by Anne Rock
An archetypal East Coast fall day set the scene for MAC racers, who were treated to a technically challenging ’cross course that required vigilance for every off-camber twist and turn. Beautiful leaves and colorful kits turned the already idyllic scene at the Fair Hill Natural Resource Center, where equestriennes and cyclists compete year round, into something resembling Narnia.
Team CF’s Kristin Gavin and C3’s Arley Kemmerer made an early break in the Women’s Elite race, and it looked like it they were untouchable. At lap three of the five-lap race, Gavin attacked on the long gravel road that served as the start/finish and created a gap that Kemmerer could not bridge. Katrina Dowidchuk (Team Deep Blue) chased down several riders to secure the third podium step.
The real excitement proved to be the race for fifth. Gavin’s teammate Carolyn Popovic, apparently still operating on the New England race schedule (where races are set back an hour), was in the parking area when the whistle blew. After realizing it was her race, she rode like she was on fire to try and catch the group.
Popovic slammed her hand in the door to overcome the minute-plus deficit and clawed her way to fifth position. Three quarters of the way through the final lap, Popovic got tangled in tape after a tricky right hand turn, losing a place to Patty Buerkle (VA Asset Group p/b Artemis/Trek). After the race she joked, “I thought at first it was the men’s race until I noticed all the ponytails.”
The Men’s Elite race proved equally exciting. Weston Schempf (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) delivered a superb ride, racing virtually unchallenged for the win.
Canadian Mike Garrigan (Lapierre Canada) rode within sight of Schemp, and at times seemed to be gaining on him, but ultimately had to settle for second. With three laps to go, Schempf accelerated and increased his lead, ensuring no one would spoil his day. Jared Neiters (Haymarket) rallied for third behind Garrigan. All three winners rode smoothly and aggressively, presenting a veritable textbook manual of how to race ’cross.
Shortly after the top finishers crossed the line, an intense battle for fourth erupted at the final barrier crossing near the final turn onto the finishing stretch. Greg Wittwer (ALAN N. America Cycling Team) attacked at the barriers, gaining a few bike lengths on his two competitors, including Olympian Bobby Lea. Wittwer, firing on all cylinders, had enough gas to hold off the track champion as the two sprinted for the finish.
Place Last Name First Name Team 1 SCHEMPF Weston C3 Athletes Serving Athletes p/b Twenty20 Cycling 2 Garrigan Mike Lapierre Canada 3 Nieters Jared Haymarket 4 WITTWER Greg ALAN N. America Cycling Team 5 Lea Bobby Pure Energy/Pro Air HFA 6 DEWALD Ryan XO COMMUNICATIONS / BATTLEY HARLEY-DAVIDSON RACING 7 WULFKUHLE Andrew C3-Athletes Serving Athletes 8 Beck Christopher Team CF 9 ADASAVAGE Gerald Bicycle Therapy / Melitta 10 MACKAY Thomas C3-Athletes Serving Athletes 11 Semian Zach Van Dessel Factory Team 12 NORVELL Montana Team Gunshow p/b Breakaway Bikes 13 RIBBENS Jameson C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes DNF BROWN Fred MTBNJ.com-Halters Cycles DNF Consorto Christopher Bike Line Category: Elite Women Place Last Name First Name Team 1 GAVIN Kristin Team Cystic Fibrosis 2 KEMMERER Arley C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes 3 DOWIDCHUK Katrina Team DRT/Deep Blue 4 BARBOSSA Stacey Elite Endurance Training Systems 5 BUERKLE Patty VA Asset Group p/b Artemis/Trek 6 Popovic Carolyn 0 7 SILLIMAN Erin ALAN N. America Cycling Team 8 TUFANO Allyson Sportif Coaching Group/BPB 9 YOZELL Erica South Mountain Cycles 10 BISHOP Michelle Cannondale Cadence Women's Racing 11 WEBBER Lauri Secret Henrys Team 12 CHURCH Kristine Human Zoom 13 KRAUT Jennifer Team TBB/Deep Blue 14 Semian Bailey Specialized Rising Stars 15 BREYLA Amy C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes 16 SCHUMACHER Kathrin Guy's Racing 17 Lawrence Kaitlyn C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes 18 RIBBENS Diedre C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes DNS VAN GILDER Laura C3 pb Mellow Mushroom