Team Marty’s Wins the Highlands Gran Fondo

This past weekend Team Marty’s competed in the Giordana Gran Fondo
National Series in Butler NJ with hopes of a team win as well as putting
one of us on the top step of the podium for the overall.  The team
roster included Joe Petillo, Stefan Tessoun, Dan Montgomery and  Victor
Schepisi. Despite some nasty weather the plan was executed perfectly. Team Marty’s
was awarded first place in the Team Category, Dan Montgomery second place in the
Men’s Category and Victor Schepisi as the 2016 Highlands Gran Fondo
Champion

 

Next stop Gran Fondo NJ Sept 11 2016.

Vic Destroys the NJ State Championship MTB Race!

Team Marty’s Victor Schepisi had a great weekend of racing. He won the NJ State Championship Cat 1 title at  The Rumble in the Jungle H2H XC MTB race #3.   Here’s a quick recap.

Jungle Habitat is known for punchy climbs, rocks and roots and with the rain the night before I knew I had a chance to win if I could stay upright.  The start was a bit hectic but once the race settled down I knew I had to attack. I found an opportunity to pass, dropped the hammer and never looked back.  The race was nearly two hours of pure torture with my avg HR reading 175 bpm.   The last 15 minutes was the hardest mentally being so much can go wrong in a race with a flat or mechanical but my Trek Superfly FS didn’t miss a beat.  It took me 2 years of hard work to win one of these races. I was close many times, but this weekend it all came together.

vicracevicpodiumchampNice work Vic!

Jesse Fat Bikes the Shenandoah 100 MTB Race!

 

A few weeks ago an anonymous friend and I headed down to the Stokesville Campground in Stokesville VA for the Shenandoah Mountain 100. For those who are unfamiliar, the SM100 is a 100 mile MTN bike race with about 12,000 feet of climbing through the Shenandoah mountain range in VA.

The race took place on the Sunday over Labor Day. My companion and I arrived on Saturday evening in the college town of Harrisonburg VA dropped our stuff off at the hotel and hit the local Outback Steakhouse.  We want to bed early for our 4:30am wake up call and dreamed of climbing mountains all night.

In the darkness of the morning we were greeted with a surprisingly warm temperature which was encouraging for the day to come. On the 30 min drive to the campground we witnessed what legend has told. Jeremiah Bishop, an endurance MTN bike pro who is training for an event called “The Munga” in South Africa (look it up) was riding to the SM100 from Harrisonburg.  I yelled some encouraging words out the window to him, he was running front and rear lights as it was complete darkness out on the countryside. Jeremiah is a bad mofo.
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Back to the race: My buddy and I were riding our matching Borealis Yampa fat bikes decked out with HED carbon wheels and weighing in at an incredible 23 lbs!  We didn’t see any other fat bikes out there, but I heard that there were at least 2 others. The others could not have been as cool as ours 🙂

We lined up according to where we believed we would finish which was at the 11 hour mark. This was a bit of a mistake as after about 25 minutes into the race we hit the first section of single track and BAMM, there was a huge traffic jam. With 600 racers out on the course and most of them in front of us we had a long walk ahead of us which caused a big delay in our overall time.  I wasn’t too concerned because for me this was just a long day of training, but it was very boring walking through stuff I knew I could ride. On the bright side I met some nice people.

After I was able to get back on the bike, I pedaled at a very steady pace and didn’t stop this practice all day long. I passed people all day long, kept my rest stops simple and quick (with the awesome volunteers this was made much easier), and had a really really awesome race!

The course is absolutely beautiful, the volunteers amazing, and the scene is just plain old fun. I wound up finishing in 11 hours and 3 seconds or something like that. I feel as though without the traffic jams I would have had about a 10:15 finish time. I was extremely excited to finish in my predicted time, and after I finished I got to take an old school bath in the creek by the campground.

My companion and I both have small children at home so we decided to drive straight home after the race despite being very tired. We got some food, at a disgusting all you can eat Buffett which really hit the spot as at this point the owners of the buffet lost some money on us for sure.

