Weekly Race Report

Olde Mill Inn Crit and Director's Season Recap

basking ridge crit 2015

The Garden State Cup series concluded with the Basking Ridge Crit on Labor Day. With a solid squad on hand for team High Gear and a very strong field it was all about keeping John Durso in the orange leader’s jersey. The action was fast and furious with Team High Gear/Trek/WW attentive at the front of the race. Nick Iacovelli and Cody Lacosta were especially active. The high tempo had the field almost constantly shattering and regrouping.

Late in the race, PA rider Mike Chauner made a well timed move. Both Cody and Josh made efforts to bring him back, but it wasn't enough. The good news was that Mike was no threat to the coveted orange jersey, and John rolled in 9th place in a very hard race to secure the win in the grueling season long Garden State Cup for elite men, by far the toughest category in the state to win. Well done John and also the team who were selfless the entire season... First place in elite mens Garden State Cup to Team High Gear/Trek/WW!! Well done boys!!

To recap this amazing season let’s look at some highlights... (these are the results gained from others who sacrificed their own chances for the good of the team)

John Durso, our road captain had 3 victories including the prestigious Cherry Blossom Challenge and was 45+ State Criterium Champ for the third year in a row along with 15 top ten finishes!!

 Steve Ward also had 3 wins including 35+ State Criterium Champion! Steve finished in the top 10 an incredible 10 times in 17 races. 

Cody Lacosta stormed onto the road scene this season after already being a highly regarded elite Mountain Bike and Cylcocross racer. Cody’s highlights include shattering the course record at the High Point Hill Climb, an event that has been going on for over 25 years. Cody’s season included 5 first place finishes and 13 top ten placings on the road! This young man's potential is unlimited and is what this program is all about !

Yours truly "Big Jim" finished the season with 10 wins and 13 top 10s counting the road and mostly thanks to my shiny new Trek Speed Concept Time trial bike. 

Nick Iacovelli finished with a win and 8 top ten finishes, well done!!

Dan Lehman won the Jersey Devil road race and also had 8 top 10 finishes. He is now riding his bike attending Virginia Tech!!

Alex Breakstone had 8 top ten finishes. He is currently riding his bike at Bucknell University!!

Paula Elejalde is heading up our women's program and really made her mark this season with 3 wins between road and time trial and also was top 10 in 13 of 14 events entered! We intend to make our women's program more of a presence in 2016!

These are the highlights. Just as important is how every single member of this program was willing to sacrifice themselves for each other every week for the greater good of the team. As team director, I take pride in how each member of this team has shown that willingness to put their teammates before themselves. None of the above results would be possible without that kind of sacrifice.

As this road season is approaching the end (still a couple races!) I want to thank Rone and Rich Carolan for their support of the program, John Durso for being the best road captain any team could ask for, Paula Elejalde for her work as director of our instantly successful Time Trial and women's programs and to all of you racers on this roster. Thanks for making the 2015 racing season so successful!! Lets make 2016 even better!!

Jim Eichvalds



Executing the Plan!!

Pinecone Strategy

Durso maintains his lead in the Garden State Cup!

Pinecone Circuit Road Race Report from John Durso:

The squad was in full force with the return of Ed B. and Josh which was a welcome sight, Nick, Cody, Mike D and Mike G Alex, Jim, Alex A and John D. With the dynamic of the Cup, which for sure effected our strategy, at times causing us much angst, we stuck to the plan of ensuring we always did not get the wrong guys up the road.

 Ed B was continually teaching and attentive at the front, with a strong contingent of NY and PA riders the race continued to be aggressive with groups forming from the onset. We were always in the mix, on the fourth of 10 laps a group formed with Josh and a couple of NYC (Weather Channel) and PA guys, shortly thereafter a second group of 6 guys with Alex A in tow. We quickly assessed the group with no GS Cup implications (besides the always crafty Rosenhaus) we were content to let the group go. Back in the bunch the Metra guys were getting frustrated with Cody’s and Nick’s attentiveness in covering them like a blanket.

Again as frustrating as it was for everyone, myself included, everyone stuck to the plan. The heat took its toll on the large break and it split into many groups on the last lap. Josh took some digs to split the front group, with the numbers by Weather Channel they countered and Mike Margarite and Rosenhaus rolling away, Josh ended up 9th, Alex hung in for 10th. Both young guys put in a good effort on a course that did not suit their skills. The guys did a great job in the lead out for the few points left allowing me to hold the lead in the Cup. [emphasis is mine]

Team Win! Giro del Cielo

giro del cielo

Giro del Cielo

Great weekend on the bikes for the High Gear/Trek/WW Women.  

