Lindsey Wilson Race Weekend Recap

The Notre Dame Cycling Team returned to action this weekend at the first conference race of the season at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, KY. While there was a lot of great racing over the weekend, there were also some bad crashes suffered by riders from other schools. Notre Dame Cycling sends our thoughts and prayers to all riders injured in Sunday’s road race, especially to Lindsey Wilson rider Hannah Hayduk, who was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Heal up fast and know that you have the support of the whole collegiate cycling community!

The racing kicked off with a team time trial on Saturday morning. The women’s B team of Sarah Cullen (So.), Paige Handy (Jr.), Lillie Romeiser (Grad.), and Kelly Valenzi (Fr.) rode to their second victory of the season. Their time was so fast that they beat several varsity teams and would have taken 2nd place in the A category. The men’s D squad was plagued by a flat tire early on but still took 3rd in their race. Mechanical difficulties also plagued the men’s A team during their ride, but they managed a 10th place finish.

Saturday afternoon brought high-speed criterium racing to downtown Greensburg, KY. The course was new for 2015 and consisted of a small hill on the front stretch with a fast but bumpy descent on the back half of the course. The women’s B team continued on their success from the morning. Handy, Cullen, and Romeiser went 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively. Unfortunately Emma-Kate Conlin (So.) and Valenzi were also poised for top finishes but removed from contention by dropped chains late in the race.

In the men’s D race, David McKenna (Grad.) impressively rode to a top 15 finish in his first-ever criterium. David Berno (Jr.) finished right behind the winner in 4th place, beating a few opponents by a bike-throw at the line. In men’s As, an 8-man breakaway formed halfway through the race. Jim Snitzer (Sr.) attempted to bridge the gap but was caught after several laps by the main field. John Pratt (Sr.) rode steady at the front of the peloton and finished 12th to earn some valuable points in the A race.


Sunday concluded the weekend with a very eventful day of road races. The course was the classic 25-mile, hilly loop that Lindsey Wilson has used for the past several years. However, the start-finish line was moved from a hilltop to a downhill section. Shortly after the racing began, there was a large crash in the women’s A field. A few riders suffered serious injuries, and, as a result, all races were suspended until riders could be attended to and the course cleared. After about an hour delay, the races were re-started. Connor Williams had the best finish of the day, rebounding from crashing on Saturday in the criterium to get 2nd in the men’s C race. The women’s B team rode to several more top 10 finishes with Handy taking 3rd, Cullen 4th, Romeiser 6th, and Valenzi 9th. Tom Frederick (Grad.) and James Pratt (So.) rode strongly in the men’s B field with Frederick recording a personal best 8th place finish after breaking away from the main field in the final miles. In the men’s A race, which was reduced by one-lap due to the re-start, Pratt was poised in the lead group with a shot at taking the victory in the final sprint. He made the mistake of starting his sprint a little to early, but still managed to finish a very impressive 7th place.

Overall, despite some bad luck with mechanical failures, it was a successful start to the MWCCC season. The team will return to action next weekend in races at Michigan and Michigan State.

Clemson Race Weekend Recap

To start off the racing season, the University of Notre Dame cycling team traveled to Clemson University in South Carolina for an out-of-conference race in the SECCC. The race weekend (March 8/9) began with a hilly road race consisting of 25 miles for Men’s C/D and Women’s B/C, 39 miles for Men’s B, and 77 miles for Men’s A. The course consisted of ~13 mile loops, including a decently sized 250ft climb. The morning had a cold start, but warmed up beautifully by the Men’s A race.

David Berno, Conner Williams, Ryan Green, and John Cerney represented the Men’s C squad in the road race. The pack mostly stayed together, yet on the back of the second loop breakaway and chase groups emerged. Williams managed to catch a spot in the chase group and pulled away with a 7th place finish. Berno finished top 15. Green, Williams, and Cerney all made their debut in collegiate cycling and performed strongly.

