Photo Gallery: North Carolina GP of Cyclocross

The weekend of racing in Hendersonville, NC saw Danny Summerhill take the top step of the podium not once, but twice.  Even more than that teammates Erica Zaveta and Yannick Eckmann managed a top-5 results on both days.  Clearly having a home base in North Carolina has proved good mojo for the team, hopefully the momentum will continue into the National Championships held in Asheville, NC in January 2016.

Photos: Jonathan Devich

Double Wins for Danny Summerhill at North Carolina GP of Cyclocross

The North Carolina Grand Prix of Cyclocross spanned two days over the past weekend in Hendersonville, NC. Revealing his great form coming into nationals, Danny Summerhill of the Maxxis Shimano Cyclocross Team won both days of the event after some tactical and hard fought racing.

In what proved to be dry conditions in North Carolina, the fast and open course at Jackson Park created unusual dynamics for cyclocross racing in the US. With little to break up the field, the front of the Elite Men’s race stayed together on Day 1. With both Yannick Eckmann and Summerhill representing Team Maxxis Shimano, the riders had a distinct advantage. As experienced road-racers in their own right, Summerhill and Eckmann worked strongly to control the moves and set Danny up for a strong finish, “Travis Liverman was a fierce competitor today. Without the help of Yannick, it would have been more difficult to come away with the win”
Danny Summerhill sprinted from the lead group to take the win, with Eckmann also sprinting to a very strong 4th place finish.

The second day of racing followed a similar playbook to the first, albeit with tired riders. For Summerhill, it was again a race of patience, “There was so much back and forth in the last lap. I thought I’d lost the race so many times in the last few corners, but I had just enough horsepower to overcome Liverman once again for the win.” The dual victories are testament to Summerhill’s combined road racing knowledge with smooth technical riding. He was once again helped onto the top step of the podium by teammate Eckmann, who rounded out the weekend’s racing with 5th place on Sunday.

“Hendersonville was a fun weekend for the whole team. The riders and mechanics are really clicking at this point in the season, and that made for smooth sailing both days” –  Danny Summerhill

The Elite Women’s race followed a similar story both days. The strong lead group got away early, and made Erica Zaveta chase for most of the race, “I was riding the technical parts well and able to put down good power, but I missed the lead group on both Saturday and Sunday” Stuck in no-man’s land, Zaveta worked hard alone for a strong 4th place on Saturday, and a fifth place on Sunday.


Coming Up Next!

For the riders of the Maxxis Shimano Cyclocross team, attention is now turning to Elite Cyclocross Nationals. With just over a month to go, the opportunity for the team to race in North Carolina was useful, as nationals will be held just down the road in Asheville.

Summerhill, with dual goals of cyclocross nationals and the road season in 2016 is currently putting in the miles to gain fitness, “It’s easy to train hard right now with the focus on nationals coming up. I’m really committed to doing well in Asheville, and I hope it sets me up well for the rest of the season”.

Zaveta is also in the middle of a hard bout of training, “My training load has been high but even so I can feel the power coming around.” As a local of North Carolina, the chance to race on home turf at a National Championship is an added incentive for Zaveta, ” Living in Brevard, only 40 minutes from the national course doesn’t hurt either!”

 

Having a Laugh in Tulsa – CycloFrosh Blog

While a lot of the cyclocross world was sliding around in some crazy mud at Jingle Cross in Iowa, there was a whole other contingency that showed up to sunny Broken Arrow, Oklahoma for the Ruts-n-Guts race. My experience in this town has been the 5 or so years I’ve raced Tulsa Tough.   So, my expectations of the Tulsa cycling community were high. Like Tulsa Tough, Ruts-n-Guts did not disappoint. The host housing was amazing, the race promoters were stoked, the courses were a mix of everything you’d want, and the fans… I love you OK cycling fans!!

 

These plans were somewhat last minute for my teammates and I. Yannick and I decided to drive out from Boulder with all the bikes and meet Erica, who was flying into Tulsa. Ten hours in the car can be miserable if you don’t have the right company or the weather doesn’t cooperate. Luckily, all was smooth and my legs felt pretty darn well on Friday. Yes, for once, I was there to pre-ride the course on Friday!

 

The first lap in ‘cross is a mystery to me. If I don’t start hard enough, I get caught behind crashes and bobbles that eventually let the front of the race smoothly ride away. If I start too hard, I’m the one making mistakes because I’m going too hard for my skill level. I had the experience of both of these situations this past weekend. Saturday, I wasn’t aggressive enough in the beginning and ended up upside down/inside out in the sand pit. This same sand pit I rode smoothly every other lap in the race. But, when you enter the sand pit with 15 other women in front of you, someone will fall and then there’s no getting around! On Sunday, I went hard in the first lap and then had an epic mud slide…into course tape/stake… which landed up with all kinds of tangled mess and a dropped chain. It wasn’t an easy one to recover from.

