—Words & Photography by Corey Keizer—
Shooting Cyclo-cross in Colorado is always exciting as well, and shooting there is an experience that in many ways feels like a home coming. I don’t know if it’s due to the unusually supportive community, or the sweeping mountain ranges that fill my frame, but shooting CX in Colorado is an assignment I will never turn down.
The USGP, a 4 race series, is the preeminent cyclocross series in America. Winning the series is a hard fought battle between all of the american CX stars. USGP #2, in Ft. Collins was no different. All the big names were in attendance. Ryan Trebon and Tim Johnson from Cannondale, Jeremy Powers from Rapha-Focus, and heavily tattoo’d Belgian Ben Berden of Raleigh-Clement were here to do fight it out.
Formidable Foe… Ben Berden
The women’s field included 9 time national champion Katie Compton, Local hero Georgia Gould, and French Transplant Julie Krasniak were here to do battle over the two days of racing. I arrived mid morning on Saturday well before the pro’s would be racing, only to be greeted by heavy rain… “Perfect, THIS is CX”. Early racers caught the brunt of the rain and mud.
Brian Dallas helps a Junior ensure his mom’s car stays a little bit cleaner than it would have.
It had rained the night before, and continued raining off and on until the start of Pro Women’s race.
The rain and mud complicated the race for some.
The foul weather was offset by multiple vendors offering excellent food options.
Cowbells… as much a part of Cyclocross as mud.
The rain subsided and the clouds parted as if God himself was ready to watch what promised be an epic battle. The women led it off and Katie Compton got to work quickly, fending off valiant attacks by Georgia before riding away, putting a number of bike lengths between her and Georgia.
Friends and teammates Nicole Duke and former French national champion Caroline Mani.
The Men’s race was hotly contested. Riders threw early jabs, but the unreasonably tall Ryan Trebon was able to ride away, gaining a 45 second gap at one point. It looked like a clear win for the Cannondale rider, however the tides would turn.
The Pro Men sort it out on the run up during the first lap.
Rapha-Focus’ Jeremy Powers worked diligently to chip away at Ryan’s lead over the next few laps and eventually caught the rider with 2 laps to go. But this wasn’t JUST a catch, Jeremy caught, passed, and then gapped Trebon, riding away with the lead and the eventual win. Saturday was a day for American CX for sure, with both the women’s and men’s national champions taking their respective wins.
Sunday proved to be a very different day. In the pits, the mechanics were diligently reviewing tire selection and tire pressure. The sun was shining and the sky was clear. Only puddles of mud remained from Saturday’s downpour and by the time the pros were taking to the course clear, hard packed lines had been carved by the previous amateur and masters racers. The racing would be very different as well. Early in the women’s race Luna Chick Teal Stetson-Lee set a frantic pace to set the race up for her teammate Georgia Gould.
Teal Stetson-Lee led an early charge on Sunday with Caroline Mani on her heels.
The race was all together for the first couple laps with Saturday’s winner sitting as far back as 10th at one point. Team tactics would prove futile, as Compton again rode away from Georgia and the rest of the women’s field. The gap she gained was impressive.
9 time national champion Katie Compton takes the back to back wins.
The mens race was stacked again. Garmin’s Danny Summerhill attacked hard out of the gate chased relentlessly by Ben Berden. The two clashed on for the first 3 laps.
Garmin’s Danny Summerhill took the early lead in Sunday’s race, animating the first 3 laps.
Ryan Trebon came to the front, attacking hard to shake the 5 leaders off his wheel. However his efforts were in vain. Current National champion Jeremy Powers attacked with 3 laps to go and dropped all that were still in view. He kept that manic pace, taking the win, while being chased by the only man to cut into his time gap, his own teammate Chris Jones.
Eventual winner Jeremy Powers followed closely by teammate Chris Jones.
The previous day’s rain plus the warm sun on Sunday made for a fast race.
J-Pow makes it 2 in a row… back to back.
When the remaining riders rolled through the finish, the suffering that Powers and Jones had inflicted became apparent, Berden and Summerhill looked absolutely broken. Guys were unable to speak to team directors for minutes after rolling through the line. The unrelenting pace and the warm afternoon and clearly taken it’s toll. In an astonishing turn, both national champions would make it back to back wins, heading into the 3rd race in Louisville with their heads held high.
• See more of Corey’s work at CoreyKeizer.com