Snow is the perfect ground cover for the final race of the Cyclo-X series. It honors the memory of a man whose sacrifice has become a symbol for others’ achievement for the past three years of the series.
The overall winner of the Cyclo-X eight-race series in the men’s elite/open category receives the Chesaux Cup – a silver bowl dedicated to the memory of Matthieu Chesaux who passed away in a backcountry skiing accident five years ago. His fiancé at the time, Loni Sullivan, was present Saturday at Boulder Reservoir where Robin Eckmann, now the cup’s third guardian, embraced it with a kiss following the final 2013 Cyclo-X race.
According to Sullivan the memorial for Chesaux had to be a moveable one so it would mirror the lifestyle of the cyclist, skier, and outdoorsman it’s named after. Eckmann (California Giant Berry Farms / Specialized) will hold the cup until the next series winner claims it, as long as the memorial remains part of the Cyclo-X event.
On Saturday it seemed like Eckmann would ride away not only with the overall series and the cup but the day’s race as well. Then everything changed in an instant when he crashed with about three laps to go. Luckily for Eckmann, he returned to the bike on the snowy course and finished high enough to wrap up the series in first place overall.
With Eckmann’s bad luck his good fortune, Spencer Powlison (Evol Foods) sped from second on course into the lead. He fought hard to keep it. Boulder Cycle Sport’s Chris Case rode just inches behind him and momentarily stole first on course in the final lap as the temperature dipped near zero degrees Fahrenheit.
“It’s very stressful to try and battle with Chris [Case] on the last lap because he’s just so fast, he’s so strong,” Powlison said before the podium ceremony. “Whenever I’m up against him it’s got to be 100%.”
When Powlison raised his hands toward the still hidden stars he celebrated his first elite cyclocross victory. The cup was Eckmann’s but in that moment Powlison shared something with Chesaux – the fullness of pleasure and emptiness of pain from testing his physical limits outdoors.
From the start it appeared the men’s elite field wasn’t taking many risks. Case, Powlison, and others tripoded around the first turn as well as the off-camber corner where many crashes occurred earlier in the day.
The announcer awarded the holeshot to Powlison. Right behind him were Case, Ken Benesh (Evol Foods), Eckmann, Brady Kappius (Clif Bar), Steve Stefko (First City), Pete Webber (Boulder Cycle Sport), and Joe Clemenzi (Sports Garage Cycling).
Eckmann attached himself to Powlison’s wheel by lap two then got around the Evol rider and held first on course for about four laps. It looked like Eckmann could take the race; whenever Powlison narrowed the gap between them the Cal Giant rider would widen it again.
A handful of seconds behind them Case chased alone, just a few seconds in front of Kappius. Webber and Stefko stalked the leaders next as a pair.
With almost three laps remaining Powlison emerged at the head of the race. Eckmann, who was reported to have crashed, lost nearly ten seconds but held onto second briefly ahead of Case. Webber pulled into fourth on course and Stefko advanced to fifth.
Then Case delivered one of the fastest times in the next to last lap. He snuck up on Powlison and it became a neck-and-neck contest for first place between the two as Eckmann slid to fifth.
“I was really worried going into the last lap because Chris [Case] had come right back up with me,” Powlison said later. “I had a pretty major bobble over by the lifeguard house. He was right on my wheel. We were fighting…”
In the final lap Case swung around the Evol rider on wide pavement covered in packed, icy snow, but didn’t hold the lead for long. According to Powlison, Case’s wide line opened a chance to reclaim first and he took it, slipping past him on the inside. “…then I was just sprinting out of every corner to keep him from coming around me.”
Powlison crossed the finish line for his first elite win with a second to spare over Case. Frozen droplets formed a wreath around his open mouth.
Webber arrived six seconds later for third. Stefko came in fourth and Eckmann got fifth, high enough to win the series overall and fill his arms with the Chesaux Cup. Sixth place went to Kappius. Among other notable rides, Colby Pearce (Trek Cyclocross Collective) started slowly and then found his way through the field to finish ninth.
