ROCHESTER, New York. – Decorated cyclocross rider Danny Summerhill nabbed third place on the second day of the Rochester Cyclocross UCI weekend at Gennesse Valley Park, successfully turning a disappointing finish on the previous day into a podium placing for the Maxxis-Shimano team.
At the conclusion of Saturday’s muggy C1 race, Travis Livermon finished in 13thplace, 2:02 minutes behind Jeremy Powers, who took victory both days. In the pro women’s field, Crystal Anthony had a strong race, claiming eighth, 1:50 down on winner Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com).
“I definitely aim to improve as the season goes on,” Anthony said. “I had some good battles with other riders and was able to pick several off in the closing laps, which was a positive.”
Sunday’s C2 race was more of a typical day for the Maxxis-Shimano team. Pre-season nerves were mostly gone, and the temperature cooled giving the racers a welcome reprieve after Saturday’s humidity. This time, luck was on the side of all three riders.
“Day by day we’re figuring it out more and more,” Summerhill said. “Saturday’s race was a little weird with it being 90 degrees and the first race weekend. Of course we all had to work out the first-race race jitters. I’d say we’re taking it one race at a time. We learned a lot last year, so we’re rolling that knowledge over to this season.”
During the race, Summerhill led most of the way, keeping an eye on his nearest rivals Powers and Stephen Hyde, who would end up first and second, respectively.
Battling a stacked women’s field, Anthony had another solid ride to claim her second eighth place of the weekend. The Massachusetts native finished 1:08 behind race winner Caroline Mani (Raleigh Clement).
“On the team side of things it was great, smooth travel, new Parlee bikes were great, everything with the team was great,” said Livermon, who ended up in 15th, 1:05 off of the winner’s time. “I just didn’t have good legs. It takes me a couple races to settle in so I know I’ll continue to get better every week.”
Despite not having the legs he hoped for, Livermon was impressed with his new equipment. After racing on Maxxis tires for the first time, he enjoyed the cornering traction and how well they handled both the fast hard pack and technical seconds of the Rochester course.
“I am stoked we’re a part of the cross tire development with Maxxis,” Livermon said. They are definitely right on track and engineering exactly what we need out here.”
Summerhill added the Parlee Chebacco frames the team is riding this year are responsive and quick.
“The Parlees ride like a dream,” he said. “It’s awesome having a bike that does what you want it to do.”
Transitioning and bonding
For Summerhill, who also races road for UnitedHealthcare, preparing for cyclocross is different from the majority of his competitors. A few days ago, the Colorado native wrapped up the road season with the Tour of Alberta and said he’s using his “diesel” power gained from that race for cross.
“It seems like the cross schedule starts earlier and earlier every year, which for me makes the schedule and transitioning to a different discipline a bit easier,” said the Colorado native. “I’m not nearly as snappy coming out of the corners like some of the pure cross racers, but I have a lot of power from road racing. It’s a different style.”
But it’s not just about maintaining good form, the mental side of competing road then transitioning seamlessly into cross is important to monitor. This summer, Summerhill took a few short breaks from racing to recharge his batteries since an extended summer rest wasn’t an option.
“This is how our schedule looks during cross season,” Summerhill said. “We’re homeMonday, rest on Tuesday and ride on Wednesday. On Thursday, we’re traveling to our next race and by Friday, it’s time for intervals to open up our legs before heading into race weekend. We’re constantly on the go so it’s important to check in with yourself a lot.”
Despite the long race weekend and a hectic week ahead, the team made time to relax and bond over ice cream at Red Robin before heading home.
“It was a great trip,” Livermon said. “We all had fun together. It didn’t really feel like the first time working together. It’s great to be back working with (mechanic) Chris Kriedl. We spent a couple summers together road racing a few years back.”
Looking ahead, the team has its sights set on Waterloo, Wisconsin next weekend for the Trek CXC Cup where Anthony hopes to defend last year’s win.