(December 16, 2012) LOVELAND, Colo—After nearly 3 months of cyclocross racing every weekend in Colorado, the local season has come to an end with the State Championship race which was held in cold but all too commonly dry conditions. Even with less than ideal weather, the E2 Cycling Team whom presented the race did a great job of making the most of the wide open areas at The Ranch, which is part of the Larimer County Fairgrounds.
Starting first in the morning, Cat 4 racers took to the course at 8:30am under a cold rising fog that gave way to partly sunny skies as the day progressed. Normally the first category to race encounters slower conditions, but the previous days Masters and Juniors racers did a fine job of getting the fastest lines burned in. All of the course except for a chicane that lead into the 30 foot run-up were used on the previous day.
The course could mostly be characterized with a typical straight and paved start for sorting out the field. Once the pecking order was worked out, racers encountered many grassy stretches with numerous turns and long straight sections. Key technical features consisted of one section of barriers, more sharp turns then you could count, and a steep sandy run-up that had most racers pushing or carrying their bikes.
Colby Pearce who won the singlespeed race opted for a 46”x18” gear in light of the course design. “It’s about a 69 inch gear which is good for two reasons, it’s smaller than a 70 inch gear, and it’s a 69. The course is sufficiently twisty and turny that there aren’t that many stretches long enough to really get up to speed. There’s that balance between having a top-end gear for the long straits versus being able to jump out of corners over and over and over and again”, said Pearce.
In the Women’s Open race, a $135 dollar prime was offered for the first lady to get to the top of the run-up. The prime served as plenty of incentive for Nicole Duke to lead out the first lap, and significantly string the thirty-three rider field out. Meredith Miller had a bobble in a twisty section, and spent the rest of the race chasing from a distance to hold on to second place. Third place went to Karen Hogan who also spent most of the race by herself to finish in third. In the end, Duke took the State Championship with a 45 second buffer over Miller, and the overall cross series title went to Kristin Webber who finished the day in eighth place.
The Men’s Open race featured a slightly larger field with 48 starters and just 42 finishers. Much like the women’s race, the lead was established with a prime on the first lap, and held until the finish. Although, for Yannick Eckmann, it was a fast race with little room for error until he crossed the finish line.
At the start, Brady Kappius was hot on Eckmann’s wheel until he popped and started going backwards. After Kappius’ effort started to catch up with him Russell Stevens, Spencer Powlison, Brandwon Dwight, and Allen Krughoff all took turns in the following 60 minutes to try and reduce the gap to Eckmann. Showing some exceptional fitness and smooth bike handling skills, Eckmann had a great ride to capture his second Colorado State CX Championship in a row. Krughoff put in a large effort in the closing laps to move through the field to secure second as did Skyler Trujillo who moved from sixth place up to finish in third.