by Michelle Lee
Amanda Miller and Gabby Durrin Battle until the End, Fahringer Takes Another Podium
Overnight downpours gave way to bluebird skies and light winds on Sunday morning at Nittany. The majority of the course turned perfectly tacky by midday, while the lower portion of the course—just 100 yards away from turn three of the Valley Preferred Cycling Center velodrome—became a mudbath reminiscent of 2011's post-hurricane conditions.
Arley Kemmerer (Level Eleven Racing) again blasted off first. The leading group of Amanda Miller (Boulder Cycle Sport / YogaGlo), Gabby Durrin (Neon Velo Cycling Team), Kemmerer, and Jena Greaser (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) hit the early mud pit in a bunch. Miller dismounted midway through, which didn't cost any time: hundred yards later, Miller and Durrin exited with a significant gap over the remaining duo and extend that to the final.
"We were able to work well and get a good gap to the rest of the field," said Durrin. In the final lap, Durrin keyed in on the log, newly introduced for Day 2, as a critical feature. "Amanda was riding the log and I was running it. On the last lap I came into it first, so forced Amanda to run."
Miller took back the advantage in the course's final turns, however, to repeat yesterday's win. "We were both sprinting for this one corner and she got the better of me," said Durrin, who seemed pleased and poised for Wednesday's Cross Vegas World Cup. "It feels really good to actually race today. I literally rode 300 meters and got crashed out [yesterday]. So I put my aggression and anger into today's race and it worked."
Behind Miller and Durrin, Rebecca Fahringer (Amy D. Foundation) steadily poached her way onto the podium for another 3rd place finish. Arley Kemmerer (Level Eleven Racing) gave it her all to take 4th place. After the finish, Kemmerer collapsed with back spasms and had to be carried off the field.
Jena Greaser (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) improved on yesterday's finish to take 5th, crediting JAM Fund for smoothing her transition from the ProXCT mountain bike circuit into elite cyclocross. When asked about the secret to the program's repeated success in rider development, she said, "What they've going there is that Al [Donohue, JAM Fund Coach/Captain] is just the most welcoming and open person. Yesterday I ran my tire pressure at 25. I've been in Idaho, where there's one type of sandy terrain and you can get away with one set of wheels at 28psi. Al said, 'Jena, just *ask* me next time.... he says I've got to stop mashing on the pedals, especially riding a 1x."
Ally Stacher (Stan's No Tubes) was close behind in 6th. Stacey Barbossa (Colavita), BrittLee Bowman (House Industries/Withings/SimpleHuman), Julie Hunter (SEAVS Haymarket p/b Van Dessel), and 17-year-old Canadian Ruby West (Centurion Next Wave) rounded out the top 10.
Bosmans Repeats and Young Riders Excel on Nittany's Second Day
All eyes were on yesterday's winner Wietse Bosmans (BKCP-Corendon) to pull off another Belgian-in-the-mud victory.
Bosmans was first into the holeshot, leading a long train of motivated riders including local favorite Cameron Dodge (Unattached), Curtis White (Cannonade p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes / Voler), Scott Smith (JAM/NCC/Vittoria) and Ben Berden (Wcup-Stoemper). Notable absences were yesterday's second place finisher Dan Timmerman (Stan's NoTubes Elite CX) and Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo), who began early preparations for Cross Vegas, three days and 2,400 miles away.
Bosmans ultimately triumphed, though not without some nail-biting shuffles in the early laps. A first-lap bike change actually put him at the back of the train. Within a half-lap, however, Bosmans was back at the front.
The lead group lost Anthony Clark when he encountered an unidentified object lurking the mud pit, damaging his tire. With several laps to go, Bosmans put in a massive attack to quickly put daylight behind him. He earned the hearts of fans by jumping the high-speed barriers lap after lap, and cruised in for victory by a large margin.
Among the 3-man chase of White, Dodge, and Berden, youth trumped experience as Curtis White led through the final turns, speeding to the line with a quick peek under his elbow. Dodge repeated in 3rd, while Berden took 4th. Scott Smith, Anthony Clark, Jack Kisseberth (JAM/NCC/Vittoria), Robert Marion (American Classic), Cole Oberman (RareDiseaseCycling.org), and Greg Witter (C3-Twenty20) completed the top 10. Jacob Lasley (Soundpony) finished 11th, with 21-year-old Sam O'Keefe (House Industries/Withings/SimpleHuman) in 12th.
Unlike most of this weekend's top racers, Bosmans will not start this Wednesday's CrossVegas. "He actually does not qualify," said Hans Demyttenaere of BKCP-Corendon. "Last year Bosmans had Lyme Disease, so he started with zero points. Our team goes to Vegas with other riders." Demyttenaere concluded with praise for the Nittany race and its veteran promoter Andy Taus, who was elected to the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame last week. "We were happy with the level of organization here."
Use the slider below for photos and the full results of the race.