By Eddie Clark
(November 27, 2011) GOLDEN, Colo.— Almost two months of back to back cross racing, and a pleasant warm sunny day were responsible for luring some racers to greener pastures while the die-hards suited up for another day of intense racing and training. Although, the smaller turn-out was just an underscore to the challenging racing on tap courtesy of Green Mountain Sports Velo.
As the Men's Elite winner Danny Summerhill (Garmin/Cervelo) noted, "These local weekend races provide great training for the bigger upcoming races which unless you can find someone to motor pace you on the weekend, it's hard to replicate in training."
Indeed, single speed fast guy, Jesse Swift (Gates Carbon Drive), took on the men's 35+ geared racers for extra challenge. Tim Faia (Boulder Cycle Sport) and Swift built a fair gap over the field on the dry rough course which featured two barrier sections and two run-ups. Using some technical prowess, Swift bunny hopped the last barrier section with less than one lap to go to pass a barrier-running Faia who finished just behind in second.
In the Elite Women's race, Rebecca Gross (Tough Girls) went to the front of the race before the first dirt run-up, and started growing her lead over hard chasing Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport) and Lisa Hudson (Feedback Sports). Both Weber and Hudson held their positions for the remaining 40 minutes to finish respectively in second and third.
Mountain biking skills proved valuable as Gross gained valuable seconds in the numerous fast corners, and the twisty course which lent itself to Gross' skills in securing the win. "This course is so much fun for turning from a mountain bikers perspective. I finally got into a flow after the first couple laps. It's so much fun when you get your line dialed and can hold your speed through these turns", said Gross after her race.
There were also some changes from the previous years' race, to which Gross noted, "There was a lot more new sections that were super rough and required a lot of power. This is kind of my home course because I live near Green Mountain".
As the Elite Men lined up for their start the winds started picking up. By the end of the race they were howling, and having a pronounced effect on every racers' strategy. "I was trying to practice standing up like Ryan Trebon does, but the wind was pretty nasty and the bumps made it even worse, so anytime it was smooth and favorable with the wind it was on. If it wasn't that way, I was trying to sit in and wait for the next smooth part" said Summerhill of his race.
Summerhill's strategy certainly worked since he quickly distanced all of the field by the first lap, except Russell Stevenson who initially held his wheel. By mid-race Summerhill succeeded in shaking Stevenson to ride alone for a great training session and a solid win. Third place went to Bryan Mickiewicz of Green Mountain Sports Velo who finished a minute and a half behind Stevenson.