It was a busy weekend in the metropolis of Thompsonville, with familiar faces assuming familiar places.
Saturday’s Peak2Peak was eye-balled as a repeat of the nightmarishly wet and rainy affair of two years ago, but luck was on the side of organizers and races. Aside from two amusing mud bits on the backside of the mountain that served as landmarks on a course filled with fast, flowing trails, the good weather brought the race to its usual formula. The race features a punctuation mark of a hill climb at the end of each lap, a sort of set piece finale that is always entertaining for the crowds on the summit.
Three time winner Cole House was back on the start line to take on a high-quality field that included Jorden Wakeley, Ryan Kennedy, Alex Vanias, Sean Kickbush, Scott Hoffner and Dan Korienek. The women’s field also was led by multiple winner and big favorite Mackenzie Woodring. The role of spoiler fell to Pennsylvania-import Selene Yeager, with the Hagerty duo of Lauri Brockmiller and Susan Vigland also on the line alongside Kaitlyn Patterson.
The first selection came 100 yards into the race, with the top ten or so of the men’s race moving free with only Mackenzie Woodring making the move from the women’s field. It was an early and decisive split that almost immediately turned the race behind into a podium battle. The lead group splintered in the mud pit and on the first ascent of three trips up the ski slope. The worst luck went to Matt Acker, who rode a flat tire a longs ways before finally slowing and making the repair.
Behind, Brockmiller and Vigland lost ground to Yeager, who was plowing a lonely furrow in her search for Woodring. The Men’s race was still together, with Hoffner, House, Wakeley, Vanias moving clear as the race moved into the final stages. House put in a big move before the climb, perhaps catching the others a touch off-guard, to open up a comfortable margin of victory. Wakeley got the better of Vanias on the final climb, with Hoffner slotting home fourth on the day.
Woodring’s lead was nearing double-digits by the time she hit the finish, with Yeager putting in a great ride for second place. Kaitlyn Patterson rode a perfectly paced effort to nab a podium, with Brockmiller and Vigland coming home behind their flying teammate Laura Webb.
Sunday’s Crystal Cross was already on a few minds at dinner, and a 28 degree morning gave way to a simply beautiful day for cyclocross. The slightly revamped course added a second tough run-up to the double stair-set, and a faster, smooth course made for some brilliant racing. Scott Hoffner returned as defending champion and immediately showed himself the measure of the race, though the second year event drew some talent to challenge, including Brian Hancock, Mike Seaman, Chad Rector and Todd Greene. If Hoffner’s 2013 win was a clinic in talent, his 2014 race was a lesson in class, riding smooth, passing with ease and knocking down his fair share of fluids en route to a big victory. Todd Greene was the only rider to survive on the first lap, with John Leach slotting in third after a brilliant effort. Ryan Bolin and Hancock rounded out the top five.
Selene Yeager capped of a rather productive trip to the mitten with a Women’s A win. In her second cyclocross start, Valerie Hyrman put in a monster, gritty effort to nab second place. She never stopped chasing and dragged herself away from third placed Melissa Socia. It was a Hagerty streak, with Jennifer Brown and Langley Sherer capping off four riders in the top five. Tailwinds Czar Rebecca Wissman rolled in sixth with Velvet Batteger rolling in to cap off a great race.