Yeager takes the win at round 2 of the Michaux Endurance Series.
Overcoming both extreme heat and a technically challenging course, Selene Yeager rode a text book race to take the victory at the Curse of Dark Hollow, round 2 of the 2015 Michaux Endurance Series. The fabled trails of Michaux State Forest are known as some of the most difficult and rocky in the country. This years race was made even more challenging with heavy rains the night before making for slick conditions on the relentless and rocky trails.
“The thermometer read 99 degrees in my Ford Fiesta when I finished Curse of the Dark Hollow in Michaux State Forest this Sunday. And I felt every last one of them during the final 5 miles of mostly technical climbing back to the start/finish staging are. Fortunately, I felt good for the bulk of the day. The race kicked off with a LeMans start, which is my very least favorite way to start an event. But I’ve been running regularly again, so put those skills to use and got a good position right out of the gate and raced hard to get to the pointy end of the field and into the rocks ahead of the majority of the field because I knew it was going to be a slick mess. I was right! I just kept it light and loose and was able to clear mostly everything. The heat got to me here and there. But mostly I was able to stay on top of my hydration and nutrition to get a win on the day”.
Yeager is now poised for overall victory with a massive 1 hour lead on second place. The 2015 Michaux Offroad Series concludes with round 3, The Terror of Teaberry on Sunday, September 27th.
Harding and Thiemann go 2nd and 3rd at Granogue.
XC racing returned to the Granogue Estate in Delaware with round 5 of the Mid-Atlantic Super Series, To Granogue and Bach. The only thing hotter than the nearly 100 degree temperatures was the battle for the women’s Pro/Open win. Elite team riders Kathleen Harding and Nikki Thiemann sparred with Arley Kremmerer on the fast and twisty Granogue trails. In the end it was Kremmerer who came away with the win, Harding and Thiemann finishing less than a minute back.
Harding 3rd at a muddy Millstone Grind in Websterville, Vermont.
The 3rd round of the new Kenda Cup East XC series saw some of best riders on the East Coast take on a muddy and challenging Vermont course. Continuing to build momentum in an already successful comeback season, Kathleen Harding put in a solid ride to finish 3rd behind winner Ellen Otter (Bicycle Express) and Karen Potter (Pivot / Epic Brewing).
“The preride on Saturday was dry and dusty and with rain in the forecast, I knew the next day we’d see an entirely different course. 12 hrs later it was 40 degrees cooler, and Sunday’s race was just what we expected. It was muddy, slick and cold. I was ready for the challenge nonetheless”. Harding was able to make the most of the deteriorating conditions, and after a strong start stayed focused on riding a consistent race.
“I fought to get into a decent place before the technical single track and continued to make up time as I picked my way through the greasy roots and slick rocks. It was a true picture of New England racing”. Harding battled for the entire second half of the race with Karen Potter. An untimely last lap crash gave Potter a slight edge with Kathleen finishing 3rd.
Harding, satisfied with her performance celebrated in fine Vermont fashion with a Heady Topper (one of Vermont’s finest, most sought after brews) compliments of the promotor. “It was the perfect way to end the day”.
Sornson 2nd, Harding 5th at the USA Pro Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships.
Team RDC took a road trip down south this past weekend for the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships held just outside of Augusta, Georgia. The course was a relatively flat affair with a heavy dose of tight and twisty single track. With near endless high speed corners and a lack of descents on the course allowing for little recovery, riders were taken riders to their technical and physical limits.
Cheryl Sornson finished in second position after a nearly 5 hour long battle for the win with Rose Grant (Stan’s NoTubes). Early on in the race a trio of riders made up of Sornson, Grant and Ally Stacher (Ally’s Bar) broke away from the field and immediately established a large gap. A mid-race crash from Stacher left just Sornson and Grant at the front of the race. The two riders battled tooth and nail through the more technical second half of the course with Grant gaining her winning margin within the closing miles of the race.
Kathleen Harding was next across the line for RDC, finishing in 5th place just behind Serena Gordon (Live Co-Factory). Harding is enjoying a killer comeback season, proving yet again that she is capable of competing with the country’s best.
Rare Disease Cycling had another busy and successful weekend slaying international competition at the US Cup in California and taking several wins on the East Coast in events ranging from Single Speed XC to enduro.
