Those two words said it all for US U23 Champion Danny Summerhill who finished 13th at the U23 Cyclocross World Championships. The 22-year old, in his final year as an espoir rider, paused before continuing, “I was having a day like no other the first couple of laps.”
After starting on the third row, Summerhill had moved up into the lead group by the third lap.
“I was second and I flatted, the pit is on my right and I flatted.” From second to twenty-seventh spot in one lap. “Half a lap on a flat tire, I got probably back to twenty-seventh or twenty-eighth, I managed to get up to twelfth I think.”
His reaction when I told him that he crossed the line in thirteenth was immediate and brief. “Thirteenth? Fuck.”
What was going through his mind while he chased back to top 20 and then top 15? “I was just like well that was great while it lasted, I always thought the same thing that I thought when I crashed as a junior when I got silver, when I crashed with a lap to go, I thought the same thing ‘well that was nice while it lasted’ but got to finish up the best way I can.”
It is somewhat a case of deja-vu for Summerhill. As a junior, he crashed on a steep descent on the third lap and then battled back to finish second at the Cross Worlds in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium.
But taking all in, Summerhill was satisfied with his race and satisfied with his preparation. To limit stress, which in the past he has found difficult to manage, he decided to stay away from the team USA house and instead stayed in Belgium with fellow Team USA members Meredith Miller and Cody Kaiser.
“I didn’t manage to finish as high enough today than a couple of years ago but I was pleased. I came, with the little amount of stress, you can see how that paid off for me, it does work.”
19-year old Zach McDonald made his goal. “It was alright. I was happy with it.” he said after crossing the line in 23rd.
“I was up there [top 20], I was having some issues on the climb, I just didn’t have the power and the speed on it but what are you going to do? I didn’t think that I was going to be any better so I’m not bummed or anything.”
The fast race and the climb were taking a toll. “I was having diaphragm cramps, I couldn’t take any deep breaths I think because the speed of the race, just a shock to the system. So going up the climb once I was just smallest gears, inching up, people by me are going ‘come on, come on’ and I was like ‘I can’t do anything’. It settled down a little bit so I was able to come back after that.”
His goal for the race was to be able to ride that tricky off-camber section right after the barriers. “I’m ready for the season to be over. I made my goal, I rode that little off-camber thing every time so that was my goal. I ran it the first lap, I think there was one lap I just couldn’t get back into my pedals so I was like ‘fuck I’m going to ride it”, screwed up and ran it.” He added with a laugh, “I was hoping to keep the new shoes cleaner.”
In his first race as a U23 Kaiser finished 36th and Jerome Townsend was 39th.