Report by Eddie Clark
Allen and Duke take beautiful Rocky Mtn Fall cyclocross victories.
(Oct 17, 2010) ESTES PARK, Colo.—DBC Events held its first cyclocross race of the season in Estes Park at the Aspen Lodge Resort and Conference Center, which provided for a very aesthetic fall venue with its rugged mountain scenery and golden leafed aspens. With the snow covered 14,000 feet tall Longs Peak looming over the site, it was obvious that winter is just around the corner and that cross season is definitely under way in ColoRADo.
A notable asset and much appreciated aspect of this race were fan accommodations which included a full service restaurant and bar in the middle of the race course, replete with an outdoor patio for prime race spectating.
For racers, the 2.85KM long course featured a paved start and finish with plenty of dicey off-camber turns that kept racers on their toes. For mountain bikers, perhaps the advantage was slightly in their favor, although certainly the 26” wheels were not a requirement for tasting victory. Long distance professional mountain bike racer Sonya Looney racing for the Hudz grassroots team noted, “My mountain bike skills really made a difference here with all the cornering and loose dirt”.
In addition to the techy corners and slick off-camber sections, racers had to contend with a barrier section, a stair step run-up, and even a sandy creek crossing which was immediately followed by a steep but short technical climb that forced several dismounts. First place singlespeed racer Derek Strong added, “I enjoyed it, it was definitely hard, bumpy, and it took a lot of concentration to ride cleanly. Today was all about staying on the bike to go fast”.
Staying on the bike (excepting the barrier and stair sections) and riding smoothly is exactly what 35+ racer Michael Robson of Moots did to take a well earned victory in his race. Within the first few laps, Robson worked his way to the front, and only Ward Baker riding for Justin’s Peanut Butter was able to maintain contact, eventually finishing second to Robson.
In the Men’s Open race, Brandon Dwight of Boulder Cycle Sport took the hole-shot going into the dirt, but faded and was quickly passed by the duo of Peter Webber (Boulder Cycle Sport) and Tim Allen (Feedback Sports). Webber and Allen rode neck and neck for a good bit of the race until Allen used his 29” wheeled mountain bike to repeatedly ride the barrier section and build a slight lead over Webbber. Starting way back in the 4th row was Hudz racer Jake Wells who went on a tear to ride through the greater part of the field and eventually catch Allen.
“I had a good front row start which I took advantage of, but Wells just came flying by me. They (Wells and Allen) kept it steady and didn’t make any bad mistakes, but I was still able to hold my ground and finish in third”, noted Webber in a post race interview. After catching Allen, Wells slightly blew a corner creating a few seconds gap to Allen who held it to claim his first cyclocross victory of the season despite riding a mountain bike.
Starting behind the 45+ men, the women’s open race saw a lot of tight racing and passing in their large field of racers. Again, Nicole Duke racing for Hudz displayed some great early season form by convincingly taking the hole shot, and even passing several 45+ men on just her second lap. Behind Duke was a foursome from the Tough Girls Team that made a great early race showing. However it was Dukes’ teammate Lisa Strong who claimed second step on the podium for the day with Karen Hogan (Justins Peanut Butter), Amanda Miller (Hudz), and Megan Taylor (COMotion Sports) respectively finishing in third through fifth.
Reporter's Edit: With the women's open field receiving equal awards to the open men and seperate races held for the women's 4 and 35+ categories, DBC Events and its staff did a fantastic job at the Aspen Lodge Event (especially considering the challenges created by such short days). This event should be used as an example for other promoters.
In the bigger picture of women's cycling, there’s room for improvement. Women’s open racers are slighted with lesser awards and women’s fields often start behind older men’s fields, which adversely affects both gender's races with faster women having to pass slower men and vice versa. The negative experiences from this disparity are counter-productive to encouraging women’s participation, and with the female demographic representing one of the largest emerging markets in today’s cycling industry, perhaps it’s time for the ACA to lead the way and re-asses the lack of equality towards women’s racing?
Race results here.
More photos here.