The UCI World Championships – RVA

September 26-27, 2015

On Saturday, leaving the pope behind in Philly, Jason set a land speed record, and he and Bryan arrived in Richmond at least an hour ahead of schedule. They arrived downtown and decided on refueling themselves after such a grueling car ride. They found an advantageous spot (Coda) on Broad St to watch the Elite Women's race.  It is there they met Terje and Stig, wearing Norweigan cycling jerseys with their first name prominently displayed. (Sounds like a great idea!) After a few hours of sharing war stories and such, plans were made to book a reservation for the 2017 World’s in Norway. A few hours later, Austin, who was visiting his college roommate met up with us. He made the wise decision not to tarry and left to recon the best viewing sites on the course for Men's Elite race on Sunday.

The Women's Elite road race provided exciting action in the afternoon. Elizabeth Armitstead of Great Britain won and the United States own Megan Guarnier finished third. Enjoy the photos taken by Austin at various points during the race.

On Sunday, Jason and Bryan connected with Pete and his two boys, Brendan and Justin. For the record, Justin was rooting for Peter Sagan on his Specialized bike to win. The rain held off and it was a perfect day for bike racing. We all met up with Austin - his recon from the day before paid off and we watched the riders from multiple vantage points. It was a trip worth making.

Here are a few photos taken by Austin during the final 2km of the Men's Elite Road Race.

Pinecone Circuit Road Race – Hammonton, NJ

August 16, 2015

45+ Report by Chris McHugh

7 laps – 44 miles, (Pete S and Chris M racing)

Was hoping the legs would hold up after racing Saturday in Ambler and performing clean up crew duties, learning how to correctly put away barriers in a truck. 

As usual in Jersey races, pace was fast and furious from the get go. 65 riders at the start made for some anxious positions the first 5 miles.  Laps one and two were fast but uneventful. On lap 3, I moved up to the front and got off with another guy, but the break was short lived. Thru It All was chasing down all breaks with one or two Jersey teams. I tried again on lap 4 but had same result. I was getting tired so I sat in on laps 5-6, a few others tried, but nothing got away for long. It was hot and I went through 3 water bottles (thank you Pete for the third). End of lap 6 was super fast as everyone was going to wait for the sprint finish. There was a crash on the next to last turn with 2 guys going down. I decided to move up one more time to see what if I could get in the front. I led the pack into the last long straightaway before the final turn. I did hold on for a while and then got passed by a swarm on my right.  I was holding on and was positioned in the pack approaching the big sprint. I didn't have much left and finished with the pack towards the back. I felt better than I did on Saturday and got a better chance to mix things up in the front. Great course and a solid workout.

Ambler Bike Race – Ambler, PA

August 15, 2015

Cat 3/4 Report by Patrick Darken

Ambler was a fun course.  Once you got comfortable, you could take every turn without breaking and even pedal around all but turn 5.   Momentum found me off the front relatively early (lap 4 or 5 of 23), so I went with it for 3 laps.  I was hoping to get someone to bridge, but no luck.  Probably not the brightest thing I ever did, but you could say that about many things I have done in races. Had to go to the back of the main field to "recover" - and by recover, I mean sprinting hard after every turn to stay on.  Mike B. was great in making sure I stayed on when I initially dropped back like an anchor.  From that point on, I slowly worked my way back up to the front until I was in a good position between 2nd and 5th wheel for the last few laps.  It was actually much easier riding up there than in the back and I felt pretty good coming into the last lap.  Unfortunately, the riders in front of me sat up and the field went around both sides of me on the incline between turn 4 and 5.  I got myself out of the box, but just didn't have the legs to get myself all the way back to the front and was forced to brake hard and go to the inside of turn 5.  Being on the right luckily helped me avoid a nasty sounding crash that happened directly to my left in the homestretch and I ended up 15th out of 40 finishers and about 50 starters.  In my defense, if it wasn't for setting up barriers at 5:30am, I could have been 14th!

The Jersey Devil – Montgomery, NJ

August 8, 2015

35+ Cat 1-4 Report by Patrick Darken

Got 11th out of 18 starters in the 35+.  Too many cat 1's in the field to expect to place. Just missed the winning break, spent a lap in no man's land time trialling unsuccessfully, and finished in what survived from the main field.  A great workout - 8 times up that climb hurt, a lot.

45+ Report by Dan Rosebaum

Who knew New Jersey had hills like this? My earlier in the week description of "Pitman with a bigger hill" was a bit off - more like Mt Joy.  45+ started with about 25 riders. Race blew apart in the 2nd and 3rd lap. I ended up regrouping with 5 other riders after losing the lead pack. We finished together, well behind the leaders. I was told that 10+ riders bailed out so I'm not sure where we ended up. Probably wasn't the smartest move to race after travel and 10 days off the bike - but it was a beautiful day, good course and a great workout. 

