Volkswagen Iron Cross III - America's Longest Cyclocross Race

Michaux State Forest, PA

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Volkswagen Iron Cross III - America's Longest Cyclocross Race
Presented by
High Speed Cycling, Yellow Breeches Racing,
and the Volkswagen Dealers of South Central PA
Michaux State Forest, PA
Sunday, October 16, 2005

Kona Team Makes Michaux Its Own As Applegate and McCauley Ride To Wins At Volkswagen Iron Cross III

October 16, 2005
As reported by Mike Kuhn of

A few minutes less than four hours is all it took Andy Applegate of the Easton/Kona cyclocross team to put his stamp of authority on the 2005 Volkswagen Iron Cross race this past Sunday. Applegate left a field of talented riders in his wake in his convincing victory in America's longest cyclocross race and, in the process, wiped out two years of disappointment and close calls. Overcoming a huge early race setback, CCA/Kona's Cara McCauley took the win in the women's Iron Cross.

The rugged Volkswagen Iron Cross III course consisted of a massive, clockwise 62-mile lap in and around Michaux State Forest in South Central Pennsylvania. The loop consisted of miles of paved road, fireroad, singletrack, doubletrack, gravel trails, run-ups, and a traditional grass cyclocross course to begin and end the race. These were not easy miles as racers faced over 6,000 feet of climbing during the race.

An up-front place on the starting grid turned out to be more important than one might expect for a suffer-fest lasting up to six hours. With a lap of the Iron Cross Lite MABRA series cyclocross course to complete and 112 eager racers on the line, by the time the first riders veered off to start the main, 62-mile lap, gaps had already formed that would play a significant role in the day's results.

Distanced in the early going were riders like Garth Prosser and Rob Lichtenwalner of Team Cannondale and Pittsburgh's T.J. Platt riding for Dirty Harry's. More surprising was the fact that Applegate put this one away early by bridging up to an attack led by Jim Swigart (Cycle Center Racing) on the Pine Grove hiker/biker path less than one mile into the race. Swigart hung on for a few minutes and was then swallowed by a group of eight riders on the paved climb of Bendersville Road, just minutes into the course. Meanwhile, Applegate just kept on keeping on and slowly rode out of sight. There was little panic in the group of eight chasers, which included Ray Adams and Mike Kuhn (both, with Kuhn being one of the promoters of Iron Cross III), Nate Deibert (PezCyclingNews/Evolution), Mike Keefer (Gettysburg Bicycle), Swigart, and Les Leach (Wissahickon Cyclery) amongst others, due to the distance and difficulty of the race and the knowledge that Applegate had come to grief in previous editions in the course's technical sections.

The group of eight split up on the ensuing dirt climb up Slate Quarry Road with Deibert throwing in a fakey flat tire attack tactic to split the group. Topping out first were Adams and Deibert with Kuhn and Swigart next over the top. A long descent and a series of difficult paved rollers along Wenksville Road (part of the Nutcracker Road Race course) allowed the group to come back together, with Applegate still up the road, and it was joined by more riders from behind including Andy Gorski (North Hills Velo/Viner) and George Ganoung (US Armed Forces). This group hit the KOM climb of Shippensburg Road a little less than one hour into the race with Applegate almost two minutes up the road and thus the easy winner of the KOM prize. On this climb, Adams slowly rode off the front of the group and was joined by an aggressive Swigart. Deibert was next to attempt a gap toward the top of the climb and Kuhn dug deep to hang on knowing that a group of crossers working together could distance itself before the feared Lippencote Trail descent where mountain bikers would have a distinct advantage over their skinny tired competitors. Gorski came with Kuhn and Deibert and slowly these three bridged to Adams and Swigart and made a train of five rolling across Piney Mountain Ridge Road.

With the mountain bikers distanced and knowing the difficulty of the descent, Kuhn came by Deibert and Adams just as Lippencote crested and by the end of the mile-long singletrack had carved out a gap of almost 30 seconds while offering his teammate Adams a line to follow through the technical sections. At the intersection with Route 234, Kuhn sat up to wait for his teammate knowing that the next paved section of course into Caledonia State Park could be a place to solidify the attack through teamwork. Deibert and Gorski were next through the trees and were working together 20 seconds in arrears of the duo though they were slowly losing ground.

