OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS™ – Florida State CX Championships

On January 17, 2014 by Christian

The final weekend of the Florida Cyclocross season is upon us, and it promises to be a fitting ending to what has been our best season of racing CX bikes in the sun and warmth of Florida yet. Saturday is the final event in the FLCX points series, where there are multiple battles to be fought for the final podiums. Sunday is the the actual Florida State Cyclocross Championships, where you win the right to wear the flag on your jersey for the following year. The races will be held at the beautiful Little Everglades Ranch, which is just a bit north of Dade City on 301, which has hosted the last 5 editions of States, and the course has gotten better and better every year. This year promises even more excitement with food trucks and the same announcer that worked the US CX Nationals out in Boulder last week, Dave Towle. Promoter Dan Milstead has been hard at work on the course, enlisting Josh Thornton and John Hovius to add some technical challenges, and judging by the picture Dan posted a couple hours ago, there will be mud.

Well, then again, there’s still one day of dry air and no precipitation chance, so the mud could very well be dry come Saturday. We also know there’s a longish run up with some railroad tie barriers, some soul-sucking slow grass, and we can assume we’ll go through the horse barn because riding through the barn is something of an awesome LER tradition.

As we have done over the past few years the OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS™ for the Florida State Cyclocross Championships are divided up by category and who we, the experts, know is going to win the coveted jersey. As usual, we are never wrong and none of this can be contended.

Men 1/2:

Winner: Josh Thornton (Pioneer Mortgage)
We See You: Robert Marion (American Classic), Ryan Woodall (Top Gear Bicycles), Andy Mills (Backdraft)

This race is Josh’s to lose, much like the rest of the series has been. Woodall’s form is only known to the Ocala locals, and indeed, we aren’t even certain of his attendance. Andy Mills has been filming in an episode of Rehab Addict on the DIY network (check your local listings for air date) so who knows how he’s riding, but he has been faster than a lot of people, plus mentioning him gives us the chance to work in cabinetry jokes. Addison Zawada should be in the thick of things as well, but with one to go, it should be Josh off the front with a good minute back to his nearest competitor.

In light of new information, need to revise things. Robert Marion is a legitimate threat to Josh, as he has been racing the national caliber events all season. While he isn’t a Florida resident, he and Josh are going to have a battle royale, and this race just became a can’t miss instant classic.

There’s virtually no chance (2%) There is now a 25% chance of an un-named rider registering on the day of the race and upsetting Josh’s applecart.

Women 1/2/3:

Winner: Laura Parsons (Rose Bandits)
We See You: Kristin Apostsosososos (Infinity)

Laura was last year’s state champ, and there’s almost nothing that will stop her from repeating, except for a super-motivated Kristin Apotsos. Maybe. Good thing we have one of those. Kristin will have to ride out of her damn mind to make it happen, but she’s done it once already on Saturday at Swamp CX, so there is a chance.

Again, there’s virtually no chance of someone registering day of who can beat these two, however- I’ll rate it at 4%, in case Laura Van Gilder shows up. You never know.

Men 3:

Winner: Michael Cedeno (AG – Guttenplan)
We See You: Robert Croslin (Orange State), Taylor Norton (Orange State), Joel Gorman (Flying Fish Bicycles), Vitor Alexandre (Colavita)

Cedeno is fully capable of absolutely riding away with this race, as long as he can clip into his pedals consistently. An elite rider on the road and the track, his only weakness may be the running, of which there is rumoured to be a lot more of this year. Norton and Croslin will have their hands full, and must get off to a good start so Cedeno doesn’t disappear. Gorman is a super fast starter with some elite skills, and we all know about Vitor.

Of course, there’s no telling who will sign up to race day of, so I’ll predict a 43% chance of someone coming out of nowhere to win it.

Men 4/5:

Winner: Rolly Weaver (Pioneer Mortgage)
We See You: Justin DeLeo (352 Racing), John Kingham (Swift Racing), Michael Hernandez (Hot Tubes)

Rolly is (as best we can figure) a cat 3 on the road who has only entered two CX races, the Cat 4 Saturday race and the Cat 3 Sunday race in Lacoochee two weeks ago. He won both of them. I’m not sure how that works, but it does mean he a pretty strong favourite to win this Sunday. Hernandez is ludicrously fast on the road but hasn’t touched a CX bike all season, and has never been noted for his off-pavement technical ability. That being said, he will probably challenge and could possibly beat Rolly. DeLeo and Kingham have dueled all season, and are legit cat 4 riders, so they will contest the non-sandbagger Cat 4 crown.