Sarah Cullen, Sarah Beuter, Kelly Valenzi, Emma-Kate Conlin, and Paige Handy represented the Women’s B/C in the road race. The pack managed to hold together until the second lap. Going up a steep ascent, the Men’s B group came up behind the women and jumbled the women’s pack. At that point, a group of 5 girls broke away and chase group began which included Handy. Handy placed 6th with Cullen finishing quickly after. It was the first road race for both Beuter and Valenzi, and they both showed promise for the rest of the season. Conlin also performed strongly throughout the course.

Andrew Koch and Tom Frederick represented the Men’s Bs in the road race. The pack held together throughout the race until the final ascent. Koch and Frederick both finished in the midst of the pack and show promise of upgrading to Men’s A’s by the end of the year.

Jim Snitzer and John Pratt raced for the Men’s A in a competition of endurance and high speeds. Both rode strong and gained some notable finishes (16th and 18th). A breakaway group appeared in the first lap of the course. Pratt gained a solid spot in a chase group while Snitzer rode solo and eventually bridged the gap to join Pratt in the chase group. Overall, all team members had a solid first race for the season.

Saturday afternoon the team competed in 3 individual time trials (5 miles) and 3 team time trials (10 miles). John Cerney (C/D), Jim Snitzer (A), and Sarah Cullen (B/C) all raced in the ITT. Cullen flew through the course and captured a 4th place finish, while even passing a few Women’s A riders. Snitzer’s legs were drained from the road race yet he managed to pull through strong and without injury.

Frederick, Berno, Green, and Williams joined together to race for the Men’s B TTT. Frederick and Williams pulled away and worked as a two-man team for the second lap of the TTT. All put out an impressive effort and earned a joint 4th place finish. Handy, Valenzi, Beuter, and Conlin joined forces to earn a first place finish for the Women’s B TTT. It was the first ever first 1st place finish for a Women’s TTT in Notre Dame history. All four members put out their best efforts despite some tired legs from the road race earlier in the morning.

Sunday, all members competed in the crit which lasted 30 min for Men’s C/D and Women’s B/C, 45 min for Men’s B, and 60 min for Men’s A.

The Men’s C/D proved for an eventful race for the team. In the first lap of the race, another rider came into contact with Green and he took a significant fall from his bike. The crash resulted in some bad road rash on both sides of the body and a cracked helmet, but Green emerged in good spirits. Berno as well got pushed of the course by another rider and took a fall into the grass. He had no injury to himself, but his bike tires needed replacement. After taking his free lap, he was able to rejoin the race. Williams conjured up yet another impressive 7th place finish. Williams will be upgrading to C’s in the near future.

The Women’s B race went great for both Cullen and Valenzi. Valenzi pulled a 7th place finish while Cullen as well pulled a top ten finish. All members finished strong and have gained some experience riding with fellow teammates. Frederick raced alone for the Men’s B crit and came through in the middle of the pack. He appeared strong and determined throughout the race.

The Men’s A race proved distressing for the team as beloved rider John Pratt took a nasty fall and gashed his thigh on the chain ring of another rider’s bike. A rider from another school had swiped across the field knocking over a few riders, including Pratt. Pratt was smiling and positive throughout the event, despite having to go straight to the hospital for stitches. Snitzer managed to avoid numerous crashes and ended up finishing in the main field.

Overall, the race weekend was a great opportunity to get outside on the road again to get a feel for the bikes after a long winter on trainers and spin bikes. The team is spending the rest of the week riding the hills of northern Georgia and building up team camaraderie. Although the race is just a starting point for the season, it revealed some promising results for a great season of racing ahead. The team will compete at Lindsey Wilson March 21/22 for the first race of the year in the MWCCC.

2015 Season Preview

Notre Dame, IN– The 2015 road season will soon begin when we head down to Clemson, SC for an out-of-conference race in the SECCC on March 7-8 during the first weekend of spring break. We will then head to Blairsville, GA for a week of training in the mountains of North Georgia to prepare for the rest of the season. Defense of the MWCCC DII Team Omnium Title will begin on March 21 at our first conference race at Lindsey Wilson.