From Paula Elejalde:

Saturday started early with the TT where Elise took 3rd and I took 1st.  The course started with a climb just a half a mile in, with fast rolling hills and some grindy climbs toward the end.  In the afternoon, the crit had lots of action with several unsuccessful breakaways, including one that Elise initiated and was nearly successful.  The race ended in a field sprint – Elise grabbed 4th and I finished 10th.  It was fun to put some tactics to work …. My favorite was sitting up in a pace line with Elise a few people in front of me so everyone had to “swarm” around me and chase to get back on.  Coming out of the day, Elise was in 2nd and I was in 4th.  


Going into the road race today, my job (as instructed by the Team Leaders) was to defend Elise – she made an early move which shattered the field –  eventually this put us in a smaller group of 9 girls.  We quickly got the group working together – with the field far behind, we kept the pace at a good clip which seemed to be a good tactic in tiring the group – in the last lap, we came off the last turn and Elise took off with one girl on her wheel.  I took a free ride up the incline and down the descent just before the finish.  Elise was still in front with one other girl.  Just at the barn, my free ride was over – I was able to clear all but one girl who had a half a bike length on me.  Elise held a strong 3rd place finish after an amazing effort from the last turn to the finish.  We finished the with the Team win, Elise with 3rd and me with 1st for the GC.  Proud of how we worked together and thankful to all you dudes who have taught us so much … team etiquette, tactics, mental toughness … I could go on.


Senior Men 

From Steven Ward:


The Senior Men 1/2 – Giro de Cielo had a solid High Gear/Trek/WW contingent competing for the Overall GC and the Team GC. The team included John D., Jim E., Cody, Nick, Alex A., Mike D. and me. Mike G. was unable to compete in the time trial but played a very valuable support role in the criterium and Road Race.


After the first stage time trial, High Gear placed three riders in the top 10 overall with Nick in 9th, Cody in 6th and me in 5th place entering the criterium. Besides having 3 in the top 10 overall in individual GC, the solid TT results placed the team in 1st overall in the team GC (where there was a winning-team-take-all $500 purse on the line).


The criterium was a spirited affair and held on the 1.4 mile Sussex County Fairgrounds circuit. The team rode fantastic and kept the top riders on other teams constantly on the defensive and burning valuable energy chasing our team down throughout the race. The first serious move of the day occurred with an attack from Jim E. with approximately 14 laps to go. Jim was quickly joined by John D. and three other riders from rival teams not in G.C. contention. The break was away for approximately 4 laps and resulted in a furious chase from the top G.C. guys as they saw the serious High Gear threat up the road. Moments after the ‘catch’ was eventually made with 10 laps to go and the lull in the field occurred, I launched a counter-attack only to be joined by Adam Pantastico from the Metra squad. Adam and I quickly built up a 35 second lead on the field and held a steady pace as the laps ticked down knowing I had a strong support cast behind stymieing the chase. With approximately 2.5 laps to go, I sensed my companion was struggling and the field was narrowing the gap. Knowing I was in all or nothing territory, I attacked Adam who was unable to respond and 2.5 laps later I came in solo for the victory. Mike D. finished an excellent 6th place and Cody 10th place in the field sprint, picking up valuable points in the team GC. Furthermore, with the win, I assumed the leader’s jersey going into the final stage and Cody remained solidly in 7th place overall.


Entering the final stage, we led both the team and individual GC. The Road Race was a 10-lap, 5.5 mile rolling to hilly circuit with a ripping downhill into an uphill finish sprint. The plan was to utilize Jim E., Mike G. and Alex A. in the first half of the stage to cover moves and ensure none of the GC threats got away. Assuming the GC riders were going to be keeping an eye on me, the team wanted to try to get Cody up the road in a group of non-GC threats in an attempt to win the day and possibly race overall. After Alex A., Mike G. and Jim E. successfully defended against moves during the first 3 laps, Cody launched a counter up the climb and ended up in a perfect situation with two other non-GC riders. It was truly a perfect scenario. Alex A. continued to be an absolute workhorse, constantly at the front not only chasing counterattacks but also preventing attacks by setting a solid tempo up the primary climb for several laps in a row.


With approximately 4 laps to go, attacks and counter attacks saw the two riders Cody was originally with get popped and 2 other ‘fresh’ riders bridge up to Cody, including Glen Ferreira of Metra and Elvi Rodreguez from Somerville Sports. The team was still comfortable with the situation as Glen and Cody were separated by 5 points entering the stage and from Elvi by 7 points. Coming into the final laps, defense in the field was taken over by Nick and John D. who did an amazing job covering move after move after move. Then, on the final lap, Nick and Mike D. set tempo during the final 4 miles in the lead up to the lead out knowing that Cody’s group was safely clear.