For full results from Cyclo-X Boulder Reservoir see the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado’s website.
Find the series overall standings at Without Limits Productions.
Gallery (more coming)
Kristin Weber narrowly secures overall Cyclo-X series victory
Call it nutty at least. Super-skinny women lined up for a bike race on a gray morning when even bunny rabbits hunkered down in their dens.
To ward off frostbite in the three degree Fahrenheit weather they wore goggles, face masks, two layers of leg coverings and winter jackets, many unidentifiable except for their helmets, logoed outerwear, and the pitch of their voices.
Except for a few like Evol Foods’ Kristen Peterson. She wore two base layers and a skinsuit with tights. The only thing she did out of the ordinary for extra heat at Saturday’s Cyclo-X Boulder Reservoir event was to slip hand warmers inside her gloves.
Later she guessed she might run a little hotter than most of the others in the elite/open race. Possibly the empty course before Peterson acted as another log on the fire – that and a shot at her first elite category cyclocross win. She hustled after that prize from the moment the race ref signaled “Go,” capturing the holeshot and laying down tracks on snow ahead of the rest of the field.
One by one she peeled away the laps that stood between her and victory. She crossed the finish line first, somewhat stunned by her accomplishment, although two weeks prior she’d earned a second place in Westminster.
The ladies leading the Cyclo-X series had all shown up for the double points awarded at the series’ final test: Judy Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club), winner of the last four Cyclo-X races, Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport), series leader coming into Saturday and recent Schoolyard Cross winner at the same venue, and several others who are always a threat such as Karen Hogan (Team Kappius), Kristal Boni (Rapid Racing), and Melissa Barker (GS Boulder / Studio 1 Dental).
Weber, twice just one step away from becoming a cyclocross world champion, arrived feeling like the underdog. Freeman’s string of wins in the series and recent domination of elite ‘cross races on the Front Range made her a favorite to win at the reservoir or place high enough to claim the series overall.
But a crash in front of Freeman early on left her extracting a foot from another rider’s spokes and subsequently near the back of the field. That “little twist of luck” as Weber called it, together with her strong performance in the chase group behind Peterson, helped the Boulder Cycle Sport lady take the series overall by just half a point over Freeman.
At the finish line Peterson lingered to share thoughts on her win. “It’s great. Surprising, but I’ll take it. I love it. Racing out here is always fun and I think everybody was dreading this race a little bit just because of the cold, but I don’t know. It was fun and it’s always great to have the girls out here racing no matter what the temperature.”
The field started off the line on pavement covered with patches of packed snow. Peterson led the way into an almost immediate left-hand turn.
“I got the hole shot which was great, which I was kind of surprised at. I think everybody was a little scared with the ice on the pavement,” she said after the race. “I had a great line from the start that was a little bit drier than I think some of the others…”
The circuit traced the edges of a field then exited onto slippery rising pavement before curving onto frozen ground and a collection of turns.
Concerns about safety were well placed. Many crashes occurred throughout the day’s racing on one particular off-camber turn. A member of the medical crew attempted to de-ice it by roughing up the ground with her boots.
Peterson later described the course as a mix of icy corners and tacky straight-ways. She seemed to thrive on the diverse conditions. “It was kind of fun having the difference between some parts of the course that were really fun and some places you were like ‘Ah!’ a little sketched out,” she said.
The circuit carried the field down to the edge of a reservoir completely covered with hoarfrost. By the time Peterson climbed up from the beach on frozen sand she had accumulated a lead of over ten seconds half-way into lap one. She later attributed her early gap to the freedom of first on course. “Being on the front in this kind of stuff is really beneficial…I think that’s where I got a lot of time on the first lap was just being able to ride my own style and my own pace.”
Weber and Barker appeared next on course. After a small gap Jess D’Amato (Evol Foods) paced a large group that included Hogan and Boni. Freeman rode in twelfth place.
The ladies entered another section of turns on snow layered over packed sand. That led to the course’s only planned dismount, the boathouse stairs, and then a concrete ramp back onto the sand.
