Photo by the "other" Rouleur on Squadra Coppi, "Hip Rouleur" Jay Westcott.
As the MABRA Super8 Cyclocross Series heads into the home stretch, the attention has shifted to Howard County, Maryland, home of the two back-to-back races known as HoCo2XCX. Though no longer on the same weekend, Schooley Mill CX (Nov 13) and Rockburn CX (Nov 20) still hold a fond place in local racers' hearts, including the cyclocrossers of Squadra Coppi.
At Schooley Mill, Sarah Crosskey was the top Coppi finisher on the day, storming to 2nd place in the Womens 4 field in her first cyclocross race of the year. Sarah was clearly unfazed by spending all of October away on travel, leading our own Unholy Rouleur to describe her as "just a bomber, swooping in occasionally to help the leaders destroy whatever field she is in."
Also telling us not to call it a comeback was Jon "Baron Von" Burns, who succumbed to pre-race heckling via email, Twitter, and Facebook and lined up for the Masters 3/4. The race left him a happy wreck. Let's let the Unholy Rouleur tell the tale again: "Burnsie's face was amazing, showing equal parts suffering, enthusiasm, and disorientation that looked like he'd taken in too many terrain features in too short a time period." He may or may not have been bleeding after the race. Or maybe that was the Unholy Rouleur himself. Experts' opinions differ.
Less dramatically (but much, much closer to the front of the race), Ryan Newill continued his stealth campaign of climbing the Masters 3/4 ladder with a 14th place finish, while Mark "Mr. Smooth" Skubis slotting in at 25th. Adam "Turbodiesel" Austin learned some stuff in his race and has subsequently pronounced that while, you know, riding his bike isn't his thing, racing it really is. Chris Grengs clearly also loves racing, enough to hit that atrociously early 8:30 start for the Cat 4 race each week, and Schooley Mill was no exception.
Jake Thompson gave himself a "stomach of anger" in the Junior 15-18 race, as a late rolled tubular cost him a shot at the top steps of the podium. He rallied for 3rd, but was motivated enough to line up (on dad's full carbon bike with Zipp wheels, no less) in the Men's 3/4 "Killer B" field along with Brad Evans and Eric Blomquist. Blomquist, racing in Coppi blue for the first time, got right into the team spirit, working together with Der Jake to move from around 30th at mid-race to 23rd (Thompson) and 24th (Blomquist) by the finish. (Blomquist had already proven his value to the Azzurri earlier in the day by driving injured reserve member Rich Elder out to the race so he could heckle properly from a primo spot by the barriers.) Evans faded a bit after a strong start, but rallied for 8th to keep climbing the Super8 Series standings.
"Papa" Scott Thompson picked up 13th in a stacked 45+ Masters field, while Jim McNeely continued to make his life unnecessarily difficult by racing an overgeared, heavy mountain bike in the "45+ is Stacked? Ha! Come Over Here If You Want To See Stacked" Singlespeed class. While we're on the topic of stacked fields, Dave Pedersen apparently likes the weekly beating doled out in the Elite 35+ field, and Andrew Welch proudly flew the Coppi flag for 15th in the Pro/1/2/3 race, which was again dominated by Joe Dombrowski and Wes Schempf.