This year’s team has a lot of promise with returning men’s A riders John Pratt, Jim Snitzer, and Luke Tilmans leading the way. The women’s B squad will have more depth than any other in Notre Dame history and the other men’s categories have many strong new additions. Stay posted here for updates throughout the 2015 racing season.

Here’s a quick intro to our 2015 roster:

Men’s A:

  • John Pratt– 2014 MWCCC DII Individual Omnium champ and member of the 3rd place Nationals DII Team Time Trial. Watch out for the #PrattAttack this year.
  • Jim Snitzer– 12th in 2013 Nationals DII Road Race and member of the 3rd place Nationals DII Team Time Trial
  • Luke Tilmans– Top 30 in the 2014 Nationals DII Criterium and member of the 3rd place Nationals DII Team Time Trial

Men’s B:

  • Tom Frederick– Graduate student, team president, and 2nd year racer
  • Andrew Koch– First year graduate student adding some experience to the roster after racing as an undergraduate at Furman
  • James Pratt– He’s just a sophomore and may seem nice, but watch out for that sprint!

Men’s C:

  • Connor Williams– Very talented sophomore transfer student who is about to start his first year racing
  • Bertie Nel– Ex-varsity swimmer who is transitioning over to the better endurance sport

Men’s D:

  • David Berno– Returning D rider and triathlete (but we can get over that)
  • David McKenna– Physics graduate student and first time racer
  • John Cerney– 1st year Law student and first time racer
  • Ryan Green– Strong freshman who turned down playing varsity baseball to ride for us
  • Scot Stanulis– Freshman, high school cross-country runner also transitioning over to the better endurance sport

Women’s B:

  • Paige Handy– Junior returning from abroad after a very successful freshman year
  • Sarah Cullen– Sophomore looking for her first career win after coming so close several times last year
  • Emma-Kate Conlin– Also a talented sophomore, looking to become an A someday soon
  • Lillie Romeiser– ex-Ironman triathlete, Boston qualifier, and graduate student
  • Kelly Valenzi– Eager freshman first time racer who has put in a lot of hard work this winter
  • Sarah Bueter– Freshman who actually enjoys the climbs
  • Maggie Schmid– Junior looking try bike racing for the first time after swimming competitively

Cyclocross at Hilton Indian Lakes, Chicago Cross Cup

Bloomingdale, IL — On Saturday, November 15, 1st year graduate student Andrew Koch represented the cycling Irish in the collegiate B race at Hilton Indian Lakes. The race was part of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup. Due to good results at previous races, Koch started in the front and never looked back. His win marked the first of the 2014-2015 season for Notre Dame. Despite having already raced, he also competed in the category 4/5 race immediately afterwards and took an impressive 3rd place. Koch is a new addition to the team after graduating from Furman University last year and coming to ND for a Masters in Sacred Music. He will also be competing on the road, starting in the Bs this coming spring.

CapTech USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships Recap

Notre Dame Cycling sent Andrew O’Donnell (Grad.), John Pratt (Jr.), Jim Snitzer (Jr.), and Luke Tilmans (Sr.) to the 2014 CapTech USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships on May 2-4. The event was held in Richmond, VA and served as a test event for the UCI Road World Championships that will come to the city in September of 2015. The collegiate courses were identical to those that will be used in the World Championships and showcased historic parts of Richmond, including Monument Street, Broad Street, and Libby Hill.

The team and individual time trials were held on the first day of racing, Friday, May 2. Despite a crash during warmup for the TTT, the 4 Irish riders paced well and finished the 31km course in 43:12. It was good enough for 3rd place amongst DII teams and the first nationals podium in the history of Notre Dame Cycling. A few short hours later, O’Donnell and Snitzer took the line for the ITT. Amongst a very strong DII field, Snitzer finished 13th (45:09) and O’Donnell 25th (47:06).

