A dusting of snow overnight brought the fourth straight day of different cyclocross conditions to Riverside Park in Hartford. Hailing from Wisconsin and no stranger to the snow, Isaac Neff (Neff Cycle Service) heeded some good advice to stay calm and ride smooth to fend off a tough challenge from Scott Chapin (Santa Cruz Factory Racing) to win the Men’s Master’s 30-34 National Championship on Friday.
Friday’s riders were greeted by a winter wonderland of white snow when they arrived at Riverside Park. Thursday’s cold froze Wednesday’s ruts and the snow chipped in to make a frozen, rutted, snowy course for the riders to navigate. Race winner Isaac Neff talked about the conditions after the race, “Icy ruts, this reminds me of Nationals in Madison. Very similar conditions, riding in the ice and snow.”
Third-place finished Michael Larson (Velo Reno p/b Western Lithium) also had an interesting take on the conditions, “The first lap or two it was kind of slick, but not too bad. But after each lap it was getting a sheet of ice. It was like an ice rink with ruts. The lines changed and how you rode the course changed.”
From the opening whistle, the Baby Masters did their part to put on a good show in Hartford. Mark Flis (Squadra Flying Tigers) and Larson jumped out to an early lead through the woods while Neff, Chapin, and Bryan Fosler (801 W. Madison) gave chase.
Lead changes were a common theme at the front of the race. Flis held the lead at the end of the first lap, but Larson moved to the front through the embankment and descent off the levee in lap 2. The two flip-flopped again through the gazebo technical section, and after two laps the duo held an eight-second lead over Neff and Chapin.
The third lap was Chapin’s time to move to the front. He opened up a five second gap past the gazebo while Neff used the section to move up from fourth to second to take over the role of chasing Chapin.
With two to go, Chapin was riding strong at the front when disaster struck for the California resident. He suffered a bent chain link that made shifting difficult right after the pits and was forced to ride the next half lap on a poorly-shifting bike. Chapin is a legendary single-speed rider and was forced to go to his single-speed steed to finish the rest of the race after making his way to the pits.
Chapin told Cyclocross Magazine he was feeling strong after taking the lead and was bummed that the chain issues cost him the chance to go for it at the front.
Neff seized on Chapin’s misfortune and took the lead after descending off the levee. Neff opened up a seven second lead heading into the bell lap and overcame his early troubles with the ruts to ride smoothly through the course to take home his first Stars-and-Stripes jersey.
Neff said his wife Megan told him to stay calm and ride his race, and it paid off for the Wisconsinite, “It took me a while to get used to the ruts and sort of start to feel confident. Being patient and just trying to keep my head in the game was definitely what made it happen today.”
Chapin and his single-speed held on for second and Larson finished third.
2017 CX National Championships Hartford Day 4 Results Masters Men 30-34
|1||188||NEFF||Isaac||Neff Cycle Service||39:01:00|
|2||157||CHAPIN||Scott||Santa Cruz Factory Racing||39:20:00||19|
|3||180||LARSON||Michael||Velo Reno P/B Western Lithium||39:34:00||33|
|4||168||FOSLER||Bryan||801 W. Madison||39:44:00||43|
|5||167||FLIS||Mark||Squadra Flying Tigers||39:53:00||52|
|9||195||RICHARDS||Westley||Clemmons Bicycle Racing||42:36:00||3:35|
|13||176||HUFF||Evan||BikeReg Elite Racing||43:10:00||4:09|
|15||173||GRIFFO||Gregg||Park Ave Bike Shop||43:32:00||4:31|
|16||198||SIMACEK||Charles||All-City X Fulton Racing||43:58:00||4:57|
|20||166||FITZGIBBONS||Daniel||Green Line Velo||45:23:00||6:22|
|22||158||CLARK||Daniel||GF Capital/ H&E Enterprise||46:07:00||7:06|
|23||177||HUIZENGA||Jacob||Chicago Cuttin Crew||46:14:00||7:13|
|25||156||CHANDLER||Mark||Team Kyles Bike Shop||46:49:00||s.t.|
|26||191||PFAFF||Zachary||Team Air Assurance/Tulsa Connec||47:33:00||8:32|
|31||189||NEWTON||James||RAPHA CYCLING CLUB||38:57:00||@1Lap|
|34||169||FRISON||Scott||New Haven Bicycling Club||40:06:00||@1Lap|
|35||200||STAPLES||Patrick||Northampton Cycling Club||40:28:00||@1Lap|
|36||151||ARNDT||Christopher||Paradise Garage Racing||41:04:00||@1Lap|
|37||159||COCHRAN||Patrick||Essex County Velo||41:04:00||@1Lap|
|38||186||MONTGOMERY||Michael||L5Flyers Cycling Team||41:15:00||@1Lap|
|41||162||DANIELLO||Kurt||Laurel Bicycle Club||46:43:00||@1Lap|
|42||203||MITCHELL||Erik||SPINTECK p/b Blue Bell private||40:45:00||@2Laps|
|DNF||187||MORSE||Mike||Colonial Bicycle Company|
|DNS||152||BALLARD||Christopher||GF Capital/ H&E Enterprise|
|DNS||183||MCCABE||Daniel||Grinta! p/b Best Buddies Challe|
|DNS||202||WHITE||Garrett||Single Barrel CX|
|DNS||160||COLBY||Gregory||Back Bay Cycling Club|
|DNS||179||KNEE||Max||Fuji Bikes - TiC|