By Joe Jefferson October 4, 2008; Hagerstown, MD, USA: Clear skies and cool temperatures greeted the early participants to the Fifth Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Cyclocross Challenge, second race of the 2008 BikeReg.com MABRAcross Series. However the race was hot and heavy as some of the earlier starters were chasing bragging honors and upgrade points.
Joe Lillibridge (Kelly Benefits Strategies/LSV Amateur) took early control of the Men’s Category IV event and managed to hold off Matthew Bartlett (The Bike Rack) who suffered from a late race fall in the last few kilometers of the event. The Bike Race round out the top three positions as Nathan Chenenko rolled in third. Paul Rades (Artemis and Patrick Blair of Adventure for a Cure rounded out the top five.
Nunzio DiBiasi of Yellow Breeches regained his winning form in the Masters 55+ race, after suffering an early season loss at Ed Sander last Sunday. Team Fuji’s own Rob Lee as well as Larry Dell of team AVC/Team Hagerstown-Washington County chased Nunzio all day. James Carlson (PVC) and the unattached John Kuska Jr came in fourth and fifth.
Scott Gibbons (Racing Union) went two for two in the Masters 35+ ¾ event, having won the season opener in Buckeystown. However the Breast Cancer Awareness win was not without some resistance. Paul Wahner (DrWahner.com Racing) put in a textbook pursuit to catch Gibbons, who had been leading from the start. Mr. Wahner went as far as to put in an explosive uphill attack that even race announcer Joseph Jefferson predicted to be the deathblow. Nevertheless, Gibbon withstood the attack and came back to open up an even bigger lead as the end of the race drew to a close. Jonathan Seibold (Family Bike) dusted off his racing legs from way back in the day and managed to sneak in unnoticed to a third place position. David Blodgett (AABC) rolled in to the fourth position while Bryan Billington joined his Racing Union teammate in the podium to finish off the top five spots.
The Men’s Category 3-4 event was a battle from the start; only to turn into a stroll through the park for one the region’s and nation’s top riders, 16-year-old Jeff Bahnson (Secret Henry’s Team/Van Dessel). Bahnson hit the terra firma early but managed to dust himself off and roll in almost two minutes before second place finisher Ian Mathias (Hunt Valley Bicycles Marathon Roof). Mr. Consistency Chris Mayhew had a brief lead at the start and held on to finish third, while Alex Driscoll flew the family flag (Brother Alex had two mechanicals = DNF) for Adventure for a Cure along with Ryan Bannon for The Bike Lane.
Jimmy Klose 16 (Adventure for a Cure) racked up a win in the Junior 17-18 race, while Charles Lortz III (Kelly Benefits Strategies) pulled down a silver medal. Justine Mauch 15 (a.k.a. Three Races Per Day Please) took the bronze medal for NCVC.
The Masters 35+/45+ 1,2,3 was a true battle of legend; with MTB King Gunnar Shogren (SoBe Cannondale) snatching victory from some of the regions top Masters. Kristopher Auer (C3 Sollay.com) hit the front early and often; only to come in a close second and within one minute of the race winner. Bernie Shiao (Kelly Benefit Strategies/LSV) and Randall Root (Evolution Cycling Club) resumed their own personal battle, from last week’s event. However, for the second week in a row it was Shiao whom managed to finish one place ahead of Root, while Marc Gwadz (DCMTB/City Bikes) held on to the final podium position.
Jimmy Klose and Just Mauch were up to their old tricks again, only this time they were both racing with their peers as opposed picking on the bigger kids. Jimmy (Adventure for a Cure) went two for two on the day, while Justin (NCVC) managed to move up one position and took silver in the Junior 10-16 event. Another member of the Lortz family managed to take home some hardware as 13-year-old James (Kelly Benefit Strategies/LSV) earned a third place. Tommy Klose joined his older brother on the podium and Caleb Merriam (Tokyo Joe’s) scored a fifth place.
Jean Colsant (Squadra Coppi) hit the front early in the ¾ Women’s event (announcer never called her name) and kept the race close for most of the event. However it was Jessica Gallagher from River City Bicycles how stole the victory in the later part of the event. Lindsay Bayer (Potomac Velo Club and Mary Alex secured third and fourth respectively, while Lynda Artusio gathered more upgrade points by holding on for the fifth and final podium spot.
The Women’s Elite event had its own sub-plot as Team Kenda Tires on Jennifer Maxwell was in dire need of some economic stimulus. Maxwell suffered a very costly mechanical problem during a pre-ride and used the $100 first lap prime to help pay for repairs. Maxwell hit it hard early and kept the pedal down the entire first lap only to red line her internal and suffered another mechanical on a backup bike. Betsy Shogren (SoBe Cannondale) used some of the same strategy employed by her husband to attack after the earlier firework and roll in for her second win in as many years at this Hagerstown Fairgrounds Park course. Arley Kemmerer (Hub Racing) rocked a no frills no spills second place, while the talented Melanie Swartz (Velo Bella Kona) knocked down a third place. Libby Sheldon (Tokyo Joe’s) scored a fourth and NCVC’s Teri Spanogle rocked a fifth place.
The Men’s Elite event was billed as a grudge match between Trek/VW’s Jeremiah Bishop and his equally talented counterpart Weston Schempf of C3-Sollay.com. However, this week’s event saw one of the nation’s top road racers mixing it up with the big boys of Cyclocross. Jeremiah and Weston seemed to take it out a bit slower this week with Jeremiah exciting the on-lookers by routinely bunny hopping the barriers and doing cross up, while catching air over the down hill rollers. However, the Trek VW rider hit the go button with about 40 minutes of racing left and Weston was unable to keep it as close as he did the previous week. In somewhat of surprise, it was the talented Russ Langley (Battley Harley Davidson Sonoma Grille) who applied some that power from the road to the terra firma and managed to rack up an impressive third place. Michael Gallagher (C3-Sollay.com) scored a fourth place while Sean Galegher (Hunt Valley Bicycles) rounded out the top five position.
All in all it was a great day of racing as over 250 athletes made the trip to Hagerstown, Maryland. The next round of the 2008 BikeReg.com MABRAcross series is the DCCX on October 26 in Washington DC. For more information, see BikeReg.com.