In Saturday’s criterium Pratt took advantage of his front row start from winning the MWCCC conference omnium. Tilmans and Snitzer started near the back but managed to work their way up through the field. A short, tight, and technical descent followed by a moderately sized climb along the backstrech made for a very difficult race in which over 2/3 of the field was pulled. Tilmans managed to finish in the field at 28th, while Pratt was 29th and Snitzer 64th.

Sunday’s road race, 7 laps of a 10 miles loop, featured two sections of rough cobbles: a fast descent in the middle of the city and a switchback climb through a nearby park. Unfortunately, the race saw some very bad luck for the Irish. Tilmans suffered a flat tire only 3 miles in, received a neutral support bike, but was unable to chase back to the charging peloton. Just a few miles later, Snitzer went down in a crash that took out over 20 riders. He was still able to finish 54th. Pratt, the last remaining ND rider, rode near the front of the field even putting in a solo attack during the first lap. Unfortunately, he too suffered a flat tire with 2 laps to go and had to settle for 48th.

Notre Dame Cycling thanks all of their sponsors and fans for their support throughout the 2014 road season and the city of Richmond for hosting a fantastic event. Happy riding to all this summer! It won’t be long until the 2015 MWCCC season and National Championships in Asheville, NC.

CapTech USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships Preview

From MWCCC conference director Matt Jones: “In the D2 men’s field, Notre Dame has dominated the entire season, even taking a few wins from the larger varsity programs. John Pratt has led this charge and is expected to be an active force in both the road race and criterium. This will continue into the TTT where a podium finish for Notre Dame would not be out of the question.”

See the following for a complete preview:

Notre Dame Nationals roster:

TTT- Andrew O’Donnell (Grad.), John Pratt (Jr.), Jim Snitzer (Jr.), Luke Tilmans (Sr.)

ITT- O’Donnell, Snitzer

Crit- Pratt, Snitzer, Tilmans

RR- Pratt, Snitzer, Tilmans

Follow @cyclingirish on twitter for live updates from this weekends National Championships in Richmond, VA.

MWCCC Regionals Purdue Recap

The Notre Dame Cycling team competed in West Lafayette, IN on April 26-27 in the MWCCC Regional Championships hosted by Purdue with the Division II conference title on the line. The races were held west of Purdue’s campus and began with an 8-mile team time trial on Saturday morning. The Notre Dame men’s A team represented by John Pratt (Jr.), Jim Snitzer (Jr.), Luke Tilmans (Sr.), and Andrew O’Donnell (Grad.) took a season best 4th place, only 32 seconds behind the winning time, while averaging a blistering 28+ mph pace.

Shortly after the time trial, the road races began. The course consisted of a 9.4-mile lap including a one-mile, 160ft climb followed by sections with strong winds and a fast decent. The races had riders completing between three and eight laps totaling 28-75 miles, depending on their respective categories. Sarah Cullen (Fr.), despite wrecking early on in the race, took 7th in the women’s B race after quickly catching up to the field. Mike Lorenzen (Grad.) once again set the pace for the men’s D race. He took third place after establishing himself in a four-man breakaway, providing the Irish with their first podium spot of the weekend. In the men’s C road race, Tom Frederick (grad.) was able to bridge to a seven-man break and took a season best 6th place. Notre Dame’s star freshman James Pratt was able to fend off several attacks by riders from Marian in the men’s B field, and took a career best second place in the final sprint. The men’s A road race saw an uncharacteristically large amount of wrecks, which claimed riders Douglas Ansel (Grad.) and O’Donnell as victims. However, the Irish were able to get their leader John Pratt in the day’s six-man breakaway. Both Snitzer and Tilmans worked together to cover other teams’ attempts to bridge the gap allowing the break to gain more than a ten-minute advantage. Pratt took second in the final sprint, while Tilmans and Snitzer finished 17th and 20th respectively.

