The Elite Men's podium at Tacchino CX. © Neil Schirmer

The Elite Men’s podium at Tacchino CX. © Neil Schirmer

By Neil Schirmer

UPPER MARLBORO, MD—With three straight power sections connecting various corners of the course, Tacchino CX favored watt-monsters. Held again at Rosaryville State Park and promoted by Squadra Coppi, the canvas was a familiar one to Mid-Atlantic racers. With only a couple of minor variations, the 2015 version was very similar the the 2014 parcours. The return the the start/finish line from fast, muddy, wooded descent was re-routed slightly with some extra turns, and an extra forced dismount was added with the insertion of a small stair set at the exit of a sloped U-turn. And while some of the hills and a few turns became muddy from traffic and wear from a day’s worth of race traffic, the significant rainfall the day before the race did not cause any real deterioration of the grounds.

In the Elite Women’s event, Avanell Schmitz (Celerity Cycling/Mermaid Winery) got off to a fast start opening an eight second gap in the first lap. She would be chased the rest of the way by VergeSport leader’s jersey points competition leader Allyson Tufano (Sportif Coaching Group) who churned out consistent laps in solo pursuit. In the end, Schmitz would cross the line more than a minute ahead of second place finisher Tufano, with Lucy Cutting (Spokeswomen Racing) rounding out the third spot.

A quick glance at the race predictor feature signaled what would play out at the front end of the Elite Men’s field on Sunday.

The Elite Men's start at the Tacchino CX. © Neil Schirmer

The Elite Men’s start at the Tacchino CX. © Neil Schirmer

Patrick Blair (Adventures for the Cure) and Greg Wittwer (C3 / Twenty20 Cycling Co.) would quickly distance themselves from the next pair of chasers – Lance Byrd (Adventures for the Cure) and Mattison Brady (District Velocity Racing). In what would become several “races within the race,” these pairs would trade blows, focusing on each other, all the while extending the gap to those behind them. Wittwer tested and attacked Blair repeatedly in power sections and through the barriers, where he appeared to be able to put time into Blair every lap.

At about the half way mark, Blair lost pace, leaving Wittwer to diesel home in convincing fashion by a minute over Blair. In an exciting sprint finish for third, Brady and Byrd continued their battle all the way to the line, where Brady had the stronger kick, and possibly an equipment advantage over Byrd who chose to ride a mountain bike with wider tires.

Next stop in the Bikereg Super 8 Cyclocross Series is event number six at Rockburn Cross in Elkridge, Maryland on Sunday November 15th. Registration is open until Friday, November 13th.