The summer hiatus from cyclocross racing in Florida ended three weeks ago at the inaugural Edinburgh CX Challenge in Dunedin. The race marked one of the first forays of cross racing in September in Florida Cyclocross history and it was a huge success with quite a few large fields. That turnout gave us the opportunity to take a look at who is hot and who is not going into the first full weekend of racing on the Florida Cyclocross calendar.
As a reminder, these rankings are 100% official and can not be challenged in any way.
2013/14 FLCX Power Rankings: Tampa Riverfront CX
1. Josh Thornton (Pioneer Mortgage p/b Your Key) | Cat1/2 | Last Rank: N/A
Thornton looking smooth. (Photo: Michael Ploch)
Josh Thornton is a pretty nice guy. If I had to ask him to bail me out of jail (GUILTY OF BEING AWESOME) I bet he would be there in a heartbeat. Making it even worse is that Josh will be super polite when he is coming around to lap you in the middle of the race (we know from experience). The Tampa weekend will mark the third and fourth race of the season for Thornton. He got an early start at the UCI Nittany Cross race in Pennsylvania and featured well in the main chase.
The big question is not if Thornton has what it takes to continue his dominance in Florida Cyclocross, but if there is anyone that can compete against him in the category 1/2 field week in and week out.
2. Chris Slack (Infinity Bike Shop) | Cat1/2, SS | Last Rank: N/A
Slack has added a few pounds in the offseason. (Slack Family Archives)
Chris Slack looked extremely strong in Dunedin a few weeks ago with a strong second place in the 1/2 field and an easy win in the Single Speed race. When Slack isn’t busy not eating anything of substance he is working on opening his very own boutique shop and wheel building emporium in Sarasota. After taking second place overall in last year’s FLCX Series in the 1/2s he may feel like he has something to prove, but with a new shop on the horizon he may join the ranks of the slow bike shop owners that populate Florida Cyclocross.
3. John Hovius (AAA Triathlon) | Cat3, SS, 45+ | Last Week: N/A
Hovius and Dyszkiewicz took the top two steps in the cat3s at Dunedin. (Photo: John Hovius)
John is a machine. He will race three times in one day and every time he will feature in the race. His efforts must be applauded and his diesel engine is reminiscent of the great Jan Ulrich. When John isn’t busy winning his category he is training for triathlons. He has probably beaten someone you know. He is the real deal. He is a horse of a man.
4. Jack Rich (Infinity Bike Shop) | 35+ | Last Rank: N/A
If you have been racing cyclocross in Florida for the past four years you know about Jack Rich. You have seen Jack Rich and you probably have wished that you were Jack Rich. He has graced the top of the OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS on a few occasions and has consistently dominated the 35+ field to the point that many racers have refused to show up. When the 35+ field was combined with the 1/2s for 60 minutes of racing action Jack found himself on the overall podium many times. The biggest question about Jack Rich and the upcoming season is the one from all the other masters racers, “Can you please stop hurting us, Mr. Jack?”
5. Steve Noble (Infinity Bike Shop) | M45 | Last Rank: N/A
Was it for real? Did we actually see Steve at a cyclocross race in Dunedin three weeks ago? We hope that was him and we hope that he will return to the ranks of cyclocross carnies that have crisscrossed the state for years. If he comes back to Tampa look for him to dominate the ultra-competitive 45+ category. Steve only did one race in 2012/13, but the year before that he was one of the most consistent performers on a cross bike in the Southeast. With his impressive win at the season opener one can only hope that we get to see Noble at more races this season.
6. Wojtek Dyszkiewicz (Birdsong Brewing) | M3, SS | Last Rank: N/A
Wojtek is the new guy on the block. Having moved to central Florida from Charlotte, North Carolina he is bringing some experience and speed into the category 3 and singlespeed field. Carrying a fair amount of ranking points on both CrossResults.com and the USA Cycling database. If it wasn’t for Hovius in the cat3s in Dunedin he would have walked away with the win and would be on a fast track to compete in the 1/2s. Dyszkiewcynmtzclkcxwnic is a man of mystery in these parts, but a little internet research tells us to be ready.
7. Lachlan Hovius (AAA Triathlon) | J10-14 | Last Rank: N/A
All you need to know about Lachlan is that he has won every single cyclocross he has ever entered except for one. Oh, he has also probably beaten someone you know in a triathlon or three. This should come as no surprise since his dad is number three on the list this week.
8. Kristin Apotsos (Infinity Bike Shop) | W1/2/3 | Last Rank: N/A
Kristin is the best and most consistent woman in Florida Cyclocross. She started racing last year and spent the first half of the season in the W4 category before upgrading and still ended up getting second overall in the FLCX Series. With only half a season of racing in the W1/2s last year she made quite the impression on the category standard bearers and has dedicated herself to being a force this season. You have been put on notice.
9. Ryan Woodall (Top Gear Bicycles) | Cat1/2 | Last Rank: N/A
We don’t know what is going on here, but it was posted on Twitter a year or so ago. (Photo: @ryan_woodall)
The best mountain biker in Florida history, or the biggest internet troll in Florida Cyclocross history? The jury is out, but we have proof that he is pre-registered for the Tampa CX weekend and the expected showdown between Thornton is sure to be one to watch. The problem? We don’t even know if Woodall has a cross bike, or if he has ever actually done a dismount. The past times we have seen Woodall race cyclocross he was sporting an evil mustache and a metalic boa while taking no prisoners at Swamp Cross. If he is in it to win it, watch out…
10. Ed Dunne (Cycle Logic) | M35+ | Last Rank: N/A
Ed Dunne may have the best shot at defeating Jack Rich this weekend in what is turning out to be the most competitive field on paper. Dunne was a force last year in the cat3s taking the FLCX overall title and missed out on taking the cat3 state title by a wheel after a bobble on the last lap. He didn’t race a few weeks ago, but he is definitely a man to watch heading into Tampa.
Falling Off: Ryan Fisher (CLEVELAND), Mattheu “Beardo” Pourbaix (Puerto Rico)
2013/14 FLCX Sandbagger Of The Week: Tampa Riverfront CX
There are quite a few on our radar entering the season, and with word that Giancarlo Bianchi (AG – Guttenplan) has upgraded from Cat3 to Cat1/2 there is ample room for a new sandbagger to emerge. What we do know is that a certain bike shop owner* is a candidate if he enters another cat3 race again after putting on quite the performance in the cat1/2/open field in Dunedin. Then again, he crashed trying to bunny hop the barriers for the second year in a row, so we will give him a pass, for now.
*rhymes with “Dichard Rybdahl”