A rider hurdles the barrier in Day 2 of Granogue © Jamie Mack
by Jamie Mack
Earlier this season, Charm City Cycling set a new standard for events in the mid-Atlantic region. C3 Director Kris Auer commented that he saw race promotion as a good-natured competition, and by stepping up his event he hoped to challenge other promoters to do the same. This weekend in Wilmington, Delaware, the promoters of the Granogue races answered the challenge and came out with a tremendous event. For its 10th year Granogue expanded to a two-day event and came into the weekend with almost 1,300 pre-registered entrants. The races brought together competitors from around the country, as many riders used them as a warm-up event for the upcoming USGP races in Louisville. From the Victory Brewing Company Beer Tent to the beautiful surroundings of the historic DuPont estate, the races at Granogue rose to a new level this season, and people are already talking about next year. [See our coverage of Granogue Day 1 here.]The two courses used the same terrain and some of the same features, but were so unique from each other that the rides were almost incomparable. Saturday’s course featured the same long climb to the picturesque tower that has been used in previous events, but included a slalom-like downhill section that was one of the best flowing features around. Saturday’s classic, rip-your-heart-out tough course gave way on Sunday to what at the outset seemed to be a more forgiving layout. But riders quickly realized that the new setup was as demanding, if not more difficult, because the various features were linked in a way that limited the recovery time as riders were on the gas almost constantly.
The UCI Elite Juniors race began with Yannick Eckmann bolting off the front, taking a 10-second gap out of the field mid-way through the first lap. Karl Hoppner, who took third on day one, hit a section of pavement on the course and the little bump and turn onto the asphalt pulled one of his tubulars off the rim, leaving the EMD Serano-Specialized rider lying on the pavement in a state of shock. Sam O’Keefe rolled into, over actually, Hoppner and stumbled, which held the pack up just as Eckmann and Bahnson, who was leading the pack just ahead of Hoppner, entered one of the faster section of the course. That was the last the field would see of Eckmann as he powered through the day to take the win. Bahnson would chase throughout the day, but could never catch the Boulder-based rider and settled for second in the end. Eckmann commented later that the race was “really fun….the second day after travel is always better. I tried to get a gap right away, ride my lines and do what I do.” The strategy obviously worked as Eckmann stayed out of trouble and rode to a smooth victory. He’s already looking forward to coming back to race with the Elites next year as a U23.
Laura van Gilder left no doubt who the rider to beat in the mid-Atlantic is this year, and her C3-Athletes Serving Athletes team continued its domination by taking the top three spots on the podium for a second day. Van Gilder took the lead from the gun and stayed smooth throughout the race, never leaving a question about the win. C3-Athletes Serving Athletes’ Dee-Dee Winfield was the closest competitor to van Gilder during the race, but never closed the gap and cruised in for second. Ann D’Ambruoso (LadiesFirst Racing) rode a steady race to eventually break the C3 strangehold and slot into third. Arley Kemmerer, the third shot in the C3 arsenal, cruised in for fourth to put a third C3 jersey on the podium.
After the race, van Gilder was smiling, as she usually is, as she talked about her race and the rest of her season. “It was very hard, the course was challenging but in a different way…longer grinds, tricky downhill to the 180-runup and the remount was kind of like a roller coaster.” Van Gilder went on to talk about her season, including her next races in Louisville, and how she’s using the intense efforts of races like Granogue to get her fitness ready to compete on the national and world level at upcoming races, against riders such as Katie Compton and Georgia Gould.
The Elite Men’s race provided some of the most exciting race action of the weekend as Valentin Scherz (Cyfac-Champion Systems p/b Revolution Wheelworks) battled with Jesse Anthony (California Giant Berry Farms) throughout the race, and equally exciting races were going on behind for the rest of the podium spots. Weston Schempf (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) and Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart) took the holeshot, leading the pack from the starting straight onto the grass, but Anthony quickly took over and established a gap. Scherz worked over the next two laps to connect with Anthony, finally catching the leader and moving past him to take control of the race. Anthony fell back over the next couple of laps and it seemed for a time that Scherz would take the win. But Anthony regrouped and took the victory with a bike throw after a ferocious two-man sprint to the line.
Behind the two leaders, Justin Lindine (Bikereg.com-Joe’s Garage) spent most of the day in no-mans land, never connecting with the leaders but maintaining a gap to the riders behind. Myerson, Josh Dillon (Richard Sachs-RGM Watches), Andy Wuhfulke (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) and CXM contributor Adam McGrath (Feedback Sports-Van Dessel) battled through the last several laps to decide the remaining two podium spots. Dillon was the first to fall off the pace, while Wuhfulke held on until the final lap. In the end, Myerson and McGrath took it to the line in another sprint finish, with Myerson using his road experience to take the sprint at the line. McGrath was happy with the weekend though, seeing the efforts as a good way to shake off some of the recent travel as he gets ready for the USGP in Louisville.