Boni and Hogan joined Weber in pursuit of the leader by lap three while Barker fell back to the next group with Mina Anderberg (Team FUJI), Laurel Rathbun (Exergy Twenty16), and D’Amato. Freeman kept on in twelfth as four laps remained.
Hogan recognized she felt confident in the dicey conditions and used that to move into second in lap four, distancing herself from Weber. Boni now chased Weber and the several bike lengths between them. Peterson’s lead was now twenty-five seconds.
The following lap Hogan still held second on course. However Weber kept her on a short leash.
Another lap later and the situation up front was unchanged, but a larger group had consolidated behind Boni. It included Barker, Katie Clouse (Canyon Bicycles), D’Amato, Rathbun, and Ann Trombley (Tokyo Joe’s). Feedback Sports rider Emma Dunn trailed them. As the race went on and more sweat seeped through clothing, crystalline white lines grew thicker on arms and legs. Frost gathered on hair and lengthened into icicles on faces.
With two laps to go Freeman moved up several spots. Hogan, later citing a loss of focus, lost her advantage on Weber and provided an assist to Boni who gained speed in the final two laps.
“I made a couple of mental mistakes to let them back in or even in the last lap in a corner right in the beginning I went down and they caught right back up to me,” Hogan explained. “And then Kristal was encouraged…”
Hogan’s strength in wintry conditions – she won a snowy Frisco Cross earlier in the season – helped her retain second on the line. Boni followed four seconds later for third. Weber got fourth. Clouse snared fifth ahead of Barker and Rathbun. Freeman emerged for eighth which secured her second place overall in the series.
Weber expressed gratitude about coming out on top of the series. “I didn’t have an epic race today by any means, but yea I’m really excited,” she said. “You gotta have the good skills on a day like today and I got lucky. A little bit of luck – it’s always good in a cross race.”
When Peterson arrived at the finish, her face radiated an indoor shade of pink. “I think I had the right layering on. Nothing went too numb,” she said, except for her hands in lap two. “But you always know they’ll come back eventually.” And during the race, they did recover.
“I’m nice and toasty now,” she added. “Everything’s nice and warm. I could keep going.”
For full results from Cyclo-X Boulder Reservoir see the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado’s website.
Find the overall series standings at Without Limits Productions.
Some cyclists are particular about their socks. One guy likes to wear a new pair before a time trial; another can’t race in the pair he warmed-up in.
Some cyclists choose a certain orange and blue pair to remember Amy Dombroski and support the foundation established in her name.
Colorado venues are the scenes for these photos.
To order a pair of socks or donate, visit the Amy D. Foundation store online, which also hosts a gallery of photos from Amy’s life.
To chase or be chased. Which is a better position in a cyclocross race, hunting down a quarry or glancing over your shoulder and feeling hunted?
A target ahead can act as a goal and provide focus. Others, like Danny Summerhill, prefer attacking an open track to avoid getting taking down in a crash by riders ahead and to choose the best lines.
On Saturday at Cyclo-X Westminster Chris Baddick (Gear Movement) was Robin Eckmann’s target. Listening to Baddick explain how he became the hunted one, he sounded like a reluctant leader.
“I felt like I happened to come to the front by accident. Everyone was slowing down on the pavement and I just ended up at the front of the group,” Baddick said, speaking about the early part of the race.
“And so I just decided to go for it and see what happened, see who would go with me because I wanted to get the group a bit smaller. But then no one came with me so again I just went for it. It was kind of a difficult way to win.”
Stay off the front alone consumes a rider’s resources. When it’s blustery – more often than not on the Front Range, it’s easier to sit in with a small group and keep your nose out of the wind.
Chasing singlehandedly takes a lot of energy too and not just physically. More tactics come into play, like deciding how long to keep working with other riders and whether to strike out solo.
When Baddick attained a gap out front half-way through the race a group of three chased him: Eckmann (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) and Evol Foods riders Ken Benesh and Spencer Powlison.
