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Iron Cross

Pennsylvania, October 8, 2003

By Mark Laser

On a beautiful fall day in Central Pennsylvania, 73 racers competed in the Iron Cross - the inaugural edition of America's longest cyclocross race. With a course featuring a traditional 'cross layout to begin and end the race, and a 53 mile main loop with nearly 6,000 feet of climbing, racers had a very, very hard day. The demanding, rocky terrain of Michaux State Forest took its toll, with many riders slowed by flat tires and punishing climbs.

When the dust settled, Trek/VW/JBL pro Chris Eatough had captured the Men's race (and the KOM title) with a time of 3.30.03. Eatough was followed by Andy Applegate (Kona/Easton/CCA) and Paul Buschi (Meadow Ridge Farm).

In the women's race, Diedre Winfield of Extreme Sports captured the QOM title and finished in first place, with a time of 4.28.27. Winfield was followed by Cara McCauley (Asheville Bicycle Racing) and Jen Boxer.

The race organizers wish to thank the Carlisle Family YMCA, Galbraith Pre-Design, Land Rover of Harrisburg, Dr. Drew Wellmon, PA DCNR, PA DOT, South Mountain Repeaters, Yellow Breeches EMS, and our wonderful race volunteers.

Men's race report

By Kuhn

On the start laps (which may be the site of a short cross race next year for all you too scared to do the Iron Cross - we'll call it the Tin Cross or something like that), the group went at a definite sub max pace, but hard enough to spread things out a little, before heading out to the main loop.

Tom Miller grabbed the hole shot and about 10 seconds of fame as the group exited the start laps. A gentle fast paved section led to the first real obstacle of the day and the front of field had time to regroup. Andy Applegate took this opportunity to jump out to a slight lead with the KOM prize at the top of Log Sled Trail his objective. Log Sled, a rough climb, gave Chris Eatough, Paul Buschi, and Jeremiah Bishop a chance to overtake a frustrated Applegate with Eatough claiming the prize at the top followed closely by Buschi. Bishop reached the summit a little over a minute back and gave chase across the undulating ridge top, making contact with the Eatough/Buschi just before the very fast drop off the ridge. Bishop attacked immediately, but was quickly marked by Eatough and Buschi leaving a group of three at the head of the race. A little further back Applegate had teamed up with Mike Keefer and the two were riding a two-up TT to limit the damage to the front group.

Coming through the second checkpoint the front three were together with Keefer and Applegate about four minutes behind - over the next several miles things would change significantly. The catalyst for this change was the first "run-up" on the course - Yellow Hill. Bishop attacked his group hard while a little further back Applegate did the same. Bishop crested Yellow Hill with a slight gap to Eatough and a more substantial one to Buschi. Applegate put in an effort that not only distanced Keefer for the rest of the day, but also put him back into striking distance as he began to pull back time on the front three. At the front, Bishop continued his move, but Eatough matched it and very slowly crept back up to Bishop's rear wheel.

Another ridge top road offered up more high speed riding and suddenly Eatough found himself with a 10 second lead on Bishop. It wasn't apparent at the time what caused the split (keep reading, you'll find out why), but Eatough pressed on alone with about one third of the course still in front of him. Bishop's falter was Buschi's gain as the two joined up and were able to split the chasing duties. Applegate was still closing and had chopped his deficit by better than half as the racers came through checkpoint #3.

Next up was another big descent and a climb up Hogshead Road back to the ridge and things got more exciting even. First Applegate makes contact with Buschi and Bishop on the lower pitches of the climb and without hesitation presses past. Buschi responds, but the move puts Bishop in difficulty and it is now very apparent that Bishop is bonking, hard. Eatough is maintaining his gap over the chasers but Buschi and Applegate are now in a heated battle for the next spot on the road. By the top of this long and difficult climb Buschi has been gapped from Applegate's wheel and Bishop has lost enough ground that he is effectively out of the picture for the top three spots.

More rolling ridge top roads and a smooth descent (with a little pavement even) lead to a short trail section with a creek crossing and the second run of the day. Eatough is well away by now with about a three minute gap over the chasers. Buschi reduces the gap to Applegate on this section and the two come through checkpoint #4 separated by less than a minute. Keefer is now back in the picture and is closing hard on Bishop with these two also separated by less than a minute at check #4, though they now trail Applegate and Buschi by close to 10 minutes.

A short dirt road climb and descent to the last trail section up Hammond's Rocks and then a quick paved descent to the finish laps are all that await the riders. Eatough comes into the finish clear and rides his lap and a half on the short cross course to finish in a shade over 3 hours and 30 minutes. Applegate appears on the gravel road preceding the finish laps first, but Buschi won't give in and trails by only 20 meters as the two hit the finish circuit. Applegate makes use of his finely honed cross skills and pulls a few seconds out of Buschi on each of the barriers in this final lap and a half, distancing Buschi by enough for a comfortable margin at the line. Buschi takes a well-deserved third and the finish line awaits the impending battle between Bishop and Keefer. The awaited contest never materializes though and Keefer comes in alone followed by a happy looking Doug Jansen.

As riders fill in the top 10 and then top 20 spots with no sign of Bishop the organizers begin to worry and search parties (well Erin North anyway) are sent out to try to determine Bishop's fate. It turns out that in his bonk induced haze and the threat of a fast closing Keefer, Bishop blew through the turn to Hammond's Rocks head down and in full flight and never thought more of it until winding up in the town of Mt. Holly Springs. The long way around, a borrowed map, and some begged for food later Bishop makes it back to Camp Thompson alive and perhaps not completely well, but excited about the race non-the-less and looking forward to next year's event.