Sunday’s circuit race featured a four-mile loop that included a short, steep climb, with no time to recover due to strong crosswinds and a quick descent back to the base of the climb. Cullen put in an impressive effort to grab 9th place in women’s B. Lorenzen applied constant pressure while attacking the men’s D field, eventually taking 15th.  In men’s C, an attack by a rider from Case Western established the ten-man break including Frederick in the final lap. On the finishing climb, Frederick took another impressive top ten finish grabbing 5th place. The men’s A field was shelled by the tough climb and strong crosswinds; however, John Pratt helped Snitzer establish himself in the days surviving field. Snitzer eventually grabbed 18th, Pratt 21st, Tilmans 25th, and O’Donnell 30th in a very difficult race.

For the fourth year running, the Notre Dame Cycling team emerged as the MWCCC Division II team champions. Furthermore, John Pratt and Jim Snitzer took first and second place respectively in the Division II Individual Omnium. Notre Dame would like to thank Purdue for hosting a very well organized race weekend and providing a stellar setting to help bring an end to another successful MWCCC season.

Men’s A riders John Pratt, Jim Snitzer, Luke Tilmans, and Andrew O’Donnell will head to Richmond, VA for the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships on May 2-4. The Irish will face the best collegiate riders from across the country on the course for the eventual 2015 UCI Road World Championships.

Home Race Recap

Over 200 cyclists from schools across the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference came to South Bend, IN on April 12-13 for the 4th annual Notre Dame Collegiate Cycling Classic. The Notre Dame cycling team hosted the event with the help of St. Joseph County and the City of South Bend. It also acted as a fundraiser for the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation. Saturday’s races were held south of the city, starting and finishing at the Greene Intermediate Center. Teams competed in the 7.8-mile team time trial in the morning. The Irish A team, consisting of John Pratt (Jr.), Jim Snitzer (Jr.), and Luke Tilmans (Sr. ) took 5th, less than a minute behind the best time of the day set by Marian.

In the afternoon, riders took the line in the road race, varying between 28 and 72 miles in length depending upon category. The wind picked up throughout the day, making for some very hard racing. Sarah Cullen (Fr.) set the tempo at the front of the women’s B field, but after 28-miles the peloton was still together going into the final sprint. Cullen managed to take 8th. In the men’s D road race, Mike Lorenzen (Grad.) came in 3rd, while Tom Frederick (Grad.) and August Kunkel (Sr.) were 13th and 16th respectively in men’s C. The men’s A road race saw a large crash in a crosswind section of the course in just the first of 5 laps. Thankfully, no Notre Dame riders hit the pavement. Shortly following the crash, Pratt managed to get himself into the 5-man breakaway that would eventually stay away until the finish while Douglas Ansel (Grad.), Snitzer, and Tilmans rode in the second group on the road. Unfortunately, Tilmans was disqualified for going over the centerline and Ansel suffered a flat tire. In the end, Pratt was 4th and Snitzer 15th after an extremely hard day of racing.

Sunday’s short, technical, 6-turn criterium course wound through the newly developing Triangle Neighborhood before bringing riders near the Eddy St Commons and finishing on Napoleon St. Early in the day, Emma-Kate Conlin (Fr.) and Cullen rode strongly to bring in another pair of top ten finishes for women’s B.  Lorenzen had another men’s D podium finish, grabbing 2nd with the support of teammates David Berno (So.), Joe Mueller (So.), and Sam Melgar (So.). Kunkel and Frederick both recorded season-bests 5th and 8th respectively in Men’s C. After initially being gapped by the peloton, James Pratt (Fr.) fought hard to catch back on in the men’s B race. He eventually caught the field and held on for an impressive 12th. In men’s A, the final race of the day, Pratt once again made it into the winning breakaway. Meanwhile, bake in the peloton, Tilmans and Ansel were near the front but were both caught behind a crash in the final lap, continuing their bad luck from the day before. At the finish, Pratt recorded 5th despite taking large pulls to chase down riders from Marian and Lindsey Wilson.

The Notre Dame cycling team thanks St. Joseph County, the City of South Bend, and all the volunteers that helped out to make the weekend a success. The Irish will travel to Purdue University on April 26-27 for the MWCCC Regional Championships before going to USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals on May 2-4 in Richmond, VA.