Tour de Millersburg Stage Race – Millersburg, PA

August 8, 2015

Cat 3 Report by Chris McHugh

9 Mile ITT – 8:37am start

It was a beautiful morning here in Millersburg. I got a great warm-up, plenty early, and was ready to go at the bell. It has been a while since I have done a 9 Mile ITT and I went out a bit too fast. The course was 5 miles out and 4 miles back. Open to traffic, but no one out that early off of route 147. I settled down and felt strong throughout. I hit the 8 mile mark and my legs were getting heavy. I gave up some crucial seconds the last 3/4 of a mile, but finished decent and I was happy with the final 1/4 mile. Looks like I finished 34th out of 57 or so that started, 20 seconds would have gotten me down to 18th so the TT was tight. 19:54 was a bit slower than I hoped, but was happy with effort [Ed. note: this equates to a 27.7 mph average so not slow at all!] 

Criterium – 3:30pm

I was anxious going into the race with a .67 mile 4 corner course. Turn 3 was the main concern as it was coming from a downhill right hand turn up a short climb. Got a decent warmup and was ready to go. Blasted from the gun as expected. Unfortunate for me, my second time around turn 3 I shifted down (debated whether I should of just stayed in big gear) and dropped my chain just as we were coming up hill. I pedaled backwards but could not get it back on… of course by that time, the group was gone. I got the chain back on and did 5 laps solo before getting pulled off; I needed those laps though to start the RR in the morning. 

Liberty Criterium – Malvern, PA

July 26, 2015

Cat 4 Report by Jason Mangler

This was on the Great Valley crit course from many a Thursday night. I must say, the guys running it were great…. they let me promote Ambler, then had the announcer give us a few plugs, all good stuff.  The Cat 4 Race was not blazing fast, but a few breaks tried, only to be tracked down. A touch windy and a ton sketchy with guys trying to jump into minute gaps on lap 10!  Dumb stuff for sure. Anyway, the Spintek guys had 4/5 guys in the race, and tried to control it with 2 to go. But Kevin “the flying Zen Miester” would have NONE of it. Kevin took off with 2 laps to go, making the whole race react, with the race going single file to catch him. We caught him with 1 to go, where the pack sat up for a rest, allowing me to jump up from mid pack to about 8th, right on Coolio’s wheel. I got myself to 5th come turn 4, and I then jumped and caught 2 guys, getting myself a podium in 3rd.  Thanks to Brian McHugh as well for tracking down some early breaks. Kevin… great move!

Brownstown Road Race – Brownstown, PA

June 27, 2015

40+ Cat 4/5 Report by Jason Mangler

Pete Sanelli, John, and I took part in the Brownstown RR for what was Butterworth's final race. I can honestly say, this was one of the gnarlier days that I have raced. It was 67F, with rain and wind at the start... and it only got colder and more windy throughout. They had 2 4/5 fields, the younger guys with about 45/50 riders on the line; we had another 35 racers. And putting only 3 min between races, it made for a mess. We caught the young guys mid way through lap 1, a break tried to get around them, which didn't stick and caused the race director to neutralize the race after lap 1. He pushed the older guys out first this time, but then the younger guys caught us near the climb on lap 2. So, it stayed together the remainder of the race, 6 laps total. And while it helped with blocking wind, it made for a much less safe race. I had a guy literally plow into my back wheel on that hard left turn with 2K to go, and somehow we both stayed up. While I was looking for John and Pete, the conditions made that tough to do. Any lull in the action had me using my water bottles to spray the horses--t off my face each lap. I managed to stay in the top 5/10 the whole race, and coming into that final downhill, saw myself rolling past 2 flyweights (as the headwind was pushing them backward). I had one card to play at that point, so I drilled it, got a gap, and held the gap up the hill to the 100M sign. I was gassed and a few guys passed me, but managed 3rd in my race and top 10 overall. It hurts more when you feel guys inching their way past you toward the line as opposed to getting yours doors blown off. Pete/John, thanks for manning up and racing your bikes out there in the monsoon. Fun times. 

Bob Riccio Memorial Tour de Pitman – Pitman, NJ

June 13, 2015

35+ Cat 1-4 Report by Dan Rosenbaum

Turns out for me this ended up being a two part stage race: 30 miles of Pitman in the AM, and 6 cubic yards of mulch in the PM.  The wheel barrow was the winner in the PM.

Still feeling a bit singed from Mt.Joy, I rode more conservative at Pitman.  Basically I sat in most of the race while Patrick and Chris did a lot of work up front - both bridged and/or went off the front a couple of time.  I made sure to break up any conversations in the back.  Nothing got away for long, and with about a km to go I jumped on a move on the false flat.  It strung things out a bit; lost a few spots on some sketchy moves in the last corner and then sprinted to finish 17th (starting field was about 60).

