Riders take the run up on a beautiful day of ABRA CX. Keith Hower

Riders take the run up on a beautiful day of ABRA CX. © Keith Hower

By Keith Hower

The Park’s farm sits in ridges of the Laurel Highlands just south of the Mason-Dixon line, and under brilliant blue skies and abundant sunshine, the farm played host to Bruceton Mills CX  ABRA #4. It marked the midway point in the ABRA calendar and set the stage on how the second half of the series will play out. Some racers are walking away with the series titles, while others are gearing up, as you read, to make all-or-nothing runs in their respective categories.

When the singlespeeders took to the course during the morning’s racing, they faced damp grass, a few mud spots and a course with almost no racing lines worked into it yet. Gunnar Shogren (Dynamic Physical Therapy) and William Westover (Thick Bikes) went toe to toe for almost the entire race. The duo worked together early to get the gap over Gerry Pflug (Salsa/NoTubes/Top Gear) and John Heffner (Iron City). Shogren seemed to being riding well within his limits, while the younger Westover was happy to trade pulls and learn as much as he could from the Wiley Veteran. Shogren got Westover on the ropes and put in the winning move on the last lap, taking the win by just four seconds. Pflug rolled in for third, Heffner for fourth and Morgan Miller in fifth.

As always in the ABRA, the women were out on the course at the same time, and the ladies provided a great show by taking it to some of the SS Open riders. Betsy Shogren (Dynamic Physical Therapy) did what she’s been doing all season long; she got the early lead, checked out and put it on cruise control taking her third win in three races. The woman’s field spread out within a couple laps, Gray Patton (Top Gear) had a lonely ride in second – she kept Betsy mostly honest, but sat just outside of striking distance in the end and settled for second. Stephanie Swan (Iron City) was third, and after a early race mishap, Traci Rodosta (Breakaway Velo) came home in fourth.

The last race of the day was reserved for The 60 Minute Men, well, OK, The 58 Minute Men. The course had dried out tremendously from the day’s early races, ruts had formed up nicely, and many of the rough sections had smoothed out completely. Stephen Cummings (C3 p/b 20twenty) had control of the race going into the first turn and never gave it up. Cummings had a visual gap over the field halfway through the first lap. Series leader Kevin Kralik (University of Pitt), realizing the race was getting away early, shot out from fifth place and tried to track down the fleeing Cummings. Kralik got close to Cummings near the end of the first lap, but the gap between the two riders would only grow for the remainder of the race. Michael Vanderberg (Twin Six) sat in third place early on but faded, first giving up the spot to Gunnar Shogren (Dynamic Physical Therapy) and then also to the Duo of Andy Gorski (Pro Bikes) and Chris Mayhew (JBV Coaching). With Cummings leading , Kralik didn’t let up at all, he kept Cummings on his toes for the majority of the race, but in the end, it was Steve Cummings taking his first ABRA Elite win in 2011, followed by Kralik, Shogren, Gorski, and Mayhew.

Fan favorite, Marilla Cross ABRA CX #5, keeps the series rolling this Sunday, October 30, 2011, in Morgantown, WV.

Single Speed Open
1.     Gunnar Shogren
2.     William Westover
3.     Gerry Pflug
4.     John Heffner
5.     Morgan Miller

Women’s 1/2/3
1.     Betsy Shogren
2.     Gray Patton
3.     Stephaine Swan
4.     Traci Rodosta

Men’s 1/2/3
1.     Stephen Cummings
2.     Kevin Kralik
3.     Gunnar Shogren
4.     Andy Gorski
5.     Chris Mayhew
6.     Michael Vanderberg
7.     Jordan Villella
8.     Jake Grantham
9.     Todd Schoeni
10.  Ed Krall