USA Cycling Collegiate National Road Championships: Ogden, Utah


Friday, athletes headed across a 4 mile causeway to the desert Antelope Island for a 19 mile team time trial in the middle of the Great Salt Lake. An out and back course on the eastern edge of the island, the race started with a gradual climb before a fast decent to the coastline and then another small hill at the turnaround. Fierce headwinds coming off the lake buffeted roads from the North, making the return leg ultimately the key location where all time gaps between teams occurred. Starting early in the DII field, Notre Dame came out of the gate quickly with the team of O’Donnell, Lee, Pratt, and Magro sustaining speeds near 37 mph in the tailwind section. By the turnaround, ND had erased most of the 2 minute gap between Weber State and Montana State, who had began 4 minutes before the Irish, was also in sight. Battling the wind for the final 9 miles, the Irish overtook Montana State 14 miles in, and passed Weber State within sight of the finish. Behind the motor of O’Donnell, Lee and Magro crossed the line setting the early best time of the day and later good enough for 11th place.



Starting on the front line as Midwest conference champion, Magro led the Irish into the National Championship Criterium with hopes for a high finish. In the opening laps, Magro rode near the front of the field, while O’Donnell and Pratt worked their way forward. With the strategy of sending O’Donnell into early moves, while keeping Pratt in the field for a potential lead out in the closing laps, O’Donnell bridged up to a small breakaway 15 minutes into the race and took 3rd in the first prime sprint. Caught by the pack, O’Donnell continued to ride aggressively at the front until a hard crash took him out of the race. While sprinting out of the group, O’Donnell clipped a curb and was thrown from his bike, breaking his collarbone in two places and ending a promising Nationals weekend. Back in the field, Magro also had some bad luck with a front flat leading to relegation to the rear of a 100 rider field. Taking the free lap to switch wheels, Magro was never able to completely regain his positioning as high winds and multiple crashes led to a frantic final 30 minutes. Finishing a disappointing 35th, Magro looked to the road race Sunday for better luck and a better performance.


Road Race

With a career performance, climber Nathaniel Lee led the Irish brigade in the DII road race. Summiting the North Ogden Divide climb only 5 miles before the finish. Lee was glued to the front of the pack as rider after rider was dropped on the climb. As the grade increased to over 15% 2km below the summit, Lee limited his losses and then was joined by Magro during the descent. Working with riders from Air Force and Duke, Lee and Magro raced across the valley floor to finish 30th and 32nd respectively. Farther back, John Pratt rode easily into the finish after highlighting the early stages of the race.

A massive crash took out nearly half the field just 3 miles into the event. With both Magro and Pratt ahead of the accident, and Lee able to chase back into the main group, ND was well represented in the flurry of attacks that followed. Richard Geng of Colorado Mesa University finally slipped free of the field, and opened a gap of nearly 3 minutes back to the peloton. To keep the field in contact with Geng, Pratt first rode tempo at the front of the field for ND, then attacked the race and rode solo for the next 10 miles. Forcing the larger teams to respond, Pratt was soon caught, but the aggressive riding brought Geng’s lead down to only 30 seconds, setting the stage for the final climb out of Ogden.

Conference Championship 2012

Race Pictures by Mike Seelinger organized by category

Road Race Photos courtesy of Snitzer Photography

Crit Photos courtesy of Ripon Cycling

Brief Recap:

This past weekend, the top athletes in the Midwestern Collegiate Cycling Conference descended upon South Bend for the regional conference championships. Nearly 200 cyclists rolled up to compete for coveted spots at the collegiate national championships in Ogden Utah. Looking to cement their second consecutive conference championship, Notre Dame brought nearly 20 riders to build on the lead they had created all season. The first event of the weekend was the team time trial. While also organizing the race, the Irish turned in several solid performances. Both the Men’s D and Men’s C units earned wins and spots as conference champions, while the Men’s B squad earned 2nd place and Men’s A snagged important points with 5th.

After a quick turn-around, the Road Race was under way. The teams raced laps of a 15 mile course in rolling terrain south of downtown South Bend, and the races were animated all day with flurries of attacks and fast finishing sprints. In Men’s D, Junior Phil Palmon was the top finisher for the Irish in 5th. Next, Sophomore Carolyn McCann fought hard for 7th place in the Women’s B/C field. Junior Josh Corcoran continued the strong efforts from the Irish on the day with 5th in the Men’s C field, and in Men’s B three Notre Dame athletes placed in the top 10 with Junior Brian Hurley at 2nd, Sophomore Luke Tilmans in 5th and Freshman Jim Snitzer at 9th. Finally, in the ultra-competitive Men’s A field, all six Notre Dame men finished in the main field, with points coming from grad student Doug Ansel in 13th and Freshman John Pratt in 17th.

Sunday all eyes turned to the final race of the regular season in downtown South Bend. Crowds lined the streets all day to view the fast-paced action of criterium racing. In the first race of the day, sophomore August Kunkel snagged another win for Notre Dame in the men’s D sprint. In Women’s B, McCann repeated her solid performance from the day before, taking another 7th place in Women’s B/C. Another great effort came form the Men’s C riders with Corcoran earning a podium position with 3rd, and top 10’s from junior David Pratt at 6th and freshman Mike Chifala at 7th. In Men’s B Tilmans was the top finisher in 4th place. Finally, in Men’s A, junior Joe Magro who was leading the conference points standing for division II, fought his way into the winning break-away and held on to earn 7th place, while John Pratt held on in the field for 14th.

