KRAUSE AND SCHAUER DIESEL TO VICTORY AT EVO-CROSS
October 9, 2005 Buckingham, PA, USA On a course made treacherous by 7 inches of rain, Matt Krause (Alan Factory Team) and Betsy Schauer (Fort/GPOA!) rode the victories in the season-opening event of the $30,000 Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross Series. The already soft fields of the None-Such Farm were turned into quagmires in places by two consecutive days of rain that had the entire region under flood warnings until 10:30 the night before the race. Race day dawned overcast, and dry -- but the damage was done. As 17 time National Champion and Cycling Hall of Famer Joe Saling put it after the Masters Race, "Ribbon to Ribbon, just mud." As the amatuer classes rode their races, their tires turned the wet soil like one of the farm's tractor tillers and left portions of the course unrideable for every Elite class racer, except defending Verge MACS Women's Champion Betsy Schauer.
The likeable West Virginian is shy and demure off the bike, but Schauer is a picture of strength and confidence while riding. Riding for the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based FORT frames and GPOA medical services team, Schauer hit the front just 1/4 into the 45 minute Elite Women's race with only Melanie Schwartz (Square Coppi/Van Dessel) able to hang onto her wheel. Schwartz attacked the first time up the double run-up, but Schauer countered on the remount and was never matched. Riding in a position reminiscent of the climbing style of Tyler Hamilton, she increased her lead from 30 seconds after one lap, to two minutes by the end of the race.
The men's race was a see-saw battle that saw New Englander Matt Krause (Alan Factory Team) and defending verge MACS series champion Ryan Leach (FORT/GPOA!) swap the lead several times on the track and in the pits. Krause drew first blood with a holeshot on the grass, uphill start. But Leach retaliated on the double run-up. The lead duo was joined by four other riders -- Roger Aspholm (Westwood Velo), and the FORT/GPOA! trio of Weston Schempf, Gunnar Shogren and Mike Yozell. As they hit the "Cornfield Peanut Butter", Leach dismounted while Krause tried to ride through. Leach's decision proved the better as he put time on the tire-spinning Krause, who eventually ground to a halt and had to dismount himself. By the end of the first lap, the Krause and Leach were off the front, Yozell was off the back and third-place Asphlom was in no-man's land between the lead duo and the intramural battle of Shogren and Schempf.
On the second lap, the differences in the two leader's techniques were becoming obvious, with Krause spinning at a higher cadence and Leach pushing a bigger gear and repeatedly coming out of the saddle to maintain momentum. At three laps to go, Krause had established a lead of 9 seconds. But, Leach was able to pass when Krause pulled into the pits for a bike change. The main difference in the two was now clear, according to Leach. "All race long I was stronger in the running sections and he was able to ride faster on the technical parts," said Leach afterwards. With just a lap-and-a-half to go, the two leaders came to a tight, muddy hairpin turn around a tree. Leach, in the lead, ran the section while Krause rode his bike around both the tree and the leader. Once in the lead, Krause extended his margin to take Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series Leader's Jersey. Asked afterwards if he attacked Leach at the hairpin, Krause smiled and replied, "I don't really attack. I'm mo re of a Jan Ulrich diesel kind of rider. I was just faster in that part of the track all day, and he was faster on the runs."
Pittsburgh's Stephen Cummings made the most of his cross-state commute by dominating the Men's B-Race to win by nearly two-and-a-half minutes. Cummings twice rode up the second run-up without dismounting.
71 Masters made up the largest field of the day with New Jersey's Eric Schlauch (Somerset Wheelmen/Van Dessel) taking the overall win. New Yorker Christopher Long (Independent Fabrication/Gotham Cyclists) and Fred Wittwer of the Charlottesville (Virginia) Racing Club were the highest-placed 45+ and 55+ riders.
After a day of mud-slogging in Pennsylvania, the Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross Series moves to South Jersey and the high speeds and three-story "Amphitheater of Pain" run-up of the UCI-sanctioned Beacon Cyclocross in Bridgeton, New Jersey on October 16. For more information on this, and other upcoming races, see BikeReg.com -- the official online registration service of the Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross Series.