The 2021 Wisconsin cyclocross season winds up Saturday at the state championship race in Waterloo with not only championship jerseys on the line but several overalls will come down to the final race.
I’ve been announcing at most of the races this year, getting a front row seat to the overall competition as well as getting a sense of who’s ready to win state championship trophies.
In order of the day’s racing, here are the leader and my projections based on pre-registrations (there will obviously be day-of registrations that will throw some of these projections out of the window!):
Masters 4/5; Junior Boys 15-18
In the Masters 35 plus Cat. 4 series leader Matt Becker (Gryphon Velo Racing) and Elias Macias (Hollander Benelux Racing) have won the last four races between them.
But look for Matt Heppe (Ben’s Cycle) and Kayne Neigherbauer (Two-Bit Bicycle Goons) to challenge those two for the state win.
Kevin Eichelberger (Gryphon Velo) will win the Masters 50 plus Cat. 4 overall, and since he’s upgraded to a Cat. 3, look for Paul Liesse (Revolution Cycles) and Scott Willms to fight for the jersey.
Daniel Valenza (Holland Benelux Racing) will win the 60 plus Cat. 4 and will be challenged by a late-surging Robert Dunk and Peter Ackerman (Alumnus Project) for the state championship.
Quinn Schroeder will win the Junior Boys 15-18 overall. Jack Lackman (Rib Mountain Cycles) and Josh Wasielewski have won the last three races so watch for them to battle at the front of the race.
Women’s Masters; Women’s Cat. 4; Junior Girls 15-18, Girls 9-14; Boys 9-14
Erin Feldhausen (Trek Cyclocross Collective) has dominated the Masters Women Open field this season with nine wins. Heidi Curtes (Ben’s Cycle) and Holly LaVesser (Neff Cycle Service) get stronger every week in their challenge.
The Women’s Cat. 4 race has one of the biggest fields of the year, with overall leader Morgan Golabowski (Neff Cycle Service) the favorite. But watch out for Meira Kalbas (Team Wisconsin), Megan Agnew of the upstart Femme40 cyclocross team, and Liz Horning (Exhausted Parents RC) to challenge her for the win, especially if Golabowski is saving something for the Cat. 3/4 race!
I look forward to talking more with Horning and Agnew about their teams!
Lyllie Sonnemann (Revolution Cycles) has dominated the Girls 15-18, winning the series and is a favorite for the state title. If Sonnemann has a misstep, though, Jennifer Raychel (Team Wisconsin) is ready to take over.
Look for Eva Raychel (Team Wisconsin) to win a Girls 9-14 state title to go along with her series overall win. But never discount the Revolution Cycles squad of Stella Hague, Issa (“Iss-A”) Cohen, and Laura Brookhyser.
The Boys 9-14 race has 19 speedsters entered! Finn Sonnemann (Revolution Cycles) is the series overall winner and the prohibitive favorite for the state jersey as well. But look for George Swinard (Pony Shop) and Rylan Zacharek (All-Spoked Up Development Team) to challenge him. Swinand, an Illinois resident, is not eligible for the state title.
There will be two battles in the Cat. 4 race. The top four in the overall series title are separated by just 12 points, and winning the state title race will help anyone secure the overall.
I hope my math skills are ready to go on Saturday!
Elias Macias (Hollander Benelux Racing) currently leads Alexander Hinman, Nate Perrone (Wheel and Sprocket), and Sam Cherchian (All-Spoked Up Development Team).
Any of those four, plus Mark Scheiss (Trek) and Dustin LeClaire (Momo Riders Club) could win the jersey.
However, and I’m biased because I taught him the basic cross skills, look out for Connor Polenske (Adapt Cycling)!
Women’s Cat. 1/2
Erin Feldhausen (Trek Cyclocross Collective) has consistently finished on the podium all season in the Women’s Cat. 1/2 field
She’ll win the series overall and is the defending state champion.
And while I’d consider her the favorite, her crown is going to be challenged Saturday.
Longtime rival Abby Strigel (Supernice) beat Feldhausen in Neenah last Saturday, and while Holly LaVesser isn’t on the start list for the race (she is registered for the masters race, so I’m not sure what’s up), the three of them will put on a battle Saturday.
Also look out for Cailtin Neumann (Brazen Dropouts) as a possible winner.
Women’s Cat. 3/4
While Lyllie Sonneman is favorite for the Women’s Cat. 3/4 race and the winner of the overall series, I’d love to see her up against the fast women in the 1/2 race.
Lyllie typically starts a minute or two behind the 1/2 race and inevitably passes all but the fastest of the women.
Kayla Clemons (Adapt Cycling), who won the Cat. 3 race on Sunday, Sarah Kelnhofer (Colavita), who won CrossFire, and Kaitlyn Vanias, who won KringleCross will also challenge Sonnemann.