US Cup Round #3: Bonelli Park
Picking up were he left off, Cole Oberman returned to racing in California with a pair of strong finishes at round 3 of the USA Cycling US Cup. Oberman finished in 24th place in the UCI HC level cross country and 7th in Sunday’s short track event. “I’m happy to continue to have progressively better finishes in such top notch fields. I’ve got a little more work to do between now and the opening World Cups but I’m feel like I’m on track to have a great season”.
Recapping the weekend Oberman stated, “The XC went great for me. I had a great jump off the line and rode most of the race in the top 15. I slid back a bit on the last lap but it’s a huge confidence booster to be riding in the same group as top World Cup riders. Sunday’s short track was a little disappointing as I was in a position to win and took myself out with a stupid crash. Still, I chased back onto the group and finished 7th in the sprint. So again, it’s a huge confidence booster to know I’m so fit. I’m really looking forward to Sea Otter and The Whiskey Off-Road in the next couple of weeks”.
Kathleen Harding kicked off her comeback season with a win at this past weekends Singlespeed-A-Palooza. SSAP held this year in Montgomery, NY is one of the largest and longest running singlespeed mountain bike events in the East Coast. The event is also a fundraiser for the local Heart Strings Charity.
Harding summarizing her weekend, “SSAP is always a fun way to kick off the season. Two of us took off from the start and led the race down the first gravel road. After we got to the woods I pulled away and was able to maintain the lead through the end of the race”.
Dirty 40 Rasputitsa
Also held on Saturday in East Burke, VT was the Dirty 40 Rasputitsa gravel road race. Team rider Selene Yeager was on hand looking for a new adventure and the top step of the podium.
“I’d been looking forward to this one for months, since I’ve never done it and was looking for new adventure. I certainly found new adventure! Winter hasn’t gotten the memo that spring is here up there! The race, which is 40 miles of mostly “Vermont cobbles” (stuttery dirt roads) and mud also included a 2.8 mile non-winter maintenance road that as advertised, had not been plowed. Welcome to a snowy 5K in the middle of a bike race! I was having a very good day and was in the lead at that point. But I knew Lyne Bessette is an amazing runner with I believe a sub-3 hour marathon, so I knew if I wanted to keep my lead I’d better run! My feet are still battered and blistered, but pulled off a very happy win”.
Changing gears from gravel road racing to enduro mountain biking, Selene Yeager made her way down to Lykens, PA for Sunday’s Rattling Enduro. A master of all disciplines, Yeager was able to take her second victory of the weekend.
“The next day I lined up at Rattling Enduro in Lykens, PA, which included 3 long timed enduro segments. I was still pretty tired, but now the sun was shining and it was pushing 70 degrees and there was no snow! So I was just happy to pedal hard and have fun. Pulled out the win on the day for a really satisfying weekend”.
Leesburg Bakers Dozen Relay
Cheryl Sornson was back in action this past weekend as one third of the winning team known as “Churtle’s Sublime Tillmination”. The team completed 19 laps winning by a margin of over 1 hour.
Sornson described the race as, “13 hours of pure 38 – 42 minute intervals of all out effort. Putting our strong man (MIKE) out on the starting lap proved to be the key to our lead that we kept all day. The rest of the day our team consistently put out fast consistent lap times. Mike and I in the 37-38 range and Jenn hammering a solid 42. We each did a night lap which slowed a bit, but otherwise we crushed ourselves each lap. By the end we were tired and completely loopy, but the day was beautiful and the crowd was super cool. A great day in the books for sure”.
Greene County Road Race
Stephanie Swan was also on the podium this past weekend taking the win at the Greene County Road Race. Swan won the women’s division and was also an impressive 8th place overall.
Rare Disease Cycling continued it’s successful start to the season with another podium finish in the short track cross country at the Fontana City National, round 2 of the USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho Air Cycling Group. Sunday’s short track brought a close to a weekend that saw solid finishes for both Sornson and Oberman in the UCI HC cross country event on Saturday.
Oberman again finished out the weekend with a podium finish in Sunday’s short track race. “It was great to prove that my success last weekend wasn’t a fluke. I had a solid start but the more technical course at Fontana caused a bunch of crashes early on in the short track. I got caught behind a couple of these and it was a lot of work to get back towards the sharp end of the race. In the end I made up enough ground to find myself on the podium again”.