It was a bit crazy for us to attempt this drive, but we’re tough dudes so we went for it. We basically drove for an hour and slept for an hour all night long and arrived in NJ at 5 am the next morning. It was a long haul after another long haul on the bike but as afore mentioned, we are a couple of bad ass dudes so it was not a big deal.

New Jersey State Criterium

I don’t usually write race reports because who wants to hear about how I got 5th.  On Sunday I won the State Criterium Cat 3 race, so here comes a very brief race report.

Epic Aero Beard

Epic Aero Beard

On the start line there was about 80+ guys. All the cat 3 dudes came out of the wood work for this one. I was a little nervous when I heard someone say it was their first race of the season. I did my best to stay away from this one as he wobbled around the course.

So this race was a criterium or crit. Basically a crit is a bike race that consists of many short laps around a city block, or more often a business campus. One lap can be anywhere from a half mile to about a mile and a half.

This particular race was a mile circuit; set for an hour and I think it was 26-27 laps. As the race goes on people that fall off the back of the main group get pulled so they aren’t in the way of the group when it comes around. Getting dropped sucks.

Ok, back to the race. There were some early attacks and people were having some fun. I made a big move up the little hill and through the last left turn. I wanted to see how that turn handled at high speed. My plan was to execute this move if the race stayed together and came down to a sprint. Nobody came with me when I jumped, so I held it for a lap and went back into the fold.

There were countless moves, although no significant breaks developed. I had a feeling somone was going to make a big move in the second half of the race in an attempt to breakaway from the field. Most often people who know they can put in big 20min efforts will attempt to get away at this point. The field will sometimes let something go because they get tired and its kinda far from the end of the race.  Sometimes it sticks, but try it too close to the end of the race and the break is getting chased down.

Anyway, some guys went up the road and the race got strung out. I was happy because when the race goes fast it’s usaly safer. I was holding tight and not too sure if the race would stay together. Without a team working for me I just have to hope the other guys unknowingly help me out. Don’t get me wrong, I like going up the road, but when nobody goes with me and without a team I have to pick and choose my battles, and get lucky.

On the last lap, just in case the riders aren’t paying attention to the lap cards, the officials ring a bell. With one lap to go I was feeling good and riding in 20th position I think. We went around the back side of the course and got to the little hill. The right side of the road was open so I ripped past the field just before the wave of riders crashed to the right side. I ripped through the last hard left turn. I knew that I had gaped the field and the last little chicane was going to have them all searching for a line. I just went straight through with my legs burning and my heart going 200bps. My legs stopped wanting to turn over and they were hot on my tail.

I made to the line just in time. ericstatecritericstatecrit2

It was a good day.

Team Marty’s at Tour de Lake Hopatcong

 

Leo, Paul Vic and Nikki receiving their awards at the Tour de Lake Hopatcong

Leo, Paul, Vic and Nikki receiving their awards at the Tour de Lake Hopatcong

We had a great turnout at the Tour de Lake Hopatcong this past Saturday. It was a challenging 40 mile ride with a couple climbs that really hurt.

Leo rode strong and was able to put down a final effort to secure the fastest time on the course.

Paul got 2nd place without much training time, but he did cross-country ski quite often this winter.

Vic got 2nd in the 45+ finishing with the final group.

Nikki was able to grab 4th place and rode strong as she always does.

Great job to everyone who challenged themselves and finished the ride.

 

Marty Cross – An Introduction to the Oddity of Cyclocross

Marty looks good in blue!

What is cyclocross? It is a kooky sport for sure, originating in the early 1900’s in Europe.  Professional road racers would often race each other from one town to another.  The catch was, they were allowed to cut through farmer’s fields, hop fences, and carry their bikes up and over obstacles to shorten the distance they had to ride.  For them it was a way to have fun and stay in shape during the winter months.  When the Frenchmen Octave Lapize won the Tour de France in 1910, he told the media that his amazing fitness was due to cyclocross training in the off-season.    Since then the sport has taken off and blossomed into a whole new way to race a bicycle.

Matthew Tyler aka “The Bearded Knight” demonstrating perfect barrier technique.

