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Colorado men talk crowds and results after 2014 elite cyclocross national championships

January 23, 2014

They surrounded the 5280 Stairs like fans swarm l’Alpe d’Huez switchbacks during the Tour de France. They took up position at the ditch, the sand hill, the uphill barriers, and by the blue course tape in-between. Along the start-finish straight they pressed shoulder to shoulder, five deep in places.

The hometown crowds came out in droves for cyclocross nationals at Valmont Bike Park, especially for the elite races. And the athletes noticed.

Here’s what three elite men from Colorado had to say about the crowds and their rides.

Allen Krughoff (Raleigh-Clement)

Allen Krughoff slotted in behind Ryan Trebon and Danny Summerhill after the start

Allen Krughoff slotted in behind Ryan Trebon, Danny Summerhill, and Jeremy Durrin after the start

Among 105 starters, Krughoff made it around the initial two turns and up the first climb in sixth position.

“I missed four crashes at the start,” he said. “I felt like that scene in Star Wars where they’re going into the Death Star.”

Kathy Krughoff, Allen's mom, in super-fan mode at Valmont

Kathy Krughoff, Allen’s mom, in super-fan mode at Valmont

Never had he sped past and soaked in the cheers of that many supporters in the crowd.

“So great. I made these goofy tee-shirts I bought from the thrift store. It’s just awesome.”

Always one to note the performance of his equipment, Krughoff added, “We had these Clement MXP tires and they’re just insane. It was awesome all around.” The MXP is an all-conditions model.

Krughoff finished fifth with a show of strength that helped earn him a discretionary slot for the world championships.

Speaking about his nationals result, he said, “I consider this a win. That was my top goal – fifth, legitimate goal. I was like, ‘If I get fifth, you can dump the champagne on me.’ So here we are.'”

Jamey Driscoll and Allen Krughoff leave Pete's Plunge for the last time at 2014 cyclocross nationals

Jamey Driscoll and Allen Krughoff leave Pete’s Plunge for the last time at 2014 cyclocross nationals

Brady Kappius (Clif Bar)

Brady Kappius takes the high line after dropping down the Valmont ridge

Brady Kappius takes the high line after dropping down the Valmont ridge

“It was good. I had a good start and then I might have faded a bit. My stomach was giving me issues half-way through,” Kappius said. “Russell [Finsterwald] dropped me like a rock.” Kappius gives his elite mountain bike friend, Finsterwald, pointers on cyclocross skills.

Maxx Chance plays Brady Kappius fan

Maxx Chance plays Brady Kappius fan

“When I came through with two to go I figured out I was the last person who wasn’t pulled so the last two laps were just like a joy ride. It was fun.” Only one-fifth of the starters, 22 riders, finished on the lead lap.

Where did the Clif Bar rider find the most fun? “The 5280 Stairs were sweet – there were so many people there – and all the technical spots. I was hearing my name every two seconds. It was pretty awesome.”

Hours before the elite race, Maxx Chance (Clif Bar Devo) placed second in the 17 – 18 race. He had plenty of time to change and return to watch his elite counterparts compete. He cheered on Kappius with a poster. “Oh yea, I saw my poster,” Kappius said. “He was trying to hit me with it.”

Danny Summerhill (K-Edge/Felt)

Danny Summerhill on the south side of Valmont and after the shallower Belgian steps

Danny Summerhill on the south side of Valmont and after the shallower Belgian steps

“It’s always nice to race in front of a hometown crowd,” Summerhill told Dirtwire.tv. I would have liked to race a little bit better in front of them, but…”

Summerhill started fast. He placed seventh. In the finish zone he leaned on his Felt bike, quiet and with a heavy face that lacked his warm smile. Clearly he wouldn’t count Valmont among his best ‘cross nationals outings. “I’m not too happy with [my race]. Not the day I was hoping for by any stretch of the imagination,” Summerhill said.

Alex Howes leans over the fencing to blast an airhorn at Danny Summerhill

Alex Howes leans over the fencing to blast an airhorn at Danny Summerhill

When asked what happened he offered that he was “just trying to get my hands back together from Bend and they’re not really there. Yea, that’s all I got.” One month earlier on December 7, riders raced in windy, snowy conditions and near zero degree Fahrenheit cold at the Deschutes Brewery Cup in Bend, Oregon. Some later reported frostbike and lack of feeling in their fingers.

At nationals in Boulder, the K-Edge/Felt rider’s supporters weren’t shy. Alex Howes, now a roadie with Garmin-Sharp, blasted an airhorn when Summerhill swung by. The two shared the ‘cross nationals 17 – 18 podium in 2005 when Summerhill earned gold and Howes silver.

Alex Howes and Danny Summerhill (l-r) at 2005 cyclocross national championships (photo displayed at Clif Bar Devo event in Boulder)

Alex Howes and Danny Summerhill (l-r) at 2005 cyclocross national championships (photo displayed at Clif Bar Devo event in Boulder)

 

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