Zach Koop 1988 – 2016


Zach Koop was more than the perfect teammate, he was an inspiration to all. He was a gentle soul who treated everyone with compassion, grace and fairness.
Zach was never a man of many words, but always a leader in action. Always even keeled. Constantly smiling and embracing every moment. Loving and loyal. Selfless. Humble in victory. Gracious in defeat. He cherished life, friends and family. He lived the same way he raced. Full of fire. Full of joy. Full of panache. And with a mischievous grin originating from the corner of his mouth. Many of you have watched my boys in Blue slay themselves over and over for Zach; a futile attempt to payback all the beauty that he has breathed into our lives. We all knew that no matter how much we gave, he would give more. You couldn’t ask for a better friend or champion.
None of that would have been possible without the guidance and support of Zach’s parents Pete and Allison and the love of Zach’s life, Jill. All of which could regularly be seen and heard cheering on Zach and his team.
We will miss you brother!

2014 Year in Review

Blue Ribbon-Pennell Venture Partners had a phenomenal season with many victories and high placings! With the support of a strong team Zach Koop was the man of the year! He won the CRCA Jim Boyd competition which is awarded to the racer who accumulates the most points throughout the CRCA club race series. In a chaotic sprint finish Zach won the CRCA club championship race. Zach also won both 1 and 2 of the Rockliegh summer criterium series. Both series came down to the final race and thanks to dedicated teamwork and clever tactics the victory was ours. The team also had a good run at the CRCA club championship team competition and finished 2nd overall.

Blue Ribbon-Pennell Venture Partners is pleased to announce the addition of two new sponsors. The Cosmic Wheel bike shop and Compose(d).
With a great crew and atmosphere The Cosmic Wheel bicycle shop is a perfect partner for team support. The Cosmic Wheel was founded in 1976 by John Russo in Bogota NJ. In 1996 the shop moved to a larger location in Ridgefield Park NJ where it resides today. With decades of experience and a dedicated staff (including teammate Mike Zak) The Cosmic Wheel makes sure that every customer receives outstanding service.

Compose(d) is a digital creative agency which specializes in websites, mobile, and marketing campaigns with a primary focus on fashion, beauty, luxury, and lifestyle brands.

For 2015 the team will wear newly designed kit supplied by Death Row Velo. DRV is based in Ridgewood NJ and offers an incredible amount of options. It is rumored that team co-captain Mark Alden liked his new winter jacket so much that he almost cried. The team will be ready for battle in our “we mean business” blacked out kit.

The team welcomes new teammate Chris Strumolo. In Just a few seasons Chris has become one of the top racers in the NYC area. He is a very good all-around racer who can sprint and TT. We look forward to what Chris brings to the team! Chris is a tough rider who is not afraid of inclement weather or 5 hour mtb rides. He definitely deserves a Tchmil award.

Zach made good use of his Air Attack in 2014 by winning the Rockleigh criterium series (series 1 and 2), the CRCA Jim Boyd competition and the CRCA club championships.


The polar vortex didn’t stop our guys from going to the first CRCA club race of 2014. Race time temperatures were about 18 degrees. On the first lap Zach Koop took off with 3 other riders and established an unassailable lead of about 3 minutes. Zach handily won the sprint giving BR it’s first win in the first race of the season!


The team continued its incredible run for the 2nd half of the season. Along with a tremendous amount of wins, podiums and victories (detailed below) the team won the New Jersey State criterium championship (P12) with Zach Koop and the New Jersey State road race championship (cat3) with Brendan Pearce. Zach Koop also won the 2nd Rockleigh criterium series and the CRCA Jim Boyd award. The team also finished out the year in 2nd place in the CRCA team standings. A special thanks goes out to all of our sponsors (Blue Ribbon restaurants,, Pennell Venture Partners, Campmor, Fuji, Bell, Easton and Giro) for an incredible season!!!