Of all the races, this one has the highest chance of day-of registration dood showing up and dominating- I’ll rate it at 84% that a mystery sandbagger happens.

Women 4:

Winner: Nicole Carson (Pinnacle Wheelworks)
We See You: Emily Richards (Orange State), Rebecca Laborde (UA)

Erica and Nicole have dueled at the front of the race all year, but Rebecca won both days in Lacoochee, so this race is really a toss up.

Then again there is a 73.8% chance of a day-of-race-registration ringer showing up and throwing this entire category’s prediction into chaos, so it’s pretty hard to hazard a guess here. I mean a lead pipe lock prediction. Whatever.

Single Speed:

Winner: Keith Richards (Swift Racing)
We See You: Taylor Norton (Orange State), Zach Fout (Gear Link), Josh Thornton (Pioneer Mortgage), Ryan Woodall (Top Gear Bicycles)

This one is a real crap-shoot. It comes down to what is accepted at the start line. Will the officials allow for the status-quo of racers being able to line up with zip-ties and removed batteries, or are they going to be “the man” and look down at the little community we have built and tell you that you must rock a one-cog because the suits in Colorado Springs wrote a rule that applies to Portland, Chicago, New England and places that have 50+ fields of single speed cross rigs.

Because of that we are thinking there’s a 67% chance that “the man” is going to show up and take away all the fun. There’s a 71% chance of an as yet un-named mystery day-of rider taking the jersey as well.

Masters 35+:

Winner: Tic Bowen (The Fit Lab/Winter Park Bikes)
We See You: Ed Dunne (Cycle Logic), Andy Mills (Firefighters Union)

You have to feel bad for Ed Dunne. He barnstorms the state looking for victory in all the right places and puts the hammer down day in and day out to get the credit he deserves and then Tic Bowen and Andy Mills show up to ruin the party. If we were Ed Dunne (and clearly we are not because we are not International Playboys) we would request a hard copy of Bowen and Mills’ birth certificates.

Another category that could easily be taken by someone we haven’t even mentioned- we’ll give it a 52% chance of that happening.

Masters 45+:

Winner: Tim Shank (U/A)
We See You: Vitor Alexandre (Colavita), Joel Rierson (Garneau Florida)

The 45+ race is going to be the best on the day. Vitor Alexandre has been throwing down all year and is not going to give up easily and hopes to own that jersey, but the likes of Shank, who has been racing 35+ during the season, and Rierson, who’s been doing the 60 minute race, are going to be tough to beat. One thinks Vitor is going to go all out for the title, but Tim and Joel have the youth in the age group on their side.

I don’t think there’s many mystery 45 plus day of reg guys, so I’ll rate the likelihood of a mystery winner at only 33%

Masters 55+:

Winner: Dan Sullivan (West Coast Cycling)
We See You: Biron Keefer (Infinity) Brian Davis (Treasure Coast) Ted Hollander (Florida Masters)

Dan Sullivan won the jersey last year, and he’s rounding into form quite nicely to win it again this year. This will be Keefer’s first time contesting the 55 plus crown, so he will have youth on his side. Ted is lightning fast when he’s on form. It should be a pretty great race.

Pretty much every heavy hitter in the category is pre-reged, so the likelyhood of someone other than these guys winning is pretty low- 27%

Juniors 9-14:

Winner: Michael Mace (Whole Athlete)
We See You: Harrison Knight (First Place Racing), all the Hovius kids (AAA)

The Junior 10-14 category has been a mixed bag over the past year with lots of different riders showing up and the consistency of Jackson Mehr in the FLCX Series would show that this field is up for grabs, but 14 year old Michael Mace is still in the category, to no fault of his own, ya know, since he’s 14, and should be able to run away with the victory. However, it should be noted that Harrison Knight is quickly becoming a force out on the bike and he should show very well on the weekend.

There’s a 1% chance that someone other than the riders mentioned wins this thing.

Juniors 15-18:

Winner: Michael Hernandez (Hot Tubes)
We See You: Eric Meucci (u/a)

Eric Meucci has been showing up to a lot of races over the year and we love his enthusiasm and know that he has a future in the sport. Like his brother he is a beast in the Junior categories and will be a force on the mountain bike for a long time to come. Sadly, he isn’t on the older age of the category like road super-star Michael Hernandez who is making his first cyclocross appearance of the season at the State Championships.

Again, there’s almost no chance of anyone beating these guys. 2%.

And that’s it, the final pre-race Power Rankings of the 2013-14 Florida Cyclocross season. We hope to see you out there tomorrow- bring all your friends!