Coach Al Tackles Nationals

It was 18 degrees when JAM/NCC/Vittoria coach and JAM Fund co-founder Alec Donahue warmed up this morning for the Cyclocross National Championships at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. Donahue raced in the master's 40-44 category, one of the toughest and largest fields, with 105 guys vying for the championship title.

From the start, Donahue and eventual race winner Matthew Timmerman (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com) took the lead with a handful of others and quickly separated themselves from the rest of the field. Donahue road up the steep climb near the bike barn, but it was clear that Timmerman had the gears to spin up a bit easier. Timmerman was consistent, gaining a few seconds here and there. Donahue battled it out with five others for the rest of the podium spots and eventually finished 6th.

"It took two to three laps for me to dial in the corners," Donahue said. "Riding the run-up was important. It just blows my legs for the rest of the lap."

 Al Donahue (JAM/NCC/Vittoria) climbs the steepest hill in the race on the second lap ahead of others running it. Photo by Vicky Sama.

Al Donahue (JAM/NCC/Vittoria) climbs the steepest hill in the race on the second lap ahead of others running it. Photo by Vicky Sama.

Donahue hopes his disappointment with the race result will be overshadowed by his athletes' performances at nationals. This weekend, Donahue will be on the sidelines coaching the JAM/NCC/Vittoria team and preparing his riders for the best national championships they can have. Team members Ellen Noble, Scott Smith, Jack Kisseberth and Jena Greaser will be racing on Sunday.