6/6 Rockleigh Crit 1/2/3 Zach Koop 1st

6/9 White Plains Crit cat3 Zach Bender 1st

6/20 Rockleigh 1/2/3 Zach Koop 9th

6/23 Giro De Cielo M40 Mark Alden 8th

6/27 Rockleigh 1/2/3 Zach Koop 1st

6/29 CRCA points race 1/2/3 Zach Koop 2nd

6/29 CRCA points race 1/2/3 Bryan Dobes 6th

7/6 NJ State Road Race cat3 Brendan Pearce 1st

7/11 Rockleigh Crit 1/2/3 Mark Alden 7th

7/13 Capitol Region RR m40 Mark Alden 7th

7/13 Long Meadow ITT 1/2/3 Paul Levis 3rd

7/14 R&A Prospect Park M40 Jason Brown 7th

7/18 Rockleigh Crit 1/2/3 Zach Koop 1st

7/18 Rockleigh Crit 1/2/3 Brendan Pearce 9th

7/25 Rockleigh Crit 1/2/3 Zach Koop 1st

7/25 Rockleigh Crit 1/2/3 Brendan Pearce 3rd

7/28 CRCA points race 1/2/3 Mike Zak 2nd

7/28 CRCA points race 1/2/3 Zach Koop 9th

8/3 CRCA power points race 1/2/3 Zach Koop 1st

8/4 Heart House Crit 1/2/3 Zach Koop 1st

8/8 Rockleigh Crit 1/2/3 Zach Koop 1st

8/15 Rockleigh Crit 1/2/3 Zach Koop 2nd

8/18 NJ state criterium championship 1/2/3 Zach Koop 1st

8/18 NJ state criterium championship 1/2/3 Mike Zak 6th

8/18 NJ state criterium championship cat3 Brendan Pearce 3rd

8/25 Magoseed Floyd Bennett Field 1/2/3 Brendan Pearce 1st

8/25 Mangoseed Floyd Bennett Field 1/2/3 Zach Koop 5th

8/25 Mangoseed Floyd Bennett Field 1/2/3 Mike Zach 6th

9/2 Tour of Basking Ridge Zach Koop 1/2/3 Zach Koop 2nd

9/7 CRCA team cup finals 1/2/3 Zach Koop 1st

9/7 CRCA team cup finals 1/2/3 Mike Zak 7th

9/7 Nittany Lion Cross day 1 M55+ Al Blanchard 1st

9/8 Nittany Lion Cross day 2 M55+ Al Blanchard 1st

9/14 Green MTN Cross Weekend day 1 M55+ Al Blanchard 1st

9/15 Green MTN Cross Weekend day 2 M55+ Al Blanchard 1st

Blue Ribbon/ outstanding spring campaign!

The team had an incredible run this spring with 14 victories, 2 second place finishes and 6 third place finishes. The team showed its depth by winning P12, masters, cat 3 and mountain bike races. Zach Koop won several big races and has earned a spot on the CRCA composite team for the Philly Cycling Classic.

Also of note is Al Blanchard’s off road dominance. Al has won 3 MTB races so far including the insanely demanding Wildcat 100 NUE race. Yes that is a 100 mile mountain bike race!

Below are the wins and podiums so far.
3/9 Mark Alden CRCA club race M45+ 2nd
3/23 Jason Brown Lancaster PA cat3 3rd
3/24 Zach Koop Bethel Spring series P123 3rd
3/24 Jason Brown Central Park Spring Series cat3 3rd
3/24 Thomas Pennell Central Park Spring Series M45+ 3rd
3/26 Zach Koop Augusta P123 1st
3/31 Zach Koop Prospect Park Spring Series P123 1st
4/9 Zach Koop Augusta P123 1st
4/15 John Raheb Augusta Masters 1st
4/20 Jason Brown Farmersville RR cat3 1st
4/20 Zach Koop CRCA club race P123 1st
4/20 Ira Krell CRCA club race M45+ 3rd
4/21 Al Blanchard Blue Mountain Chainstretcher cat1 50+ 1st
4/28 Bryan Dobes Alpine hill climb ITT P12 1st
4/28 Mark Alden Prospect Park Spring Series M45+ 3rd
4/28 Zach Koop Marlton Gran Prix P12 1st
5/5 Zach Koop Orchard Beach criterium P123 1st
5/12 Al Blanchard Wildcat 100 NUE MTB race M50+ 1st
5/14 Zach Koop Augusta P123 1st
5/18 Zach Koop CRCA club race P123 2nd
5/19 Al Blanchard Rumble in the Jungle MTB cat1 50+ 1st
5/30 Zach Koop Rockleigh criterium P123 1st

