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By Press release
The 2004 Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Championship Series wraps up this weekend with The Fitness Concepts Capital Classic in Reston, Virginia. Absent from the 2003 edition of the Mid-Atlantic series, the event is a great addition to the 2004 series. Held in a natural bowl-like section of Lake Fairfax Park, the course includes several elevation changes and a well-balanced mix of technical areas and power sections. The six previous editions of the Reston event have all been held on diverse, challenging courses – yet all held within the same section of park. Rumor has it that EMI racing and Potomac Velo Club, the two promoting clubs, have combined their creative efforts to produce the most technical course to date.
Besides watching the action on the racecourse, City Bikes will also be looking for signs of holiday spirit. A Cannondale cyclocross bike is up for grabs for the best display of holiday spirit. City Bikes and Cannondale have generously donated a $1100 bike to be awarded to the racer that shows the most holiday spirit during their race. Be creative! All entrants will be photographed by City Bike race paparazzi and will later be published on the event website.
With Reston being the last stop in the Verge Mid-Atlantic Series and the last East Coast UCI event before the U.S. National Cyclo-Cross Championships, many riders will be pulling dual duty. Many will be trying to lock up overall Verge series wins and at the same time, assess their fitness before heading to the West Coast for Nationals.
The Verge Mid-Atlantic series champion in both the Elite Women and Elite Men’s categories will come down to the wire on Sunday. In the Women’s class, it appears to be a three way battle for first. Velo Bella rider, Barbara Howe, currently sits on top but her appearance at Reston is doubtful. The West Coast rider is rumored to have returned home in preparation for the US Nationals in Oregon.
If Howe is a no-show, the battle will be between defending champion Betsy Schauer (Fort GPOA) and Amber Itle (Yellow Breeches Racing). Itle is only four points behind Schauer and would love to claim her first Verge title. She is also on a hot streak, finishing in front of Schauer in the last three Verge Mid-Atlantic events. Look for a dramatic fight to the finish in this event.
In the Women’s U23 category, Sarah Uhl (Quark) is heavily favored to take home the 2004 Verge Mid-Atlantic title.
In the Elite Men’s field, Ryan Leech (Fort-GPOA) is wearing the leader’s jersey heading into the last weekend. Greg Marini (Bike Doctor) sits in second place, Barry Wicks (Kona) is currently in third place and Gunnar Shogren (Fort-GPOA) is holding down fourth. The assumption normally is that the battle for the title will be decided between the riders currently on top of the leader board. However, in this case, mathematically, there are fourteen riders still in contention for the overall series title.
The riders closest in the hunt include the Mid-Atlantic’s top U23 rider – Greg Wittwer (cyclocrossworld.com), Joe Reynolds (Wissahickon), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Sierra Nevada Cycling), Todd Wells (GT-Hyundai) – winner of the Highland Park race, perennial favorite Mark McCormack (Clif Bar-Colavita Olive Oil), and Mike Yozell (Fort-GPOA). With so many riders still in contention for the title, the big question leading up to race day is “Who is going to actually be on the start line?” With UCI points on the line, anyone looking to pick up a few more before Nationals may find themselves in Virginia on Sunday.
Several riders have already locked up a 2004 championship title and can come into the Reston event with less pressure than others. The Men’s B title has been won by Weston Schempf (Fort-GPOA) and the Women’s B title has been claimed by Lynda Maldonado (Amoroso-Victory Brewing). Nina Santiago (Liberty Cycle) has claimed the title in the inaugural running of the Junior Women’s class and Ransom Weaver (Guys Bicycles) has locked up the Masters 35+ crown.
Although the Masters 35+ title has been decided, the Masters 45+ title is still open. Randall Root (Snow Valley) is heavily favored and really only needs to finish the race to secure the title. However, anything can happen in a cross race and while second placed rider Chris Long (Independent Fabrications) will be gunning for the Reston win, he will also be keeping a close eye on Root.
The Masters Women 35+ class is also still up in the air with eight riders still in contention for the title. Right now Megan Clark (Cycle-Smart) is in the lead but Lisa Most (Wisshickon) is not far behind. Teammates Tammy Ebersole and Melissa Maurer sit in third and fourth. Maurer who has shown great promise in her first season of cross could vault directly to the top with a good ride on Sunday.
Two other classes still undecided are Junior Men and the Team competition. Patrick Ryland (Rad Racing NorthWest) currently owns the leader’s jersey and simply needs to finish Sunday’s race to walk away with the title. If something happens to Ryland, Michael Garretson (Yellow Breeches Racing) will be waiting in the wings.
In the team category, Fort-GPOA appears to be poised to claim the 2004 crown. They hold a significant lead over Evolution Racing in second and Team Wissahickon who sits in third.
Fort-GPOA has already won the Men’s B title and has a great chance of winning both of the Elite categories. If all goes well, Fort-GPOA could walk away from the 2004 season with a handful of titles.
Fitness Concepts, the title sponsor of this year’s event, is the largest and most successful coaching company in the region. The company employs a staff of thirteen coaches and has over 150 clients, including three of the top road teams in the area. Ken Mierke, Fitness Concepts’ head coach, is Director of Training for Joe Friel’s Ultrafit, a prominent coach and frequent contributor on the TrainingBible.com message board. Additional information about Fitness Concepts can be found on their web site, www.fitness-concepts.com.
Other sponsors of the Fitness Concepts Cross Classic include City Bikes ( check out City Bike’s locations in Adams Morgan and Chevy Chase), Trails End Cycling Company, Plum Grove Cyclery, Bicycle Outfitters, Bike Lane and Drinkmore Water,
Racing action starts at 10am on Sunday with races for riders of all abilities. Elite racing gets underway at 1:30pm with the start of the Elite Women’s race.
Verge products include custom jerseys, shorts, knickers, tights, arm warmers and other cycling-related accessories, all of which can be found on-line at Vergegear.com.
Other series sponsors include BikeReg.com, the premier on-line registration company for cycling events and Honey Stinger, convenient honey-based energy foods, check out www.honeystinger.com.
Cycle-Smart – Solutions for Cycling is also a proud supporter of the MAC, providing cyclo-cross coaching, camps and clinics, The Cycle-Smart International on November 14th, Solutions for Cyclo-Cross instructional DVD, and the 2003 Verge Series DVD. All products and additional information are available at www.cycle-smart.com. Cycle-Smart Means Cyclo-Cross!
Additional information and series details can be found at www.monkeyhillcs.com.
For race registration, go to www.bikereg.com.