Sunday, December 27, 2009

Diegem Superprestige

photo: Bart Hazen

The Superprestige in Diegem, Belgium was a muddy mess with a mix of fresh rain and melting snow. Jonathan Page finished 15th in the race under the lights.

CX Magazine, Cyclingnews

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Compton 2nd at Zolder World Cup, Page 14th

photo: Bart Hazen

Another weekend of World Cup racing in Zolder, Belgium brought much different course conditions that last weekends near white out in Kalmthout. A fast course with some mud and a lot of pavement faced riders rather than thick snow. Only 10 points separated World Cup leader Katie Compton from second placed Daphny Van den Brand. After a frustrating start and a missed pedal Compton was forced to work her way through the field.
photo: Bart Hazen

Vos led from the gun and as the race went on Compton was able to pick off riders and move solidly into 2nd place. By race end Compton was only 25 seconds behind Vos and had a 45 second gap on 3rd place finisher Van den Brand. Katie's strong finish bolstered her lead in the World Cup points competition where she is now 15 points ahead of Van den Brand and 40 points ahead of Vos.

photo: Bart Hazen

The final 2 rounds of World Cup racing will take place January 17 in France and January 24 in Holland. Katie now returns to the US for a few weeks to recover, train, and prepare for those races and the penultimate race of the season - Worlds in Tabor on January 31.

Womens reports
CX Magazine, Cyclingnews

Jonathan Page also raced in Zolder and had a solid showing to finish 14th - once again the top American finisher.
photo: Bart Hazen

Page has been and will be racing many of the Christmas week cyclocross events in Belgium. His next race will be the Superprestige in Diegem on Sunday.

Mens reports
CX Magazine, Cyclingnews

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Page 8th at Middelkerke

With cyclocross racing hitting its heyday in Belgium Jonathan Page took a strong 8th place in Middelkerke, Belgium. Christmas week races in Belgium occur nearly every day in this next week as riders prepare and look forward to Worlds at the end of January. With several Americans coming to Europe to take part in the racing Page was the top US finisher in the cold, muddy conditions.

Race Reports
Cyclingnews, CX Magazine

Compton 3rd, Page 17th at Kalmthout WC

photo: Bart Hazen

Belgium was hit with a large snowstorm the days preceding the World Cup race in Kalmthout. The snow started falling again on Sunday and conditions were tough for competitors. Leading the overall World Cup competition and fresh off a victory at US Nationals Katie Compton had to overcome a bad start and was never able to chase down the duo of Van den Brand and Vos.

Katie's third place finish allowed her to keep the white leaders jersey. Only 10 points now separate her from Van den Brand and all eyes will be on this weekend's next World Cup race in Zolder.
photo: Bart Hazen

Womens reports - Cyclingnews, CX Magazine

In the men's race Jonathan Page was having a strong ride and was in the top 10 for much of the race. As the laps ticked by he dropped back slightly to finish 17th - the top US finisher.

Mens reports - Cyclingnews, CX Magazine


Womens race (after the U23 summary)

Mens race (part 1 of 6)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Successful CX Nationals for Team Planet Bike

**UPDATE** See below entries for Day 1, 2, 3, and 4 detailed race coverage
Milwaukee Journal article on the team

photo: Mark Legg

The 2009 US Cyclocross Nationals were held December 10-13 in Bend, OR. Planet Bike had 16 riders participate in age group and Elite events throughout the four days of racing. An excellent showing by all racers resulted in 4 National Championship jerseys, 2 silver medals, and one bronze medal.

photo: Dave McElwaine
Katie Compton wins the Womens Elite race by over a minute

Diane, Sarah, and Ian test out their gold medals

Sunday, December 13, 2009

CX Nationals Day 4

The fourth day of Nationals culminated with the Elite level races. The two most honored events of Cyclocross in the United States and Planet Bike had riders poised to potentially win both the mens and womens categories. A solid team of Planet Bike riders in both races and the excitement was in the air. Huge crowds formed to spectate the races to see who would slip on the coveted stars and stripes jerseys at the end of the day.
photo by Ben Ross

First up was the Elite Womens race and Planet Bike rider and 5 time defending national champion Katie Compton was the odds on favorite.

The three other Planet Bike women were seeded in the second row and junior rider Kaitie Antonneau was another rider to watch after an incredible season of UCI racing.

Over 100 women on the start line marked the largest field ever seen in a US womens cyclocross race. The armada of Planet Bike women visible at the start of the race was striking.

From the gun Compton took the lead into the first corner and never looked back. A ten second gap quickly grew as Dombroski, Miller, and Dunlap battled behind her.
photo by Mark Legg

The race proceeded to get spread out as riders soon found themselves riding in small groups or alone. Ice still lingered beneath the mud and grass and the slippery course challenged riders to stay upright.

Compton rode a smooth race save for one slip before the stairs. Her power and technical skills were no match for riders in this field.

Behind the top 7 riders a chase group of 5 emerged including Kaitie A who was having an impressive race.

Just behind this group were several riders including Linda who was having a strong race in about 15th place.

