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Stormy weather, storming rides by Eckmann and Gould at Colorado cyclocross championships

December 22, 2015

Twas the weekend of States
and down in the Rock,
a snowstorm was brewing,
and the temperature it dropped.

Snowy start to men's Colorado elite cyclocross championship

Snowy start to men’s Colorado elite cyclocross championship

[updated December 23, 2015]

The race announcer called the elite men to staging and then it hit – a persistent, charging wall of white-gray north wind carrying icy bits of snow. Hands would go numb, off-camber slopes turn glacial, and Yannick Eckmann (Maxxis Shimano Cyclocross Team) would ride away in a league of his own to win his third Colorado elite cyclocross championship.

Tim Allen (Feedback Sports) established his hold on second place in the opening minutes of the first lap. Mitch Hoke (Pro’s Closet), Brady Kappius (CLIF Bar), Maxx Chance (Pro’s Closet), and Brannan Fix (Alpha Bicycle Company – Vista Subaru) factored among the leaders early on. Evol Racing’s Ken Benesh enjoyed his best state championship race ever, leapfrogging riders into third on course. Benesh finished third, Chance fourth, and Hoke fifth.

Yannick Eckmann now turns his focus to the national championships

Yannick Eckmann now turns his focus to the national championships

Eckmann captured his first state ‘cross title in 2012 at the same venue. “It’s good to be back racing here in Castle Rock,” he said.

The new champ indicated the win boosts his confidence for the upcoming elite national championships in Asheville, North Carolina.

“I definitely see my form getting better and better and this kind of proves it a little bit. I’m really shooting for nationals – having another good block of training and then really hitting nationals good.”

Not an hour before the men’s start the pre-storm mud and chill crooked their mean fingers at several women elite athletes. CrossVegas open race winner Caitlyn Vestal (Feedback Sports) fought cranky shifting. Katie Clouse (Alpha Bicycle Company – Vista Subaru), the junior phenom local cat 1,2’s view as a colleague and a rival, would crash on a descent and then claw her way through the field only to have to run to the pit for a new bike after a mechanical.

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), however, drew the long straw. She tamed every challenge and went home with Colorado elite cyclocross title number two – but not before a frosty podium re-do that ensured all top five women a moment to celebrate.

Gould said the Rhyolite Park venue is one of her favorite cyclocross courses and she enjoys the strong local competition. “Of course it’s always an honor to win state champs,” she said. “Lots of these women are strong so it’s fun to come out and have a good smooth ride, with no problems or anything. You never know who will have a break-out ride on any given day. Caitlyn [Vestal] has been riding really strong this year, and Melissa [Barker].”

Sofia Gomez Villafane

Sofia Gomez Villafane

Ashley Zoerner (Alpha Bicycle Company – Vista Subaru) blasted off the start line to take the hole shot a few bike lengths ahead of the field. Clouse, Barker, Vestal, and Gould followed Zoerner downhill and then up into turns on the hillside, where Gould moved into first position.

Gould and Clouse gained a handful of seconds on Vestal early in lap one. Then Clouse’s downhill mishap helped Vestal slot into second on course, which she defended to the finish. While Clouse ran for a new bike, Sofia Gomez Villafane (Fort Lewis College) advanced and eventually placed third. Clouse finished fourth and Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport / YogaGlo) fifth.

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From → Cyclocross

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