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!”

 

Danny Summerhill Takes Third at Derby City Cup

The USA Pro CX tour moved from Ohio to Kentucky this weekend, with the famous Derby City Cup. The course in Louisville gained fame after the 2013 World Championships were held at the Eva Bandman Park. The challenging terrain suited the Team Maxxis-Shimano riders well, with Danny Summerhill claiming a place on the podium on day two, and Erica Zaveta riding a successful and consistent race on Saturday to break into the top 10.

For Summerhill, it was a great feeling to be back at the head of the race, “From the start I stayed at the front covering Jeremy [Powers] and the Cannondale boys, and it was basically attack after attack all race long.” As the moves started flying towards the end of the race, Summerhill was perfectly positioned in the lead group. A small tangle with Raleigh-Clement rider Jamey Driscoll was enough for the lead to disappear, but Summerhill fought for the final position on the podium.

Summerhill was pleased with the race, and is looking forward to the second half of the season, “All in all it was a great weekend with some great new bikes to race on. I can’t wait to race again.”

For Erica Zaveta, racing in the top 10 of the UCI C1 event on Saturday was a huge confidence boost, “I like technical courses that have multiple lines to chose from, it makes for a more thoughtful approach.”

As in all cyclocross races, the start can determine the rest of the race, and Zaveta rode a flawless first lap to set up her strong finish, “I had a good start and kept myself away from the crash on the pavement start and the mud pit. I rode smooth and efficiently and worked my way closer to the front, finishing for 9th.”

In a race that weighed power and skill equally, the result is validation that Zaveta can race with the best in the US for the rest of the year.

“As the weeks go by the team gets tighter and even more dialed every time. This weekend was no different – the staff killed it for us both days” – Danny Summerhill

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Yannick Eckmann, who joins Team Maxxis-Shimano as a mid-season addition, raced strongly on both days, and reacted well to his brand new Parlee Chebacco. The German born rider is now based in Boulder, Colorado, and will be racing the remaining Pro CX calendar building up to US National Championships in January.

See more photos here

Routine, It’s all About Routine.

Routine. It’s all about routine. Successful business people know their routine breeds efficiency and effectiveness. NBA stars know their routine before every free throw. In the same nature, successful bike racers all have race day routine. This repetitive nature (sometimes completely crazy!!) is the known factor that calms the nerves and sets an athlete for top performance.

 

It’s taken me a month of cyclocross racing to figure out what my routine should look like. Do I spin in the morning? What time do I get to the course? If the race is at 4:00, when and what do I eat? How does my warm-up flow? When do I pre-ride? How do I figure tire pressure? Do I need to ride both bikes the day of the race?

 

It all seems like questions I should have the answers to after 8 years of racing professionally on the road and on the track. But, AHHHH!!! Yes, that’s me screaming. It’s not the same. Cyclocross is not the same. I feel like a junior. Wait, I take that back because most the juniors who race cross know how the race days flows! As a quick side note, they don’t need to warm up like I do. Those darn 14 year old legs just don’t care as much as mine! So, I feel like an old pro learning how to handle a race day just like the rookie I am.

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My first international track cycling race was as a sprinter at the Pan American Championships in 2009. After coming within 1/100th of national record and setting a Personal Best of 11.1 seconds in the 200m, I learned that I had raced that time trial in my warm-up gear. Was it the mechanics fault? Not really. The rider is always responsible for his or her equipment. Since then, and until my last international track competition last year, I’ve had my routine. From the time I arrive at the velodrome to racing, I check my gearing and chain tension probably 6 times each. Call me crazy but, guess what, never again have I raced in a wrong gear or have any chain problems. Plus, knowing my routine of warm-up, track time, etc., has led to calmness before racing. If you tell me I race at 4:00, I can tell you exactly when I need to arrive at the velodrome. I can even tell you when I need to eat my last gel. No energy wasted on trying to figure out what I should be doing or when I should do it.

 

Welcome to cyclocross where I don’t know what I don’t know. There’s been some hard knocks on learning my routine: tire pressure checks, double checking about pit bikes/wheels/mechanics, when to pre-ride, ensuring I leave time for a trainer warm-up, and basically just being a professional cyclocross racer.

 

But, after 3 weekends of throwing myself into the deep end of UCI races, I think I’ve got my routine. Now, I can let the head and body relax and just go out and race my bike! I’m ready to have some luck fall my way and I’m ready to start mixing it up.

 

Oh, the lessons I’ve learned! Sounds like a title to a Dr. Seuss book but it’s true.

