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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.

An Off-Season Love Letter to Dirt

I ♥ dirt!

 

Recently I was donating some old cycling clothes and came across one of my first pair of cycling socks that simply read, “I ♥ dirt!” A subtle reminder of days past and a clue to what lies ahead.

 

Earlier this year, I made the tough decision to stop chasing the World Cup/Olympic Track Cycling dream. It has been an amazing journey full of accomplishments I never could have predicted when I started riding a bike at age 29. But, this decision left me staring at my first ever winter that some people might call an off-season. What the hell is the point of an off-season? Yes, that’s exactly what I thought.

 

So, I called my coach, Mark Legg and before I could finish my sentence he said yes. For years Mark, Katie Compton’s husband, has been telling me how much I would love cyclocross and that my physiology would make a good engine for the sport. For several years, when I was feeling mentally tired from training, Mark would tell me to go hit the dirt knowing it always rejuvenated my cycling spirit by bringing a simple smile to my face. After a very brief conversation that amounted to approval, my mission was clear: make this dirt-party thing they call cyclocross my new winter sport.
Zaveta and Higgins Warming Up, KMC Providence Cross Fest p/b Maxxis

And so it began…

 

Exactly twelve days after competing in the Team Time Trial at the UCI World Championships in Richmond, VA, I was flying to Providence, RI to compete at the KMC Providence Cross Fest presented by Maxxis Tires in the UCI C1 race. I was diving head first, blindly, into what I’m trusting is going to be one hell of a challenge. The goal of the weekend in Providence was to smile. Secretly, I also had the goal of not crashing!

 

Day one was unbelievably fun! I laughed, I smiled, I didn’t crash myself (I did crash but I swear it wasn’t my fault) and I realized there isn’t much you can do when you start on the back row. So, small things became my personal challenges: dismount, remount, pedal through the turns, gear selection, fly-overs!?!, head up, and most importantly HAVE FUN! I accepted my place in the back of the pack, never even trying to pass other women for fear I would fumble a technical section in front of them. By the end of the race, my confidence was building and I was begging for a couple more laps of racing.

 

Day two was slightly more challenging as I started, once again, in the very back and then didn’t manage to clip in right away. So, being last into the single track and stuck behind 3 crashes in the first lap was frustrating. Luckily I had some guys I met right before the start yelling “SMILE!!” each lap. The day ended with a DNF from a mechanical but my spirit is far from broken!

 

I’m realistic. I know I need more than the four days I spent on my cyclocross bike pre-Providence to become efficient and skilled. I respect what these top competitors have done to reach their level in this sport. I have much to learn in order to make that beautiful Parlee bike proud! But, I’m not new to challenges and learning. Happiness is a not-so-secret training tool of athletes; take away the smile and you stifle progression. I love dirt! If the amount of smiles this weekend is any indication, I’ll be progressing as a cyclocrosser pretty quickly.

Danny Summerhilld, KMC Providence Cross Fest p/b Maxxis

Thanks so much to my teammates for being my mentors. Danny, Luke, and Erika, this weekend would have been impossible without you. Chris Kreidle, thanks for the hugs when I needed them most. David Sagat, thanks for all the cheers from the pits!

 

Thanks to my Boulder cyclocross community for being so encouraging. The amount of people who have helped and offered to help is unbelievable!

 

To the Ladies of the cylcocross peloton, thank you for your support and heckling. I can’t wait to mix it up with you again!!

 

One thing is for sure, jumping in head first in what was described as a very “European-type UCI race” did not discourage or scare me. I’m ready for more…more dirt, more smiles!

 

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

Press Release: Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross Team

Oakland, CA. – Momentum Sports Group, owners and operators of the successful UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, will take their vast experience in team management into the cyclocross arena for the

2015/2016 season with the launch of the Maxxis-Shimano Professional Cyclocross Team. Focusing on a complete schedule of marquee North American races, the team will debut where the cycling industry, media, and retail partners converge each year: Las Vegas, Nevada’s Cross Vegas (UCI World Cup) event, in conjunction with the 2015 Interbike trade show.