Jumping from 10th position to 5th in the closing laps of the race, Oberman eventually led out and out sprinted current USA short track national champion Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air). ” Going into the last lap, I attacked our group and led it out into the finish straight. I just stayed on it full gas and in the end it was enough. I’m totally stoked to make the podium 2 weeks in a row. Definitely in good company!”.
Saturday’s UCI HC cross country event also went well for Oberman. He finished 28th overall, 7th among the Americans in a truly international, world cup caliber field. “The start at Fontana is always a struggle, the ground is loose and immediately off the line there are a series of tight turns. There’s just no way to move up and you inevitably lose some time on the leaders as things sort out, especially starting on the 7th row”.
Still Oberman rode a steady race, working with other riders to try to get to the front. “The course at Fontana really suits me, its technical and also has a single, long climb on the course. I rode the first couple of laps with a couple of the other Americans, Spencer Paxson (Kona) and Mitch Hoke (The Pro’s Closet), we made some good progress together but eventually I was just rolling a little better on the climb and ended up by myself. I tried to stay on pace for the final 3 laps and made up a few more positions. I know I can do better than 28th but it’s only my 2nd xc race of the year and I’m super happy to see some solid improvement over last week”.
Cheryl Sornson continued to have a stellar opening to her season by placing 20th in the women’s UCI HC cross country event. Sornson drew on her endurance background to ride a consistent race, finishing strong and reeling in competitors until the last lap. Following an equally impressive result at last weeks race in Bonelli, Sornson now finds herself sitting 15th place overall in USAC US Cup series. Not to bad for someone that claims she, “only went to California to get in some good training”!
Sornson also raced the short track on Sunday. Again working the race into the middle of a larger workout, she battled back form a rough start to finish with the lead group in 13th place.
Cole Oberman finished out a weekend of solid performances by RDC with a huge 2nd place finish in Sunday’s short track cross country event at the USAC US Cup series opener in San Dimas, California. With 22 nations represented, Rare Disease Cycling riders proved yet again that they are capable of performing at a top international level.
“Coming into this weekend I knew I was on some killer form”, said Oberman after Sunday’s short track cross country event. “I finished 29th in the the cross country on Saturday and given the quality of the field it’s not terrible but I was shooting for a much better finish. In the end I think this gave me a little more motivation to lay it out there in the short track”.
Oberman bid his time riding mid pack for the first half of the highly tactical race waiting for the ideal moment to launch an attack. “They called the preme lap late in the race and so I knew this was the perfect opportunity to go for it. As soon as everyone sat up after the preme sprint I launched it off the front. I bridged up to Sergio Mantecon (Trek Factory) and we just drilled it together for the next 4-5 laps. He (Mantecon) jumped with one to go and opened a little gap on me. I was dying in the last couple of corners and just barely held off Todd Wells (Specialized)”.
” I would have loved to have won but in the end I’m so stoked to take 2nd in front of such a high quality field. For me it was really a confirmation that I belong at this level and that all the hardwork I did with my coaches Jeremiah Bishop and Mike Shultz is paying off”.
Cheryl Sornson kicked the weekend off for RDC with a solid 16th place finish in a women’s Cross Country field that contained Olympic medalists and the current XC world champion. Even more impressive is that the Bonelli Park US Cup race was Sornson’s season debute, having had no oppertunities for tune-up races due to a particularly harsh winter on the East coast.
“Being in straight up winter on the east coast, it was a shock to the system in many ways to come out here. It was first race of the season for me and LA was experiencing a record high heat wave for this time of year”.
However, Sornson adapted quickly, “I stuck it out for a 16th place finish. I am super happy with that result among such a talented and big field of women”.
Sornson also competed in Sundays short track event (placing 20th), using it as part of a larger workout as she builds fitness for the Kenda Cup East series which opens later this spring. “Being that I am escaping PA weather and using this week as a training week, I jumped into the short track race mid training ride and threw down as best as I could. Not sure how that race ended up, but it felt good to bust out my lungs, heart and legs!”.
Cheryl and Cole will be back in action next weekend for round #2 of the US Cup in Fontana, California.
Swan wins pro women. Oberman second in pro men’s sprint finish. Masse wins single speed.
