, Lone Star Racing, at 1:31; 8. J.D. Bilodeau, NCC-BikeReg.com, at 1:36; 9. Kristopher Auer, LSV-Trek VW, at 1:47; 10. John Funke, SyCip-Novo, at 2:16.;
Men Under-23; 1. Adam Craig, DEVO, in 45:23; 2. Jackson Stewart, Olympic Club, at 0:30; 3. Tyler Johnson, Ricard Sachs, at 0:46; 4. Alan Obye, Team Grimace, at 1:07; 5. Barry Wicks, Bike Gallery, at 1:23; 6. Ryan Dewald, Beans, at 2:38; 7. Russ Tiles, Alger-Quiring Cycles, s.t.; 8. Toby Swanson, Lindsey Wilson College, at 3:30; 9. Narayan Mahon, Ti Cycles, at 3:53; 10. Josh Anthony, Saturn Development, s.t..