Monday, January 8, 2018

New Years 2018 Update and a Tribute to Ed Schenck

Happy New Year!

After a long 2017, most Stark Velo team members are training indoors in preparation for the upcoming 2018 season. Early races are only two months away.

The late cyclocross season finished with true cross weather, cool and muddy, after too many hot and dry early races.

Orville, OH hosted the Smokin’ Grass on the Farm CX race October 29. Chris Smith had our best finish of the day, claiming 5th in the Master Men 35+ race. The Master Men 55+ race had Dale Seeds and Rich Grella taking 10th and 11th.

The Kirtland Farm Park, just east of Cleveland hosted Cross on the Range November 12th. Dale Seeds was our lone entrant, taking 12th in the Master Men 55+ event.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 19, Cranberry Sauce Cross was held at Boettler Park in Green, Ohio. Mother Nature dumped two and one half inches of rain on Saturday, and race day was cold and windy. Course conditions and weather created a challenging day for all the racers. Chris Smith was the only Stark Velo member to race, taking 6th place in the Master Men 35+ race. This is a great local venue, and is scheduled to host a two day State Cyclocross Championship weekend in 2018.

This year’s State Cyclocross Championship races were held December 3 in Columbus, Ohio. Dale Seeds was our only team member to make the trip, but made it worthwhile by standing on the podium in 3rd place in the Men’s 65-69 category.

Stark Velo lost a friend and former teammate with the untimely passing of Ed Schenck. Ed brought bicycle racing to Canton and Stark County in 1981 and laid the foundation of the first bicycle team in Canton in 1984. Ed organized the SCBC time trials in Canal Fulton in the early ‘80’s, and many other races throughout the years. I had the pleasure of assisting him many times. You were always assured of a well organized, well run race when Ed was in charge. The Senior Olympics were a fine example. Many time trials, criteriums, and road races would not have been held without Ed’s involvement.

My first time racing was the first Canton Criterium. My results were terrible, but it ignited a spark. Thanks Ed! This lead to the Tuesday night time trials. We would meet at Jackson High School, ride to Lock 4, compete, and do a training ride after. Ed taught road skills, and I learned from them.

When Ed formed the Sirak Financial Team, we would meet at the Sirak office on Dressler Rd. for “skills drills”. These consisted of cornering and handling drills, things we needed to learn for racing. My favorite was when he had us pick a partner, take us to a grass field, and ride in circles leaning on and bumping each other. He knew things happen while racing, and we needed to know how to react. Ed taught us how to ride a rotating double pace line. During training rides, we would regroup at the RR tracks at State and Middlebranch. He would pick two riders and give them a three minute head start toward Route 44. The goal was to stay away from the rest of the team. As a team we would chase and work the double pace line. Teamwork was needed for both the chasers and the rabbits. We learned.

During a Thursday night training race in the Mayfair Industrial Park, Ed and I were fighting for position on the last lap, last corner. I thought I could late brake him, and take the inside, but he had another idea. His line thru the corner effectively shut the door on my move, and caused me to touch the brakes, losing some momentum, and my finishing position. I thought at that time, ”That’s a USCF move.” Ed took me to school, I learned, and never forgot.

Even in the old days, when leather hairnet helmets were still legal in USCF racing, Ed wore a hard shell helmet. Many times he mentioned he would not ride down the driveway without one. For years I have thought of that while riding from my house. You may have seen an old picture of Ed wearing a white Brancale helmet. If you trained with Ed, you remembered it. Ed would sweat a lot during training, then press on the front of the helmet. Anyone riding in his draft got a shower, and no one was immune. I am sure there are many good stories to be told about Ed. He was truly a class guy with a friendly smile, and the willingness to help and assist you if possible. He will be missed for a long, long time.

SV members have new ideas for the upcoming season. There are plans for a gravel race/ride this summer in the Magnolia area, and other ideas are being tossed around. Have a safe 2018!