Monday, April 14, 2014

Whole Athlete/Specialized Juniors Impress at the Sea Otter Classic

Sean Bennett
Bennett patiently plans his winning move. (photo: Mark Avery)

The 2014 Sea Otter Classic proved to be a resounding success for the Whole Athlete/Specialized Team as the Juniors earned top honors in each race. Sean Bennett kicked things off with a victory in the Junior 17/18 XC, followed closely behind by National Champion Christopher Blevins with the Junior 15/16 win. Then it was Haley Batten's turn, also flying her National Champ colors winning the Women's 15-18 race, while Mike Mace continued his undefeated streak in the Under-15 XC.

Christopher Blevins
Blevins readies for crunch time. (photo: Mark Avery)

And in the first big event of the season for each of them, Zach Peterson earned a solid 4th place in the Junior 17/18s while Veda Gerasimek took 8th in the Junior Women's 15-18 XC. Cypress Gorry would go on to finish 27th in the 100-rider Pro race, the 3rd place U23.

Cypress Gorry
Gorry shows his determination. (photo: Mark Avery)

Haley Batten
Batten tops the 15-18 Junior Women's podium.

Mike Mace
Mace on the top step once again.

Sean Bennett
A well-deserved win for Sean Bennett.

Check out all the team's 2014 Top-10 results here.

Next stop: The Nove Mesto and Albstadt World Cups in the Czech Republic and Germany on 5/23 and 5/30. Stay tuned for more exciting news!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Whole Athlete/Specialized Team on Podiums from Coast to Coast

Cole Avery
Avery on his way to a solo victory. (photo: Mark Avery)

After a podium finish at the Bonelli Park ProXCT, Cole Avery showed that his preparations for Sea Otter are right on track with decisive wins in both the Super-D and Junior Cross Country events at the SoCal Santa Ynez Kenda Cup. 

Mike Mace
Mace speeds along the lonely Florida TT course.

Meanwhile on the East Coast, Mike Mace earned his third Florida State Junior title of 2014 with a victory in the time trial. The TT Championship marks Mace's sixth Junior U-15 win this season.

Cypress Gorry
Gorry on the podium in his first race of 2014. (photo: Angie Shatas)

And with another strong team performance in the East, Cypress Gorry kicked off his 2014 Pro season with a podium finish in the competitive Tsali Knobscorcher in Bryson City, NC.

Jacob Albrecht
Blunk with his first podium of 2014.

Perhaps most impressive of the team's weekend performances was Silas Blunk's 2nd place finish in the Napa Valley Dirt Classic Junior Cat 1 race. Overcoming a severe back injury that sidelined him for all of 2013, Blunk is building back his form after many months of rehab that kept him off the bike and saw him start again from zero. Perseverance and patience pays off.

Next stop: The Sea Otter Classic on April 10-13. Stay tuned for more exciting news!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Whole Athlete/Specialized's Youngest Rider Wins Florida Road Race Title

Mike Mace
Mace takes the win.

After earning back-to-back Junior U-15 wins at the Bonelli and Fontana ProXCTs, Mike Mace took his speed to the asphalt, winning the Junior 13/14 Florida State Road Race Title.

Mike Mace
The FL state title marks Mace's 5th win of the season already!

Meanwhile on the left coast, Jacob Albrecht continued his rise through the ranks with a top-10 overall in his first Cat 2 stage race in San Dimas. 

Jacob Albrecht
Albrecht warms up for stage 3 of the San Dimas Stage race.

Next stop: The Sea Otter Classic on April 10-13.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Whole Athlete/Specialized Team Flying in Fontana

Haley Batten
National Champ Haley Batten on her way to victory in the Junior Women's Race. (photo: Mark Avery)

Following the success of last weekend's Bonelli Park ProXCT, the Whole Athlete/Specialized Team rode a wave of momentum into the Fontana ProXCT earning multiple victories and podium finishes. Resplendent in stars and stripes, National Champion Haley Batten won the Junior Women's XC, while Neilson Powless and Sean Bennett rode to an impressive 1-2 finish in the highly competitive Junior 17/18 event. 
 
Neilson Powless
Powless goes two for two with another win in Fontana. (photo: Mark Avery)

And making it three for three, Mike Mace took a convincing win in the Under-15 XC race, followed by 3rd in the Junior combined Super-D and 6th in the Cat 1 open Short Track.
 
Mike Mace
Mike Mace with yet another win.
 
Sean Bennett
Bennett with another strong podium performance. (photo: Mark Avery)

Another hard fought battle in the Pro UCI XC race for Casey Williams amid a world-class field of 115 starters saw him finish top-30 and the 3rd U23. Williams recovered quickly for the late afternoon Super-D event, landing squarely on the podium in 3rd. 

