Local men sweep elite track cycling nationals

Locals, all teammates, win nine events between the three of them.

Local men's cyclists dominated the recent double-phased USA Cycling Track Nationals so thoroughly that three of them took home all the gold medals and Stars & Stripes jerseys awarded.

And all three race on the track for the Pure Energy Cycling ProAirHFA team based in Lambertville, N.J., which races out of the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown.

Last week, Matt Baranoski of Perkasie, a junior electrical engineering major at Penn State, won the keirin and sprint titles during the mass start nationals in Rock Hill, N.C., to go along with titles he won in the individual time trial and team sprint two weeks ago at the timed national championships in Carson, Calif.

Jackie Simes of Alburtis picked up his first-ever individual national titles by winning the scratch race and points race in Rock Hill, then teamed up with two-time U.S. Olympian Bobby Lea to win the Madison for the second year in a row.

Lea, showing no letdown from his dominant U.S. form of a year ago despite limited time on the track this season, also won the individual pursuit and the international Omnium during the timed championships in California.

"With Jackie and I doing a clean sweep of the endurance events, and Matt sweeping the sprint events, it's the first time three riders from one team have done a clean sweep of men's nationals," Lea said. "For our little Pure Energy Cycling ProAirHFA team, that's a big deal, nine wins among three riders at men's nationals."

Simes kicked off mass start nationals last Friday by winning the scratch race for his first-ever individual national title.

"It felt great," Simes said of the victory. "I knew I was going down there in pretty good form, but it was definitely incredible to get my first individual gold, and then to get the points race title on top of that, and repeat with Bobby in the Madison was more than I hoped for going in."

"Watching Jackie win the individual title in our first race, I think outside of winning the Madison with him, that scratch race felt better than the ones I won this year. All of us know what kind of rider Jackie is, and it was great to see him turn up at nationals and show us what we knew he was capable of for a long time."

Both Lea and Simes ride on the road for SmartStop Pro Cycling powered by Mountain Khakis.

Baranoski dominated the men's sprints, beating fellow T-town rider David Espinosa in straight rides of the finals, mirroring the results from the keirin final on the opening day.

"I'm really happy with how I performed [in North Carolina] and back in L.A. two weeks ago," Baranoski told USA Cycling. "The split nationals were something a little different for us, so being able to perform for that long, I'm just happy I was able to pull that off. The battles [with Espinoza were] great. David is a great tactician. I race him all the time at T-town, so he's definitely a rider I know a lot about."

Other area medalists at mass start nationals last week include Colleen Hayduk of Kutztown taking second in the Madison and third in the women's scratch race; Dana Feiss of Telford taking third in the women's sprint and third in the keirin; Mandy Marquardt of Breinigsville taking second in the women's sprint; and Erica Allar, a Northwestern Lehigh grad now living in Arizona, taking second in the women's scratch race.

Runner's World half going to the dogs: With the dog days of summer apparently behind us, and the Runner's World Half Marathon and Festival set to take place Oct. 18-20, the editors of Runner's World have announced the Eukanuba Dog Run up and down iconic First Street, overlooking SteelStacks, on Oct. 19.

The one-mile fun run with the pooch will wrap up in the Eukanuba Dog yard for refreshments followed by a seminar on running and training for dogs and their owners.

The Eukanuba Dog Run is free, but online preregistration is required by going to http://www.RWHalf.com.

The dog run and runner's festival are ways the Runner's World editors are trying to emphasize that the weekend is for runners and walkers of all skill levels, speeds, shapes and sizes. Free kids races will take place 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18.

In addition, the half marathon course has been redesigned to remove one of the bigger hills from last year's inaugural event.

Via 5K can be free: That's right, the 5K run on Saturday, Sept. 7, that is part of the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon weekend, featuring a 5K, marathon, half marathon and marathon relay, can be free.

The $25 entry fee for the 5K, taking place from SteelStacks in Bethlehem, can be waived if you select "Bill Me Later" from the online entry and set up a fundraising page. You need to raise at least $25 in pledges and your race day experience will be free.

Register by going online to http://www.ViaMarathon.org.

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