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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.


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.

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


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.

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.”


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.”


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.


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.”


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.


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