Initially Eckmann waited to see if Powlison and Benesh would work together as teammates to bridge up to Baddick.
But the gap to the leader widened over three laps. With just over two to go Eckmann chose to go alone after Baddick. He shaved some seconds off the Gear Movement rider’s advantage, inching closer in the bell lap, but didn’t make contact. Eckmann crossed the line second with enough points to maintain his lead in the Cyclo-X series.
What was it like chasing the “new ‘cross sheriff” Baddick?
“It was definitely hard. Cyclocross is more of a sport for me to get in shape for the road,” Eckmann said while waiting for the podium. “I think that was the perfect practice for that. It almost felt like a time trial a little bit, so it’s definitely good.”
The initial four of nine laps proceeded at an easy pace for the strongest in the field. Baddick came through with the holeshot. Two minutes later Eckmann sprang ahead of him on the double set of concrete stairs.
In the front group of about a dozen riders Benesh and Maxx Chance (Clif Bar Devo) swapped out the lead position with Baddick and Eckmann as the guys seemed to be waiting for something to happen.
“There was a pretty large group so everybody was like we’ll just wait until the time makes it harder, just by the length of the race,” Eckmann later said. “So lap by lap it got a little bit faster and then we started dropping guys left and right and then the race got kind of a structure.”
Evol Foods’ Powlison and Josh Whitney, Chris Case and Pete Webber of Boulder Cycle Sport, Gage Hecht (Specialized Racing Team), Ian McPherson and Garrett Gerchar of Clif Bar Devo, Bryan Alders (Marin Bikes Factory Team), Steven Stefko (First City), and Greg Krause (Groove Subaru/Excel Sports) rounded out the early front group.
Structure began to appear when Baddick took off in the fifth lap. Eckmann, Powlison, and Benesh formed a chase group that set off after the Gear Movement man. Chance shadowed them in fourth position with Stefko in fifth.
Sometime mid-race Hecht slid out on the long grassy downhill which claimed additional victims and would shake up the podium with one lap to go. Early in the race, Eckmann switched bikes for a rear tire with better grip on the slippery grass.
When Eckmann pulled away from the chase group about fifteen minutes remained for him to catch Baddick.
The Cal Giant rider collected seconds between himself and the chasing Evol riders and began to dissolve the ones that kept him from reaching the leader. Baddick knew his pursuer was making progress.
“I was dying towards the end. I know if the race was a lap longer then I wouldn’t have held on anymore,” Baddick said. What did it feel like to be chased? As he caught his breath after the win, Baddick replied, “I was definitely riding scared. I was making some mistakes in the last lap. I ran into course tape with about three corners to go.”
Benesh and Powlison ran into problems of their own. With about one lap to go both fell to the wet grass on the long descent. Chance took advantage and swept by them, taking third place at the finish.
Powlison followed six seconds later for fourth. Stefko claimed fifth ahead of Benesh who had been further delayed by a dropped chain after the sliding out on the grass.
Eckmann continues to lead the eight-race Cyclo-X points series which concludes on December 7 with double points on offer at the Boulder Reservoir venue.
For full results from Cyclo-X Westminster see the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado’s website.
On a course that proved Judy Freeman’s ability to tackle yet another set of conditions, the Crankbrothers Race Club rider won her seventh cyclocross race of the season on Saturday.
At first the Cyclo-X Westminster course appeared like an easy target for a roadie. Long stretches of pavement and gravel path in Westminster City Park connected three technical sections of turns on dirt or grass as well as concrete stairs. The light snowfall from earlier in the week wouldn’t begin to melt and make corners slippery until late in the women’s elite/open contest.
However once racing commenced it became clear the mixture of power and technical sections gave riders stronger in either type of terrain almost an even chance.
That’s “almost” because any betting person would have placed high odds on Freeman sweeping up another win given her collection of medals so far this season.
But that didn’t discourage the rest of the field. In fact, it motivated many, like Kristen Peterson (Evol Foods).
