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Three lessons the Colorado Cross Classic and Boulder Cup taught

October 19, 2013
Danny Summerhill leads the 2013 Boulder Cup men's elite field at Valmont Bike Park

Danny Summerhill leads the 2013 Boulder Cup men’s elite field at Valmont Bike Park

Last weekend two UCI cyclocross races visited the Boulder area. Here’s three take-aways from studying the elite women’s and men’s races.

C is for composure

A rider’s reaction to bad luck or a mistake can make a big difference in his or her final result.

Colorado Cross Classic onlookers who thought a minute’s delay in the opening turns would cost Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) the podium received a big surprise. Seemingly unruffled, Powers dismounted, waited for the traffic behind him to clear – he had won the holeshot – pulled over next to the course tape, and nudged the chain back onto its teeth. Then he rode off and picked his way through all but one of 67 riders to finish second.

Katie Compton cleans up Boulder Cup scrapes

Katie Compton cleans up Boulder Cup scrapes

Powers wasn’t the only one with first lap troubles at the Colorado Cross Classic.

Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) crashed not long after the start. She crashed not once but twice in the Boulder Cup the next day. In both races, like Powers, she did what helps her win races. She kept her cool and focused on the next task: hit the apex of the next turn, stay supple in the sand, and don’t let up on the gas even if you’ve got what looks like a winning gap.

Staying calm in the moment can make all the difference.

C is for champion

After both days of Boulder UCI cyclocross racing Compton mentioned what she hadn’t done right – she’d crashed, braking in the corners wasn’t dialed in, and she didn’t always find the fastest line. As of early October she was still building up after an unhealthy summer and yet she won both Boulder contests handily and alone.

Barring illness or injury, it looks like a tenth national cyclocross championship for Compton is taking shape on the January horizon.

C is for catch me if you can

Men's elite podium, 2013 cyclocross nationals. Danny Summerhill 4th, Zach McDonald 2nd, Jonathan Page 1st, Jamey Driscoll 3rd, Tim Johnson 5th

Men’s elite podium, 2013 cyclocross nationals. Danny Summerhill 4th, Zach McDonald 2nd, Jonathan Page 1st, Jamey Driscoll 3rd, Tim Johnson 5th.

Remember last January how Jonathan Page (ENGVT) and Jade Wilcoxson (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) surprised many with their first and second places respectively at ‘cross nationals? Wilcoxson hadn’t raced ‘cross for five years before last year’s season.

Who expected Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club), a mountain biker first and foremost and a previous national champion in that discipline, to outdistance every female elite rider except for Compton at both the Colorado Cross Classic and the Boulder Cup after starting in one of the back rows? Woodruff, who rode a considerable number of ‘cross races in 2011, said on Sunday she plans to enter 2014 nationals.

It will be worth the time to check the start lists prior to the elite races at nationals and speculate about which riders with little or no UCI points or those who have been off the radar racing regionally or in Europe could come away with a top five result.

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From → Cyclocross

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