Starting to get a little CX-y out there after long dry spell. Big climbs, hard descents, a little bit of mud—or at least slick-ness—I’m into it. Without the wind, things might have unfolded a little more actively, but plenty of riders still rolled the dice, both with attacks and innovative cornering techniques.
A certified World Championship™ course at the Derby City Cup, and man did it ever deliver on Sunday. Brutally technical sand and stair sections broken up by speedy, fluid flats with an almost rhythmic feel led to yo-yoing and a a few lovely displays of prowess.
Still, the rubber band would eventually snap, and some surprising names would find themselves on the unhappy side of that divide. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean their races are over, but maybe the riders who’ve made split will have something to say about it. Excitement down to the line, I guarantee.
Halloween Horror Story: you compete in this sport with lots of mud, sharp inclines, technical descents, and surfaces so unreliable you occasionally have to run them…but then you get asked to compete at it on a manicured grass soccer field, in the middle of the desert, on the other side of the world, half-a-year before the World Championships! Mwahahahaha!
Seriously, though—this year’s Cross Vegas showed that just because a course is fast and open doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gonna be a road race. There are seconds to be had around every bend, and the best ‘cross racers don’t need a mud bog to suss them out.
Let’s stick around Colorado for a little bit—no need to rush the transition out of the high-and-dry. Instead, feast your eyes on the dusty, slick, and sandy saga of the Colorado Cross Classic, which proves rider reputations (for crashing in technical conditions, for dominating certain surfaces, etc) are no guarantee of future performance.
Kinda wanted to make fun of Boulder a little more, but they’ve had a tough couple weeks. Choose instead to highlight the massive contingent of riders for whom this was the hometown race. Can we call it “Rocky Mountain Worlds” yet?
Anyway, cool to see the purpose-built course, but hoping for a little more snow/muck by the time nationals rolls around—it’ll give the pack a little more reason to outrigger.
Some big names came out to play at the Providence Cyclocross (I don’t hyphenate) Festival last weekend. Double points going fifteen deep at this UCI C1, a tight and surprisingly hard-racing course that brought out the selections early—though not so early that the always-important start proved decisive.
While I’m not sure the podium would have played any differently on a more open course, the race also provided a good example of how the technical aspects of cyclocross sometimes invert the road racing logic of keeping your nose out of the wind.
It was tough to resist the temptation to voice-over this one in my finest North Shore accent. GP Gloucester is a New England staple—though super-dry conditions, while appeasing some unhappy locals, made the event almost unrecognizable in parts.
Perhaps it wasn’t surprising, then, to a see a California-based New England transplant come to the front to challenge some of the biggest and most-established names in the sport. But conditions alone couldn’t account for the remarkable poise and timing she displayed, keeping the race under control and picking her moments through the second day of racing.
This week’s Behind the Barriers feature is the Trek CX Collective Cup—it’s the first-ever running of the event, so you can understand some of my confusion on the exact details. Despite the seemingly ad-hoc venue (Trek HQ!) and firm conditions, the sharp elevation changes and thoughtful tape routing made for a selective and hard-fought event.
After last week, no surprise that Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com’s Ryan Trebon wasn’t shy about coming to the front and flexing the watts. But a much earlier selection this time around opened the door for lots more tactical probing, from riders young (Cal Giant’s Yannick Eckmann) and old (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com’s Tim Johnson), and the buzz of activity spared no contender a few nervous moments on the ropes.
Yes, the rumors are true—I’ll be teaming up with BehindtheBarriers.tv this ‘cross season to produce “How The Race Was Won” episodes of the CX races they film. Pretty nifty stuff if I do say so myself.
The first collab is from Rapha Starcrossed CX, this past weekend’s season opener. Fast, flat, and a little dusty, the race featured scads of barrier hopping, a touch of drama, and a patient, well-read race from the eventual winner. Enjoy!
And no, this was not the reason there hasn’t been any HTRWW on the Vuelta—BTB TV slots in nicely with my other work on Cyclocosm and won’t cost you any road coverage. Hopefully I can get a Rantcast done this week and give you all a little update on that front, too.