Incredible racing, wonderful surroundings and cooperative weather made for a great weekend in northern Delaware. But the one thing that stands out about Granogue is the passion and energy that drives the army of volunteers responsible for this event. Lead by three dedicated community members – Tom McDaniel, Marc Vettori and Lauri Webber – the Granogue events are the culmination of the dedication to ’cross that defines what the (DCCofD) and the Mid-Atlantic community are about. Rather than just an event, the Granogue weekend was true ’cross racing. No gimmicks, no circus, no attempt to make the weekend anything more that it was – unadulterated cyclocross, created simply to be enjoyed by the community that supports it. And in true community fashion, the Granogue races ensured that everyone had a chance to grab a Victory, even if most of them were in the beer tent.
|2||U23||0:57:31||101||Scherz||Valentin||Cyfac-Champion System Racing Team p/b Revolution|
|3||0:59:21||102||Lindine||Justin||BikeReg.com / Joe’s Garage / Scott|
|5||0:59:59||110||McGrath||Adam||Feedback Sports/Van Dessel Cyclocross|
|6||1:00:02||111||Wulfkuhle||Andrew||C3-Athletes Serving Athletes|
|7||1:00:35||105||Dillon||Josh||RICHARD SACHS – RGM WATCHES – RADIX|
|8||1:00:43||121||Nieters||Jared||Haymarket / SEAVS|
|9||U23||1:00:58||115||Fisher||Steve||Rad Racing NW / Hagens Berman LLP|
|10||1:00:58||109||Schempf||Weston||C3-Athletes Serving Athletes|
|11||U23||1:01:34||120||Grand||Anthony||Cyfac-Champion System Racing Team p/b Revolution|
|12||1:01:44||137||Lea||Bobby||Van Dessel Factory Team|
|13||1:01:51||131||Bradshaw||Peter||Embrocation Cycling Journal|
|14||1:02:13||119||Cummings||Stephen||Haymarket Bicycles / SEAVS|
|16||1:03:16||128||Driscoll||Adam||Adventures For the Cure|
|17||1:03:20||139||Rugg||Timothy||Battley Harley-Davidson/Sonoma Restaurant/Teaism|
|18||1:03:20||132||Mihalik||Michael||Freddie Fu Cycling Team|
|22||1:04:01||127||Fridrich||Cary||EMBROCATION CYCLING JOURNAL|
|23||1:04:24||125||Weaver||Dave||ALAN North America Cycling Team|
|24||lap-1||134||Pierce||Stephen||Cambridge Bicycle / Igleheart Frames|
|26||lap-1||114||Wyatt||Nathanael||Carolina Fatz pb Industry Nine|
|28||U23||lap-2||130||Bradley||Patrick||Rutgers University | Raleigh | Kim’s Bike Shop|
|29||lap-2||124||Broadwater||Mark||C3-Athletes Serving Athletes|
|30||lap-2||140||Brown||Timothy||Battley Harley-Davidson/Sonoma Restaurant/Teaism|
|31||lap-4||141||Peppo||Kyle||Cyfac-Champion System Racing Team p/b Revolution Wheelworks|
|32||lap-5||133||Spohn||Matt||Cyfac-Champion System Racing Team p/b Revolution Wheelworks|
|33||lap-6||145||Sommerville||David||Cyfac-Champion System P/B Revolution Wheelworks|
|DNF||U23||106||Townsend||Jerome||BikeReg.com / Joe’s Garage / Scott|
|DNF||113||Wittwer||Greg||ALAN North America Cycling Team|
|DNF||U23||122||Dombrowski||Joseph||Haymarket / SEAVS|
|DNF||U23||123||Adams||Zach||C3-Athletes Serving Athletes|
|Place||U23||35+||Time||Bib #||Last Name||First Name||Team|
|1||35+||36:52||201||van Gilder||Laura||C3 Athletes Serving Athletes|
|2||35+||36:57||202||Winfield||Deidre||C3 – Athletes Serving Athletes|
|4||38:17||207||Kemmerer||Arley||C3 – Athletes Serving Athletes|
|8||35+||39:32||210||Maxwell||Jennifer||Van Dessel Factory Team p/b Sterke Meiden|
|9||35+||39:34||221||Dowidchuk||Katrina||Team TBB/Deep Blue|
|10||40:19||232||Kuliecza||Julie||ALAN North America Cycling Team|
|11||40:45||215||Pipes||Lenore||The Wistar Institute|
|12||35+||40:56||213||Webber||Lauri||Secret Henry’s Team|
|13||41:36||212||Church||Kristine||Human Zoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon|
|15||42:05||231||Silliman||Erin||ALAN North America Cycling Team|
|16||35+||42:51||217||Harlow||Elizabeth||C3 – Athletes Serving Athletes|
|17||42:55||230||Larsen||Laurel||Syn-Fit Race Team|
|18||42:58||224||Hayes Conroy||Jessica||North American Velo|
|20||44:31||225||Luebbe||Andrea||Human Zoom / Pabst Blue Ribbon|
|DNF||219||Cutler||Amy||Team EPS/CSS p/b Brielle Cyclery|
|DNF||35+||220||Maldonado||Lynda||Cannondale/Cadence Women’s Racing|