Good Zen showing.  Thank you to the Caffeinated Cyclist guys, who put on a good day.

35+ Cat 1-4 Report by Patrick Darken

Finished in the spot behind Dan (18th) after 4 breakaways I was in, including one on the penultimate 3mi lap, were each caught.  Then I got myself boxed in a lot on the last lap and was unable to compete for the podium.   A good workout at least.  You can have my pins Dan - I don't need any more. Thanks a ton to Chris for positioning me quite nicely for one of my breakaway attempts.  A lot more enjoyable riding with teammates then without.  Between Chris and I, we had Zen in the front or in a small break on about half of the laps - so at least we got some publicity.

New Jersey Masters Road Race – Mullica Township, NJ

May 31, 2015

Cat 3/4 – Chris McHugh for the Win!!

Well done to all the guys racing. Chris started out for the first time in a Zen jersey with a W. Team support was provided by JC, Jason and Kevin during the race. During the first lap, JC chased down 6-7 different people trying to ride off the front. Unfortunately his race ended before the first lap was complete due to a flat on one of the overpasses. The 2nd lap had Jason on the front the entire time until he also had a pinch flat so his race was over.  During the non-eventful 3rd lap, Kevin and Chris both decided to take turns trying to cause a break, but nothing happened. On the fourth lap, Kevin felt like it might be a bunch sprint so when the group hit a slight uphill, he drilled it to get a nice gap, and this gap turned into 5-6 miles of a solo breakaway.  Kevin rode unbelievable strong and almost got away, but the group caught him with about 4.5 miles left. Chris had been sitting in the chase, doing no work, and after Kevin was caught, Chris decided to counter-attack. Chris was able to TT away and hold off the pack. Great team win!!! Chris is officially a Zen!!!

Mt. Joy Road Race – Mt. Joy, PA

May 30, 2015           

Report by Dan Rosenbaum

Mt. “not so” Joyful race report. I’ll start with the best, and then work down.

1. First, was great to race with Pete.  We tried our best to hold our own.

2. I got five more safety pins.  good ones, too.

It was hot.  And fast.  I tried an early bridge up to an attack group - definitely didn’t help the legs after that.  I’m not sure I would have hung on anyway.  I popped about halfway through the race - legs baked and I was overheated.  But the safety pins are AWESOME!

Kitchen Road Criterium – Breinigsville, PA

May 16, 2015

Cat 3/4 Report by Patrick Darken

Jason and I had big plans, but those got reassembled when we discovered Jason had a cracked fame one minute into a warm-up ride. 

The officials were kind enough to pretend not to see the lightning and let us race.  We ended up getting a 23 mi race in (only losing 2 laps =2mi to the worse weather rolling in) on a wet but safe course.  I don't like most crits, but this course (Rodale Park) is specifically designed for cycling and never has motorized vehicles on it - so no oil to create havoc when it starts raining and no sharp turns.  So no worries with the weather.

Because of the threat of a shortened race, it was hot from the start.  I was one of the guys at the front trying to get away, but it wasn't happening - 5 miles in, I looked down to see that so far I had 380 normalized power and 340 for average power.  Those are sadly not levels that I can sustain for 25 miles, so I moved back to the middle of the pack and let my heart get back down below 300 bpm.   I watched for a break, covered some moves, tried twice more myself, but nothing got away - this was a pretty strong field that averaged over 26mph despite all the turns and wetness.  I found myself out of position at the start of the last lap due somewhat to erratic riding of others and my unwillingness to cause a crash to prove a point and somewhat to my own poor tactics.  I was boxed in for the climb and descent, but I managed to get outside and move up in the last 0.5 mi, but not enough.  Finished somewhere around 10th in a field of 30 or so.  In the end, an hour drive for a decent workout.  Huge thanks to Jason for sticking around after his race ended prematurely and offering a lot of encouragement.  I wish I could have been more entertaining Jason!

I recommend this course for other road racers who, like me, are leery of crits.  It is not quite as safe as Great Valley, but it is still far from a 4-corner crit on roads full of potholes.