Riders Gain Points at Pan-American Cyclocross Championships

Danny Summerhill in the top 10 at the UCI C1 Kings Cup

The USA Cycling Pro CX Calendar traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio this weekend for the classic Cincy3 weekend of racing. In addition to the UCI events, the Sunday races also served as the Pan-American Cyclocross Championships, an important opportunity for American riders to gain UCI points in a strong field. With two days of fierce racing, the competitors were exposed to challenging conditions rarely seen outside of Europe, with slick mud and treacherous off-camber sections. During Saturday’s UCI C1 race, Danny Summerhill held his own to finish in 9th position, a solid result against the strongest riders on the continent.

In the women’s field, Erica Zaveta was looking for redemption after a late race crash at Colorado’s US Open of Cyclocross two weekends ago. Having previously raced the Kings course in the dark, it was a change for Zaveta to see it in daylight, “It was different this year riding Kings course in the daytime! Kings is always a challenging course with punchy climbs and long grass sections.”

With the goal of moving into the UCI points, which extend to 15th place, Zaveta started conservatively, “I knew the course would pull you backwards if you went out too hard. My plan worked and I kept moving forward as the race went on, passing more people each lap to finish in 15th place.”

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The valuable UCI points, which are used to stage riders on the start line, will help ensure that Zaveta can be competitive for the rest of the season.

For Cari Higgins, in her first year of Pro Cyclocross, the European-style courses were a true challenge, “with a big overnight rain, Sunday’s course quickly became the most technical course on the pro cyclocross circuit. For this newbie, it pushed my limits of comfort, for sure.” Staying composed and focused, Higgins stayed in the race and moved up throughout. For Higgins, every race is a learning experience, “Each week I’m gaining skills and confidence when faced with new riding conditions. I finally feel like it’s all coming together.”

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Danny Summerhill came into the Cincinnati weekend with great form, but after finding himself in the lead group of Saturday’s UCI C1 event, a stroke of bad luck saw Summerhill a few seconds behind the leaders. On such a demanding course, the lead group was gone, but Summerhill fought his way back into the select chase group, and held onto a strong 9th place finish. In the strongest field in North America, 9th place and the UCI points that go with it will ensure Summerhill can maintain his front row starting position for the rest of the season.

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The Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross Team will travel to Louisville, Kentucky next weekend for another classic weekend of cyclocross at the Derby City Cup. The courses in Kentucky are known across the globe after hosting the Cyclocross World Championships in 2013, and have seen generations of stars take to the starting line.

Find out more about the Derby City Cup.

 

Photos: Dejan Smaic

Parlee Z-Zero XD Cyclocross

Bike Check: A Closer Look at Danny Summerhill’s Team Maxxis-Shimano Parlee Z-ZERO XD

With winter sweeping across North America, Team Maxxis-Shimano is settling into its first season on the US Pro Cyclocross Tour. We tracked down Danny Summerhill and his Parlee Z-ZERO XD for a bike check before he heads off to the Cincinnati Cyclocross Festival over Halloween weekend. Summerhill is fresh off a resounding win at the US Open of Cyclocross in Boulder, Colorado, and will be looking to take that momentum into the later half of the season. With the conditions now changing from dry races to the muddy later season events, bike set-up becomes ever more crucial. Read on to take a look at the details of Danny’s ride.

The Parlee Z-Zero XD frame is built from the ground up to be a race winner. Danny’s bike, hand built in Beverly, MA, is unique in every aspect. From the layup schedule of the carbon fiber to the tubing sizes and geometry, the bike was made to fit just one rider, an undeniable advantage when pushing one’s body to the absolute limit in a race. The skilled builders at Parlee pride themselves on their attention to detail, and Summerhill is happy with the quality build, “The bike fits like nothing else. It was so easy to transition to the Parlee because their experience with fitting and geometry is so advanced.”

  • Design: PARLEE Z-Zero XD, tube-to-tube High Modulus carbon fiber
  • Tubing: PARLEE High Modulus XD
  • Seat Stays: PARLEE XD with 40c tire clearance
  • Color/Finish: Nude/Waxed Carbon
  • Frame Weight: 950g (M)
  • Fork: PARLEE XD
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Dura Ace Di2
  • Brakeset: Shimano Hydraulic Disc
  • Wheelset: Shimano (various depths and profiles to match terrain)
  • Tires: Maxxis Raze
  • Handlebar & Stem: PRO Components
  • Saddle & Seatpost: PRO Components
  • Bottom Bracket: Kogel Bearings, custom engraved
  • Power Meter & Head Unit: Pioneer

With tight and often off-camber turns on varying, loose terrain, the sport of cyclocross is all about traction. Summerhill has been riding on Maxxis tires all summer with the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, so it wasn’t a difficult transition into cross season, “tires make a huge difference in racing. Having a choice of tires is so important, and the guys at Maxxis really value our feedback.”  As Maxxis designs new cross-specific treads, Summerhill and his Maxxis-Shimano teammates will be an integral part of the development process. Currently, Danny is training and racing on the Maxxis Raze tires with great consistency and success.

