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Bridgeton, New Jersey, USA, November 8, 2008
Schempf prevails in sand storm
Wes Schempf of C3-Sollay.com prevailed in a difficult edition of the Beacon 'cross, with the wet sand making the going tough. The iconic 'Amphitheatre of Pain' held its name in earnest, as the MAC series visited New Jersey. In a switch from past years, the event was run under domestic sanctioning instead of its traditional UCI sanction. But the lack of international stature didn't seem to hurt, as the event drew record entries and the largest elite fields in years.
One change from past years that was not planned for, nor expected, was rain. Weather forecasts were unanimous in their prediction of a dry, unseasonably warm day. But by mid-morning, as the rain fell ever harder, it became obvious that the precipitation was not just a passing shower. The ground in Bridgeton, where the race is held, is typical South Jersey sandy soil, with an emphasis on "sandy".
By the end of their races, most riders looked like Shake 'n Bake chicken, with a heavy coating of granulated grey sand. For many riders, the effect was not merely the result of road spray. For the first time, organisers dug up the beach run with a roto-tiller to soften the sand and make it un-rideable. The result was a variety of crashes, pile-ups and near misses, including a stylish barrel roll by Wade Hess in the category 2/3/4 Men's race. Hess, of all people, should have been better prepared for the softer sand since, as the promoter of the event. He was the person responsible for making the call to bring in the roto-tiller in the first place.
Masters head out first
The MAC Powered by SRAM elite triple-header began with the elite masters. Roger Aspholm of Westwood Velo has dominated this class this year, not only by winning every race he's entered, but by crushing the competition en-route to those wins. But today, new daddy Mike Yozell of Visit PA.com took the early lead and Aspholm didn't see the front until the third lap. Once Aspholm did make it to the front, he and Yozell rode away from the remainder of the field, including Asphom's teammate Troy Kimball, who eventually finished third.
The two riders were never more that a few metres apart for the remainder of the race, with Aspholm eventually besting Yozell in a closely contested sprint to keep his winning streak alive. Interestingly, Yozell was the last elite masters rider to go undefeated in a MAC Powered by SRAM season.
Elite men in two-rider duel
Like the other two elite races, the men's race turned into a two-rider duel – this time between C3-Sollay.com's Wes Schempf and Colorado's Adam McGrath, who came to New Jersey thanks to his sponsorship by New Jersey-based Van Dessel Bikes. Schempf took an early lead and easily won the prime as first rider to crest the amphitheatre on the opening lap.
Behind him was an ever-changing freight train of riders. On the third lap, McGrath, Andy Wulfkuhle (C3-Sollay.com), Sean Galagher (Hunt Valley Bicycles/Marathon Roofing) and last week's MAC Powered by SRAM winner Ryan DeWald (Battley Harley Davidson) organised a chase and made contact with Schempf, before Schempf and McGrath were able to get away on their own. McGrath rode second wheel until 30 minutes into the race, when he came to the front for the first time.
Each rider had portions of the track where they had a slight advantage, but neither was able to open a sizeable gap, until the last half-lap when Schempf was able to establish a gap coming off the beach run that he would hold until the end. "There was a lot happening on that last lap," said McGrath afterward. "Some sand kicked up into my eye on the beach run and I could barely see. I was just following a shadow of Wes. Then [because I couldn't see] I banged my front wheel on the step coming off the beach and nearly hit myself in the face with the bike.
"But I think what it really came down to was the start. Since this wasn't a UCI race, we lined up according to MAC points, which put me in the back. Wes got away and I had to make my way through the field. On the second lap, I broke clear. But just as I made contact with Wes, he attacked me and I had to use a lot of energy to keep up, and that made me use more of my reserves than I wanted to. But I'm not afraid to say the stronger man won today. We'll have to see how it goes tomorrow, though."
