Photo by Rom Ramondong

Leland Kermesse wrap-up

Apr 20
Filed in: Race reports,

Comments (6)

Maybe wider tires would have been a good idea after all?

Lower-category racers have clamored for longer, harder road races, and Saturday's Leland Kermesse delivered in spades. Dozens of riders fell victim to the serpentine hiss of a pinch flat. Those that didn't still had to stay upright through the soupy gravel and amidst the chaos of fallen riders, no different from the pro peloton trying to navigate the Koppenberg. "Take turns slow," Flatlandia's entertaining FAQ warned before the course. "Especially on the gravel. Nothing is slower than crashing." More than one rider found that out the hard way, including Jacques Launer (XXX Racing-AthletiCo), as captured here. He would be OK and finish in the top half of the 5's. Teammate William Pankonin managed to eat gravel twice and still finish 8th in the 4's. The award for persistence may go to Tony Rienks (Beverly Bike/Vee-Pak), who finished 21st despite a crash that took a big bite out of his arm. After the race he'd head to the hospital for six stitches in an injury that he described as "hamburger." And for anyone who survived those two challenges, there was still the matter of the wind, which defied early forecasts and like the mighty Kraken rose up to smite all comers. No surprise, then, than the P/1/2/3 race had more DNF's than F's. Indeed, every field was destined to blow up. Within a few miles of the P/1/2/3 race, Verizon u25 set explosives of its own when Ryan Freund and John Meyers went down the road -- and stayed down the road for more than 70 miles. "It was something special to see," says Ted Burger (Flatlandia), who was ensconced in the pace car. "On the tailwind section of gravel they were doing about 35 mph every lap." Freund and Meyers would build an impressive lead and finish 1-2, respectively, although the team report paints an amusing picture of the two of them tense on the rivet, like two newlyweds bickering on their honeymoon. Cyclocross experience paid off, although anyone who thrived in the gravel had to stay alert to stay on terms in the fast pavement and crosswinds. A balanced skill set was required. Eric Christ (Bicycle Heaven) and John Whipple (Team Tati) are no strangers to the dirt, nor to the podium: They won the 5's and 4's races, respectively, with Christ earning himself a free frame from Tati Cycles. Whipple, meanwhile, becomes the first rider in spring-classics history to win the Hillsboro-Leland double. He also tells me he has resubmitted his upgrade request. Look out, Fabian. The women's races detonated in similar fashion. Host Flatlandia picked up the win thanks to Kristen Meshberg, who won out of a three-woman sprint in the P/1/2/3's. Out of another large women's 4's field, rookie Cady Chintis (Unattached) won in what was her first road race. Full results.

Race reports Dan Andrews (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 5): "I was here to race and finish this bloody thing is what I did."

Stephen Butler (Wheelfast; 4): "The gravel seemed to last forever."

Tamara Fraser (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; W-4): "My endorphins were having a party in my brain and I was filled with sentimental appreciation for my breakmates."

Ryan Freund (Verizon u25; P/1/2/3): "John wanted to put everyone in the gutter from the gun, Steve thought we should wait a lap, and I really didn’t care."

Tyler George (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; P/1/2/3): "Last of those who finished. A fighter's position."

Arron Hampton (Psimet; 5): "I have never seen riders fall down so slowly. It was funny and it was not funny."

Chris Jensen (Half Acre Cycling; 4): "It was not only one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but one of the most awesome as well."

Dana Maglaris (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; W-4): "I gave it a huge effort to stay with the 1/2/3’s, who were attacking like crazy."

Kristen Meshberg (Flatlandia; W-P/1/2/3): "She took off on the first thick gravel section and I was terrified but forced myself to stay on her wheel."

Avi Neurohr (Chicago Cuttin' Crew; 4): "I soldiered on."

William Pankonin (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 4): "From the back, you could tell which riders were shelled. Broken legs swerved all over the road."

Brian Parker (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 4): "You need to do this race next year, it is that good. Can I preregister now, for next year?"

Ben Popper (Half Acre Cycling; 4): " It was such a great feeling, floating down the road. When we turned back onto the pavement, there were only five of us."

Ted Ramos (Iron Cycles; 4): "The first two laps were so hard I thought I could blow up at any time."

Jannette Rho (Chicago Cuttin' Crew; W-P/1/2/3): "You had to be strong to survive the winds and skilled to make it through the gravel."

Tony Rienks (Beverly Bike/Vee-Pak; 4): "I jump back onto the bike, not wanting my day to be over so soon."

Joe Schubert (Super Ape; 4): "At least I beat my 5-minute."

Mark Swartzendruber (Verizon Wireless; 40+): " I lost all concentration of the task at hand, being to crush him into the aggregate on the dirt roads."

Verizon u25 (P/1/2/3): "Meyers also said they spent most of the race bickering as they were completely on the rivet."

Bryan Witry (Spidermonkey Cycling; 4): "Three hours in the saddle is a long time. I loved every second of it."

Photos John Firak Gavin Gould Rom Ramondong David Tzau



Apr 20

12:02 pm

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Thank you for banning the word “epic”. Leland was tough, but should be the standard, not the exception. Big thanks to Flatlandia for another great event.


Apr 20

2:34 pm

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Half Acre Cycling)

i dunno Jason. i think that until there’s a harder road race than this, it’s ok to call it Epic.

that being said, i would like to see some Trans-Iowa coverage


Apr 20

2:42 pm

Luke Seemann's avatar

Luke Seemann (XXX Racing-AthletiCo)

Battenkill looked pretty hard.


Apr 21

5:18 am

Tim Speciale (Enzo's Racing)

I flatted a mile from the finish in contention for a top 5.  I blame Luke’s tire suggestion.


Apr 21

7:38 am

Luke Seemann's avatar

Luke Seemann (XXX Racing-AthletiCo)

Obviously the race was exactly a mile too long. I will alert USAC.


Apr 21

10:24 pm

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Tati)

Yes Luke, Battenkill was pretty hard.  Even the week before the pros took to the course when it was still dry.  Definitely not the kind of race you want to do the weekend after your category upgrade goes through.  (oops)


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