Racing for the Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross Team will be Danny Summerhill, Luke Keough, Erica Zaveta, and Cari Higgins. A selfless teammate on the road for his UnitedHealthcare Blue Train brothers, Danny Summerhill brings tremendous bike handling skills and a long list of impressive results to the new cyclocross program, including a U23 national championship title and multiple UCI victories in 2014 (Derby Cup day 1 & 2, Cincy3 Harbin Park). Perhaps best known as a track racer and lead out specialist for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, Cari Higgins brings a strong work ethic and a powerful sprint to the Maxxis-Shimano Cyclocross Team. Erica Zaveta joins the squad from BMW p/b Happy Tooth road cycling team and Amy D Foundation cyclocross team, where she turned heads with a breakthrough 2014-2015 season, consistently improving her results throughout her first professional season and taking a major UCI victory at the 2014 Gateway Cross Cup.

 

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Luke Keough comes from a cyclocross dynasty in the New England states, where he has amassed numerous victories (5x Cyclesmart Intl Winner) and a loyal following within the cyclocross community. Now located in Colorado Springs and known as a dangerous sprinter and tactician for the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train, look for Luke to bring high-speed finesse to the program, thanks to his background in BMX and ten years of cyclocross racing experience. The team will be managed by Rachel Heal, experienced sporting director of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.

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Momentum Sports Group has assembled category-leading partners to provide the talented roster with the best possible equipment to battle the demanding conditions and courses throughout the season. The riders will train and race on handmade cyclocross-specific frames from world-famous, top-quality frame builder, Parlee Cycles. The Z-Zero XD frames will be outfitted with Shimano Di2 electronic drivetrains, hydraulic disc braking systems and wheel sets, wrapped in various top-notch tire options covering every course and condition from global tire supplier, Maxxis. “Maxxis is very excited to partner with Momentum Sports Group to form this new team and reconfirm our commitment to the exciting sport of Cyclocross. We look forward to working with the team to advance our Cyclocross tire offerings, leading to the development of some exciting new offerings over the course of the next couple of seasons. It will be great to put our tires to the test in the highest level Cyclocross events in the United States” said Duncan McGuire, Sales & Sponsorship Coordinator of Maxxis’ Bicycle Division. Shimano Marketing Manager Dustin Brady commented, “With Momentum Sports Group’s proven development and management capabilities in professional road racing, we are excited to see what the future holds for this team and look forward to being a part of it. More than anything, we are fans of all aspects of cycling and we are excited to see what our support combined with the management of the Momentum Sports Group can do to help Danny, Luke, Cari and Erica realize their goals as individuals and as a team.”

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To keep the bikes running smoothly, Kogel Bearings will supply high-quality bottom brackets built to withstand the abuse of cyclocross. Always focused on performance, the team will track their efforts with the industry’s most accurate and comprehensive on-bike data system: Pioneer Power Meters, Cycle Computers, and CycloSphere software programs. PRO Components will complete the bike with handlebars, stems, saddles, and seat posts.

Check out more About the Parlee Z-Zero XD here

Ground-breaking optics and helmet manufacturer SMITH will protect the riders from the elements and injury with Arena optics and the aerodynamic, yet highly protective, Overtake helmet. The rider’s bodies will be outfitted with high-performance clothing from Pearl Izumi and Swiftwick socks. “We are very excited to see Momentum Sports Group take on a new challenge and bring their professionalism to another side of the sport, bringing on a strong squad with a ton of potential,” commented Mallory Burda, Bike Promotions Manager at SMITH.

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Team owner Thierry Attias commented, “At Momentum Sports Group, we’re always looking for ways to grow within the sport of cycling and create value for our partners. We feel that Cyclocross in the United States is in a place of healthy growth and expansion right now, and we are excited to become a part of that. When we make a forward step, we like to do so with a solid foundation; with the right partners in place, a sound plan, and the right athletes on board to make an impact on the sport and serve as ambassadors for this organization and the partners that stand behind us. We’ve achieved that with the Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross Team.”

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