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Renewal, PBR, and a junior all have their day at Zombie Cross

October 30, 2013
Tim Allen wins Zombie Cross in Parker, Colorado as Gage Hecht takes the final turn behind him

Tim Allen wins Zombie Cross in Parker, Colorado as Gage Hecht takes the final turn behind him

[updated 10/31/2013]

In the minutes prior to setting off on a sixty minute race effort that meant fending off the Colorado Cross Cup leader and a strong junior who knew the course like the back of his hand, Tim Allen yawned.

“That’s a good sign, actually,” the Feedback Sports rider said as he waited alongside the start grid for the men’s open race at Sunday’s Zombie Cross.

Allen was right. He sped away from the other hopefuls and maintained a pace that earned him a win after sixth place the day before at Cyclo-X Xilinx. How did he pull off the victory on Sunday?

“I think I really just wanted redemption from yesterday because I got outsmarted on a very roadie course yesterday,” he said. “So today I felt like if I just went for it that I could hold it. I was worried though – Gage [Hecht] was coming for me and he was riding really well today.”

Race action

Tim Allen led the pack from start to finish at Zombie Cross

Tim Allen led the pack from start to finish at Zombie Cross

After the whistle the field took a U-turn off the start/finish pavement and onto single track through a stand of pine trees.

With Allen leading the group flew down course into open fields. The track then narrowed into turns in a thicket of leafless trees that left the riders at the base of a short steep pitch dubbed the “run-up from hell.” The riders summited without dismounting to the cheers of a crowd of rowdy spectators.

A descent guided the pack into a maze back in the trees. When asked later about how the course separated riders, Cross Cup leader Ken Benesh (Evol Foods) mentioned that spot.

Ken Benesh in the maze among tight trees

Ken Benesh in the maze among tight trees

“The real tight area down in the trees just allows yo-yoing gaps to form and then it’s hard to close down the gaps again. For bigger guys like Pete [Webber] and myself through those trees is a little more difficult,” Benesh said as he ducked to demonstrate how he had avoided some of the lower branches.

Near the end of the first lap a front group of four emerged: Allen, Benesh, fifteen year-old Gage Hecht (Specialized Racing Team), and Boulder Cycle Sport’s Pete Webber. They had gained about a ten second gap to chaser Joseph Clemenzi (Sports Garage Cycling) who had pulled away from the rest of the field.

Ken Benesh, Gage Hecht, and Pete Webber in lap two

Ken Benesh, Gage Hecht, and Pete Webber in lap two

Allen opened a gap of 15 seconds by the end of the next lap to the other three who chased together. Clemenzi followed ahead of Princess Leia a.k.a. Nic Handy (Alpha Bicycle Company – All City) on a single speed steed and then a group containing Greg Krause (Groove Subaru – Alpha Bicycle Company), Josh Yeaton (Horizon Organic – Panache) and Brett Pirie (Groove Subaru – Alpha Bicycle Company). Pee Wee Herman a.k.a. Drew Christopher of Groove-Alpha hung on at the back and would finish the race.

Blame a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon for a turning point that materialized in lap three when the riders cleared the “run-up from hell.” With PBR clutched tantalizingly close in the hands of many among the festive group camped at the top, Webber took a risk in the moment. He grabbed for a can. When the surprised spectator held on the Boulder Cycle Sport rider touched dirt.

“It was bad judgment,” Webber later said. The accident cost him time. He was unable to catch Benesh and Hecht but in the end held on for fourth place.

With Webber out of the picture, Hecht locked his eyes on Allen and dropped Benesh. The Feedback Sports rider had decided to recover a bit in that lap, but didn’t rest for long. “I seemed to catch him a little bit but I could tell that he saw that I was coming,” Hecht said after the race. “And so he sped up quite a bit.”

Nic Handy placed fifth riding single speed

Nic Handy placed fifth riding single speed

The final three laps left spectators and pit crew turning over the same questions again and again. Could Allen and Hecht each hold on for twenty-five more minutes? How much does each have left in the tank? Will one of them pick up a goathead and flat?

Consistent answers arrived. Allen stayed out front. Hecht powered away alone in second. Benesh managed to limit the space between himself and the junior. The changes emerged behind them where Handy eclipsed Clemenzi to gain fifth.

Allen crossed the finish line with a big smile while Hecht turned the last corner twelve seconds back. As he leaned over the handlebars to catch his breath, Allen shook his head and said, “Gage [Hecht] had me on the rivet.”

“I feel like I did awesome,” the Specialized junior said about his second place result. “I don’t think I could have done much better.”

Benesh ended the day with a solid lead in the Cross Cup competition.

Find full results for the men’s open race on the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado website.

Frites en Mayo Velo Club and the Happy Coffee ‘cross team presented the event.

Zombie Cross men's open podium (l-r) Pete Webber 4th, Ken Benesh 3rd, Tim Allen 1st, Gage Hecht 2nd, Nic Handy 5th

Zombie Cross men’s open podium (l-r) Pete Webber 4th, Ken Benesh 3rd, Tim Allen 1st, Gage Hecht 2nd, Nic Handy 5th

Gallery (with SM3 riders)

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From → Cyclocross

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