Thanks to our incredible sponsors, all the pieces fell into place in the days leading up to the first UCI races of the season. Team mechanics James Sullivan and Mark West put in some long hours to get the race bikes built and ready for the season opener in Rochester, NY this past weekend. The team spent Friday dialing in their positions on the new Pivot Vault race rigs as well as previewing the new race course layout. A bit of light rain on Friday made for fast, tacky track. Perfect for testing out the new equipment.
It was a return to cyclocross racing action for U23 rider Laurel Rathbun who recently recovered from a shoulder injury that ended her season prematurely last November. "I only did two cross races last year before my injury, so this race was bit of shock to the system, " laughed Rathbun. "I've been feeling really good on the track this summer, but those are just hard five minute efforts. This is 45 minutes of all out racing. I blew up on Saturday, but Sunday was much, much better." Laurel went on to say, "I had a three strong laps on Sunday that I was happy with. Once I get a few more races in me, the endurance will be right where it needs to be." Laurel will be skipping the Jingle Cross UCI World Cup this coming weekend so she can attend Collegiate Track Nationals at her home velodrome at Marian University. "I'll be racing in seven events in three days hoping to help bring home another National Championship for Marian!"
The next race for Laurel in a Donnelly kit will be CrossVegas on September 20th. "I raced the World Cup there two years ago. Ouch, that hurt. I'm looking forward to giving it another go. Vegas baby!"
Rochestercross featured an exciting new course design this year. Gone were most of the tough climbs and instead riders were met with a fast, flowing track with tough technical sections. "It felt like I was motorpacing at times." stated Jamey Driscoll. "It seemed like we never let off the gas. I didn't feel awesome, but that was more or less what I expected. This kicks off a 6-week block of big races and my plan is to get faster each weekend. I'm just sharpening my sword." Driscoll said jokingly. He would finish 8th on Saturday and Sunday.
It's been a big year for Jamey. He's a new dad and has launched a sports nutrition company called Ascent Nutrition with some business partners. "Gone are the days of riding whenever I want. In one short year I've taken time management to a whole new level!" laughed Jamey.
U23 National Champion Lance Haidet showed he can hang with the big boys and rode very well for a few laps before the technical sections caused some separation. "I had no problems with the pace on the fast sections, but a few mistakes in the tricky areas caused me to lose touch with the group." Haidet stated. "At this level I can't make silly mistakes and expect a great result. My form is really good. Better than this time last year. With a few tweaks I hope to be in the mix." Lance finished 12th on Saturday and 11th on Sunday. He was the second place U23 rider both days.
Rider Tire Selection, Pressure and Course Conditions
Course conditions report from Head Mechanic James Sullivan:
"I would say the course was still a little tacky from the rain on Friday so the riders wanted the fast rear tire. However the course had some dusty sections and some loose transitions from different surfaces so it was nice to have the extra grip. The second day had a more chewed up course and had dried out more so Jamey I think wanted the grip in the loose stuff but with grass packed down didn't feel like he lost any speed."
Tire Selection and Pressure
Front: MXP / 24 psi
Rear: MXP / 25 psi
Front: MXP / 25 psi
Rear: LAS / 27 psi
Front: MXP / 25 psi
Rear: MXP / 26 psi
Lance and Laurel remained the same for day two, but Jamey switched to double MXP with 25 psi in the front and 27 psi.
Donnelly Professional Cycling Team Sponsors
Rochester Cyclocross – Rochester, NY
Jingle Cross World Cup – Iowa City, IO
CrossVegas – Las Vegas, NV
Trek CXC World Cup – Waterloo, WI
KMC CrossFest – Thompson, CT
West Sacramento Grand Prix – Sacramento, CA
Charm City Cross – Baltimore, MD
US Open of Cyclocross – Boulder, CO
Derby City Cup – Louisville, KY
Pan Am Championships - Louisville, KY
Major Taylor CX – Indianapolis, IN
CXLA – Los Angeles, CA
Ruts N Guts CX – Broken Arrow, OK
USA National Championships – Reno, NV
UCI World Championships – Valkenburg-Limburg, NED