Ahead, Applegate was breathing a sigh of relief as Lippencote Trail had been his undoing in years past. This year he was two minutes up on the chasers and blasted through this difficult section with nary a problem, showing his early attack to be a perfect tactic for the day.

Kuhn and Adams would continue to work together through the massive Wigwam Hill run-up where Deibert and Gorski were just behind and Applegate could be seen in the distance on the last of the three run-ups that make up this very difficult section of the course. Through Checkpoint 2, the switching point for the days relay teams, across Milesburn Road, the scenic climb of Gilbert Trail, Ridge Road, and the descent of Thompson Hollow Road, the duo tried in vain to real in Applegate. Adams waited for Kuhn on the climbs as his pace making on the flats and descents were keeping Adams fresh for a late race surge.

Into Checkpoint 3, Kuhn let his teammate go telling him what to expect through the rest of the course and set his own pace. The last time Kuhn saw Adams in the distance he had already pulled two minutes out of his domestique and was off on a solo hunt of the Easton/Kona rider ahead.

Behind, on Gilbert Road, both Gorski and Deibert were suffering and leg cramps caused a separation between the two with Gorski slowly riding ahead on the climb. Up and over the 20-minute climb of Hogshead and Woodrow Roads and into Checkpoint 3, Applegate had a commanding three-minute lead over Adams with another three back to a suffering Kuhn then one minute to Gorski, who had the rider in his sights. Deibert was next through Checkpoint 3, followed closely by Platt (who had been picking off riders all day long after missing the front group on the prologue start).

In the ensuing trail sections, Applegate would maintain his lead, Adams would make a wrong turn and then correct his misdoing, Kuhn would be overtaken by Gorski, and Deibert would suffer his first of two flats dropping him from 5th to an eventual 11th place finish. Gorski and Kuhn would come into the final run-up of the day within seconds of each other after Kuhn had stopped to disconnect a dragging rear brake and Gorski's "wooden legs" would barely work off the bike. All that followed was the descent of Route 233 and a rolling mile and a half back to the YMCA's Camp Thompson, the start/finish of Iron Cross III. Kuhn searched the road ahead for Gorski hoping to make contact before the finish line, but Gorski was out of sight. Platt was coming up fast from behind and although Kuhn "felt like I rode the last five miles with my head turned backward" fearing he would be caught rolled in to be informed he had finished third behind Applegate and Adams, with Platt the next through.

But where was Gorski? It turned out Gorski made a slight deviation from the course, but Kuhn and Platt had no doubt the North Hills Velo rider was entitled to a well earned third place overall and conceded him the podium spot. Actually, Kuhn was the only one to take a real hit here since Platt noted that, "It doesn't matter to me, he owes me gas money anyway."

Said Applegate after the race, "It took me three tries but I finally did it! I'm racing 'cross in the 40+ category this year and I feel faster than ever. I know that age will catch up to me eventually, but right now I feel like I'm just getting faster and faster."

Though this race reporter/promoter does not have all the details since he was busy trying to hold off Gorski and riding around with his head on backward, the women's race held some great drama as eventual winner Cara McCauley (CCA/Kona) flatted just off the start lap and was the very last rider on the course after being left behind by the field. Quickly righting her situation, Cara began picking off her competitors and pulled into the lead somewhere near the course's signature feature, the Wigwam Hill run-up. From this point on there was no stopping Cara and she pulled out a five minute win over Mandi Riddle (Vicious Cycles) - who had taken advantage of the earlier situation and went home with the QOM for her ride to the crest of Shippensburg Road.

Both the men's and women's champs rode their Kona cyclocross bikes to victory and in doing so took home the cyclocross bonus which was awarded to any rider to win the event on a 'cross bike. Of note is that in the top five of the men's race, only one rider was on a mountain bike and that steed was a 29er with narrow tires, essentially turning it into a flat bar 'cross bike. This is the first year that cross bikes have dominated the standings and the promoters are very satisfied with the course and are already looking forward to an even better event in October 2006. Full results, photos, and links to more race reports will be available on Volkswagen Iron Cross III has been brought to you by the letters YBR, HSC, and YMCA.

