Nittany Lion Cross wasn’t the only game in town this past weekend. The fifth Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross presented by Zevlin kicked off the Michigan cyclocross season on Saturday, drawing racers from Canada and Ohio to the central Michigan event.
The morning weather report predicted a brief period of rain and it didn’t disappoint! The early morning race (Cat 4 Men) raced on the dry, fast, and technical course before the Elite Women and Cat 3 Men took to the track. About halfway through their race the skies opened up for a brief 20 minute shower, causing the numerous off-camber sections to become quite difficult for many to manage.
Mackenzie Woodring of Foundry Cycles (see her bike profile of her Foundry Auger here) fought through the changing conditions to take her first ever win at the Ithaca GP. Woodring held off a hard-charging Kim Chapman (Algoma Bicycle Company) and former champion Anne Schwartz (Flying Rhino Cycling Club) to seal the deal and take the top step and the winner’s jersey.
After the rain subsided many in the elite men’s field struggled to make a final tire choice, as by then the grass, gravel, and sand course had definite lines burned in from the previous races.
Brad White (Moms In Tow Cyclocross) had a target on his back as the defending champion. The Ithaca GP is heralded by many as routinely producing the toughest ’cross course in the state.
White was one of many to hop the 8″ Zevlin barriers to take the Voler prime on the first lap. By a few laps in he and Sven Baumann (Wolverine Sports Club) had a small gap to eventual third place finisher, Adam York (Wolverine Sports Club).
With two to go White and Baumann were locked into a battle to take home the coveted winner’s jersey, custom bar tape, and custom cycling cap (not to mention the cash…). White lit a match on one of the many punchy sections of the course and was able to get a small gap over Baumann. White absolutely drilled it over the next lap and a half to scrape out a gap of only 15 seconds over a hard-charging Baumann to defend his top spot on the podium for the second year.
Wrapping up the day were the singlespeeders, Cat 5 Men (presented by Cyclocross Magazine), the Cat 3/4 Women, and the younger juniors. Patrick Russell (Wolverine Sports Club) doubled up to take wins in both the Elite Masters 45+ and the Singlespeed category. Tessa Perez stormed to a great win in the Cat 3/4 Women, and Ithaca-native Michael Thelen (Michigan State University) took a hard win as well in the Cat 5 men.