After a long day up the road on a challenging course and with two fresh bodies with him, Cody finished a super impressive 3rd on the stage. It was an epic effort on his part beyond my ability to effectively describe with words. Seeing him after the race, there was no question he left 110%+ on the road race course. With protests and counter protests occurring among the other two riders, Elvi won the stage over Glen but was eventually relegated to second place for going around the pace car in the final sprint, thus giving Glen the stage victory.


The lead-out train for what was potentially the overall GC kicked up out of the final corner with Mike D. taking it over the first climb and then amping it up into the ripping decent. Nick took over with approximate 1.5 km to go and ramped the speed up to a raging 46.3 mph!!!! As the surge started to occur, John D. took over the lead out and brought me to within 350 meters of the line. I jumped off of his wheel at the base of the hill to the finish but I was only able to hang on for 6th place in the field sprint and 9th on the stage. Our main CG rival, Jayson Jacobs of Weather Channel, finished 5th on the stage, 4 spots ahead of me.


In the end, the bizarre disqualification of Elvi in the break resulted in Glen getting the bonus points necessary to leap frog myself and Jayson to take the overall GC with 46 point. Jayson also finished with 46 points in 2nd place overall due to tiebreaking rules and I ended with 44 points or 3rd place overall.


However, and I would argue most importantly, Team High Gear/Trek/WW dominated the team competition with 97 points to the 78 points of the second place Team Metra.

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend and I could not be more proud of the team. I also want to express my sincere appreciation to the entire team in riding so effectively in the final stage to defend my individual GC podium spot. Again….you guys are all awesome...THANK YOU!!!


From Alex Breakstone:

Dan and I competed in the Cat 3 Giro this weekend.



Despite having only two riders in a field of over 45, we still made our presence felt in both Saturday’s criterium, and the Sunday road race. 


With drizzling conditions in the criterium, Dan was able to play on the field’s misery and get away early in the race with 2 other riders, while I did my best to cover moves and disrupt the chase. 

Unfortunately, the chase was brought back with a little over half the race to go, and although we each spent time covering, following, and driving moves off the front, it was clear that the race was going to end in an open sprint. 

Jockeying for position, I was able to get in the middle of Montclair’s lead-out train with 1 lap to go, identifying their sprinter. Unfortunately, in the process, Dan and I had gotten separated coming into the final turn. Once we hit the rise, the field became chaotic as expected. As I tried to move through the traffic, Steven, Montclair’s sprinter made it through a hole, which shut in front of me, boxing out myself as well as many others for the final sprint. In the end, Daniel placed 15th, receiving one GC point, and I placed 16th, just outside of the points. Looking at how closely we finished to each other, we were both at fault for not asserting ourselves more coming into the sprint, especially with Dan having a strong set of previous results on the course.


The weather for our road race on Sunday contrasted with the previous day tremendously. Instead of drizzling and dark, by noon time it was sunny and humid. Given our almost non-existent position on the GC, Dan and I knew that it was necessary to place well in order to contest for at least a top ten spot on the GC. As expected, attacks went on for almost the entirety of the 50 mile race, with Dan and I covering most moves. After 2 laps, a move of two went up the road including John Sedlak from DNK. In response, two more riders went, including Javier from Montclair. Knowing that these two were both strong in the breakaway, I made a move off the front and bridged to the chase group, with the initial break sitting up for us to catch them. The five of us stayed away for about 2.5 laps, but were caught with a little less than half the race remaining. After that move was brought back, small one and two man groups were continuously streaming off the front for about a quarter of a lap to only get caught by the field. Making sure that we did not miss any large moves, Dan and I covered, sometimes counter-attacking to see if the field would allow the group to form. Halfway through the second to last lap, the field almost stopped, riding at nearly 17 mph on the rolling backside of the course, when the winning move went. A rider from Foundation, which had been doing the pacemaking rolled off the front, and after being joined by one more, managed to build a gap. Unlike almost every other lap of the race, the field refused to chase. After watching unsuccessful chase attempts, with one lap to go, Dan decided to lead me out to contest 3rd place. Despite some yelling from the group, about the two of us “having numbers” in the field, Dan and I moved our way up through the pack, coming into the corner before the final climb sitting 5th and 6th wheel. Covering the accelerations up the hill with me in tow, Dan found himself as the third man coming into the long downhill prior to finish. Putting in a monster acceleration at the beginning of the decent, Dan was able to string out the field, with me protected and saving up for the final sprint. I soon realized was that we had started our lead-out too early, and made a split second decision to jump prior to the base of the finishing hill, hoping to pull-off a longer sprint. Unfortunately, I did not quite have enough to carry myself all the way up the incline, and was swarmed by the field about half-way between the base of the hill and the line.


