By the time the Men’s Elite Race started at Nittany Lion, Day One, the temperature dropped to the low 80’s. The earlier fields, including the Elite Women, had to contend with an open sky and a blistering sun to start many of their cyclocross seasons. The first race enjoyed a heavy layer of dew on the untrodden grass, but that quickly dried up when the temperatures hit above 90.

Nittany Lion is annually considered a non-technical, fast course, and day one of this year seemed to take this aspects to an extreme. Every inch of a long-stretching hill between two large fields was used to test off-camber work, and while the dirt in the back section was soft, the roots appeared to be less of a threat than in years past.

The course designers also moved the barriers from last year’s run up to a more traditional setup, and many riders who bunny-hopped them never needed to dismount the entire race. Although technical rider Todd Wells won here in 2013, it was clear that conditioning was more important than technical prowess today.

Lioness’ Battle Comes Down to Last Corner – Women’s Elite Race

The race started at an amazingly fast pace, with many racers trying to make their presence felt early in the cyclocross season. Within the first lap, however, a small group emerged off the front, consisting of Laura Van Gilder (Van Dessel p/b Mellow Mushroom), Arley Kemmerer (PB2 Pro Cycling), Ellen Noble (JAM Fund / NCC), and Gabby Durrin (Neon Velo Cycling).

Laura Van Gilder, Arley Kemmerer, Ellen Noble, and Gabby Durrin seperated themselves early in the race.© Andrew Reimann

Laura Van Gilder, Arley Kemmerer, Ellen Noble, and Gabby Durrin seperated themselves early in the race.© Andrew Reimann

Van Gilder took command of the small field early and often, putting her head into the wind for much of the race. Known as one of the fiercest sprinters in criterium racing and cyclocross, Van Gilder kept the other riders in check, preventing any breakaways. Meanwhile, Stacey Barbossa (MidAtlantic Colavita Women’s Team) was in fifth, and cutting away the lead of the other four women.

Right before the finishing stretch, Van Gilder ideally positioned herself for the sprint, leading Durrin and Noble. Kemmerer, meanwhile, had fallen back nine or ten seconds.

In the final turn, Van Gilder cornered while leaning forward to power through the finish, and her bike slid from beneath her. Her Van Dessel bounced beyond the race tape while Van Gilder slid to a halt. Durrin and Noble took advantage of the situation, and the new Neon Velo rider beat Noble to the line. Van Gilder slid under the tape and remounted her bike before Kemmerer came along, but it was too late. Kemmerer was carrying enough speed through the last stretch that she was able to catch Van Gilder in the final 10 feet.

Each of the four women took turns at the front, although it would be Gabby Durrin to claim the win. © Andrew Reimann

Each of the four women took turns at the front, although it would be Gabby Durrin to claim the win. © Andrew Reimann

“It was a tactical race,” Durrin told us after her win. “And I hate tactical races!” She stood by the announcer’s stand, proudly displaying her “13” Pro CX number to the officials. Not one for superstition, Durrin didn’t even flip it upside down, and it clearly didn’t put her in misfortune’s way.

The Lions of Nittany: Men’s Elite Race

The first few laps of the men’s race saw a group of thirty-plus remaining together, emphasizing the speed of the Nittany Lion Cyclocross course. The fast pace was too much for the entire group to handle, however, and with five laps to go, the group shrank down to a dozen.

Lukas Winterberg had a momentary break from the men's group before they caught back up. © Andrew Reimann

Lukas Winterberg had a momentary break from the men’s group before they caught back up. © Andrew Reimann

Swiss rider Lukas Winterberg (MG-Cycling Team), who is no stranger to American cyclocross races and World Cups alike, remained up front for most of the race to keep the pressure high with a fast pace. Stephen Hyde (JAM Fund / NCC) remained right behind, and Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo Cycling) kept his place as the third wheel for most of the day. Dan Timmerman (HOUSE INDUSTRIES/SIMPLEHUMAN/RICHARD SACHS) flirted between first and second early in the race, and stayed with the pack when it cut down to seven guys. Mike Garrigan and Curtis White (Cannondale p/b also stayed with the leaders, along with an unfamiliar rider, Jacob Lasley (Team Soundpony) from Oklahoma.

On the first half of the last lap, as the riders made their way onto the rising plateau of the course, Lasley used his road cycling tactical know-how to his favor, and picked the perfect time to launch an attack.

Dan Timmerman and eventual winner Jacob Lasley follow hot on the trail of Curtis White and the rest of the pack. © Andrew Reimann

Dan Timmerman and eventual winner Jacob Lasley follow hot on the trail of Curtis White and the rest of the pack. © Andrew Reimann

The remaining six riders gave chase, but couldn’t match the Oklahoma rider’s fervor as he crossed the line in first. White had unfortunate mishap, flatting his rear tire and losing the chance at a podium position. He was able to change bikes in the pit, from his single chainring race bike to his double-ring pit bike, and was ultimately able to keep away from following riders Adam Myerson (Team SmartStop) and Robert Marion (American Classic Pro Team).

After Lasley took the win, the Swiss rider, Winterberg, took second and Hyde finished at third. Dan Timmerman followed close behind for fourth, and Jeremy Durrin took fifth.