Casey Williams
Casey Williams on his way to a 3rd place in the Pro Super-D.

Neilson Powless, Sean Bennett
Powless and Bennett go 1-2 in the Junior 17/18 XC.

Haley Batten
Haley Batten tops the Junior Women's podium.

Casey Williams, Mike Mace
Williams and Mace podium finishers in their respective Super-D races.
 
Josh Snead
Lest we forget the unsung heros of the race...Head Mechanic Josh Snead keeping the bikes dialed!

Next stop: The Sea Otter Classic on April 10-13.
Stay tuned for more exciting news!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bountiful Bonelli for Whole Athlete/Specialized

Neilson Powless
Powless and Bennett lead the Junior 17/18 field up the first climb.

The second stop on the ProXCT and US Cup series, and the first-ever UCI HC event held in the US, Bonelli Park served up some great racing and summer-like weather for Whole Athlete/Specialized. Neilson Powless and Sean Bennett kicked off the team's weekend success with 1st and 3rd in the highly competitive Junior 17/18 field. 

Casey Williams
Williams was the 2nd place U23 in a stacked Pro field.

Cole Avery also hit the podium with 3rd place in his first Junior 15/16 race, while Casey Williams took on a 114 rider world-class Pro field, finishing as the 2nd U23 in 25th. Only 31 of the 114 riders completed the UCI "Hors Categorie" race.
 
Cole Avery
Avery on his way to a podium finish.

Mike Mace continued his winning streak by taking top honors in the Under-15 race, while Haley Batten bounced back after an unlucky flat in the XC to win the Super-D that same afternoon.

Cole Avery
Mace awaits his call up to the podium.

Haley Batten
Batten wins the women's combined Super-D.

Neilson Powless, Sean Bennett
Powless and Bennett on the Junior 17/18 podium.

Next stop: UCI Cat 1 ProXCT / US Cup round 3 at Fontana, CA on March 22.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Whole Athlete/Specialized on Podiums Across the State

Jacob Albrecht
Albrecht on his way to winning the Madera Stage Race.

In only two months of road racing since making the transition from the mountain bike, Jacob Albrecht capped off his rise from Category 4 to 2 with the overall win at the Madera Stage Race in Central California. 

Neilson Powless
Powless took the lead and never looked back. 

Meanwhile just a few hours north of Madera, Neilson Powless opened his 2014 XC account with a win at the NorCal High School Varsity race at Granite Bay. Powless will be joined by teammate Sean Bennett later this month to represent the US at the Pan American Continental Championships in Brazil.
 
Casey Williams
Williams airmails it in.

And while Albrecht and Powless were topping podiums in NorCal, Casey Williams landed a Pro podium in SoCal with 2nd place at the Southridge Winter Series XC race in Fontana. 

Next stop, ProXCT rounds 2 and 3 at Bonelli Park on March 15 and Fontana, CA on March 22.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Podiums, Pain, and Pleasure in Texas for Whole Athlete/Specialized Team

Casey Williams
Casey Williams adds style to a top-20 ride in his season opener. (photo: Cyclingdirt.org)

The season opening ProXCT in Dripping Springs, Texas proved eventful as always with impressive race performances, unpredictable weather, and an all around memorable experience for the Whole Athlete/Specialized Team. Michael Mace opened up the team's account with back to back wins in the Junior 14 & Under and Cat 2 races, while Casey Williams earned a hard fought top-20 finish in a very deep Pro field, the 2nd U23 finisher in 18th. 

Michael Mace
Mike Mace goes two for two in Texas. 

Casey Williams
Williams navigates the technical trails. (photo: Mark Avery)

On Sunday the weather quickly deteriorated from 70 degree clear skies the day prior, to cold rain, heavy mud, and temperatures in the 30s. Sean Bennett fought his way through the brutal conditions for 3rd place in the Junior Cat 1 race where most of the field dropped out, mud-covered and hypothermic.

Sean Bennett
Sean Bennett with a gutsy ride in the frigid rain and mud. (photo: Mark Avery)

Sean Bennett
Only a handful of junior riders survived the extreme conditions. (photo: Mark Avery)

Neilson Powless
Both riders and equipment felt the sting of Spring. (photo: Mark Avery)

Josh Snead
Intrepid head mechanic Josh Snead does not stop until the bikes are perfect. (photo: Mark Avery)


And oh what perfect bikes they are... (photo: Mark Avery)


(photo: Mark Avery)
 
Next stop, ProXCT rounds 2 and 3 at Bonelli Park on March 15 and Fontana, CA on March 22.