Team RDC kicked off the race season in Richmond, Virginia at Monster Cross 2015. The traditional East Coast opener, Monster Cross is a fast, technical and tactical race that tests not only riders fitness but also their mental sharpness. After 50 miles of sandy fire-roads made muddy by a wet winter, it was clear that the team has been putting in the hard work over the last few months. RDC had an impressive first performance of the year with Stephanie Swan and Roger Masse taking the win in their respective categories and Cole Oberman narrowly missing the victory in the pro mens field.
With a combined womens and mens elite field making for a chaotic start, Stephanie Swan found herself riding in 3rd position early on (trailing Erin Silliman-Wittwer and RDC teammate Selene Yeagar). “About 10 miles in, I found a nice, small group to work with, and finished the first lap with them. Going into the second lap, my group dispersed and I found a lone rider to pace with: coincidentally – Erin’s father-in-law, Fred Wittwer. We rode together for about five miles. Eventually we came upon Erin at 15 miles to go”.
Taking advantage of Silliman-Wittwer’s decision to pit at in the closing miles of the race, Swan pushed on. “I crossed the line about five minutes ahead of Erin for what I thought was second place”. Unfortunately RDC’s Selene Yeager, who had ridden the entire race with a commanding lead, veered off-course during the second half of the race and was eventually being forced to abandon. This left the victory in the hands of teammate Swan who was happy to kick off the year on a high note. “I’m very happy to start the season with this result, and look forward to the rest of 2015!”
In what Monster Cross race director Mark Junkermann described as “the closest finish ever”, RDC cross country racer Cole Oberman took 2nd place behind East Coast legend, Jeremiah Bishop (Topeak-Ergon). “In the end I think I just waited a second to long to start my sprint. I think he got me by about a tire width”. To get to that point Oberman had stayed active throughout the race making sure to stay in the front group.
“I forced what ended up being the decisive move with about 10miles to go”. Taking advantage of his familiarity with wet east coast conditions, Oberman “(I) attacked in a particularly muddy/sloppy sector of the course. I had noticed on the first lap that the group really split up through this section and figured that it would be the best place to get some separation “.
In the end only Bishop was able to match Oberman’s pace. After repeated attacks from each rider in the closing miles, the race came down to a thrilling sprint finish with Oberman missing out by the smallest of margins. “I would have loved to have taken the win but I’ve got absolutely no shame in losing to a legend like JB. Most importantly I’ve confirmed that all the hard work I’ve put in over the last 4 months has paid off and that I’m heading into the big US Cup XC races in California with some really solid fitness”.
NUE Masters ace Roger Masse rounded out a solid opening weekend for Rare Disease Cycling by taking the win in the Single Speed Mountain Bike category. Starting in the massive 2nd wave Masse put an early focus on the crucial task of making the front group. “As soon as the pace vehicle waved us on, a 10-20 rider front group quickly formed. Within 10 minutes it was down to about 8 riders that included fellow single speeders Piki Danko and Brian Patton”.
After helping to force a brisk pace the group dwindled even further by the second half of the race. “By the time we got to the southern section again for the 2nd lap, it was just Brian and I (two single speeders) leading the non-pro wave”. Despite being held up by traffic at a road crossing, Masse managed to hang on, taking the win the the Single Speed MTB category and finished up 2nd overall in the non-pro wave.
“I’m super pleased with the result and my early season fitness” said Masse as he prepares to head to Utah for the True Grit Epic, this years NUE series opener.
Rare Disease Cycling (formerly Team CF) powers into its 6th season with a more focused squad of elite racers and an even stronger resolve to continue the fight against rare genetic diseases. RDC is aimed at raising awareness and ultimately research funds to combat the spectrum of rare genetic diseases including cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia and more.
The East Coast based American team relies heavily on the results of its racers to further its mission and has been a dominant force in nearly every discipline of off-road cycling. Throughout its five-year history, RDC has taken hundreds of elite podium spots, most notably winning the National Ultra Endurance Series eight times, the Trans-Sylvania Epic Stage Race on three occasions and the Brasil Ride Stage Race in 2013.
For 2015, the squad has been pared down to eight elite riders who will tackle one of the busiest and most diverse race schedules in North America. “Our aim is to put riders on the podium every single weekend throughout the season” says Cole Oberman, Team Manager and XC rider. Oberman will be joined by returning team members Cheryl Sornson, Nikki Thiemann and Kathleen Harding to take on the USA Cycling US Cup and ProXCT calendars, Mountain Bike National Championships, and the North American UCI Cyclocross calendar amongst a slew of one day events.