I'm sorry I did not get the opportunity to see the women's race as we had a great women's turnout and we very much appreciate their support. Next year we'll need a lead car for the ladies too!


1 Diedre Winfield (Extreme Sports)              4.28.27
2 Cara McCauley (Asheville Bicycle Racing/CCA)    16.09
3 Jen Boxer                                       31.48
4 Shannon Orr (Wissahickon)                       39.11
5 Elizabeth Sheldon                             1.23.58
6 Laury Saligman (Rock Creek Racers)            1.23.58
7 Christina Kelley                              1.18.13
8 Sara Hansing                                  1.29.01
9 Jill Wiest                                    1.48.06
10 Donna Weiser (YBR)                           1.48.13
DNS Marni Harker (Revolutions/Rock Creek)
QOM: Diedre Winfield (Extreme Sports)
1 Chris Eatough (Trek/VW/JBL)                   3.30.03
2 Andy Applegate (Kona/Easton/CCA)                 4.43
3 Paul Buschi (Meadow Ridge Farm)                  5.02
4 Mike Keefer (Gettysburg Bicycle)                16.56
5 Doug Jansen                                     19.31
6 Bill Alcorn (Speedgoat)                         22.49
7 Brandon Draugelis (Guy's Racing)                27.07
8 Mike Buchness (Bike Doctor)                     29.32
9 Hot Rod (Beck sportsbook.com)                   32.46
10 Nick Pedatella (Nittany Velo Club)             37.06
11 Michael Biegalski (Nittany Velo Club)          39.20
12 Hugh Smallwood                                 42.31
13 Brent Kresge (Monroe Wheelmen)                 43.22
14 Tom Miller (MBM)                               45.42
15 John Caligiano (citybikes.com)                 48.56
16 Judd Milne (Squadra Coppi)                     49.22
17 Eric Roman (Independent Fabrication)           50.08
18 Harlan Price (SBC)                             51.36
19 Nate Seymour (Potomac Velo Club)               56.34
20 Jay Dicharry (CRC)                             57.17
21 Jason Zimmerman (Freddie Fu)                   57.57
22 Joseph Ruggery (Freddie Fu)                    57.58
23 Jonathan Hansen (Team Snow Valley/ABRT)      1.00.45
24 Ed DeLuca (Scholl's Bicycle Center)          1.02.45
25 Albert Green                                 1.05.23
26 Alec Riendeau (Highland Park Hermes)         1.06.16
27 Brent Kametz (Green Mountain Cyclery)        1.12.19
28 Dr. Dave Albright (YBR)                      1.16.47
29 George Santucci                              1.17.17
30 Richard Hopkins (Bicycle Shed Racing)        1.18.35
31 Doug Milliken (Team Snow Valley/ABRT)        1.19.02
32 Mike Maher (Indiana Schwinn/TMR)             1.20.00
33 Nicholas Broskovich                          1.21.00
34 John Rogers (DC Velo)                        1.21.28
35 Todd Murphy                                  1.22.37
36 Randal Bailey                                1.23.22
37 Matt Pisano (YBR)                            1.24.47
38 Brian Sellers                                1.25.21
39 Steven Viers (Pedal Shop)                    1.25.46
40 Mark Stephenson (CRC)                        1.27.01
41 Erin Gay (Potomac Velo Club)                 1.27.48
42 Tim Yost (Carrera-Sports Emporium)           1.30.57
43 Andrew Crooks (Independent Fabrication)      1.31.13
44 Steve Thorne (Mt. Nittany Wheelworks)        1.37.13
45 TBC  (Cycle Center Racing)                   1.40.30
46 Chuck Buczeskie (YBR)                        1.49.00
47 Terry Ashby (Richmond Ciclismo)              1.50.44
48 Glenn Eck                                    1.52.03
49 Joseph Kotun (Lantern Rouge)                 1.56.53
50 Brian Kane (MBM)                             1.58.42
51 Brian Leber (Hub City Sports)                1.59.25
52 TBC                                          1.59.47
53 Colin Sandberg (ESSM/GPOA Cycling)           2.03.30
54 TBC                                          2.03.49
55 Don Pagano (YBR)                             2.06.39
56 Rich Sanzi                                   2.18.13
57 Steve Yesko                                  2.31.47
58 Kevin McGowan                                2.36.00
59 Kristian Carney (BMF)                        2.44.45
DNF Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW/JBL)
DNF Eric Marshall (Independent Fabrication)
DNF Joe Orgera (Festo)
DNF Chip Sovek (Potomac Velo Club)
DNF Matt Young (Sycip Racing)
DNF Mark Kerlin (Lantern Rouge)
DNS Jed Kornbluh (Team Bicycle Therapy)
DNS Brendan Marshall (Team Beacon)
DNS Sal Ruibal (USA Today Cycling Team)
DNS Robert Sands (Evolution Racing)
KOM: Chris Eatough (Trek/VW/JBL)
1st on 'cross bike: Andy Applegate (Kona/Easton/CCA)
1st singlespeed: Jay Dicharry (CRC)
1st YBR: Dr Dave Albright (YBR) 

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