From the Road // TPC Pro MTB Team Update
Last weekend the top elite and amateurs from around the country came to Allentown, Pennsylvania for the USA Cycling National Championships. The Pro’s Closet team, consisting of Mitch Hoke, Ryan Woodall, and Drew Edsall, all competed in the XC and Short Track races. The course was great, providing a challenge for the racers and great spectating opportunities. Hoke described ‘The ‘Heckle Pit’ as “a tight technical section of trail was so packed with spectators leaning into to the course that it reminded me of racing cross in Belgium and the US Pro Cycling Challenge climbing Flag Staff Road in Boulder, had you not pre ridden the course you would have not know where to go because fans were so tight into trail but they all managed to get out of the way at the last moment.”
The XC race started great for Hoke as he put himself in a great position riding with Todd Well, Stephen Ettinger, Russel Finsterwald and Kerry Werner. On lap 2 Ettinger flatted in the rock garden and then on lap 3 Finsterwald flatted and Hoke found myself riding alone for 3rd place. Then with a lap and half to go he flatted on a sharp rock in the rock garden and fell back to 10th before he made it to the pit and got a wheel change. Frustrated, Hoke rode it out and crashed on the final single track section of the race trying to hold off a hard charging rider and finished 12th. Woodall had a great race and finished 14th and Drew finished 22nd.
After the crash and in the XC and botched call up procedure from USAC that put a bunch of really great riders in the back of the start neither Woodall nor Hoke had a great short track race finishing 18th and 29th.
1st Todd Wells Specialized Racing
2nd Kerry Werner BMC Project Dirt
3rd Jerimiah Bishop Sho-Air Cannondale
4th Alex Grant Sho-Air Cannondale
5th Cameron Dodge Scott Bikes
12th Mitch Hoke
14th Ryan Woodall
22nd Drew Edsall
Ryan Comes through the top of the Heckle Pit
The Catamount Classic is the final Pro XCT for the year. It is a great venue that provides easy spectating for fans and tactical race for the racers. The race is one town over from the home town of 2012 Olympian Leah Davison. Leah and her sister run a youth mountain bike program for young girls called Little Bella’s and this race is a great opportunity for the girls to see some of the worlds best female mountain bikers.
The Catamount course is fast and very tactical. During the Pro XC race an elite group formed at the front with Mitch Hoke, Kerry Werner, Antoine Car, Cam Dodge, and Spencer Paxson. They rode together for the first 4 laps knowing that none of would be successful going it alone on a fast windy course. The fireworks started on the 5th lap with Werner and Car creating a gap from Dodge, Paxon and Hoke. Hoke was the first to loose the pace and finished 5th and Paxon finished 4th with the Car taking the sprint over Werner and Dodge. Ryan Woodall came in with the next group to finish 10th. Some video of the XC Highlights can be found here thanks to the local news station.
Sunday brought the short track. A great course with a hard climb winding up the grass hill behind the start finish followed by a dual slalom and single track descent made for great racing. Hoke rode relatively comfortably for the race just trying to maintain a good position and follow any attacks that he thought were dangerous. There was a group of 8 until 3 laps to go when Cole Oberman attacked and forced a separation with Hoke and Sepp Kuss being the only riders able to follow him. They rotated positioning to hold the gap and not allow other riders to make it back to the front. The three of them stayed calm and did not attack eachother so it came down to a sprint. Hoke came through the final turn into the long slightly up-hill finish on the third wheel. He put his head down and came around Cole and Sepp to take his first win at a Pro XCT! “It was a great feeling but I promptly collapsed after the finish line in exhaustion,” said Hoke. Woodall came in 9th improving on his finish from Saturday.