The Iron Cross race was 62+ miles long and featured over 6,000 feet of climbing.

These results are provided for informational purposes only.  Please note that the protest period for this event has expired and no changes can or will be made to these results. Place First Last Team Bib Time Cat Notes Men 1 Andy Applegate Easton / Kona 117 3:57:40 Men KOM, 'Cross bike 2 Ray Adams MTB Team 106 4:00:17 Men 3 Andy Gorski North Hills Velo / / NetApp 203 4:11:46 Men 4 Mike Kuhn MTB Team 197 4:08:24 Men 5 T.j. Platt Dirty Harry's / Skin Squared 204 4:10:03 Men 6 Garth Prosser Cannondale 139 4:15:17 Men 7 Steve Gayner Team Wisconsin 154 4:18:00 Men 8 Joey Riddle 165 4:18:57 Men 9 Les Leach Wissahickon Cyclery 134 4:20:16 Men 10 David Fahnestock LSV/Kelly 206 4:21:07 Men 11 Nathan Deibert EVO Racing/ 123 4:22:08 Men 12 Rob Lichtenwalner cannondale mountain bike team/lupine 101 4:26:06 Men 13 Michael Keefer 122 4:30:57 Men 14 George Ganoung US Armed Forces 155 4:36:51 Men 15 Steve Schwarz Indy Fab Grassroots 168 4:44:49 Men 16 John Rogers DC Velo/Martens Volvo 127 4:47:30 Men 17 Mike Maher Indiana Cycling 146 4:47:42 Men 18 Garner Woodall Rockville Harley-Davidson/Bicycle Pro Shop 179 4:47:47 Men 19 Steve Thorne Mt Nittany Wheelworks 108 4:48:13 Men 20 Alex Cox Indiana Cycling and Fitness 192 4:49:26 Men 21 Albert Greene Yellow Breeches Racing 175 4:52:00 Men 22 Elliot Mcallister Team Human Zoom 111 4:52:57 Men 23 Wade Newell Cycle Fit Racing 176 4:53:36 Men 24 Ed Bush Club Wissahickon 105 4:54:42 Men 25 Michael Malone VCB/Legg Mason RacePace 137 4:55:18 Men 26 Robert Campbell NCVC/Edge Technologies 133 4:55:18 Men 27 Darius Mark Yellow Breeches Racing 190 4:55:28 Men 28 Chuck Quackenbush CBRC-Saab of Halfmoon 126 4:55:44 Men 29 Scott Flynn 157 5:00:05 Men 30 Joel Moats Mountain Bikers of Michaux 143 5:00:28 Men 31 Mike Loranty 166 5:00:34 Men 32 George Hollerbach 120 5:02:28 Men 33 David Smith Gulf Coast Cycling Association 119 5:03:47 Men 34 Scott Kelly McMaster Cycling 174 5:04:40 Men 35 Rodger Carter VBC/Race Pace - Legg Mason 161 5:05:38 Men 36 Chuck Buczeskie Yellow Breeches Racing 198 5:05:46 Men 37 Ron Kinser 151 5:07:47 Men 38 Tim Cusick 152 5:08:49 Men 39 Ed Deluca 199 5:09:03 Men 40 Paul Guttridge 193 5:09:30 Men 41 George Santucci 121 5:09:42 Men 42 Thori Wolfe 189 5:12:36 Men 43 Andrew Grabarek Nautilus Velo Club 149 5:13:24 Men 44 Jeff Unruh Slimen und Grossen 142 5:14:00 Men 45 William Gilmer tri-power 144 5:14:39 Men 46 Nicolas Weibel Team Josh Carter 124 5:15:11 Men 47 Stacey Bupp Gung Ho Bikes 164 5:17:44 Men 48 Andrew Kemble 188 5:18:05 Men 49 Christopher Dinsmore Snowshoe/ 132 5:18:57 Men 50 Michael Hosang TRIPOWER 182 5:19:35 Men 51 William Linn 205 5:20:07 Men 52 Peter Buck Mt. Nittany Wheelworks 103 5:20:09 Men 53 Brian Hopkins Indiana Cycling 