Now, in an effort to emulate these old school “field races,” we create short 2.5km courses in fields that utilize sections of grass, mud, and pavement.  Instead of fences, we put up barriers that are low enough to step over, but high enough so that most riders will have to dismount, carry their bicycles over, and then remount at speed.

The races are done on bicycles that look very similar to road bikes, but have wider, knobby tires to grip the grass and slog through the unforgiving mud.  Racers often bring two bikes with them and leave one in the “pit.”  The pit is a place in the middle of the course where a racer can change bikes in case of a mechanical failure.  These races are done by time ranging from 30 minutes to one hour.

Spectators be hecklin’!

Spectators are often encouraged to heckle riders during the race and give out “hand-ups” to riders which may include dollar bills, beers, Mallomars, or just about anything to entice a rider to go faster than the person next to him/her.

Racing in these events is one thing, but being part of the planning, set-up, and tear down is tough, but extremely rewarding when it all comes together.  One of the best parts of Marty Cross 2013 was definitely the Kid’s Race.

We had a blast at Marty Cross this year and worked hard to set up a great course and atmosphere.

Uncle Ben!

Staking, Taping, Getting the van stuck on the hill…

Thanks to all who attended and helped out.  It was great because of you!  You can find more pictures and media from the race on our Facebook page.

Team Marty’s women excel in New Jersey Time Trial Cup

Hunter Mountain Fall Classic

Hunter Mountain Fall Classic

Team Marty’s women Nikki Ragonese and Maryanne Caruso enjoyed a successful run of competition in the 2013 New Jersey Time Trial Cup. Both captured 2nd place overall in two of the Cup’s categories. Nikki grabbed the Category 4 women and Maryanne, the Eddy (aka non-TT bike) category. They also represented Marty’s in the New Jersey State Time Trial, to gain State Championship status with Nikki taking the gold 1st place medal and Maryanne landing the bronze 3rd place in their respective categories.

They capped off the road season on September 7 at the Hunter Mountain Fall Classic road race. Nikki finished in the top 10, and Maryanne in the top 15.

We invited them to share their experiences.

Nikki 

I decided to give time trials a shot this year as a way to ease into bike racing. For me, coming from a triathlon background, time trials seemed to make sense as the next logical step. I already had the bike for it and was used to racing on my own, with no drafting.

My first TT of the season was a short one, only about five miles, and I wasn’t really sure I understood the appeal of getting up early on a damp and chilly April morning for such a short race. I definitely didn’t have the right mindset and made a lot of mistakes that day (I didn’t warm up enough; I almost fell over at the start when I was released to go). However, as the season went on, I learned from my mistakes and realized that I could push myself much harder than I believed possible. I feel like I really understood the TT mindset, after the state time trial, where I was able to push myself at 22 MPH for a little over 25 miles. Every time I wanted to back off and slow down I didn’t give in and just continued to push harder. I never would have thought I could hold that speed on my own for that many miles, but it definitely taught me that I am much stronger than I believed. I think the time trialing has also made me a tougher and more confident cyclist in general.

2nd place Sandrinos Podium

2nd place Sandrinos Podium

Upper Freehold TT

Upper Freehold TT

Maryanne 

In terms of racing, I started with a blank slate this year. While I followed a structured training plan, I had no real strategy going into the season other than few TTs and maybe a road race or two.

My first TT for the season was Readington and I did OK – 5th place. I followed this race two weeks later with the High Point TT, a 5.5-mile climb into High Point State Park. At this point I was in good position in the standings and decided to commit to the Cup series.

Being new to racing, I wasn’t the most experienced or the strongest, which essentially meant I had to show up at every TT for the rest of the season in order to keep advancing in the standings. I was expecting to finish 3rd overall so was pleasantly surprised to move into 2nd place after the Blueberry TT. More importantly, I kept seeing improvements in my performance. For example, I averaged about 19.5 MPH at Readington. By the end of the season I was averaging between 21 and 22 MPH depending on the race course.

Blueberry TT

2nd place Blueberry TT podium

 

Nice Job Maryanne and Nikki! It looks like you had some nice results and it was great to see you both improving. Thanks for supporting Marty’s. We appreciate it very much!