Jacob Lasley Talks Starting Slow and Finishing Fast:

2014 Nittany Lion Cyclocross Day 1 - Men's Results

143LASLEY JacobTeam Soundpony1:00:48
231WINTERBERG LukasMg-Cycling Team00:01
38HYDE StephenJam Fund / Ncc00:02
434TIMMERMAN DanHouse Industries/Simplehuman/Richard Sachs00:03
512DURRIN JeremyNeon Velo Cycling Team00:05
677GARRIGAN Mike00:42
73WHITE CurtisCannondale P/B Cyclocrossworld.Com00:46
836MYERSON AdamTeam Smartstop00:46
945GAFFNEY LewisAmerican Classic Pro Team00:47
106MARION RobertAmerican Classic Pro Team00:47
1178DODGE CameronPure Energy/Scott Bikes
1247WITTWER GregC3-Twenty20 Cycling Co.
1351OBERMAN ColeRarediseasecycling.Org
1458WAITE NickPro Tested Gear
1533WERNER KerryOptum Pro Cycling Cx Team
1637SCHEMPF WestonSeavs/Haymarket Pb Van Dessel
1742WELLS JakeStan'S Notubes Elite Cx
1867ADASAVAGE GeraldCrca/Weather Channel Cycling Team
1972SCHUBERT CharlesCuppow/Geekhouse/B2C2
2060PANTELLERE SeanStampede!
2146MESSER AndrewTeam Upland Brewing - Soma Coffee
2252TIMMERMAN MattCannondale
2344O'KEEFE SamC3 - Twenty20 Cycling Co.
2463SNYDER JordanC3 Twenty Twenty Cycling
2553D'AVINO MarkToasted Head Racing
2665CARTER Kevin
2771MIHALIK MichaelFreddie Fu Cycling Team
2838FAVATA ChristianTrt Bicycles
2970FESTA MikePhiladelphia Ciclismo
3050MEADVANCORT JonahKms Cycling- Killington Mountain School
3162BEELS Marten T RobertsLamprey Cycling
3240RYAN AlexMock Orange Pro Cx Team
3374LACOSTA CodyHigh Gear Cyclery/ Cannondale
3469PIGGA JoeLamprey Systems
3532MILNE ShawnBoulder Cycle Sport/Yoga Glo
3664LEBAIR CraigPhiladelphia Ciclismo
3739NOILES KevinVoler/Steven'S Creek B.M.W./Hrs/Rocklobster
3875COMEAU RyanTeam Lake Effect
3966BROOKS AndyThe Cycle Works
DNF56CHABANOV DanielHouse Industries/Simplehuman/Richard Sachs
DNF41DILLON JoshuaBikereg.Com Elite Cycling Team
DNF57GREENBERG EricKelpius Cycling
DNF59WOLF DanPro Tested Gear
DNF73ORDONS StevenPhiladelphia Ciclismo
DNF54COOPER EvanHudson-Flash Cyclocross
DNS61YOZELL MichaelKapelmuur Independent
DNS68MONTALBANO MikeToasted Head Racing

2014 Nittany Lion Cyclocross Day 1 - Women's Results

113DURRIN GabriellaNeon Velo Cycling Team0:45:20
232NOBLE EllenJam Fund / Ncc0:00
38KEMMERER ArleyPb2 Pro Cycling00:11
428VAN GILDER LauraVan Dessel P/B Mellow Mushroom00:12
533BARBOSSA StaceyMidatlantic Colavita Women'S Team01:04
623MAXIMENKO CassandraRare Vos Racing/Van Dessel/Powerbar01:21
738BOWMAN BrittleeHouse Industries/Simplehuman/Richard Sachs01:29
831HUNTER JulieSeavs/Haymarket Pb Van Dessel01:33
934SHIELDS EmilyKen'S Bike Shop01:45
1054SORNSON CherylTeam Rare Disease Cycling01:47
1144CUMMING KathrynTeam Yacht Club
1239LYSAKOWSKI KathleenCycle Lodge
1336DOWIDCHUK KatrinaMidatlantic Colavita Women'S Team
1440SHIELDS KatherineKen'S Bike Shop
1574NORTHCOTT KateNess Team New England
1643TUFANO AllysonSportif Coaching Group/Patapsco Bike And Sport
1784FAHRINGER RebeccaJam Fund / Ncc
1862SANSOME Carol JeaneCounty Cycles Masters Cx P/B Trek
1969RATHBUN LaurelRaleigh-Clement
2061JORGENSEN LauraMellow Mushroom Racing
2178GATES VictoriaJam Fund / Ncc
2280MONAHAN VickieNycross P/B Craft
2365GROGAN JoanneCyclocrossracing.Com
2486TIMM LeslieLadies First Racing
2550MCCAFFERY VanessaStan'S Notubes/Corning Race Team
2670SEMIAN BaileyC3-Twenty20 Cycling Co.
2751WULFKUHLE KathleenC3 Twenty 20 Cycling Co.
2858BARCLAY VictoriaStan'S Notubes Elite Women'S Team
2937MORRISON FrancesC3-Twenty20 Cycling Co.
3083NORDHEM JenniferCrca: Stan'S Notubes P/B Endurancewerx
3181WEAVER RachelNugo/Koeles
3257HURFORD MollyMidatlantic Colavita Women’S Team
3373WALKER KatinaBike Loft East
3460DUNN RobinMtbnj.Com-Halter'S
3564FESTA LaurenPeanut Butter & Co. Human Zoom
3645POPOVIC CarolynEngin Cycles P/B Kelpius
3756FERRO ShaneCrca / Rockstar Games / Signature Cycles
3859NABHOLZ AprilGiant Northeast Grassroots
3941PRESNELL MelissaRogue Velo Racing