Rock Lititz Bike Race – Lititz, PA

April 27, 2015

Cat 4 Report by Jason Mangler

50 guys pre-registered and adding another 10 for day of reg pushed us to 60 riders at the line… in front of a mid-day crowd that had to be 500-600 people and GROWING... and that was just along the main drag.  I took off from the gun to keep folks honest and to get some publicity for the team… heard the announcer shout out “ZEN IS OUT OF THE GATES WITH A BANG” as I took off.  Around turn 2, I got caught as I eased up and waited.  The course was a rectangle, with the Start/Finish on a short leg of the course. There was a small riser after a sweeping Turn 1, and then a steep Climb/Descent after Turn 3.  This took you into Turn 4 at speed…. and there was not one clean line into Turn 4. On the first lap, I was 3rd into Turn 4 and my back wheel jumped sideways what felt like 8-10 inches easy mid-way though the turn…  this cause some pause for sure.  Many attacks, none stuck. And then at lap 14 (out of 22), the race announcer hit us with 3 PRIMES in a row…. this put us single file for 3 straight laps… and all for $10 PRIMES?!?!?  With 2 laps to go, I glued myself to a CS Velo wheel and coming from the back of the group, got over the climb and down around Turn 4 sitting in 3rd place.  A few guys then jumped at Turn 2, so that I came out of turn 3 about 8th wheel (still a good spot). Then the guy in front of me fudged his turn, pushed the pack into the curb and the 6 guys in front of him got a gap… never to be closed.  I took 6/7 guys with me into Turn 4 and kept half of them at bay… finishing Top 10 and collecting $20 that was immediately spent on beer.  Fast, tough race… I think only 30 of the 60 actually finished the race. This should be a team race next year as the whole scene is awesome.

Farmersville Road Race – Brownstown, PA

April 11, 2015

40+ Cat 4/5 Report by Patrick Darken

Windy but not cold - not sure why 12 of the 57 signed up didn't show, but we still had a decent sized field.  First 2 of 5 laps (just under 7mi per lap) were pretty relaxed.  I attacked as a solo early break and was caught early in the third lap on the biggest (but still small) climb.   That eventually turned in to a 5 man break that held.  On the same small hill on the last lap (about 5 mi out), a rider who to his credit had bridged to the break, but had subsequently refused to pull, made a move just as I had finished a turn pulling and gone to the back.  He got away from the group.  We worked together and nearly had him caught with 1 mi to go.  Once it looked like we could catch him, no one wanted to use any more energy too early.  With no wheel to follow, I took off after the final turn with about 500m to go on the uphill into-the-wind finish.  I needed another 50m for the catch and ended up 2nd.  A good hard ride, almost enough money to pay the entry fee and gas, and a nice way to start the racing year off.

Hell of Hunterdon – Blawenburg, NJ

April 4, 2015

Report by Austin Conner

Hell of Hunterdon had been originally scheduled in March, but Mother Nature had other ideas and the snow forced the date to April. Kermesse Sport organizes this hugely popular ride and many of the racers use it as training for the Tour of Battenkill.  The description - a "challenging course [featuring] 19 sections of dirt, gravel, and hardscrabble roads" - does not quite do it justice and I was very thankful to be riding my steel framed Masi bike with size 32 tires. My bike was also rigged as a 1x9 (no front derailleur) and the setup was perfect because I did not have to worry about my chain coming off. 

This tribute to the Northern European Spring Classics will always be on my calendar now.  It is a great early season training ride that can be ridden as hard as you want. In addition, there is enough elevation change, wind, bike handling and suffering to earn that feeling of accomplishment by the end.

Ronde Van Mullica – Elwood, Mullica Township, NJ 

March 29, 2015

45+ Report by Dan Rosenbaum

Because we were such a refined, mature set of well-mannered gentlemen, our full field of 65+ didn't go off until 10:20ish. So by then the temp was a balmy 32.5 degrees at least.  2nd lap a group including thru-it-all, PAM and Kelly went off the front. The rest of their teams, particularly T-I-A, did a pretty good job of controlling the front of the main pack. (Nice to have 7+ teammates in the race!). Chris took some pulls on the 3rd or 4th lap; I did some work on the front on 4 and 5.  The break stuck, so that left the rest of us to push for crumbs in the main pack. Decent sprint in the end - somewhere in the mid pack.  Nice way to wake the legs up in some good pack riding to start the season.

Cat 4 Report by Jason Mangler

It was a sunny, chilly day for bike racing in the lovely Pine Barrens of NJ. Nonetheless, I had spent the money and needed the miles. The Cat 4 race had 40 guys at the start, and what had to be the coldest start temp ever (24F). Pace was MAYBE a spirited group ride for the first lap and a half, and then the attacks started. Coolio and I managed to stay in the front 15 most of the race, with Big John going "super teammate" today and chasing down almost every break...he's an animal folks!  It all stayed together with 2 miles to go and one CS Velo guy took off for the eventual win. I found a clean line and open road with 300M to go and took 2nd in the bunch sprint, netting me 3rd overall. A few more of these and I'll be able to upgrade before May!!

A big, big thanks to John Cooleen for his work today. The temps were insanely cold and the wind was just gnarly, yet he still agreed to go and work for me. I owe him one.