The day that held NoTubes Iron Cross (www.IronCrossRace.com) dawned brilliantly sunny, dry and cool - a welcome change from the year of wet that enveloped the east coast throughout 2011. Riders spent a glorious Pennsylvania autumn day tackling thousands of feet of elevation gain across a myriad of course features, ripping eye popping descents lined with an exploding array of colors, shouldering their bikes on the steep and rock strewn run-ups and negotiating deep dark recesses of the forest carpeted with grasses and mosses of the most vibrant green hues.
When what little dust there was settled and the remnants of the 300 starters from throughout the US and Canada had completed the course it was clear that Iron Cross had offered up yet another delicious serving of the unique style of racing it helped introduce to North America.
Overall Men’s Race
The men’s race offered up a new victor in first time Iron Crosser Dereck Treadwell (Leatherstocking/Fitwerx, Laurens, NY), a former 1500m Olympic Trials finalist and pro triathlete who transitioned to cycling this year because, well, “cycling is just so much more fun!” Tread’s win was not without drama though as the IC gremlins played havoc with many of the top 10 riders in today’s field and shuffled the playing field many times through the day.
A mass start event, NoTubes Iron Cross offers up both overall prizes of the first finisher and a KOM plus breakdowns of Sr. Men, Master 40+ Men and SS Men. An early break of 10-12 men was established on the shallow up grade of Slate Quarry, a well worn ATV road a few miles into the course. It was here that challenger Adam Farabaugh (Oswego, NY, Sr), home from a summer of racing in Belgium for Team Deschuytter-KWSC Westerke, was pulled from the group by the dastardly sound of air escaping his wheels. A testing effort by NUE SS champ, Salsa’s Gerry Pflug (Mount Pleasant, PA, 40+) on the Wenksville Rollers marked him out as a man to watch. Soon after Carrol Composite’s Sonni Dyer (Valdese, NC, 40+) made a move on the KOM. His seemingly easily win of the KOM showed him to be another contender on this testing course littered with over 6000+ feet of climbing.
A general reforming across the ridge lead to the Lippencote Trail descent, a hallmark of the event. Mike Keefer (Hammer/Gettysburg Bicycle, Hanover, PA, Sr) made good use of his mountain bike and stellar skills on the descent emerging with a 20s lead over James Harmon (503 Cycleworx/LHCC, Litchfield, CT, Sr) and another 20s over Pflug. Treadwell saw the race headed up the road as he gingerly finished Lippencote on a broken front wheel. SRAM neutral support was in wait at this critical juncture and a quick switch put Treadwell in TT mode.
At the front Harmon joined Keefer on the paved roads around the far end of the course and Pflug made contact as the race entered the next pivotal section on course - the Wigwam Run-Up. Pflug surged ahead at this point pulling Harmon with him while Farabaugh and Treadwell were making their way back through the field. A quick succession of woods road and gravel climbs pushed Pflug ahead before the long ascent of Hogshead rewarded riders with beautiful views of PA’s fall splendor, but played with their minds as false summits dot the climb. Hogshead made good on its traditional role of reshuffling the field as Harmon began to fade while Treadwell came flying past Keefer, Harmon, and Mike Hosang (TriPower, VA Beach, VA, Sr) on the climb.
With five miles to go Treadwell make contact with Pflug in the trails leading to the day’s last run-up. While both rode much of this last steep section thanks to the day’s incredible conditions, Treadwell slowly opened a gap which Pflug was unable to close on the paved road descent to the final barriers and finish line. Behind Keefer held strong in third and while Farabaugh ripped the trails on his ‘cross bike to finish fourth overall. Harmon was able to come back by Hosang who was also caught by David Yacobelli (Corning/NoTubes, Endicott, NY, 40+) and SSer Roger Masse (Trek 29er, Bethesda, MD) in the final miles of the race.
NoTubes/Freeze Thaw Cycles Vicki Barclay (State College, PA) rode to her second consecutive Iron Cross win and Queen of the Mountain by making an early move to pull away from second place finisher Betsy Shogren (Dynamic PT, Morgantown, WV). With nary a problem in their rides the ladies simply tried to either pull away or pull back time with strong solid pacing. Both rode steadily throughout the day with Barclay ever so slowly edging further and further from Shogren until coming home with 10 minutes in hand.
The SS race saw fewer riders in the overall mix for the win, but Gunnar Shogren (Dynamic PT, Morgantown, WV) definitely gave Masse much reason for concern throughout the day. Shogren, aboard a fast rolling ‘cross bike, made the lead group and opened a sliver of daylight in the early miles. A sharp rock on the Slate Quarry ascent had him off the side of the road in the same predicament as Farabaugh watching the race leave him behind. Shogren launched into an all day pursuit of Masse and caught him in the final “sektor” of the course, passed him on the trail as Masse bobbled, rode away and promptly flatted. While Masse later credited his choice of a rigid forked Trek 29er with lightly treaded 1.95s as a key factor in his success Shogren, citing the spirit of the event, said he would always go with the ‘cross bike and left the race deciding second flat to pushing the envelope at time when it may not have been necessary.
Results are available on Mid-Atlantic Timing’s website: http://www.midatlantictiming.
Vicki Barclay (NoTubes/Freeze Thaw Cycles) gives a happy wave on her way to her second consecutive Iron Cross win.
After a SRAM wheel stop at the bottom of Lippencote. Dereck Treadwell (Leatherstocking/Fitworx) put years of running prowess to work closing precious time on the Wigwam run-up.
Gerry Pflug (Salsa Cycles) fresh off his ride at the Pisgah Stage Race lost the overall lead in the final 5 miles of the course, but took a commanding win in the Master 40+ field.
Roger Masse (Trek 29er Crew) won the SS category on a bike specially modified for the unique demands of Iron Cross.
The first glimpse of Wigwam does not often bring tears of joy to ICers eyes.
Sonni Dyer (Carrol Composites) splits the lead pack in search of the KOM line - he found it first.
Updated on May 9, 2013, 1:22pm