Elite men 1 Weston Schempf (C3-Sollay.com) 2 Adam Mcgrath (Van Dessel) 3 Ryan Dewald (Battley Harley Davidson) 4 Sean Galagher (Hunt Valley Bicylces) 5 Andrew Wulfkuhle (C3-Sollay.com) 6 Matt Kraus (RGM WATCHES - RICHARD SACHS - BOATHOUSE INC) 7 Bobby Lea (Fuji) 8 Patrick Bradley (Rutgers University Cycling Team) 9 Charles Pendry (Inland Construction) 10 Jeff Bahnson (Secret Henry's Team / Van Dessel) 11 Stephen Cummings (Indiana Regional Medical Center) 12 Nathanael Wyatt (Carolina Fatz pb Santa Cruz Bicycles) 13 Greg Wittwer (ALAN North America Cycling Team) 14 John Burns (Bikeman.com) 15 J Gabriel Lloyd (TARGETRAINING) 16 Patrick Wilder (Cyclo-Sportif) 17 Dan Langlois (Embrocation/ Circle A Cycles) 18 Todd Hesel (Hunt Valley Bicylces) 19 Nicholas Shaffer (Human Zoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon) 20 Scott Dolmat-Connell (University of Vermont Cycling Team) 21 Matthew Rotroff (Inland Construction) 22 Christopher Hamlin (University Of Vermont) DNF Hunter Pronovost (Scott Factory Team - cyclistsarenotrockstars.com) DNF John Brewer (Haymarket Bicycles p/b Function Drinks) DNF Travis Livermon (Cannondale / CCN) DNF James Mccabe (Colavita Racing/Efinger Sporting Goods) DNF Louis Secreto (HZ-Pabst Blue Ribbon) DNF Jonny Sundt (ElGato) DNF Adam Szczepanski (Wissahickon) DNF Christopher Conselto (Henry's Bikes) DNF Chad Toterno (PBR-Human Zoom) Elite masters 1 Roger Aspholm (Westwood Velo) 2 Michael Yozell (VisitPA.com) 3 Troy Kimball (Westwood Velo) 4 Blair Saunders (Secret Henry's Team) 5 Dave Weaver (ALAN North America Cycling Team) 6 Greg Ferguson (Penn State Hershey Cancer Inst.) 7 Mark Kutney (Van Dessel Cycles) 8 Glenn Turner (Human Zoom/Pabst Blue Ribbon) 9 Kristopher Auer (C3-Sollay.Com) 10 Robert Campos (GS Gotham/Toga) 11 Joseph Piccillo (Evolution Racing) 12 Randall Root (Evolution Cycling Club) 13 Eric Schlauch (Team Somerset) 14 Andy Gorski (SPK / Speedgoat / Salsa) 15 Christopher Long (GS Gotham/Toga) 16 Kevin Fryberger (Human Zoom/Pabst Blue Ribbon) 17 Chris Nystrom (C3-Sollay.com !) 18 Brian Wieczorek (Freddie Fu Cycling) 19 Bradley Ford (South Mountain Cycles) 20 Matthew Howard 21 Michael Kolb (C3-Sollay.com) 22 Charles Chichester (Guy's Racing) 23 Raymond Zeimet (Guy's Racing) 24 Charles Erndl (3-D RacingTeam/Toms Atlantic cyclery) 25 David Wilson (Northeastern Hardware/CJCT) 26 Douglass Gray (Christiana Care PT+/FSVS) 27 Nilis Johan Anestad (Evolution Racing) 28 David Hunt (Team Somerset) 29 Lander Bravo (Altezza40 Racing) 30 Mark Featherman (Guys Racing Club) 31 Kevin Breckenmaker (Yellow Breeches Racing) 32 William Irving (Bicycle Depot) 33 Judd Milne (Squadra Coppi/IM Saab) 34 Chris Facas (Westwood Velo/Trade Manage Capitol) 35 Jeffrey Appeltans (Primus Mootry/Denver-Boulder Couriers) 36 Werner Freymann (Pure Energy Cycling/River Horse Brewing) 37 Doan Pendleton (Watchung Wheelmen) 38 Karl Kensinger (NCVC/Inova Health System) 39 Jim Feehan (Kissena) 40 Jay Downs (Fort Factory Team/Wvu Healthcare) 41 Nunzio Dibiasi (Yellow Breeches Racing) 43 Kelly Cline (Wissahickon)
2007 Davide Frattini (Team Colavita/Sutter Home Presented By Cooking Light) 2006 Tristan Schouten (Trek/Vw/Michen) 2005 Ryan Trebon (USA)