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Things I’ve learned:

  • How to pin arm numbers.
  • How to take a beer hand-up, which also included a $5 bill!
  • How to ride ruts, finally.
  • How to ride a decent sand pit. Not perfect but better then some others.
  • How to not use my front brake so much.
  • To use my big chain ring. Hilarious I know, but, I don’t think I used it at all for my first 5-6 races.
  • How to judge my tire pressure by feel. My teammates will be happy when I stop asking them.

 

Things I need to learn:

  • How to carry speed into 180 degree turns better.
  • How to not make crashing so dang epic. I end up backwards, upside down, bike between my legs, and not quick to pop back up.
  • How to dismount in the middle of shit hitting the fan. I am pretty damn sure this has something to do with #2 as well. I really need to plan out a dismount with plenty of warning.
  • How to remount faster. That double hop thing has got to stop.
  • How to master the energy output on that first lap. Go hard, go smart.
  • How to get a warm-up lap in with more speed so I am better at the beginning of the race. I always feel like I’m so much smoother in the last 2-3 laps.

 

So, you can see, it’s a process. But, after 13 races but nationally and locally, I’ve come a long way. After a bit of a frustrating weekend, personally, in Broken Arrow, OK, I can say that I’m still laughing at myself and having fun. The fans cheering and giving beer hand-ups helped me remember to smile this past weekend. Thank you! I almost started taking myself seriously. Tulsa, Oklahoma: YOU ARE AN AWESOME PLACE TO RACE A BIKE!!!

 

A big thank you to our host family- Jess, Brooks, Tayton, Ellis, Finley, and Ruby. What a cool family! Congratulations to both of my teammates, Yannick and Erica, for a double podium in OK. You two have got the right momentum leading up to Nationals in January!

A Simple Idea and New Perspectives

This whole ride-your-bike-on -irt thing started as a simple idea. I thought, why not extend my road racing season? I love racing my bike, I love riding dirt, I am in great racing shape, and maybe I will learn to drink beer while I’m at it.

Coming off of Team Time Trial World Championships in Richmond, VA at the end of September, I was in top form. There was some residual fatigue from the whole summer of road racing but I was pumped to have another bike to race. The idea was that I would take a couple weeks away from structured training and just practice skills. I would join Wednesday Worlds here in Boulder, I would hit the trails with my favorite girlfriends on our mountain bikes, and maybe I would even give my long lost love, running, another shot. Gold!

So, I fully embraced the idea of not having structured training. After all, it has been about 8 years since I haven’t been fully structured in training. Two weeks turned into… well, let’s just say it turned into more then two weeks!

As predicted, my first couple races challenged my skill level but not my fitness. Fitness=High. Skill=Low. I smiled the whole time and put zero pressure on myself to prove anything. It would all come together.

Does any other mathematical nerd remember what a sinusoid is? No? Ok, no big surprise. It’s a mathematical curve, like a wave. Without trying to go into so much description that I confuse myself, let’s just say that my fitness and my skill are two waves that are way out of sync. When my fitness was high, my skill was way low. As my skill level increased, my fitness went way down.

Racing at Kings CX in Cincinnati, OH, I felt like my skills were finally going to get to keep up with my fitness. Some bad luck on the first day had me in a crash within 100 meters of the start of the race. Day two had me just completely suffering. The two races of the Derby City Cup in Louisville, KY were a bit of a shocker to the system. In the skills department, I felt like a solid “B”. After working my way up from the failing kid on the back row, a “B” felt good. But, oh crap (!!!), my fitness was a solid “C-“. I didn’t see that coming!

It had been 7 weeks since Richmond and time to whip my butt into fine form!

It didn’t take long and 3 weeks later, I’m ready to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The fitness is back on the rise, the skills are not as embarrassing as they once were, and, who knows, maybe one day I might have some luck on that first lap and avoid the crashes.

People keep asking me, “are you still having fun?” The good news is that I’m smiling ear to ear each time I jump on that beautiful Parlee. The knobbies, that dirt, and the people: it all makes me so damn happy!

So, I’m hitting the next two weekends of racing with a new perspective. I’m going to use my fitness to put myself into a position that challenges my skills. Although I’m getting more competitive with myself, I still expect nothing less than improvement. Oh, wait, I do have another expection: I also expect more than the $1 handup Coryn Rivera gave me at Louisville. After ALL those leadouts in crits, after sacrificing myself over and over to put her on the top step of the podium, I think I at least deserve a $10 hand-up. Right? Cough, cough Coryn. You listening?

P.S. I haven’t learned to drink beer yet. That’s a work in progress.