Schooley Mill Cross, now in its second year as part of the BikeReg.com MABRAcross series offered up racers a revamped course on the stellar equestrian grounds of this pristine Howard County park in Maryland. Last year’s course had been lauded by some for its attendance to the needs of so-called power riders. This year that characteristic was retained but the addition of three distinct technical course features helped neutralize the advantage of those big guns, though if those big guns are big enough they should still win!
Ground frost and cool air greeted the cat 4 registrants but by the time the elite races rolled out temperatures reached a balmy 55 degrees. For most of the day, conditions were dry and sunny with occasional strong gust of wind.
In the Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite Women’s 1/2 race every racer was guaranteed a podium spot. MABRAcross leader Patty Buerkle (Haymarket/SEAVS) took the holeshot and proceeded to ride away from a chasing Elizabeth Harlow (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) and Allyson Tufano (NVRC/Cardio Sports Lab). Riding smoothly and efficiently a dominant Buerkle had 12 seconds on the chasing duo at the end of lap one. Harlow led the chase with Tufano dangling for a spell but on lap 3 Harlow bobbled at the barriers and the NVRC/Cardio Sports Lab rider attacked with vigor to open a gap Harlow could not close. Buerkle rolled through the finish with authority for the win, followed by Tufano in second and Harlow in third.
The Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite men’s race saw 19 racers toe the line. John Minturn (AXA-CRCA) got the holeshot with Ryan DeWald (Haymarket / SEAVS) and Wes Schempf (C3—Athletes Serving Athletes) in tow. Lap one saw a group of six separate with Sam O’Keefe (C3—Athletes Serving Athletes) and Patrick Blair (Adventures for the Cure) trying desperately to hold on. In short order the 6 were away. Minturn, Schempf, DeWald, Adam Driscoll (Adventures for the Cure), Stephen Cummings (Haymarket / SEAVS) and MABRAcross leader Jared Nieters (Haymarket / SEAVS) worked back and forth to sort out the pecking order.
DeWald played the role of instigator, attacking on every rise and charging up the start/finish strip each lap as if it was the last lap, leaving pain and confusion in his wake. On lap four this move stuck and the elastic snapped as DeWald moved away from Schempf and Nieters while Cummings, Minturn and Driscoll worked to reel in the chasing duo. With four laps remaining DeWald’s gap had grown to 27 seconds and the Schempf/Nieters tandem had been reeled in by Cummings and Minturn while Driscoll dangled a few feet behind. With two to go Nieters launched a vicious attack on the starting strip to shatter his group. It stuck as Schempf, Minturn and Cummings struggled. DeWald continued to power forward while Nieters flew solo behind. At the line it was DeWald for the win, followed by Nieters, Cummings, Minturn and Schempf.
In the Elite Masters Race Dave Weaver (ALAN) rode clear of the field on the first lap and stayed well away to win the day. Behind him a group of 10 rode their race contesting the last four spots on the podium and battling for series points. With only 19 points separating the top three series racers the pressure was on. The group of 10 stayed together through the mid-point of the race before it began to fracture. Paul Rades (GamJams/Pre-Reg.com p/b Cutaway Clothing) separated himself from the chase and rode clear. Behind him Kris Auer (C3—Athletes Serving Athletes) secured third while Jay Morali (C3—Athletes Serving Athletes) finished off a great day by out-maneuvering current series leader Michael Birner (Ben’s Performance Bikes) at the line. Auer ‘s third place over Birner’s fifth place moved the Darth Vader clad C3 boss back into the series lead with only two MABRAcross races remaining.
As many of you may have heard, Brian Fouche (ABRT) suffered a serious medical event during the Elite Men’s race. Several racers, including some who were racing right behind Brian in the elite race, responded to render aid. Brian was transported to the hospital and is now much improved. In the words of Mike Hefner (ABRT) “Thank you to those who responded to Brian. You are Heroes”. ABRT will provide more information on how Brian is faring when it becomes available. We join all of the cyclocross and racing community in wishing Brian a speedy recovery.
The MABRAcross series holds its championship race next week. The Turkey Chase presented by T.E.A.M. Fuji takes place November 28 in Taneytown, Maryland.
Report by Bill Schieken
1. Patty Buerkle (Haymarket / SEAVS)
3. Allyson Tufano (NVRC/Cardio Sports Lab)
2. Elizabeth Harlow (C3 – Athletes Serving Athletes)
Top 10 Elite Men
1. Ryan DeWald (Haymarket SURVAS)
2. Jared Nieters (Haymarket SEAVS)
3. stephen cummings (Haymarket Bicycles / seavs)
4. John Minturn (AXA-CRCA)
5. Weston Schempf (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes)
6. Adam Driscoll (Adventures For the Cure)
7. Patrick Blair (Adventures For the Cure)
8. Tom Jeffrey (Team Natures Path/3Sports)
9. Matthew Bartlett (TOMS Shoes p/b Kindhuman Sports)
10. Kurt Wolfgang (CycleLife USA/RawTalentRanch)