Green Acres Cross concluded this weekend, as the most anticipated cross race in Minnesota. Promoted by Synergy Cycling and Now Bikes, the weekend-long event did not disappoint the over 650 racers and several hundred spectators who descended on the Green Acres Recreation area.

 Women's Cat 3 winner Meredith Rambow (Synergy) descending the switchback on Saturday. © Todd Fawcett

Women’s Cat 3 winner Meredith Rambow (Synergy) descending the switchback on Saturday. © Todd Fawcett

A chilly, frost-covered Saturday morning greeted racers. By the start of the men’s elite race, temps were perfect for the harvest-themed event. Early on, a 5-man selection developed. Riders were whittled away by Josh Bauer’s (Twin Six) pace setting. Eventually finishing third, Bauer ceded the lead to current MN State CX champion Dominic Talerico (Foundry) before Isaac Neff (5Nines/Motorless Motion) took charge.

Todd Bauer (Twin Six) leading Isaac Neff (5Nines/Motorless Motion) and Dominic Talerico (Foundry) early on in the Saturday Men's Elite race. © Todd Fawcett

Todd Bauer (Twin Six) leading Isaac Neff (5Nines/Motorless Motion) and Dominic Talerico (Foundry) early on in the Saturday Men’s Elite race. © Todd Fawcett

After a few laps leading Talerico over the flyover, around the corn maze, up the Belgian stairs and down the signature grass switchbacks, Neff turned on the gas and rode away with the victory. Mark Savery (Trek CXC) and CJ Faulkner (County Cycles Masters CX/Trek) rounded out the top 5. “This was the highest normalized power for me so far this year,” commented Savery. Not able to stay for the entire weekend, Neff added this, “I’m really happy to take the win at such an awesome event. This is my first time racing a MN cross race and I will have to make an effort to come back!”

Carrie Sansome (Foundry) at grinding up the climb at the start of the Women's Elite race. © Todd Fawcett

Carrie Sansome (Foundry) at grinding up the climb at the start of the Women’s Elite race. © Todd Fawcett

The women’s elite field drew all the local talent out. Carrie Sansome (Foundry) took the hole shot up the gravel grind. Shortly thereafter Nicole Mertz (ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI) pulled even and into the lead.  Jennifer Nowlin (The Fix Studio) bridged up to the two leaders, then attacked midway through. With two laps remaining and a comfortable lead, Nowlin flatted after the flyover. Mertz emerged from the corn maze and went in for the win, followed by Sansome and April Morgan (Fulton/All City), edging out Megan Barr (Angry Catfish) in a close battle for third.

A post-race pig roast and raffle kept most racers on site well past the last lap of the day, chanting the traditional “Burn It!” to tickets of would-be raffle winners’ that had mistakenly left for the day.

With temps slightly rising, Sunday’s course challenged racers with more wooded trail elements on the Green Acres property. Bauer, Talerico and Savery held together for the first part of the race before an acceleration by Bauer up the Per’s Plunge climb split the group. Bauer and Talerico would alternate gambling on riding the sand runup, with missed attempts costing precious seconds.

With Bauer’s lead slowly shrinking, a final sprint down the homestretch by Talerico came up just meters short. Savery, former Masters 40-44 World Champion, after rounding out the podium would have this to say, “I stayed on the young dude train as long as I could. I didn’t think it could be harder than yesterday, but I can’t wait to come back next year.”

In the women’s elite race, mechanicals again stole the victory. An early attack by Mertz caused a large group to give chase. Eventually, what was left of the chase group, Nowlin, Morgan and Corey Coogan-Cisek (The Fix Studio), would benefit from Mertz’s flat. The two teammates then worked together late in the race, with Nowlin edging Coogan Cisek, and Morgan once again grabbing the last spot on the podium. Not too disappointed with her own effort, Morgan congratulated race winner Nowlin, “Jen has the fitness and the fight to win big races and it was neat to see her on the top step today!”

"Burn it!" Post-race raffle. © Todd Fawcett

“Burn it!” Post-race raffle. © Todd Fawcett

Regarding the entire weekend, Morgan declared, “Green Acres always has such an awesome festive atmosphere… they really put on a good party. The course is always challenging with punchy climbs and off-camber descents.  The corn maze was a highlight for me this year!”

Green Acres Cyclocross Day 2 Elite Men’s Race Video

Green Acres Premium Cross Results

Elite Men (Day 1)
1 Isaac Neff (5Nines/Motorless Motion)
2 Dominic Talerico (Foundry)
3 Josh Bauer (Twin Six)

Elite Women (Day 1)
1 Nicole Mertz (ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI)
2 Carrie Sansome (Foundry)
3 April Morgan (Fulton/All City)

Elite Men (Day 2)
1 Josh Bauer (Twin Six)
2 Dominic Talerico (Foundry)
3 Mark Savery (Trek CXC)

Elite Women (Day 2)
1 Jennifer Nowlin (The Fix Studio)
2 Corey Coogan Cisek (The Fix Studio)
3 April Morgan (Fulton/All City)