On the endurance side, former NUE series champion Christian Tanguy will be captaining the veteran RDC squad. Tanguy, who will target an overall series victory again in 2015 is joined by masters NUE champion Roger Masse, Ultra CX specialist Stephanie Swan and endurance racing expert Selene Yeager. Beyond the NUE series, the endurance team will tackle everything from mountain bike stage races to gravel road races and fat bike marathons.
“A crucial component of Rare Disease Cycling’s success is the team’s ability to not just raise awareness but significant money for research”, says team director and founder Dr. James Wilson. “The primary way in which we do this is through the Million Dollar Bike Ride (MDBR), in which RDC partners with existing advocacy/research groups and helps each group to raise money. These funds are in turn distributed directly into research grants aimed at finding a cure or treatment options for a variety of rare genetic diseases.” The MDBR, held in Philadelphia, PA was an overwhelming success in 2014 raising over $1.4m. The ride will be returning in 2015 with plans to expand to additional cities in 2016.
For 2015, Rare Disease Cycling continues on with long-time bicycle and component sponsor, Specialized. The team will ride the brands top-shelf S-Works bicycles as well as Specialized components and accessories. Also continuing with team is custom clothing supplier DNA Cycling and Philadelphia area bike shop and logistical sponsor Bicycle Therapy.
New to the program for this season are ESI Grips and GU Energy Labs. “GU Energy Labs is a company of athletes who apply heart and science to create a complete system of nutritional products to help athletes hydrate, energize, and recover,” says GU Marketing Manager Yuri Hauswald. “We are proud to be the Official Nutrition Supplier for Rare Disease Cycling, helping their athletes to not only succeed on race day but to further a vital charitable mission.”
It’s been a long while since I’ve made an update and there’s lots to catch up on/announce! 2014 was by far the best season of my career. I took my first professional win by sticking a solo move on stage 5 of the Transylvania Epic, I stood on my first ProXCT podium at the Catamount Classic and finished inside the top-10 at USA Pro XC National Championships.
Tussey Ridge – TSE Stage 6
Before I get into the late season recap there are a few things that I’ve been itching to make public! Firstly, I am extremely excited to announce that I will be working Jeremiah Bishop and Mike Shultz as my coaches/trainers for the 2015 season and beyond. Over the course of the Transylvania Epic I had the opportunity to get to know Jeremiah and I was immediately impressed with his scientific approach to training and blue collar work ethic.
Mike brings to the table not only a second mind but a fantastic focus on MTB specific strength training and athletic conditioning. I’ve set some ambitious goals for my cycling career and being fortunate enough to have the support and insight of Jeremiah and Mike gives me the confidence to go after those goals with a hammer!
2014 gave me a taste of success on the national level, and I am aiming to be a consistent domestic podium threat in 2015. In addition, I am equal parts excited, nervous, and proud to announce that I am going to make a run at both the USA National Team for the 2015 XC World Championships as well as the 2016 Olympic Long Team.
In order to make it happen I’m going to have to prove a lot in a very short amount of time. I’ll give it everything I’ve got and whether I make it or not, 2015 is going to be a wild ride!
USAC MTB National Championships
Now, to quickly recap the fall! After the summer mountain bike season wrapped up I switched into CX gear. I spent a good chunk of the early fall playing in the mud and standing on the podium. I was lucky enough to win two rounds of the MAC series as well as the PA State CX Championships.
CX Season in 10 Seconds
I ended the 2014 race season with an epic road trip to the Iceman Cometh MTB race in Traverse City, Michigan. While poor positioning and being caught behind early crashes meant I just missed the lead group, I managed to finish out my season with a solid 12th place finish at the largest mountain bike race in North America. Iceman was a muddy and wild good way to close out the calendar, I’m hoping to make it a tradition in the years to come!
After Iceman I finally gave myself a well deserved break from training/racing. Beer drinking, show going, donut eating and late night hangouts ensued. Rejuvenated, refreshed and somewhat repulsed my off-season dietary choices, I’ve since resumed training (harder than ever). Things officially kicked off last week with an awesome training camp at Raw Talent Ranchin WV. A short recap on that to come soon!