Dutch Riders Dominate Tandemonium
The cloudy skies hanging over Trexlertown didn’t stop the stars from coming out for the North American Tandem Championships held in conjunction with Tandemonium. Apart from the stellar teams assembled for the tandem racing there were full fields of professional men and women that lit up the night.
The night got off to an early start with the one lap time trial qualifying ride for the North American Tandem Championships. A total of 12 teams competed to qualify into the sprint tournament and take a crack at breaking the track record set by Ben Barczewksi and Andy Lakatosh in 2007 of 17.33. The Dutch team of Nils Hoenderdaal and Hylke Greakan came within shouting distance of the record with a time 17.86; however, the time was enough to slot them into first position.
After an opportunity to regroup and recover, the tandem teams competed in round one of their sprint tournament which saw some interesting tactics as many of the teams competed in their first ever tandem match sprint. The Dutch team had no problem moving on to the semifinals as they breezed through their first ride against the team of Kurt Begemann and Jeff Palter. The second placed team of Matt Diefenbach and Tyler Nothstein rode against David Gulick and Chester Triplett. Coming into one lap to go, Gulick and Triplett had a sizeable lead, but swung up in turn three to allow Diefenbach and Nothstein to power through for the win. John Chambers and his partner Cameron Reider rode against Steven Schneider and Lanell Rockmore. Chambers took the long way over top and seemed like they would take the win, but Rockmore and Schneider managed to eke out the win. A very similar ride took place between the Lion of Flanders Team of Ryan Pomajevich and Andy Kuklis and the team of Bill Elliston and Ray Ignosh, with the Lion of Flanders team coming out on top.
The riders who missed the semi-finals got to fight it out for spots five through eight. It was an extremely close ride the entire way with Elliston and Ignosh coming across for fourth followed by Schneider and Rockmore.
After a long night, it was make or break time when first place seeded Dutch who met second seeded Diefenbach and Nothstein. With only one ride to win or lose the gold medal, they sure left it all on the track. In an impressive ride that saw the Dutch team take a long wind up around the track, they were able to squeeze their way past for the win.
In the Bronze medal ride Team Lion of Flanders fought a hard battle to take home the medal over Affinity’s Reider and Chambers.
The evening’s racing concluded with all 12 tandems taking to the track at once in a 12-lap scratch race for a chance at redemption. Team Pink Rhino consisting of Stephen Frattini and Mark Wagner had an early lead, but the team of Begemann and Palter were hot on their tail. The field came back together with three to go and the crowds went wild. In an astounding turn of speed the Dutch took their second win of the night followed by Ignosh and Elliston and the Lion of Flanders team rolling in for third.
The Dutch were delighted with their double wins for the evening. “It was very cool to win,” Hoanderdaal said. “Our first time on the tandem was Tuesday. You get so much more power than on a regular bike, but because it’s so much faster and heavier you need to lean into the corners more so you don’t slip. That was a little scary,” he confessed.
Many spectators may have looked at the team of Gulick and Triplett just as they did any of the other teams, but they came to the race under very different circumstances. Gulick and Triplett team up regularly to compete in Paracycling, cycling for those that are at a physical disadvantage. Triplett is blind and completely relies on Gulick’s judgment. “It’s not a disadvantage,” Triplett insists, “We can neutralize visual impairment on the tandem.”
The women’s field started their schedule for the evening with a 20-lap points race. Sprinter Dana Feiss showed she’s good for more than speed by winning the first sprint of the race but she was no match for a hard charging Mary Costelloe who took her first win of the night.
Costelloe continued her winning ways in the Women’s Elimination where she found herself in the final three with Mandy Marquardt and Polish rider Paulina Cywinska. Costelloe and Marquardt blew past Cywinska in the final lap with Costelloe taking the win
The women raced a fast and furious 12-lap tempo race with Scotland’s Charline Joiner scoring an impressive win over Costelloe and Junior National Champion Nadia Latzgo.
The women concluded their racing for the evening with a 500 meter chariot race. Elite 500 meter time trial champion Feiss went head to head with collegiate 500 meter champion Marquardt and managed to edge her out for the win.
T-Town favorite Colleen Gulick had her last race of the season. She will be heading off to school for preseason with her University of Maryland field hockey team. “The season was too short for me, but it was a great,” Gulick said “the crowds were great and we had one of the best women’s fields.” Gulick will be back for more next season with her eyes on the Rider of the Year title.
Some of the professional men may have been focused on the tandem racing, but that didn’t stop them from having an action packed night of racing.
The men started off with a 25-lap points race. Pure Energy Cycling-Pro Air HFA’s Mike Chauner wasted no time making up for the absence of teammate Bobby Lea. Chauner, Mike Miller, Jason Meidhoff, and Poland’s Mateusz Mikulicz spent the majority of the race of the front collecting points. Jamaica’s Marloe Rodman snuck in points early and was able to make a move at the end to score his first Friday night win. “I was excited to finally win here,” Rodman said “I’ve been recovering for the past three weeks with a punctured lung and three broken ribs, so this was a great way to comeback.” Close behind Rodman in the point standings was Chauner in second followed by Meidhoff in third.
Following the points race the men competed in an extremely aggressive elimination that came down to Poland’s Rafal Jeziorski, Matt Baranoski and Rodman. Rodman wasn’t able to pull off a second win and had to settle for third with Jeziorski taking a close win over Baranoski.
T-Town locals Baranoski and Giddeon Massie tried to score a win for the United States for the evening in the two kilometer scratch race, but Poland’s Mikulicz got the best of them again to take his second win of the evening.
Next Event: World Series of Bicycling presents Fastest Man on Wheels on August 10. Gates open at 5:30 racing starts at 7:30. Tickets starts at $5 and children 12 and under are free.
Article by Elspeth Huyett
Photo by Anthony Skorchochod of Cycling Captured