Peterson conceded the holeshot to Melissa Barker (GS Boulder / Studio 1 Dental) then took the lead on icy stairs and held it for half of the 45 minute race before finishing second after Freeman.
“I think it’s a great thing,” Peterson said about Freeman’s string of successes. “It’s great to have that level of competition around here. We all have something to shoot for which is great every weekend we come out here, and just see her [Judy] go, but hopefully try and battle it out as much as we can throughout the race.”
Freeman commented on the day’s result after the finish. “I’m very happy, and feel really fortunate to have gotten a seventh win today. It’s just awesome coming out here and battling with everybody. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a good spirit.”
The riders sped off uphill from the paved start area under a black, yellow, and red striped Belgian-inspired arch. Emma Dunn (Feedback Sports), Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport), Laurel Rathbun (Hammer) and then Ksenia Lepikhina (BMC XC Racing Team) followed after Barker and Peterson through the first turn. Freeman pursued in seventh place.
After a bit of grassy track the women scaled two sections of concrete stairs on their way to the highest point on course. Peterson passed Barker there and took the long sweeping downhill back onto pavement with Dunn several bike lengths behind her.
Peterson reached the stairs in the second lap with Freeman just steps behind her. A small gap separated them from the next group. Led by Weber, the chasers included Barker, Rathbun, Rapid Racer and masters world champion Kristal Boni, Dunn, and Ann Trombley (Tokyo Joe’s).
By lap three Freeman had closed in on Peterson and any gap between them was determined by their different strengths as riders. “I think I gapped Judy out a little bit on the power stuff,” Peterson said later, “and then as soon as we hit the technical stuff she was right back there.”
Freeman took the race lead as the pair headed into the last twisty dirt section before the finish straight with two laps remaining. Peterson tried to remain in contact but saw Freeman slip further away in the technical sections and finish with a 19 second advantage.
Among the chasers Weber held third place on course. Rathbun raced in fourth then pulled out with a damaged derailleur. Next on course, Boni and Barker rode briefly as a pair until Boni took off in search of third place. She and Weber fought for the third step of the podium over the final two laps.
Boni later explained that she moved ahead on a paved section but Weber reclaimed third by passing her on the stairs in the bell lap.
Nonetheless Boni felt satisfied crossing the line in fourth just three seconds after Weber. “I’m feeling really good,” the masters world champion said. “I feel like mentally and physically my race conditioning is really starting to come around and my head is getting in the game and so I’m really happy.”
Peterson was pleased with her performance as well. “It was great. It was fun to be able to chase someone and actually be in the race this time which is always fun.”
Weber continues to lead the eight-race Cyclo-X points series which concludes on December 7 with double points on offer at the Boulder Reservoir venue.
For full results from Cyclo-X Westminster see the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado’s website.
What happens when roadie power meets mountain bike agility on Rocky Mountain foothills fields in late fall? Recently it means a fierce fight between Danny Summerhill (K-Edge/Felt) and Tim Allen (Feedback Sports) on a cyclocross course. Both ‘cross riders, Summerhill races on the road and Allen on the dirt in the summer.
Two weeks ago the showdown played out in Golden at the Feedback Cup where the circuit didn’t include one lick of pavement. Allen led early in the first lap. Then an incident behind him slowed the field and helped him open a gap. Summerhill almost snared him but slid out in a corner; he took several moments to recover. With his strong engine it seemed like Summerhill, a previous national ‘cross champion, might still take first. In the end he finished second.
Allen never eased up in Golden. He knew who chased him.
Roles reversed last Saturday at Cyclo-X in Louisville.
The two dominated the action early on. Then around the same lap that fate intervened in Golden, it appeared again in Louisville. This time it gathered Allen into its immobilizing embrace.
“Danny was using a bigger gear when he got to the top of that corner, and I was spun out coming up quick and I hit his back wheel,” Allen explained to a teammate while catching his breath after finishing second in Louisville. The rear-ender resulted in a dropped chain for Allen but he remained on the bike.