Kristin was struggling a bit further back with the technical conditions and was riding around 20th place.
photo by Jeff Edwards

Compton continued her domination off the front of the race and the result so many predicted and expected soon became reality.

Katie crossed the line over a minute ahead of second place finisher Meredith Miller.

A herd soon formed around Katie to congratulate the now 6 time national champ and get her thoughts on the race and her goals for the remainder of the season. After finishing 3rd last year at Worlds, Compton will travel to the Czech Republic at the end of January in hopes of slipping on a World Champion rainbow jersey.

photo by Amy Dykema

The rest of the Planet Bike women soon crossed the line with Kaitie A. finishing in an incredible 12th place, Linda in 14th, and Kristin in 22nd.
photo by Amy Dykema

Congratulations to Katie on her incredible show of strength and a record tying 6 straight National Championships.

photo by Amy Dykema

Womens race reports
CX Magazine, Podium in Sight, Cyclingnews, Velonews, Cyclingdirt

Next up was the Elite Mens race and with Planet Bike rider Jonathan Page fresh off an 8th place at the World Cup in Igorre, Spain many were curious to see how JP would fare against other US riders.

Also racing for Team Planet Bike were LaLonde brothers Mark and James. Mark was hoping to improve on his 11th place finish at Nationals last year and James, winner of the 2009 non championship single speed race, was eager to prove himself in his first Elite Nationals race.

From the start Jeremy Powers pushed the pace opening up a gap. Page was chasing hard in second position.

Meanwhile Mark who had been riding in the top 15 faced some bad luck and flatted on the first lap and needed to ride nearly half a lap before getting to the pit.
photo by Amy Dykema

James was riding well in the top 40 riders.
photo by Amy Dykema

Page had some problems with the tire pressure on his bike and went to the pit on the second lap. He traded bikes again later that lap and dropped back into fourth place as Johnson and Trebon both passed by him.

Mark couldn't seem to catch a break and got flat tires on three more occasions.
photo by Amy Dykema

James continued to ride a strong race and had moved up a bit further.

photo by Amy Dykema

Powers suffered a crash and Johnson took over the race behind a chasing Trebon. Jonathan was left racing for 3rd with Todd Wells and was able to get a gap on him before the finish stretch. Page had a good showing and took his second straight 3rd place at Nationals.
photo by Amy Dykema

Mark, despite his bad luck, was able to finish 26th and James not far behind in 34th.

A smiling Jonathan post race. His season is far from over as he continues World Cup racing this weekend and looks to Worlds on January 31st in Tabor.
photo by Amy Dykema

photo by Amy Dykema

Mens race reports
CX Magazine, Podium in Sight, Cyclingnews, Velonews, Cyclingdirt

All in all an incredible four days of racing in Bend, OR by the Planet Bike team. Huge thanks to all of the sponsors for the support throughout the long season - Planet Bike, Edge, Ridley, Lazer, TRP.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

CX Nationals Day 3

The third day of Cyclocross Nationals began early in the morning with Bob Downs racing his masters mens event at 8:30. The entire Planet Bike team came out to rally on their leader.
Bob had a great start and was sitting in the top 5 after the first lap.
photo: Mark Legg

He moved up to 3rd by the third lap and was looking strong. The technical, slippery course was causing trouble for many riders, however, and Bob went down hard on the back section of the course.
photo: Mark Legg

Another couple of bobbles after that and he had soon fallen out of the top 10. A valiant effort, nonetheless, and Bob's form was demonstrated by his strong showing in the early laps.

CX Magazine report, Cyclingnews

Following Bob's race the entire team gathered for a team photo. With 16 riders participating at Nationals this year it was truly special to have everyone together. Spanning all age categories Team Planet Bike is a force to be reckoned with!

After the team photo Katie Compton had something special to present to Bob for Planet Bike's support of her this season.
As the leader of the UCI World Cup competition Katie wears a special white leader's jersey and presented Bob with this. She is the first American (man or woman) to ever lead this prestigious competition and has been wearing the jersey in World Cup races since she won the first race in the series on October 4.
Another few team pictures were taken including a womens team shot
and one of all the juniors on the team

The afternoon races consisted of some masters mens events for the 30-40 year old guys. The crowds were huge and raucous.

So were the fields of riders. Chris, Curtis, Jerry, and Geoff lined up with nearly 170 of their closest friends to contest the 35-39 age category.
Planet Bike East Coast Team members Curtis finished 12th, Jerry 83rd, and Geoff 88th. Chris was also duking it out in the race and he made it more laps than he had predicted and looked strong out on the course. Nice racing guys!

Masters reports - CX Magazine, Cyclingnews

And thus concluded the day of sanctioned racing. A special Clydesdale race occured later that evening under the lights. With a weigh in determining start order and costumes encouraged the race drew lots of spectators. Planet Bike also donated some new Blaze 2W lights to riders and the course was lit up well.
And it was terribly slippery as temps dropped below freezing and off camber grass sections become icy. Crashes were prevalent.

Here is Planet Bike East Coast team member Geoff Williams. Nice lights Geoff (notice the ones turned backwards as an attempt to blind his competition?)