195 5:23:35 Men 54 Rich Seevers Indiana Cycling And Fitness 194 5:23:45 Men 55 William Feasley dc velo/martens volvo 128 5:25:14 Men 56 Scott Green 153 5:26:25 Men 57 Kevin Horvath Tri-Power 156 5:26:48 Men 58 Gene Rutledge VBV/ECB 160 5:27:06 Men 59 Paul Patarini 136 5:32:39 Men 60 Michael Malone 137 5:32:45 Men 61 Clark Evanitus team gung ho 163 5:34:49 Men 62 Trevis Benchoff Mountain Bikers of Michaux 114 5:35:08 Men 63 Mark Donia 113 5:35:09 Men 64 Matt Michael 138 5:37:49 Men 65 James Wilson 110 5:38:02 Men 66 John Nusbaum Team Muddy Run 102 5:38:06 Men 67 Dominic Cilento Mobtown Mono Veloce 171 5:39:49 Men 68 Tim Starkey Tri-power 145 5:41:59 Men 69 Jay Mongillo Northeast Bicycles 148 5:45:53 Men 70 Don Pagano 191 5:51:19 Men 71 David Wilson Mountain Bikers of Michaux 115 5:53:28 Men 72 Jude Vilain bicycle therapy 141 5:54:05 Men 73 Thor Engblom Evolution Cycling / Team DLS 187 5:54:07 Men 74 Nate Rex Cycle Center Racing 158 5:56:23 Men 75 Scott Mcdowell Yellow Breeches Racing 107 5:56:56 Men 76 Kevin Long 202 5:57:30 Men 77 Travis Priest Pax Velo 185 5:58:15 Men 78 Kelly Rennels Yellow Breeches Racing 131 6:11:09 Men 79 Tim Whittemore 196 6:13:03 Men 80 Josh Carter 129 6:14:39 Men 81 Jason Gabriel Team Josh Carter 130 6:14:40 Men 82 John Moody 177 6:16:55 Men 83 Larry Mauch Evolution Cycling / Team DLS 162 6:19:24 Men 84 Rob Tripp Smoke Bomb 200 6:24:14 Men 85 H Shindle team H factor 169 6:45:07 Men 86 Carlos Sparenberg Smoke Bomb-Shift w/o Derailleurs 201 6:45:18 Men 87 Dave Fowler 172 6:51:18 Men 999 Jim Swigart Cycle Center Racing 170 3:54:40 Men Missed course 999 Nicholas Broskovich Cycle Center Racing 159 4:16:49 Men Missed course 999 James W. Wagner 109 DNF Men 999 Barry Holman Team Fuji 135 DNF Men 999 Michael Mcmahon TriPower 186 DNF Men 999 Bill Bair 173 DNF Men 999 Michael Rea Bayside Velo/Bike Doctor 112 DNF Men 999 Robert Sawyer Hilton Cycling Club / Conte's 150 DNS Men 999 Doug Milliken Team Snow Valley/ABRT 147 DNF Men Female 1 Cara Mccauley CCA/Kona 118 5:10:36 Women Cross bike 2 Mandi Riddle vicious cycles 167 5:15:14 Women QOM 3 Karen Moody 178 5:36:30 Women 4 Sarah Lichtenwalner Valley Mountain Bikers 104 5:43:56 Women 5 Liz Schleeper TriPower 183 5:48:32 Women 6 Carol Ennser Tripower 181 6:06:44 Women 7 Anne Grofvert Ann Arbor Velo/Salon XL 125 6:17:33 Women 8 Pamela Mauch 180 6:19:25 Women 9 Sue Witter 116 6:44:08 Women 999 Laura Cook TriPower 184 DNF Women Duo Coed 1 Sally McClain Team McClain 2 5:33:24 Duo Coed 2 Suzanne Tempsick 3D Racing Team 6 6:07:05 Duo Coed Duo Female 1 Kerry Combs Mt Nittany Wheelworks/IF/ Hup United 1 5:41:38 Duo Female Duo Male 1 Rick Bullotta Bean's Bikes 4 5:01:41 Duo Men 2 Dale Shomper 1 5:04:12 Duo Men 3 Robert Naeser 5 5:52:30 Duo Men 4 Dan Reese 7 6:24:24 Duo Men 5 William Thompson 8 6:36:47 Duo Men