Also look out for junior Isabella Moore (Pony Shop) who has been very strong all season.
The Cat. 3 race may be the most hotly-contested of the day.
Brian Bierman (Two-Bit Bicycle Goons) and Matthew Kosloske (Belgianwerx) will battle for the overall win.
Bierman has won one race, and Kosloske has won two. They will be fighting a host of other potential winners in the massive 55-rider field.
Chad Cannon (Gryphon Velo Racing) and Brad Sovinski (Hollander Benelux) have sharpened their speed and skills in the 1/2/3 event most of the season.
Junior rider Dylan Schroeder (All-Spoked Up Development Team) who has won three Cat. 3 races.
Paul Johannes (All-Spoked Up Development Team) has had two recent second place finishes and could be in the mix Saturday.
Illinois rider Zach Wiedenaar (Mox Multi-Sport) is the favorite, according to crossresults.com point totals.
The course at the Trek factory tends to favor power riders with good bike handling skills. Chad Cannon would be my pick to win the title.
The Single Speed race will feature Heidi Curtes (Ben’s Cycle), who will win the overall title, and a battle between Josh Fangman (Brazen Dropouts) and Jordan Roessingh (Trek). Ethan Ley (Revolution Cycles) is leading the overall while Cole House will be a favorite if he shows up on Saturday.
Single Speed Cat. 4/5
In the Single Speed Cat. 4 race, Mary Geralts (Team Wisconsin) will fight it out with Emily Raychel (Team Wisconsin) for both the state title and the overall crown.
In the men’s race, look for overall series winner Kayne Neigherbauer (Two-Bit Bicycle Goons) to chase Illinois resident Thomas Martin (Half-Acre), Matt Young (Trek Midwest), and Connor Stone.
Masters 50 plus Cat. 1/2/3
The Masters 50 plus race will be a wide-open slugfest for the race win and the jersey.
Arlen Spicer (Belgianwerx) has the overall sewn up.
But Spicer, who has been on the podium in all but one race he entered this year, is going to have a fight to win the jersey.
Illinois residents and teammates Tim Boundy and Omar Patalinghug (F3 Cycling p/b 7-Mile Cycles) have been on the podium all season in Wisconsin and the Chicago Cross Cup races.
Tedd Jacobson (Team Wisconsin) won last week’s Chicago race over Steel Bokhof (Pony Shop) and former national champion Bob Downs (A Dugast).
And Lance Johnson (Velocause) has won four of the six races he entered this year.
Michael Jones (Neff Cycle Service) will win the 60 plus overall and could be a threat for the 50 plus win.
And even though Paul Warloski (Simple Endurance Coaching) is slated to finish 26th, he’s recovering from COVID, and will be announcing all day, watch out for him!!
(I know, shameless plug…)
I’ll guess that Johnson and Jacobsen battle it out for the win.
Masters 35 plus Cat. 1/2/3
The Masters 35 plus will feature the fight for the overall top step between Chad Hartley (Adapt Cycling) and Ben Schreiber (Linear Sport MTB).
The two have been within single digit points all season, and Hartley carries a seven-point lead into the final race.
While Hartley won Diablo last Saturday, look out for three other riders:
Narayon Mahon (Neff Cycle Service) has won two races this season, Justin Marshall (Trek Midwest) has been a threat all season in the Cat. 3s, and Dan Teaters (Broken Spoke) is usually a threat in the Cat. 1/2/3 race.
Plus Jason Bleedorn (Neff Cycle Service) isn’t registered, but he’s a Madison resident and the winner of three races this season.
If Bleedorn shows up, he’s got to be the favorite, but Mahon has been racing very strongly as well.
In the Men’s 1/2/3 race, Matt Riley (Linear Sport MTB) will win the overall and could take home the state title as well.
But in his way are two well-established elite racers plus two Illinois residents who could also win the race.
Casey Hildebrant ((Donkey Label – Broken Spoke) has been traveling the country doing UCI races winning two Wisconsin races, while Isaac Neff has won two Wisconsin and last weekend’s Chicago race.
Will Knowles (All-Spoked Up Development Team) has been winning Cat. 3 races all season and is now a Cat. 2 rider, and perennial strongman Tim Strelecki has finished 16 races this year, including at Trek and Jingle Cross, and was on the podium in all but two.
And if Corey Stelljes (Neff Cycle Service) and/or defending champion Caleb Swartz (Giant/Neff Cycle Service) shows up, the race will be epicly epic.
The race itself may come down to the speed of Hildebrandt and Neff versus the diesel power of Strelecki.
It’s Been A Blast!
It’s been an honor and a blast telling the stories of the amazing cyclocross racing in Wisconsin this season!
Let’s bring the party to Waterloo on Saturday!