Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Saturday, September 19, 2015

ATC Racing 2015 Highlights

As winter approaches, we’re looking back at a fantastic season for ATC Racing. Shop athletes have represented the ever-speedy dillo in duathlons, triathlons, criteriums, time trials, road races, and even the Tour de France (erm, on the route, at least!).

A few races remain on the calendar—including the skills-based and age-based State Championship Road Races on September 26 and 27—and the dillo doesn’t hibernate, so expect to see more ATC action this fall and winter.

Team Marsh
If you haven’t been following Amy Marsh’s battle with cancer, catch up with the variously heart-wrenching, thoughtful, and brutally honest posts from Brandon Marsh on the Team Marsh blog. Professional triathletes and longtime friends of ATC, the Marshes have accomplished the biggest “result” of any ATCer this year by far: Amy came home this month.

ATC Junior
Junior rider Estefy Gonzales, part of ATC Racing’s new initiative to promote junior women’s racing, is a 15-year-old student at Cedar Park High School. This is her first year of racing for the team, and she’s had great results, including a second-place finish at Bike the Bricks in the W4 race, second-place junior 15-18 at the age-based state crit championships, and fourth out of the 25 cat 4 women racing Houston Grand.

CX Nationals, January 
Spotted on a Portlander, a T-shirt sold post-CX Nats that said: “Even disappointment is bigger in Texas.” Indeed. Austin’s attempt to host the event was a disaster, but we’ll still list out the ATC highlight reel: mechanic and pro cyclist Tristan Uhl (787 Racing) raced the single-speed and elite men’s races, taking fourth in the singlespeed race. Mechanic Chris Warren competed in the 10-29 non-championship race, and Sammi Runnels (Team Super Awesome for CX, racing for ATC on the road) competed in the stacked women’s elite field. Read Sammi’s race report here.

Race Around Austin, January
The ATC Racing women’s team started the road season off by putting on The Race Around Austin, a fun, gran-fondo-style event in which five-person teams competed to reach three “secret” (until race morning, that is) checkpoints for a grand total of 90ish miles. Marla Briley said all hands were on deck to make sure the event ran smoothly: Christie Tracy was the spreadsheet guru (providing live calculations on who had checked in where, and also the final rankings) as well as sponsor organizer, Allison Atkinson was in charge of marketing and PR, Missy Ruthven provided day-of event coordinating, Mina Pizzini took care of timing, and Sammi Runnels, Katie Kantzes, and Anne Flanagan were tireless worker bees, taking their places in the field to provide racers with nutrition and snap photos. Marla was the “Little Engine That Could “ in getting the idea off the ground (all in one month!), from becoming a race director on TXBRA to setting the event up and ordering finishers’ mugs, organizing rest stops, and cooking jambalaya for the finishers. As with bike racing, in which each team member offers a special skill (whether it’s sprinting or climbing or time trialing), the ATC women used teamwork to make RAA happen.

For more on RAA2015, Read Allison Atkinson’s pre-event interview or Jack Cartwright’s race report. Start collecting your teammates for January 2016!

Blue Norther Duathlon, February
At the 25th annual rendition of this little multisport classic in Seguin, Jason Lewiss and Missy Ruthven were the overall male and female winners, with Marla Briley taking second overall for the women and the fastest female bike split. Usually the Blue Norther earns its name with bitterly cold or wet conditions, but this year the weather played nice. Missy was a big fan of the post-race eats: homemade baked potatoes and cookies!    

Lago Vista Day 2, March
This much-loved bike race, in its 24th year, is known for being hit or miss on the weather. In 2015, Saturday’s race was sunny, and Sunday’s was miserably rainy and cold. On Sunday, Katie Kantzes and Allison Atkinson took hard-woman points as well as second and third in the Women’s Open race, aided by teammates Chelsea Smith, Christie Tracey, and Missy Ruthven.

Hammerfest Stage Race, March 
Though a long way from Austin, this Fort Davis event is one of the most scenic and worthwhile races in Texas. The women’s ATC Racing team had stellar results: Saturday’s hill climb – Sammi Runnels 1st, Allison Atkinson 2nd, Christie Tracy 4th, Chelsea Smith 5th; Saturday’s road race – Allison 1st, Chelsea 2nd, Sammi 3rd, Christie 5th; Sunday’s road race – Sammi 1st, Allison 2nd, Christie 3rd, Chelsea 5th; GC – Sammi 1st, Allison 2nd, Chelsea 4th, Christie 5th.

Fayetteville Stage Race, April
For most ATCers, this two-day stage race is a favorite on the road calendar. Missy Ruthven tends to have bad luck: in 2013, forgetting helmet and shoes and starting the second stage in clown-sized shoes borrowed from Kat Hunter (5'10" to Missy’s 5'2''), and in 2015, realizing right before the TT that her Di2 battery was dead and thus racing it on a “singlespeed.”

This year the women’s 123 field was very small, perhaps because the weather was rainy or because the race had been moved from its typical early-season spot on the road calendar to a later date that conflicted with other events. The ATC team of seven made up more than half the Open women’s field. ATCers took the top three podium spots in GC, with great results across the board in each stage and a good team effort by all. Read Marla’s W123 race report and the W40+ report from Colavita rider Pam Downs.

Burnet Tri, April
This year the Burnet Tri at Inks Lake State Park, a sprint tri traditionally held in the winter, took place in the spring and added an Olympic-distance option. Missy Ruthven competed in the Olympic-distance race, which included a tough trail run, and went home with the overall female win.