Ripon Criterium Recap

The Irish looked to take on the MWCCC once again in a single day criterium event hosted by Ripon College in Wisconsin. The course was tremendously challenging, featuring a couple kicker hills and a sweeping fast descent. The racing started around noon when women Sarah Cullen and Emma-Kate in the women’s B/C field. The field quickly shredded itself, but the Irish women held steady for two great results, a 2nd for Sarah, and 6th for Emma-Kate. The next event of the day for the Irish featured Josh Corcoran in the men’s C field. As in the previous races, the field was dismantled by the hills. Josh proved to hold steady, though, for a very well earned 10th place finish. The final event of the day was the Men’s A race. Jim Snitzer, Luke Tilmans, and John Pratt took the line against some of the top riders in the Midwest, themselves included. Despite the hills, not many riders were shelled from this field. Eventually, though, after a couple of attacks, several riders were able to get up the road. Snitzer and Tilmans found themselves finish 10th and 11th, respectively, in the second break. Pratt finished 24th. It was a great day for all Notre Dame cyclists. A special shout out goes to the Corcoran family for graciously hosting us. It was an exhilarating weekend of sunshine, chain grease, sweat that revolved around a barrage of great efforts by all of the riders.

Next weekend, MWCCC action comes to South Bend for the annual Notre Dame Collegiate Cycling Classic! See the home race tab for more details.

Michigan State Road Race and ITT Recap

The cycling Irish headed up to Michigan State University for a full day of racing on Saturday, March 29. The races included a road race, featuring 5 mile laps with a 2 mile section of dirt roads, and a 6.8 mile individual time trial.

Men’s A:

Juniors John Pratt and Jim Snitzer and Senior Luke Tilmans started the men’s A 55-mile road race responding to numerous attacks from varsity programs Lindenwood and Marian. After Notre Dame was left out of an early break of 10, Pratt attempted to get away from the main field and his other season-long individual omnium competitors. Unfortunately, none of the attacks stuck. A chase group including Snitzer and Tilmans with about 12 riders formed in the dirt section during the 3rd lap. The next 3 laps were extremely agressive, seeing many attempts to bridge to the leaders. In the end, Snitzer and Tilmans finished 17th and 18th respectively.

Just an hour after finishing the road race, the 3 A’s took the line for the ITT. Pratt finished with the 4th best time of the day, just 13 seconds of the leaders pace, while Snitzer was just behind him in 5th. Tilmans managed to place 20th, despite loosing about a minute to taking a wrong turn.

Men’s D:

Graduate student Tom Frederick and Sophomores Brennan Lanier and David Berno led the way for the Irish in the men’s D 25-mile road race race. After just 3 miles in, the peloton was abruptly stopped due to fire crew responding to a barn fire near the course. After a two hour delay, the race was restarted with a combined D and C field. Frederick came out on top among the Ds, while Lanier and Berno finished 4th and 5th, respectively. For Berno, it was a stellar first career cycling race, and for Lanier, it was a strong season debut. Terrific Tom will likely upgrade to the C’s for his next race after a well-deserved victory. This season’s very strong group of D riders will look to continue to produce numerous top-5 finishes and possibly move up to C’s in the coming weekends.

In the Individual Time Trial, Frederick was 2nd, Lorenzen (who drove up in the afternoon after competing in the Holy Half Marathon that morning) 4th, Lanier 5th, and Berno 7th.

Women’s B/C:

Freshmen Sarah Cullen and Devin Stalker had a strong showing in the women’s B/C field for the second straight weekend. After taking large pulls at the front of the group chasing the 3-person breakaway, Cullen took 5th. Stalker finished her first career road race and rode on dirt roads for the first time, coming in 10th.

In the ITT, Cullen was 3rd and Stalker 5th.

Next up for the cycling Irish is Ripon’s team time trial and criterium on Saturday, April 5.