Report by Eddie Clark
Kabush takes classic muddy win, and Nash outsprints Compton for victory.
(Nov 13, 2010) FORT COLLINS, Colo.—The New Belgium Cup marked the fifth race of the eight race series of US Grand Prix of Cyclocross, and was graced with perfect snowy, muddy, and cold conditions for racers to rise to. In addition to classic cross weather and conditions, local vendors and race sponsors succeeded in creating a great venue for some of the best cross racing in North America. Title sponsors such as SRAM, Maxxis, New Belgium Brewery, Clif-Bar, Feedback Sports, Selle Italia, Stanley, and Zipp to name just a few ensured every respective aspect of the race from neutral support in the pits to two different beer gardens was covered in spades. There was even an onsite hot tub with an excellent view of the racing.
Non-Series races that commenced in the early morning had icy frozen sections to deal with, but mostly succeeded in prepping the course with soft and slippery lines through muddy and wet grass for the day’s main events. In addition to tricky conditions, a good bit of climbing and descending combined with numerous off-camber turns, a barrier section, and a stair-step run-up would put racers at their technical and physical limits.
Men’s 16-17 racing was the first of the USGP series races to commence, and saw an unstoppable Yannick Eckman of team Hot Tubes commandingly win his race by leading from start to finish. “It was a hard race, I got a little cold out there, but had fun”, said Eckman of his race. Second place junior racer, Jeffrey Bahnson from Delaware also agreed on the racing, “It was a fun course, and it’s good to have some mud to race in”. Eckman also succeeded in firmly securing his USGP Leaders Jersey and gaining UCI points before travelling to Europe for the next world cup.
As is usually the case, the 35+ Men’s race provided plenty of highly competitive racing. Boulder, Colorado local and current US Masters National Champion Peter Webber displayed critical prowess in the mud and exceptional fitness to take the victory over Mark Leg-Compton in second, and Ward Baker who finished in third. By finishing second, Mark Leg-Compton moved into the Men’s 35+ lead for the USGP series.
“It was awesome to get some mud. That’s what I like, the cold weather and the harder the better. The mud definitely made line selection really important”, said Webber of his winning ride.
In the next race, the pro women barely made it through the first turn when there was a mid pack crash which saw Laura Van Guilder wearing the number one bid resume the race in nearly last place. At the front, Luna racers Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould stepped on the gas to gain a slight lead over the field half-way into the first lap. Behind, Katie Compton quickly worked her way back up to the leaders, and the trio would take their turn at the front as all made small mistakes to lose and regain the lead.
“I’m getting really fast at getting back up from falling” joked eventual winner and current Czech National Champion Katerina Nash of her slight mistakes on the very slippery course.
By mid-race, Compton established what seemed to be a significant lead, but also succumbed to some small mistakes and a poor pit which opened the door for Nash to not only rejoin her but also open a small gap. “I was already on the limit from catching back up to Katerina, so when she started her sprint, I just tried to follow her”, recounted Compton of the sprint finale in which she finished second.
As the sun started to fall towards the horizon and the temperatures dropped, the pro men blasted up the paved road past the finish and onto the mud for a 60 minute slug fest. With no shortage of horsepower at the front, it was all about getting into the turns first, which is exactly what CyclocrossWorld.com/Cannondale racer Jeremy Powers did.
Behind, the fastest cross racers in North America wasted no time in getting down to business at the start of the pro men’s race. Fully recovered from his groin muscle strain at the Colorado Cross Classic, Kona racer Ryan Trebon was in the mix of the Cannondale trio of Johnson, Powers, and Driscoll. Riding with finesse and power, Trebon jockeyed at the front during the first half and eventually finished in 3rd. “I would just try to get ahead of Tim Johnson so he would have to ride my pace”, joked Trebon in the post-race press conference.
“I felt really good and my technical skills were solid through the first 2/3rd’s of the race”, said second place finisher Jamey Driscoll. However, Canadian National Champion and World Cup frequent flyer Geoff Kabush was also riding exceptionally well in the mud.
“I liked the uphills and downhills, and during the whole race I tried to ride within myself. Once I caught Jamey on the straight, I attacked him to open up a gap on a climb, and just rode smooth until the finish”, said Rocky Mountain Bikes/Maxxis racer Geoff Kabush on his big victory.