With no cables to contaminate with mud or dust, the Shimano Dura Ace Di2 groupset has proven itself to be reliable and easy to maintain during the cyclocross season, offering up crisp, reliable shifts regardless of the conditions. Utilizing the Dura Ace Di2 groupset, Summerhill’s bike is set up with a double chainset and an 11-28 tooth cassette, giving an extremely wide variety of gears. The gear range is important for the ever-changing conditions found on modern cyclocross courses, and provides the high-end speed needed for make-or-break sprint finishes. Combined with bar top remote shifters on his PRO Components handlebar, a feature only available with Shimano Di2 drivetrains, Summerhill has a range of hand positions to utilize while staying in complete control. The Dura Ace crankset is running on Kogel Bearings’ renowned bottom brackets, which utilize high-quality bearing and seals to withstand a season of racing in the elements, and the constant washing required. The custom blue offering on Summerhill’s Kogel bottom bracket is an easy way for Danny to keep track of his bikes and further stand out from the crowd. For the ultimate in braking power and modulation in any condition, Summerhill and the team use hydraulic disc braking systems from Shimano. The brakes have been a revelation for the riders, “The power and control is incredible. With just one or two fingers, you can quickly reduce your speed, allowing me to dive into corners faster and brake later with confidence.”

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Always focused on performance, Danny is tracking his racing and training with the industry’s most accurate and comprehensive on-bike data system: Pioneer Power Meters. With unmatched accuracy and high-definition data output, the Pioneer power meter is able to give accurate recordings during technical races and all weather conditions. The robust power meters and head units can survive a full season and racing and training, even in the worst weather conditions.

 

See More About The Bike

Danny Summerhill Wins US Open of Cyclocross, Day 2

Summerhill proves form leading up to Pan-Am Championships with 2nd place on day 1, followed by Victory in Boulder

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Danny Summerhill turned the tables on his opposition on day 2 of the US Open of Cyclocross in Boulder, CO., this weekend. After a close-fought 2nd place result on Saturday, Summerhill took control on Sunday and rode at the front of the race to earn a confident win at Valmont Bike Park.

Lining up on the front row of the UCI C2-ranked event, Summerhill quickly took the lead and set a pace that few could match. On a course that tested technical skills and strength equally, Summerhill stayed at the front of the race, content to choose his own lines and make the pack follow.

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With two laps to go, the lead pack had been reduced to just four riders; the Raleigh-Clement duo of Jamey Driscoll, winner of day 1, and Fernando Paez, along with Allen Krughoff of the Noosa CX team. Not wanting the race to come to a bunch sprint, Summerhill upped the pace on the front. Driscoll was the only rider to follow. Coming into the last lap, Summerhill went to the front again, “I felt confident that if I could get through the stairs first there was almost no way Driscoll could come around by the finish, just due to the technical decent and corners leading into the finish.” Summerhill’s tactics paid off with a resounding win in front of a large crowd of spectators.

Summerhill was happy but exhausted after his win on home turf in Colorado, “It definitely took its toll on me by the end of Sunday, spending that much time at the front, but I think it was really a tactical decision towards the finish. It gave me the jump on Jamie. The day earlier I had a touch of bad luck a couple corners before the finish so it was nice to get some redemption today and also in a race I’ve finished 2nd at so many times!”

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In the women’s race, both Cari Higgins and Erica Zaveta had a weekend tinged with bad luck and crashes, but still had positive things to say about the experience and weekend of tough racing. “It was awesome racing in Boulder with so many friends on the sidelines,” said Higgins, a Colorado resident with many fans and friends in the area. There are plenty of people pleasantly surprised to see Higgins on the dirt following her success on the track and road, “I’m looking forward to learning more through this season and getting better on the technical sections.”
The USA Cycling Pro Cyclocross calendar continues on October 31st with the Cincy After Dark race in Mason, OH., followed by the Pan-American Cyclocross Championships in Covington, KY., on November 1st.

Photo Gallery: KMC Providence Cross Fest p/b Maxxis Tires

Was a cold weekend in Providence, the rain abated for most of the day providing sticky and fast conditions on what has become known as a classically European style course.  This race weekend marked the first UCI Cyclocross event for team member Cari Higgins and saw Danny Summerhill throw down an impressive performance, just off the podium in fourth place, on Saturday.

Photos: Meg McMahon

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