Tour de Pitman

Cody - Tour de Pitman

Team High Gear/Trek/WW lined up for the 6th annual Tour of Pitman with a six rider squad, including Alex A., Alex B, Jim E., Ricky G., Cody and Steve W.. A deceivingly challenging curcuit was made more so by 90+ degree temps, brutal midday humidity and a talented 80 rider field. The action started quickly with Alex A and Alex B representing the team in the large (16 rider) early move which got away within the first 5 miles. This was a very good situation and took a good deal of the pressure off the rest of the team. However, attacks and counterattacks in the breakaway saw 5 of the 16 break clear while the remnants of the breakaway, including Alex A & B were absorbed by the field with 8 laps or 24 miles to go. The entire squad was attentive to counterattacks, with Cody skillfully making his way into a group of 3 in pursuit of the head breakaway. As Cody's group moved clear, Steve was able to get in a chase group and pretty much get a free ride as he wasn't obliged to help in the efforts to pursuit Cody's group. Although Cody's group never made contact with the front breakaway of 5, Cody finished very strongly in 7th Place overall. With 4 miles to go, Steve attacked the chase group and was in to finish alone in 9th place. Although disappointed  we were not represented on the podium, we were pleased with getting two riders in the top 10 amongst a very solid field. Special thanks to Ricky G. who did a great job controlling the front of the peloton throughout the race and assisting in helping launch several of the breakaways wherein we were represented. In the end it was a fun day with everyone on the team contributing!!

NJ State Road Race Championship - #1 Team!

NJ State RR Championship 2015

In the below race report from Jim Eichvalds, you will get to the final sentence and know that it all pays off for the team!

We lined up Saturday morning with a full squad at Pedricktown for the 90 mile State Road Championship, always a major race on the racing calendar. There were both individual and team Garden State Cup points at stake and Team High Gear/Trek/WW were ready for battle! The action started early on with Steve Ward getting into an early break with a dangerous Sommerville sports rider Elvis Acevedo and a few other brave and strong young lads. This move became much more serious when the main field missed a turn as the course marshals failed to alert us to a 90 degree corner! The peloton had to turn around and get back on track while Steve and the break forged on. Adding to the early confusion was the cat 3 field catching us because of the missed turn. I sensed chaos and drifted all the way to the back of the cat 3 field to find the official on the motorcycle. I told him he absolutely had to neutralize the Cat 3 field immediately before things got out of control. Fortunately he agreed and as they separated the fields I jumped to the front just as a move containing Josh, Ryan Rapolis, Greg Leach and a few others was rolling away. I used my momentum to go with them and immediately we had a gap. At this point the situation was ideal. Steve was in lead breakaway and managing it well. Josh and myself in chase group, our pre race plan was have two riders in group. This put pressure on all the other teams involved. I played the game in the chase group, sitting out pulls and jumping back in reminding the other riders that I had a rider in the break. As it became clear we were going to stay ahead of the field I became more committed and Josh was a workhorse all day. The miles passed and the dynamic changed. The lead break shattered with only Steve and Elvis left, which was absolutely perfect for us. My chase group started to feel the fatigue of almost 70 miles of non stop pace lining. We were as close as 40 seconds to the break but that's as close as we would get, we lost Josh which was a huge blow to the chase as he was a motor all race. Then, 78 miles in Steve hit a very unfortunate and ill timed bout with leg cramps which is something all of us have had to deal with at one time or another. To Elvis's credit he initially waited (perhaps also motivated that we were the strongest team in the race and he needed our support) but then went off on his own. Just a couple of minutes after this, what was left of my group was swallowed by another chase group that contained all the heavy hitters from the other teams and our own heavy hitter, John Durso. Noah Granigan, Glen Ferriera, Tom Barnett etc. All strong riders. At this point the field was in tatters and this was the race. John rode his typical strong style as some of the other strong riders either sat on or attempted to execute tactics that I am still not quite sure about. As we came through the feed zone with one to go I was at my breaking point and could no longer stay with the group. John and the rest forged on picking up Steve with 5 miles to go. Instead of drifting to the back after being away the entire race, Steve helped cover moves as the race headed toward the finish. Unfortunately there was no way to catch Elvis Acevedo and he made it to the line first. Steve somehow found the strength to lead out the sprint for the chase group and John jumped around young Noah Granigan and took the bronze. Steve finished 12th in what can only be described as a heroic ride. I rolled in 17th to help secure the team win which was part of this Garden State Cup event. So John now sits in the lead of the Senior Mens Garden State Cup and Team High Gear/Trek/WW is leading the Senior Mens Team competition as the #1 team in New Jersey!! Well done lads!

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