Texas State Sprint Tri, April
Rounding out a string of victories for ATC owner Missy Ruthven, this San Marcos race was another example of everything “falling into place,” which Missy admits doesn’t happen often! Missy again took the overall female win, with ATCer Liz Shelton placing second with her usual smoking-fast run split.

CapTex Tri, May
The swim was cancelled for poor weather, so this popular Austin event was actually a duathlon. Missy Ruthven’s group was fortunate to have the only no-rain window on Memorial Day weekend, and she placed third in the elite division (Olympic distance) with what she termed a “solid” bike and a “suffering” run.

Castroville TT, May
On the third of the Castroville TT series (May 10), Mina Pizzini finished the 40K TT in 2nd with a time of 1:01:09, and Christie Tracey took third.
Mina Pizzini in the P12 State Crit. Photo by Kato Bentley.

Oklahoma City Pro-Am Classic, May
In its fourth year, the Oklahoma City Pro-Am Classic offers three days of crit racing. Christie Tracy finished second on day 2 in the women’s W3/4 race.

State Criterium Championships, May
In the skills-based P12 State Crit Championship in Greenville, Mina placed fourth , and Christy Tracy was second in the 35-39 age-based crit championship.

Chelsea snagged the win in the 30-34 age-based crit championship. In the last lap she got stuck behind a crash, but she put in a hard effort to get back to the pack. She says she decided to take a risk and start her sprint early, which paid off in the end with a win. Chelsea, who’s new to the team this year, says the best highlights of the season are really off the race course. “It’s been wonderful to get to know each of my teammates,” she says. “ATC girls are a group of amazing women who give their all to everything they do, not just bike racing. I’ve enjoyed road trip jam sessions, naming llamas and cows on our training rides, countless dinners, and more frozen yogurt than I should have eaten. I’m looking forward to a great 2016!”

Pflugerville Tri, June
Meet Q—Mina Pizzini’s Quintana Roo TT bike—on his first road to multisport victory, the Plugerville Tri. Read Q’s story, as told by his owner:

It has been almost four years since my last triathlon due to a nagging hamstring injury, three job changes, three moves, and a divorce. Sometimes life gets in the way of racing. It was Q's  first tri! He was very excited, having only raced a couple of TTs in his short life.

I had to start with my age group (45-49) vs. the open wave in order qualify for Olympic Distance Nationals. There were at least 50 in my AG. Quite a turnout for this popular little sprint tri. I went out fast and quickly found some feet to follow, but the owner of those feet wasn't going to give me a free ride. Rather than lose time over who would draft whom, I went to the front and navigated my way through the prior wave and the long grass growing up from the bottom of the lake. I was first out of the water in my wave and happy to see my trusty steed, Q, waiting in the transition rack. 

Out of transition, I did a clumsy cyclocross mount and spent the next two miles trying to get my feet into my shoes. Once firmly strapped in, I got down in the bars and set off for real under threatening skies. Q was wondering why all these people with aero bike weren't actually down in their aero bars?  No matter, we slipped by them. Halfway through the bike leg, the skies opened in a serious downpour. Q wanted to keep pushing, but I eased him back. Better safe than sorry. Rounding the last corner we saw a rider on the ground. He had t-boned a car looking for a parking spot. 

Back in transition, I racked Q and set out on the run. I knew this would be the tough part; I'd been slacking on my running the last couple of months to focus on riding. I figured I could gut my way through a 3-mile run. My goal was to break 20 minutes, and I was on pace at mile 2 and decided to pick it up a bit. Then my calf tightened and shut it down to 8-minute miles.  I came in off the run at just over 20 minutes. I was 5th woman overall and won the masters division.

State TT Championships, June
In two sweltering days of fun, ATCers posted good individual and team results at the State TT Championships. In the ITT, Mina took first in the masters category, and Allison Atkinson took second in cat 1/2. Christie Tracy was fourth in cat 3. In the TTT, the team of Allison, Christie, Katie Kantzes, and Kat Hunter (guest riding) were first in the TTT. Read Kat’s report here.

Duathlon Nationals, June
ATCer William Jabour competed in Duathlon Nationals in St. Paul in June, claiming his spot for Worlds in Aviles, Spain, in 2016. His race report for the ATC blog tells the whole story.

Charter Reserve Stage Race, July
At the Charter Reserve Road Race in Tyler, Christie Tracy took the win with help from teammates Allison Atkinson and Katie Kantzes.

Redhook crits, summer
Sammi Runnels, who races for ATC on the road, competed in the Redhook fixie crits in Brooklyn, Milan, and Barcelona. Read her race report on Milan here.

Driveway Series, March-October
The ongoing Pure Austin Driveway Series is a playground for team tactics for the women of ATC Racing, who are weekly devotees. Check out Christie Tracy’s personal season recap and the 2015 results. In the “Summer Solstice” miniseries, Marla Briley was third in the WOpen and Mina Pizzini was second in the W123 (combined with masters field). In the “Dog Days of Summer” miniseries, Christie Tracy and Allison Atkinson were first and second in the WOpen, and Sammi Runnels was third in the W123. In the “It’s Still Hot Out” miniseries, which concluded Sept. 17, Mina won the WOpen; racing the combined field of women and masters men, she has finished 4th and 6th overall the past two weeks. Mina is now riding a new 2015 Cervelo S5.

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