Starting 2013 Off Strong

Blue Ribbon had a strong start to the season in spite of many of our guys having prior commitments keeping them away from the races. We went to Central Park on Saturday with Thomas, Mark and Ira to contest the CRCA master’s race. It’s always hard to predict how the first race will go down since no one has a clue how their fitness might stack up against their fellow racers. With that in mind we knew we had to keep an eye on every move. And there was a lot pay attention to since the attacks started immediately and never let up. On lap 2 of 5 Matt Seaton from Rapha took off solo. We figured that since he was by himself there wasn’t much to worry about. During the next lap the peleton kept coming apart and reforming but finally the elastic snapped and Mark ended up in a chase group of about 10 guys. On the next lap about 4 guys were shed from the group and they were down to six (including a Rapha guy who was sitting on) but they weren’t making time up on Matt who was impressively holding onto a 40sec. lead. On the final lap the chase group played too much cat and mouse to catch Matt and Mark ended up out sprinting his break companions for 2nd place. Not a bad start to the season.

On Sunday Zach Koop and Mike Zak did the spring series race in CP. A break of 4 guys got away early on and were never caught. Zach not content to sit in the field got away with our friend Gavi Epstein with 2 laps to go. The 2 of them chased very hard for 2 laps but couldn’t catch the break but they were also going fast enough that they stayed away from the field. Gavi ended up taking 5th and Zach 6th.

More Horsepower and More Results

The team is excited to announce the addition of Michael Zak to BlueRibbon. Mike is a super strong rider. He recently upgraded to cat 2 and It wouldn’t be surpising to see him and Zach upgrade to category 1 before too long. Mike won the last Rockleigh race and took over the points lead from Zach so at least now we can say the team still has the lead. Since that win Mike has sewn up the overall point lead for Rockeigh. And to think this is only his second season racing!

On 6/21 Brendan put in an incredible ride at Rockleigh. After working tirelessly at the front to help Zach, Brendan had to take matters into his own hands when Zach had to avoid a crash and had an unfortunate flat while in the leading break. Brendan managed to bridge up to the break and took a commendable 5th place. All this in 90 + degree heat.

On 6/24 at the Emrick Boulevard crit in Bethlehem PA Zach and Mike finished 1-2 in the cat 2/3 race. In the closing laps there was a break up the road and on the last lap Brendan went all out and brought in the break just before the last corner. Brendan had the field strung out and Zach was able to sit comfortably in 4th wheel until he opened up his winning sprint.

On 6/24 John Raheb did his first cat 1 race in Lewis Morris NJ and won! He said he was initially sandwiched between 2 seasoned MTB riders but eventually his road bike fitness and determination took over as he rode away for the win.

Springtime Success

Late May and early June proved to be very good for the team. On May 19th at the CRCA club race in Central Park Zach Koop took 2nd in a bunch sprint after a solid lead out from Mark Alden and Brendan Pierce. On May 20th John Raheb went up to the Connecticut senior games and won the 50+ crit and took 2nd in the 50+ RR. On June 2nd Zach Koop and Thomas Pennell braved some nasty wet conditions at the CRCA club race in Central Park and after a lot of work by Thomas to help keep the field together Zach was able to get in the move that mattered and got 2nd place. Zach Koop and the team have been rockin’ it at the Rockleigh criterium series. With the dedicated support of a strong team Zach has won the first two races of the series. At the first race on 5/31 Zach got into an early 10 man break that hovered only a few seconds in front of the field for several laps. Brendan and Mark did what they could to discourage any chasing and eventually the elastic snapped and the break rode away. Zach easily outsprinted his break companions for the win. The second race on 6/7 played out a little different with heavy rain dousing the riders about 20 minutes into the race. The field rode cautiously in the slick conditions but with about 3 laps to go a dangerous 2 man move got away. Al, Brendan and Mark went to the front and put in a furious chase and brought back the escapees just before the finish straight. Zach won the field sprint by several bike lengths!