This was the season finale in the NEOCX series and it couldn't have been any more throwback from the early days of the Lake Effect cyclocross Series. Typical cold, muddy, wet conditions made riding in some spots nearly impossible, this is what brought back the memories for me. I remember suffering through A & B races at this course looking at the lap cards and thinking this race will never end. I remember winning at this course and feeling like a true cx'er since this is one hard ass course for sure and I also remember all the hours our team has spent (mostly Julie and Rudy) taking care of all the legalities, mapping out courses, taping, building fires in the pavilion etc... all of them great memories for sure.
Our team really came together once again for this event and everyone that participated did a fine job. Each person contributed their part and that's why this race came together so well, thank you all!
I lined up with the large Masters 35-45+ field and when the horn went off it was a fast sprint through the wet grass and mud with a 90* turn to more of the same until we came out onto the pavement. Once onto the pavement my legs were already filled with lactic acid and I had to spin them out and recover somewhat. I did just that before we came to the steep down hill with the sharp 90* left turn at the bottom. Off the bike in the twisty tree sections before the bridge and the stair run-up and my running legs were feeling good! Back on the bike and a power climb up the singletrack muddy hill and onto the gravel drive to the field area and I had to recover once again. Just off the gravel I regained and ramped it up. Around the 180 and onto the straight to the 2nd section of twists through the trees was hard. I rode the tree section and ran the last deep mud corner, re-mounted and rode hard through the deep mud. Recovered on the off camber twists and the downhill along the road and hit the steep run-up before the parking lot. Recovered in the parking lot until the 90* left turn on the sidewalk section onto the tricky off camber stuff around the basketball court and then back through the start finish. That was the way I rode and ran the course. I felt decent in this race but tired, but that was to be expected. I was in a good battle with one of the Pittsburgh 35+ riders the whole time. He would gap me in the open areas and I would catch him in the technical spots. He bobbled on the tricky uphill left turn before the finish and I gapped him and then he caught me again in the grassy area just past the pavilion, it was a good see-saw battle. In the end I finished 4th 45+ with Craig Cozza (Pro Bikes from P.A.) taking the win, Derek Wilford (Team Spin) 2nd., Dave Bartels (Allied Decals) 3rd. and Chris Riccardi (Team Lake Effect) getting 5th. I finished out the series taking 3rd. overall in the Masters 45+ division with Joe Pollato taking the win and Dave Bartels finishing 2nd. Nice job guys!
Julie was 2nd in the Women A with Gwen close behind, Rudy was 2nd in the SS and in the Open B race Tony came out of retirement / hibernation and took the overall win. He got the hole shot and never looked back, not too bad for not racing in 4 months! Scott Gart-Man and Max Hannibal raced the Open B race as well and finished nicely.
In the Elite race TLE had 3 of the top 5 spots with Johnny taking the win, N8.L 2nd. and Roberto 4th.
Joe P,. Mike V., Nate S., Craig H., Jeff C., all rode extremely hard and made TLE proud as usual!
Thanks go out to Sherman for hosting the after race party with food and beverages back at Bike Authority, it was much appreciated, and last but not least, Thanks to everyone that came out and supported the NEOCX series and the Bike Authority/Team Lake Effect races this season everyone really raced hard and looked great!