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By Matt Pacocha
The UCI cyclocross season had its West Coast kickoff this past weekend in Washington state with Star Crossed, a Saturday-night party disguised as a ’cross race at Marymoor Park Velodrome in Redmond, followed by Sunday’s Rad Racing Gran Prix at Steilacoom Park in Lakewood.
Swiss national champion Christian Heule proved on form, winning both races on his new carbon Stevens. Wendy Williams (River City Bicycles) took the women’s race at Star Crossed, while Rachel Lloyd (Proman-Paradigm) won at Rad.
While racers have no need to be at peak fitness this early, the weekend gives everyone a chance to size up the competition and familiarize themselves with strange gear. Many riders have had their new bikes for less than a week.
Clif Bar’s Troy Wells, who had just finished putting together his spare Orbea the morning of Star Crossed, admitted that he was rushed and hoped it wouldn’t be needed.
“I should just leave it on top of the car,” he said.
Team Maxxis rider Geoff Kabush was even worse off — his bikes didn’t arrive in time for the race. His Litespeed frames are ready to go, but the team is still waiting for some missing parts. Undeterred, he tracked down last year’s bike, which he sold at the end of the season, the day before the race. Its new owner was happy to loan it to him. Kabush hopes to have his new Litespeeds ready for Wednesday’s Excel Sports CrossVegas, held in conjunction with the Interbike trade show running this week in Las Vegas.
Bikes were not a problem for the Kona-YourKey.com crew, which showed up with brand-new machines. The new bike drops the carbon rear end and Easton tubing in favor of tubing custom-developed for Kona and the team. Wicks and Ryan Trebon’s bikes feature larger down tubes, to increase the frame’s stiffness, and a new asymmetric forged alloy chainstay yoke. Mark Peterson, Kona’s ’cross team manager, says the new components give the bike real snap out of the corners.
Also on hand with new machinery were Danish champ Joachim Parbo (CCV) and Andy Jacques-Maynes, who was sidelined by a horrible crash at a Memorial Day crit that left him hospitalized for a week and bed-ridden for almost a month.
Jacques-Maynes was sporting a new Specialized Tricross S-Works carbon frame, sporting wheels built from Specialized Roval hubs and Reynolds carbon tubular rims outfitted with Tufo LPS tubulars. The machine weighs just over 15 pounds, he says.
[nid:40622]Following are a few pics to whet your appetite for ‘cross season.