“That caused me to lose contact,” Allen said. “I was already just barely hanging on so after that I knew unless he [Danny] sat up and waited for me there was no way I was going to get back on.”
And like Allen two weeks before, Summerhill didn’t take any lead over his main adversary for granted.
“With the way that Tim rode last time, that couldn’t have been a harder fought battle between us both,” Summerhill said after Louisville’s contest. “That was a hard race the whole time. So there was really no letting up. Once I got a bit of a gap I had a couple places where I could ride easier than when I was with him but other than that it was just checking over my shoulder the whole time because as you could see the last lap he really turned it on so fast I really thought he might catch me on the finish.”
Like the elite women, the elite men also started with a left-hander into barriers and a moat of muck. The moat had widened since morning and by the afternoon there was no leaping over it. Unless your name was Tim Allen.
As Spencer Powlison (Evol Foods) hoisted his bike to shoulder height and jumped in first Allen unleashed his trademark barrier bunny-hop and crossed the moat without putting a foot down. The field ascended the “Bowl of Death,” passed the pit, and quickly descended back to the bottom of the reservoir.
A lead group of six quickly materialized halfway into the first lap with Allen at the front followed by Powlison, W. Grant Ellwood (Boulder Cycle Sport/Junior Cycling), Summerhill, Ken Benesh (Evol Foods) and Chris Case (Boulder Cycle Sport).
Summerhill led by the end of lap one until Allen again bunny-hopped the barriers near the pit, passing him as well as Powlison in the beginning of lap two. They became a front group of three.
“He was definitely just killing me on the one bunny-hop barriers section where I was running it and he was riding,” Summerhill said after the race, speaking about Allen, “and anytime that I would have any time on him he’d just take it right back on that section.”
Benesh now trailed the three men as they headed into the wind to the corners and dips and rises on the far west side of the course. Case fell back to the next chase group which included Ellwood, Bryan Alders (Marin Bikes Factory Team), and Robin Eckmann (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized). Boulder Cycle Sport’s Pete Webber and Brandon Dwight shadowed that group.
Summerhill emerged first from that section with Allen sniffing the dust tossed up by his wheel on the gravelly path. Powlison had dropped back. Eckmann and Alders swung out as a pair after Benesh.
The two leaders had outpaced the chasers by over ten seconds as they worked on lap three. That’s about the time Allen touched Summerhill’s wheel and lost contact. But Allen kept him in sight.
Over the next few laps Eckmann progressed into third and briefly stole Allen’s second place on course.
Alders, a mountain biker, seemed to find his cyclocross home in Louisville. He churned out consistently fast laps that eclipsed Eckmann’s in the second half of the race.
Going into the last two laps over thirty seconds separated Allen from Summerhill. Maybe that was when Summerhill decided to let up that little bit. Or maybe something clicked in Allen?
“The afterburners kicked in. I don’t know,” the Feedback Sports rider said, trying to explain what fueled his late race surge. “I wanted to catch Danny really bad. That’s what I was working for.” And Summerhill knew it.
“We were going hard Tim and I – very, very, hard – and I really thought that Tim once he got any sort of gap would be able to hold it and win like he did the last time him and I raced in Golden,” Summerhill said.
But the powerful Summerhill, who at times acted as a windshield for the slighter Allen in the extreme wind that frequently bent tall grass sideways on the open course, crossed the line with 13 seconds over his adversary. Alders rode into third. Eckmann finished fourth. Benesh stayed steady on course for fifth, while Webber outpaced the rest to get sixth.
Allen’s result had personal profits. “It was nice to be thinking about the front of the race and not worried about [what’s] behind me,” he said. “That’s a new sensation this year that I’ve never really had before.”
Eckmann leads the Cyclo-X points series. The next race takes place this coming Saturday in Westminster. Look for Summerhill in Los Angeles at Cross After Dark later this month.
For full results from Cyclo-X Louisville see the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado’s website.
Sport is full of expected and unexpected peaks and valleys.