The performances form the Irish all weekend secured their back to back conference championship, and Magro and John Pratt finished 1st and 2nd in the overall DII individual standings. In two weeks Magro, Pratt, grad student Andrew O’Donnell and senior Nate Lee will represent the Irish at the national championships.

MWCCC Road Championship


Week 7: Purdue Brief Recap

Team Time Trials

Men’s C- 1

Men’s B- 1

Men’s A- 3

Road Race
Men’s D: Phil Palmon- 22
Men’s C: Josh Corcoran – 6, Michael Chifala – 9, Jim Snitzer – DNF, Dave Pratt – DNF
Men’s B: Brian Hurley – 4, Luke Tilmans – 5
Women’s B: Carolyn McCann – 6
Men’s A: John Pratt – 3, Joe Magro – 6, Nate Lee – 14, Douglas Ansel – DNF, Andrew O’Donnell – DNF
Circuit Race
Men’s D: Phil Palmon- 12
Men’s C: Jim Snitzer – 1, Michael Chifala – 13, Josh Corcoran – 16, Dave Pratt – DNF
Men’s B: Luke Tilmans – 4, Brian Hurley – 5
Women’s B: Carolyn McCann – 7
Men’s A: John Pratt – 9, Joe Magro – 17, Douglas Ansel – 24, Nate Lee- DNF Andrew O’Donnell – DNS
Season Long Standings
Conference Division II – ND 1st
Conference Overall – ND 5th
Conference Men’s Individual DII – Joe Magro 1st

Week 5 2012 Recap: MSU/ Michigan

Lansing, Ann Arbor MI– The men’s C road race kicked off the festivities Saturday morning. Featuring  5 miles of dirt roads per lap, Michigan State’s European inspired course presented unique challenges to riders all day long. After an uneventful first lap, ND rider’s David Pratt, Luke Tilmans, and Jim Snitzer hit the dirt section hard, hoping to shed down the size of the field. They formed a break of 12 going into the final lap and gapped  4 more riders before the final mile. The C leadout train allowed Pratt to dominate the sprint finish Continue reading “Week 5 2012 Recap: MSU/ Michigan”

Week 4 2012 Recap: Ohio State

Athens, Columbus OH– On a weekend that saw Notre Dame add more conquests to an already impressive season, no riders performed better than those of the men’s C team. Mike Chifala, Josh Corcoran, David Pratt, Jim Snitzer, and Luke Tilmans were untouchable throughout the competition at Ohio State  placing four in the top 10 of Saturday’s road race while both sweeping the podium and taking five of the top ten in Sunday’s criterium. Continue reading “Week 4 2012 Recap: Ohio State”

Week 3 2012 Recap: Lindenwood Contingent

St Charles, MO– For St. Patrick’s Day weekend the Notre Dame Cycling Team traveled to the emerald pastures of St. Charles, Missouri for their second race weekend of the 2012 Road Racing Season. Lindenwood University hosted the inaugural MWCCC/NCCCC Challenge where riders from both the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference and the North Central Collegiate Cycling Conference competed head-to-head to determine not only who were the best riders in each of the respective conferences but also which conference packed the most power overall. Continue reading “Week 3 2012 Recap: Lindenwood Contingent”

Week 3 2012: Pennsylvania Training Camp

Lancaster, PA — Nathaniel Lee, Brian Hurley, Mike Chifala, Joe Magro, and Ethan Ferguson made the 9 hour drive to Lancaster County, PA for a week long spring break training camp culminating with an ECCC race in Philadelphia. Taking advantage of the rolling terrain, the team rode over 20 hours throughout camp and traversed well over 20,000 ft of climbing. Amish farmland combined with wooded hills made for scenic riding and local cycling landmarks such as the Starlight campsite climb, Tour de Ephrata mountain time trial, and Pumping Station dirt road were visited. In Philadelphia, the team’s performance was highlighted by Hurley’s near out of conference win while holding off the pack for a 3rd place finish.

Week 1 2012 Recap: Lindsey Wilson

Columbia, KY–John Pratt announced his arrival to the collegiate ranks with a pair of dominating performances to highlight Notre Dame’s first weekend of the MWCCC road season. On Saturday, a devastating attack 30 miles into the Men’s B road race saw the freshman Pratt launch clear of the field with Kevin Henschel of Ohio State in tow. As veterans Andrew O’Donnell and Nathaniel Lee of Notre Dame disrupted any pursuit, Pratt and Henschel quickly opened a gap in excess of two minutes setting the stage for a final battle on the mile climb to the finish. Pratt made the first attack on the lower slopes, but Henschel was able to match his accelerations. Continue reading “Week 1 2012 Recap: Lindsey Wilson”

Blue Gold Race 2011

The second annual Blue-Gold Race wrapped up this weekend and, despite the absence of some veterans, the pace was fast.

In the road race, both Blue and Gold squads lined up in blustery conditions. Nathaniel Lee, John Pratt, Phil Palmon and Jim Snitzer got away half way through the first lap, and held on for about three miles before the pack caught them in the headwinds. Continue reading “Blue Gold Race 2011”