The future of cyclo-cross took center stage on day two of the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross national Championships in Bend. Seven national titles were awarded in the youngest age divisions on Friday morning before nine categories of masters riders put on a fantastic show in the afternoon hours. The grounds surrounding the Old Mill Shops will once again be the scene for the best young riders in cross on Saturday as the men’s U23 and 17-18 age divisions will compete to prove whose the next big thing in cross racing.
A four-year cyclo-cross veteran, 11-year old Mina Anderburg (Louisville, Colo./Team Fuji) defended her Stars-and-Stripes from a year ago against nearly a dozen other 10-12 year-olds in the youngest female age division. The 2007 sixth-place finisher Tiziana DeHorney (Albuquerque, N.M./Active Knowledge) moved to the top step of the podium this year; taking the 13-14 national title in a tight finish with silver medalist Emma White (Delanson, N.Y./Captal Bicycle Racing Club).
“I was so excited,” explained the soon-to-be 13-year old DeHorney. “I’m even more excited to wear my new (Stars-and-Stripes) jersey. I love the color blue; think I’m going to frame it.”
Last year’s 13-14 winner Sarah Huang (Kenosha, Wis./Planet Bike) moved up to the 15-16 age division and dethroned the reigning champ Alexis Ryan (Ventura, Calif./SoCal Cross).
“The 15-16 division is a lot faster,” said Huang, a two-time criterium national champion. “The course was much more technical and slick, but it was a lot of fun.”
Reigning road race champion Gage Hecht (Parker, Colo./ICCC) held off a surging Grant McElroy (Portland, Ore./Beavertown Bicycle Club) as the two ran away from the competition in the 10-12 race. Despite starting several rows back in the 13-14 men’s division, Ian Haupt (White Fish Bay, Wisc./Planet Bike) earned the national title over more than 35 competitors.
With most of last year’s podium moving up, soon-to-be 15-year old Logan Owen (Bremberton, Wash./Redline Bicycles) was able to grab the Stars-and-Stripes just ahead of Cliff Bar Development Team riders Zane Godby (Louisville, Colo.) and Curtis White (Delanson, N.Y.).
Friday morning’s premier event, the junior 17-18 women, was hard from the gun and proved to be a battle between two powerhouse riders. Ultimately Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif./Proman Hit Squad) held off a tenacious challenge from Kaitlin Antonneau (Racine, Wisc./Planet Bike) adding a 25th Stars-and-Stripes jersey to her wardrobe at the ripe old age of 17. Antonneau started strong and threatened throughout most of the race but ultimately gave way to the woman many consider to hold more junior national titles than any other.
“I took the hole shot and Kaitlin and I fought for the lead a few times,” explained Rivera. “I was able to ride the run-up and they ran it so I got some time from there. I put in a lot of work this year, so I’m happy.”
The afternoon gave way to the first master women’s races of this year’s competition as over 100 master women aged 40 to 60+ took off in a staggered start to compete for six national titles amongst those age groups. Gina Hall (Orinda, Calif.) posted the best time of the group with a 36:30 to take the 40-44 national title; only 20 seconds ahead of the charging Wendy Williams (Portland, Ore.). After catching and passing most of the younger field Kris Walker (Pocatello, Idaho/Church of the Big Ring) and Karen Hogan (Louisville, Colo./Louisville, Colo.) provided the day’s most exciting finish. Walker was able to hold off the charging Hogan to retain her Stars-and-Stripes, but only after officials reviewed the photo finish camera.
“She was really closing the gap on me,” said Walker. “I didn’t really want it to be quite that close.”
Marilyn Ruseckas (Warren, Vt./Seven Cycles) got the best of the nearly 25 riders in the 50-54 age division. Multi-time national champion Diane Ostenso (Cottage Grove, Wis./Planet Bike) grabbed yet another title in her age division as did Martha Iverson (Durango, Colo./Durango Wheel Club) and Julie Lockhart (Dunstable, Mass./NEBC-CycleLoft-Devonshire).
With well over 100 men taking the start of the day’s final race; the 45-49 men’s contest turned out to be a fitting finale. A classic back-and-forth battle between the top three competitors put on an exciting show for the crowd that had began to build around the grounds of the Les Schwab Amphitheatre. Jonny Bold (Marston Mills, Mass./Corner Cycle) was able to beat James Coats (Campbell, Calif./Cal Giant) into the final corner and sprint ahead to victory.
The USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships will continue Saturday with the junior 17-18 and U23 men’s divisions as well as the remaining master men’s categories.
The favorite in the Men Junior 17-18 race is Cody Kaiser (CalGiant) who won five USGP races and finished second overall, making him the top American in the series. Kaiser liked the course after pre-riding it on Thursday.
“It’s pretty sweet, a couple of spots are frozen, some rocks out there. In general it’s a fun course. To be honest, I think this course suits me pretty well, it’s technical which I like, it’s got a couple of sections that cause most people to run and I’m able to ride so this course suits me pretty well. ” said Kaiser.
Other riders to watch include Jeffrey Bahnson (Thule/Van Dessel), Chris Wallace (KCCX/Verge/Navigators) and Skyler Trujillo (Black Sheep).
Molly’s take. On Friday, Oregon’s own Molly Cameron provided her insight on the course as pre-riding it during the open session at noon. Cameron will be racing the Masters Men 30-34 on Saturday and the Elite Men on Sunday.
The course had started to ice over right before the open session, but it was “still fast, there are tracks, there are lines but in the corners, they have iced over because they’re all churned up. It’s pretty fast some of the stuff is pretty slick.”
How technical is it? “I think it would be considered technical because there’s a lot of turning and the turning is pretty fast and you need to know how to handle your bike around the corner because otherwise you’re going to crash. Tons of people were crashing and it was kind of silly, if they’d slowed down and thought about driving their bike for a second, they’d get through the corners faster.” said Cameron.
Any difficult sections in the course? “Honestly there wasn’t really a whole lot of difficult stuff, there’s just stuff that you had to maybe slow it down a little bit to ride a really icy off-camber rise.” explained Cameron. “I think the difficult thing will be going at your limit and not wiping out. Being able to really really stay on the gas the whole time without taking yourself out. I ‘m sure that’s what happened to most people, you start going really fast but then you need to slow down before you get into those corners because if you’re breaking while in your in the turns you’re going to crash. So that would be tricky.”
What if the predicted snow does fall before or during the races? “If it snows consistently the whole day it would be good, it would cover up the ice. But I think it will get tracked out. Once you do a lap with 150 riders going through all the lines are going to be tracked out and so I think the inside lines are still going to be icy but the outside lines will be slower if it snows. I think it will make it grippier, the inside lines will still be icy and rutted but I think the off-camber stuff will be a little more ridable because it will be more of a snow cover. I think it will be make faster if it’s a little snow. If we get a foot of snow it’s going to be really hard to right but I’m sure we’ll get an inch or something.”
And what about tire pressure? “It’s pretty vital. If I had 34s, I’d run them and I’d run them around 20 or 25. Riding today, I was riding 25 on my 32s and I flatted but I think I just hit a piece of glass or something. You’re not bottoming out and that’s the key but it gets scrummy if you’re going really fast.”
Friday’s National Champions:
- Women 10-12: Mina Anderburg (Louisville, Colo./Team Fuji)
- Women 13-14: Tiziana Dehorney (Albuquerque, N.M./Active Knowledge)
- Women 15-16: Sarah Huang (Kenosha, Wis./Hayes Disc Brakes)
- Women 17-18: Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif./Proman Hit Squad)
- Men 10-12: Gage Hecht (Parker, Colo./ICCC)
- Men 13-14: Ian Haupt (Whitefish Bay, Wisc./Planet Bike)
- Men 15-16: Logan Owen (Bremberton, Wash./Redline Bicycles)
- Master Women 30-34: Barbara Howe (Berkeley, Calif./VanderKitten)
- Master Women 35-39: Kerry Barnholt (Mountain View, Calif./Scott Ritchey)
- Master Women 40-44: Gina Hall (Orinda, Calif.)
- Master Women 45-49: Kris Walker (Pocatello, Idaho/Church of the Big Ring)
- Master Women 50-54: Marilyn Ruseckas (Warren, Vt./Seven Cycles)
- Master Women 55-59: Diane Ostenso (Cottage Grove, Wis./Planet Bike)
- Master Women 60-64: Martha Iverson (Durango, Colo./Durango Wheel Club)
- Master Women 65+: Julie Lockhart (Dunstable, Mass./NEBC-CycleLoft-Devonshire)
- Master Men 45-49: Jonny Bold (Marston Mills, Mass./Corner Cycle)
Complete results here
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