Saturday’s Cyclo-X Louisville delivered both every lap on a course built around the infamous “Bowl of Death,” a dry grassy reservoir with soggy borders at the bottom.
Three times per lap riders dropped into the bowl; three times they climbed out. Multiply times five for the women’s open race which Judy Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club) won by a small margin over Ann Trombley (Tokyo Joe’s).
Freeman is riding a rising peak of consecutive top podium steps that’s perhaps unexpected for a mountain bike specialist on a cyclocross learning curve.
Trombley’s second placed her on the podium twice in as many weeks. Another peak. And unexpected. Trombley, who coaches several of the ladies who pinned on numbers Saturday, said she never knows how well she’s going to race.
Around them riders who planned to peak a month ago and then peak again for ‘cross nationals in January found themselves in a planned valley. Others like Kristal Boni (Rapid Racing) dipped into unexpected valleys; barely into the first lap and just after the pit area, course tape temporarily disabled her bike’s gears.
Freeman’s win was her third in the Cyclo-X eight-race series. That makes six wins total so far this season in local Colorado cyclocross races, the most of any woman in the open category.
“I’m stoked about that. It’s pretty cool,” Freeman said post-race as she talked skewer quality with a mechanic under a tent battered by the wind. “And I never feel like it’s guaranteed. Anything can happen. It’s such a short race. I’m excited…”
The course designer obviously wanted the venue’s “Bowl of Death” nickname to live up to its promise. Not much longer than five seconds after the start, a set of barriers at the far side of the first turn forced riders to slow and leap into a moat of muck on the other side before climbing to the top of the bowl.
Kristin Weber of Boulder Cycle Sport reached that initial challenge first. Trombley jumped over at the opposite end of the barriers. Junior Ashley Zoerner (Groove Subaru-Alpha Bicycle Co) joined them up the hillside and they carried a small gap into lap one.
Meanwhile Freeman, who got a slow start because she had trouble clipping into her pedal on the uneven turf, began a march to the front from eighth in the field.
By lap two Freeman rode third on course in a front group of five led by Trombley with Weber, Melissa Barker (GS Boulder / Studio 1 Dental), and Karen Hogan (Team Kappius.) Jess D’Amato and Kristen Peterson of Evol Foods pursued not far behind. Later in the race Tough Girl’s Margell Abel, Ksenia Lepikhina, and Heather Szabo (Tokyo Joe’s) formed a mid-field chase group.
Freeman and Trombley pulled away in that order and gained a ten second gap into lap three on Weber and Hogan who rode together ahead of Barker. In the fourth lap Freeman surged into a lead that became a solo win with seven seconds to spare over Trombley.
Given the open nature of the course, Trombley, a former coach of Freeman, could observe the leader for most if not all of the last two laps. What did she see?
“…Judy was railing the corners and I was trying to stay with her,” the coach and former Olympian said. “She’s just strong…And she is smooth on the technical – she’s very good. So she doesn’t lose any energy on that stuff so then she can power on the climbs and on the straightaways. She looks great.”
Hogan also looked great on Saturday. She gained a gap on Weber, riding a fast third lap, and held it for third place at the finish. Weber got fourth. The effort seemed to deplete nearly ever rider’s reserves; each of the top ten claimed their places on the finish line alone.
“The course was pretty rad,” Freeman said. “It’s funny, it was kind of like a two hour course condensed into 45 minutes. It was really bumpy. Some really long stretches into the wind. For whatever reason it was a little more, I don’t know, I guess I’m going to say a little more taxing…But it was a great course. It had a little bit of everything. It was fun.”
Freeman said she’s been enjoying the different types of courses in the Cyclo-X series and the skills each has tested. “I’m stoked because I think it’s really preparing everybody for [cyclocross] nationals coming up…” In October the Crankbrothers rider indicated she’s eager to take part in what she anticipates will be a great “vibe” when nationals comes to Boulder.
Weber leads the Cyclo-X points series. The next race takes place this coming Saturday in Westminster.
For full results from Cyclo-X Louisville see the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado’s website.