National champion cyclo-cross riders are tearing it up at Valmont Park this week, and you can watch |
Boulder’s Valmont Park is playing host to USA Cycling’s Cyclo-cross National Championships through the weekend, where 1,600 racers – pros, amateurs, young and old – are taking on the sport that has taken cycling by storm.
Cyclo-cross is a fantastically chaotic winter endeavor that has bicyclists riding, jumping and flying through a carefully designed circuit that includes hurdles, stairs, planks and oh yes, mud.
Riders run uphill carrying their bikes on their shoulders, ride-dive steep plunges, crash and pant to the finish line. Speed and intensity are the name of the game – and the harsher the weather, the better. Snow, ice, wind and rain are part of the allure, as the sport originated with road cyclists looking for ways to stay winter fit.
This is the first time USA Cycling has held its event in Boulder, with the two-year-old and universally acclaimed Valmont Bike Park sweetening our hometown appeal.
“Since cyclo-cross is such a tough sport, it tends to build a pretty tight-knit community,” says three-time National Masters Champion and Boulder local legend Pete Webber. “The nationals is like an end-of-season celebration, a unique event, because it includes such a wide range of people, from kids to pros to newcomers. That’s what makes it so special.”
Spectators can get up close and personal with cyclo-cross – watching and cheering riders (and witnessing spectacular athleticism) right next to the course. Go anytime today, Saturday or Sunday – here’s the schedule.
Three renowed locals are riding for team Boulder Cycle Sport. (This tremendous local bicycle shop – started by two CU grads – has locations in North and South Boulder and has created a loyal following of riders, novice to super expert and everything in between.)
Kristin races with the elites on Sunday. At last year’s competition in Wisconsin, she took fourth place. Other titles include Colorado Cross Cup Winner – 1st place Elite Women, Without Limits Series Winner – 1st place Elite Women. Kristin was a silver medalist at the last two Masters Worlds Championships.
Here in Boulder, Kristin’s day-to-day training includes regular rides, yoga and Fitwall with trainer Gerett Burl at RallySport (our January Featured Friend). She’s also a runner. And she has three kids (10, 8 and 5) – all big fans. In her down time Kristin operates Sugar Design, her graphic design firm of 14 years.
“The Boulder community is amazing,” she says. “I couldn’t do this without the amazing support of my friends, family and coach-mentor Ann Trombley.”
Some of the great companies who make Kristin’s professional career possible and more successful include: Ridley Bikes, SRAM, Zipp, Castelli, Anthem Branding, Bell Hemets, SIDI America, Clement Cycling, YogaGlo, and of course Boulder Cycle Sport.
Pete races in the 40-44 age group on Saturday for the Masters Cyclo-cross National Championship – working to make it four in a row. Last year, he won his third straight national championship at the games in Wisconsin. In addition to his three national titles, Pete holds a Masters Cyclo-cross World Championship and Mountain Bike Marathon Masters National Championship.
Pete is also head cyclo-cross coach for the Boulder Junior Cycling program, with 50 kids ages 8 – 18 representing the club in the championships this weekend.
“They’ve been training all season for this week and are totally pumped to have it in their backyard,” he says. “I expect some great results and some podium finishes, but the memories and the skills they’re developing are the most important result.”
Pete was instrumental in making the dream of a world-class Boulder bike park a reality in the form of Valmont Bike Park.
“It’s very gratifying to see what a success Valmont Bike Park has become,” he says. “So many people in our community came together with the City of Boulder to create the park, and all of us are just smiling this week.”
Brandon also races Saturday for the Masters Cyclo-cross National Championship in the 40-44 age group. Brandon is a three-time U.S. Cyclo-cross National Champion and was a nationally ranked professional mountain bike racer from 1999 – 2002. Today, he is the co-owner of Boulder Cycle Sport, which is sponsoring 60 competitors throughout the weekend, plus a junior race team.
“Our Boulder Cycle Sport team is geared towards the amateur rider with a goal to get new people into the sport,” Brandon says. “I have a five person ambassador team of elite level riders who help me lead camps and clinics to teach newbies how to race. Beyond that we offer advice throughout the season as well as technical support at most of the Colorado races.”
He talked about Colorado’s role in moving the sport forward.
“I couldn’t be more excited to see where Colorado has taken the sport of cyclo-cross. The community that makes it what it is today is just outstanding,” he says. “From the race promoters and officials to the racers and the volunteers, I feel really lucky to be a part of it all. I hope everyone who comes to Boulder this week will get to experience it.”