2012 was a terrific year for cycling in northeast Ohio and Team Lake Effect
was in the mix for all of it.
We began racing in January with a top placing by Jeff Craft in the National
Cyclocross Championships in Madison, WI. John Proppe wowed the crowd
bunny hopping the barricades in the Elite race. Jeff followed up at the Masters
Cyclocross Worlds with an 11th place in Louisville, KY.
In February, mountain bike trail building began in Royalview Metropark in Strongsville.
Julie, Rudy, and Robert were there and the vision of legal mountain biking close to home became
a reality. After thousands of volunteer hours, the system was officially opened in June.
The success of this cooperation between the Metroparks and the local volunteers has
led to the development of more trail networks in 2013. The Metropark leaders were
so enthralled with the trails, they purchased a trail building excavator to speed building
of additional trails at Royalview and other parks in 2013.
The team headed to Michigan in March for the Barry-Roubaix and then to New York in April
for the Tour of the Battenkill, two of the largest gravel road races in the USA.
Locally, we promoted one of the Covered Bridge road races; one of eight fine road events
held annually in late April and early May.
Mike Vanucci led a ride to the Canalway Center to show support for the Metroparks decision
to include mountain biking in their long team planning.
Steve Twining began his dominance of Ohio mountain bike racing at Vulture’s Knob in May.
This was the start of a season filled with over a dozen victories–many by huge margins
that left all other competitors going for a distant second place. In no race was he more
spectacular than the Mohican 100k held in early June. Steve’s time is a record that will
stand for a long time (unless he challenges it again this year.) Not since we had Paul Martin
ride for our humble team, have we had a rider so dominant with a win nearly every time
The Cleveland Velodrome construction began in May and drew volunteer labor from new and
far. Julie, Rudy, Joe Palotto and several other members spent many spring and summer
hours bolting together the wooden track that would open in August. Once again, northeast
Ohio cycling enthusiasts came together to get a major cycling project done. At the grand opening,
a group ride of 400 showed up to show support for the long awaited velodrome.
Our team sponsors, Bike Authority, Felt bicycles, and Zipp also contributed to this enormous success.
A rental fleet of 30 premium track bikes await the new season. Admission and rental is free to
those 18 and under.
Chris Riccardi and Gwen Davis, two faithful Lake Effect riders promoted the Westlake training series
from May to August in 2012. A northeast Ohio tradition for over a dozen years, the “Westlake Worlds”
attract top level competitors with an average 75 riders racing 30-50 miles. The “A” field often
averages 27mph, very quick for a criterium circuit with 1/2 dozen turns.
Lake Effect had great success in 2012 including wins, and high placings overall. Johnny Proppe,
Robert Sroka, Joe Palotto, Chris Riccardi, and Rudy had consistent results.
The summer saw Team Lake Effect in Cincinnati for road races, and locally in Chagrin Falls, Findley,
and Medina for mountain bike races, Deerfield and LeRoy for time trials, and Slavic Village for velodrome
riding. Results were plentiful especially wins by Steve at the mountain bike events.
Sean Gilbert, owner of Train Ready, has quietly been coaching TLE members for many years. The results have steadily been improving among those who have been following his training plans. Sean has been a sponsor of TLE and has gotten the best out of our members who have taken advantage of his coaching.
was there and brought home medals. Peninsula had a mountain bike weekend and we
saw more placings and victories. Five local cyclocross events were staged as the Northeast Ohio
Cyclocross series began for its 14th season. Formally, Team Lake Effect held 6-8 races by themselves;
but in the last few years, each local team has promoted 1 or 2 events culminating in a series of 12
races each year. John, Robert, Steve, Joe, Bill, Emilio, Tad and Julie started racking up points quickly.
Beautiful new venues were added and the older ones had different courses; the weather soon turned south
and mud became the biggest factor.
Next came the USGP cyclocross series, and TLE had members race in the Fort Collins, CO and Louisville,KY
events. Rudy scored two 2nd places to Velonews Leonard Zinn in Master’ 55+.
We dominated at the Ohio State Cyclocross Championships with a win by John Proppe in the 1-3 Mens
premier race. Also taking victories were Robert in 17-18 year old, Julie in both the 50+ and 3/4 Women, and
Rudy in 55+. Steve wrapped up the Ohio Mountain Bike Championship with another decisive win at Mohican.
Many team members rode the UCI 3 Cincinnati cyclocross weekend. Steve competed in the Pro class at
the Iceman Cometh in Traverse City, MI. His finish time looked great when you consider the top dozen
riders are professional mountain bikers.
The season wrapped up with our team cross promotions in Hiram and Broadview Heights. Hiram was at
a Christmas tree farm and featured laps amongst beautiful trees. Broadview had two steep
hills to climb each lap. Both weekends were very wet and muddy and despite those factors, there was
a great turnout and exciting races. At the series awards dinner, TLE took home the most awards,
with Steve 1st, John 2nd, Robert 4th in the “A” mens category, Tad 1st in Juniors, Joe 1st , Bill 3rd in
the 45+ Masters, Emilio 3rd in 35+ Masters, Julie 4th and Gwen 6th in Women “A”, and Rudy 1st in
Thanks to all our sponsors for another great year. Bike Authority, Sram, Zipp, Felt, Train Ready and Clif Bar were great partners and without them, it all couldn’t be possible!
2013 has arrived and our local reputation must have been good; as TLE has taken on quite a few new riders.
They will improve on our 2012 results and we all look forward to a fine new season.