This cyclocross season, filmmaker Andy Frothingham is following two professional racers through their seasons, checking in with them at events around the country and at their homes in Colorado between races. The second episode is presented here today.
I am Barry's cracked and bleeding sinuses, pouring sticky sweet goo down into his nasal cavity. I am draining my wrath out on to his upper lip as he gasps for breath in the dry desert night. I am vengeful and full of hate. The evil stench of a million vacant souls trickles in past mucus and hair and fills me up to the brim, reinforcing my quest to punish in every way I can.
Mafia Racing’s Jake Wells is the working class hero of last week’s CrossVegas. A look at his Felt race bike.
Professional bike racing in the U.S. is different from just about every European country. When they say "pro" there, it means everyone in the race makes money doing it. Not so in the U.S. For some, becoming a professional means little more than cherry picking a few smaller races and paying USA Cycling $150 for an elite license. It was easy to see the differing ability levels at CrossVegas, as almost half of the field ended up lapped.
“Thirty seconds!” yells the UCI official and instantaneously you see the fidgeting of fingers on hoods and legs clipped into pedals. In cyclocross, the sprint is at the beginning of the race, rarely the end. So racers get their bodies ready for that first shock to their systems from the word go. Legs bouncing all around in fast-twitch anticipation of the gun, eyes focused forward or on the wheel or course in front of them, heart rates instinctively racing without even having pedaled a stroke.
The women's podium repeated its 2008 order at CrossVegas Wednesday evening, as thousands of spectators saw a display of raw power and consistency. Later, under the lights at a soccer complex on the outskirts of the city, new faces emerged from the tactical men's race, frustrating an elite group of chasers. In both races, domestic riders prevailed against European challengers in this city that is so uniquely — if sometimes regrettably — American.
Rabobank rider Bram de Groot is a good sport. The Belgian came to Las Vegas to race CrossVegas, though he hasn’t raced cyclocross in years. To open up his legs for the race, Giant’s Andrew Juskaitis took him for a mountain bike ride on Interbike’s Outdoor Demo Caldera loop — almost two hours of dry, loose trail embedded with rocks as sharp as razor blades. De Groot had never ridden a mountain bike in his life. It was 6 p.m. when he climbed on the big bike, with ace mountain bikers Adam Craig and Carl Decker for riding partners.
Giant Bicycles brought a prototype TCX Advanced SL carbon bike to Interbike for Adam Craig to race in Wednesday night’s CrossVegas event, and VeloNews took an exclusive first look mere hours after team manager Frank Trotter finished building it.
For most cyclocross pros — almost all of whom make their living racing mountain bikes or road bikes during the "off season" — CrossVegas is an odd confection: one of the most visible races of the North American season, with arguably the best field. Yet it comes so early in the season, and is on such an unusual course, that many racers enter it with something of a hit-or-miss attitude. "It's like the Tour of California for cyclocross," Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) said Wednesday.
After a challenging summer fraught with sponsorship problems, Katie Compton has her program back on the rails, just in time for cyclocross season. For starters, she signed with Planet Bike as her primary sponsor. Then, a few weeks before opening weekend, a choice blend of product sponsorships fell into place, including Stevens Carbon Team frames; Zipp wheels, bars, and cranks; and SRAM Red drivetrain parts. Planet Bike gave the duo freedom to forage for supplementary sponsors, and they came up golden. “It’s a dream sponsorship for us,” said husband Mark Legg-Compton.
Rabobank ProTour team member Bram de Groot will compete at this week's CrossVegas cyclocross race in Las Vegas, the event organizers announced. The race organizers say the Dutch rider’s appearance will mark the first ever by a Rabobank rider in a U.S cyclocross event. de Groot also will attend the Interbike Outdoor Demo on Tuesday to visit with Giant bicycle dealers. Giant sponsors Rabobank. The 35-year-old de Groot has been a member of the Rabobank team since turning pro in 1999.
Press ReleaseLegendary Italian tire brand CLEMENTTM is returning to the bicycle industry and has selected CrossVegas as it very first move to publicize this return. CLEMENTTM will serve as the official tire sponsor of the biggest cyclocross race in the U.S. held each year in Las Vegas during the Interbike trade show. As part of the sponsorship all CrossVegas general admission ticket holders receive a mail-in coupon valid for a pair of CLEMENTTM commemorative cycling socks.
Editor’s note: This is the second installment of the Mud and Cowbells Road Diary. Part one found the author in Durango for the Singlespeed World Championships, where he witnessed the winners drinking the night before, then getting tattooed after the race.
Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay resort is sponsoring a prize for riders who score the best overall at the criterium and cyclocross races being held next month during the Interbike trade show. The week in 'Vegas includes the CrossVegas cyclocross race on Wednesday night, September 23, and the USA Crits Finals, held at the Mandalay Resort on The Strip in Vegas on the Thursday night, September 24.
Three-time cyclocross world champion Erwin Vervecken of Belgium will race the CrossVegas in Las Vegas next month, race organizers announced Friday. Vervecken won the world title in 2001, 2006 and 2007 and, at 37 won the Roubaix World Cup last winter. He has announced that he will retire at the end of this season. Vervecken's teammate Ben Berden also will race in the September 23 event.
CrossVegas is coming to a TV near you, if your cable package includes Universal Sports. A half-hour program on the international cyclocross race, held September 24 in Las Vegas in conjunction with the Interbike trade show, will air at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 25. Encore presentations are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday, January 30, and 6 a.m. Saturday, January 31.
He's been there before and, he concedes, he might just thrive on it. Jonathan Page, America's most successful international male cyclocross racer, is having another relatively quiet season, with a few top performances but a spate of frustrating mechanicals, illnesses and other bad luck, plus an unusual mid-season bike sponsor switch. Now, with a week to go before the national championships in Kansas City, the Planet Bike pro is looking to break out with a fourth elite national title, and then carry the momentum into the world championships.
That wasn’t just any old Trek XO cyclocross bike Travis Brown was riding in last weekend’s Boulder and Redline Cup races — it was a prototype belt-driven bike. The Trek product tester first raced the anodized green machine, dubbed the XOB, at CrossVegas, held in conjunction with the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas.
Due to the start time of a live football game being rescheduled on Saturday, the first showing on October 25 has been moved to 2:00 p.m. MT on Saturday (not 5:30 p.m. MT, as originally announced). The race is being broadcast on Altitude Sports and Entertainment Network, available on cable systems in the western U.S. and on DirecTV and Dish Network in select areas nationwide.