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Move over mistakes. Consistency pays off in cyclocross.

November 10, 2014
Spencer Powlison, Chris Baddick, and Brady Kappius slipped away from the men's elite field after a mishap in the Sienna Lake ditch

Spencer Powlison, Chris Baddick, and Brady Kappius slipped away from the men’s elite field after a mishap in the Sienna Lake ditch

Several mistakes helped decide the outcome of the men’s elite race at Cyclo X Sienna Lake on Saturday. But the guys that made them are still on top.

Coming out of the first pass through an earthen drainage ditch, Ken Benesh (Evol Racing) clipped out and paused near the top of the steep pitch. That held up the field behind him long enough for teammate Spencer Powlison, Chris Baddick (Boulder Cycle Sport), and Brady Kappius (Clif Bar) to sneak off the front where the first two would stay.

However, thanks to consistently showing up to races and finishing well, Benesh still leads the Cyclo X series with two of seven races remaining. He’s also second in the annual Colorado Cross Cup competition.

Spencer Powlison drives the leading group

Spencer Powlison drives the leading group

Similarly, with two laps left in the Sienna Lake race, a slight washout by Powlison in a grassy corner assisted Baddick’s escape into the lead. While that’s a frustrating way to lose, Powlison currently ranks first in the Cross Cup competition.

Mistakes happen. But Benesh and Powlison are still the best in two important series challenges on the Front Range. And rivals like Baddick who won Saturday’s race know it.

“Spencer’s been the guy to beat this year in Colorado and he’s so consistent,” Baddick said, before the podium on Saturday. “He hardly ever makes mistakes because he is so smooth on the bike. To beat him feels really good.”

Chris Baddick wins Sienna Lake on an unusually warm day for early November in Colorado

Chris Baddick wins Sienna Lake on an unusually warm day for early November in Colorado

Race action

Another drama played out at Sienna Lake in the leaders’ wake: Kappius’ defense of third place in the face of an onslaught piloted by Benesh, Mitch Hoke (The Pro’s Closet CX Team), and junior Pan American champion Gage Hecht (Alpha Bicycle Co.).

Kappius dropped away from the leaders after two laps and rode alone.

“I kept getting gapped out of the corners. So I took a couple of laps and kind of recovered a bit while Gage [Hecht] and Mitch [Hoke] caught me,” the Clif Bar rider explained. “I rode with them until the end. We started playing cat and mouse a bit, so Ken [Benesh] was able to catch up to us with a little over one to go.”

Steven Stefko

Steven Stefko

Meanwhile Steven Stefko (First City Cycling), second in the Cyclo X series standings, had moved up and trailed Benesh.

With about two laps to go Baddick found separation from Powlison.

“On the grassy corners just after the start/finish Spencer just slightly washed out his front wheel and ended up putting a foot down,” Baddick said. “That gave me a couple of seconds and that was pretty useful to get a gap.”

While Baddick played with the red zone to maintain that gap, action heated up in the Kappius group.

According to Kappius, at the start of the bell lap Hecht and Benesh tried to split the group. From the pavement the track took multiple turns on grass before directing riders into the ditch. Benesh slid out there and lost a bit of time.

Gage Hecht moves up

Gage Hecht moves up

Coming into the finish Benesh marked Stefko who motored just behind him and Kappius executed his plan to secure third place.

“I knew the finishing straight was pretty short and there is a little bit of an off-camber coming into it. I didn’t think anybody could get around somebody [there], so I wanted to come into it first,” Kappius said. “That last half lap was me just going about as hard as I could in the straights and recovering in the corners where I knew nobody could pass me. I was looking over my shoulder the whole time.

“I was able to come into the finish leading and put it in the drops, did 20 hard pedal strokes and held on for third.”

He held on by a whisker ahead of Hoke who finished fourth with the same time. Hecht arrived a second later. Stefko poured himself into the sprint for sixth, but Benesh got the best of him.

See the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado website for full results from Cyclo X Sienna Lake.

The next Cyclo X series race takes place at the Boulder Reservoir on November 15.

Brady Kappius edges out Mitch Hoke for third and Ken Benesh holds off Steven Stefko

Brady Kappius edges out Mitch Hoke for third and Ken Benesh holds off Steven Stefko

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