It takes a lot of love to put on a bike race. The amount of hard work and detail that goes into putting together all of the elements for an event to go well are amazing. For the MABRA Super 8 Series finale at Lake Fairfax in Reston, VA on Sunday, Team Bike Lane put their heart and soul into resurrecting this wonderful classic venue. And what a classic event this truly is. The course was HARD, with a mix of everything. Mud, gravel, pavement, off-camber turns, climbs, and a sweet downhill section had everyone digging deep into their bag of tricks to try and master this course. Thanks to Team Bike Lane for keeping the torch lit with the Capital Cross Classic. We here at Bike Doctor hope they keep it that way!
Tanner Browne ended his season with a win at Capital Cross, and 2nd in the MABRA Super8 sereis standings. The race started, and Tanner was in a great position as they completed the first lap, however, Elite women racer Erin Siliman had a terrible crash on the course, and everything was neutralized until she could be taken to hospital in an ambulance. The racers waited for about 30 minutes, and in that time Tanner rode around easily keeping his legs in the game.
Once the race was restarted they were told it was only going to be 2 laps. Tanner went hard from the start and came over the barriers in 2nd. He created a gap between him and 3rd, while trying to chase down Connor Bell in first, about 20 seconds ahead. By the middle of the 2nd lap Tanner was 45 seconds ahead of third place Matthew Ammann (the series leader), and about 45 second behind the leader. Tanner has had his mechanical issues this year (two broken chains), but this race he rode technically well and had no issues. Unfortunately for Connor Bell, this was not the case. With less than a kilometer left to race, Connor suffered a flat rear tire. He rode the flat the best he could, but that wasn’t going so well. Tanner didn’t realize this until he rounded the corner for the finish and saw that Conner was struggling. He launched a sprint and managed to pass him before the finish to take the win. It has been a season of ups and downs, but Tanner managed to get on the podium for every race.
The hotly contested Master’s ¾ series has seen 7 different winners stand on the top step, and Todd Bickling and Steve Fife lined up with the hopes of placing both men on the podium. But, it wasn’t to be. Fife fought hard, and made the lead group, holding 2nd position for the first few laps. Unfortunately a dropped chain over the barriers created a gap that he couldn’t close, and he lost contact with the leaders. Fife tried to hold it together for the second half of the race, but just missed the podium, placing 6th, which secured his 3rd overall placing in the series.
Bickling’s race was less successful. His first lap and a half went great, but then the wheels fell off the cart. Somehow, Todd forgot how to handle his bike. With his air pressure way too high, he over-thought the roots and cobbles, got caught in the tape twice, went down twice, and slid out on nearly every corner.
Bickling is not the type of rider you want to go towards a finish line with on your wheel, and on the last lap a Coppi rider caught him and surfed his wheel for the last few hundred meters. Coming into the finish, Bickling put the pedal to the metal and gapped the Coppi rider across the line. Too bad all these races aren’t only 100 meters long, Todd would be in heaven. In cross, sometimes it’s the little victories that count, and he rolled in around 15th, securing his 5th place overall in the series. Both racers are excited to move up to the Elite Master’s ranks next year, and hope for more continued success.
Pete Warner and Brian Sjoberg lined up for the Elite Masters race, and here is a race report in Warner’s own words:
“My main focus was to attempt to really push the start and try to limit inflicting damage to myself in the technical sections. Strangely, I was able to shoot through some gaps during the initial minute or so and get in the top 20. I think I got a little complacent with my position and rode hard enough to keep up with the folks I was with, but the top 10-15 riders were stretching the gap. That downhill chute definitely had a little pucker factor to it for me. I know I lost time there, but I just didn’t want to go down. I ended up riding with Chris Mayhew and Neil Schirmer for most of the race. I was a little timid since I knew I was probably the worst technical rider in the bunch, but it’s nice to finally see the progress I’ve made from when I started as I was able to get through the turns clean and in good shape. Definitely feeling more comfortable out there. I will admit that run up had me gasping for air. I thought I was having an asthma attack a few times up that sucker and I don’t think I have asthma! On the last lap, Neal let a gap go to Chris prior to crossing the dam. I knew I had to jump up to him so I made contact right before the run up and then just stayed with him. I thought he was going to attack me on that last little back section but he held it steady, and I didn’t make any mistakes following him. We had a fun duel to the line, but I just started my sprint too late (aka underestimating Mayhews’ sprint) and he held on by a few inches. A great way to cap off the race. I came away feeling positive about the race. Hell, 3 months ago I was Mayhews’ pupil at his cross clinic and didn’t know diddly about cross. Here I am going to the line with the guy…nice to see improvement. I ended up 18th, but I think I have a good idea where I can make some improvements before next year and hopefully contend for Top 10’s in the masters elite field…maybe even throw in some cross specific training since all I’ve really been doing is base prep for road next season. Definitely need to get some early season points so I can get in at least the second row. Luray will be my final hurrah.”
Thanks to the Bike Lane for a wonderful event, and to all the promoters that put on races in the MABRA Super 8 Series this year. Us racers couldn’t have had as much fun this cross season without your love and dedication to our sport! We are really looking forward to next season, and eagerly anticipate what’s in store for the 2012 MABRA cross series. Cyclocross is alive and healthy in our region, and we are LOVIN’ IT!