U.S. Cycling This Week: Snowy Boulder means muddy Boulder

Snowy Boulder means muddy Boulder

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Johnson at the 2010 Boulder Cup

BOULDER, Colo. (VN) — The big dogs are back from Europe and while the Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross series hosts an East Coast showdown in New Jersey, Boulder is the center of the U.S. ’cross scene this Halloween weekend.

The Boulder Cup is the international kickoff for the new Valmont Bike Park in northeast Boulder (300 feet from the VeloNews offices). The park opened in June and hosted a local ’cross race in September. Laid over the custom-built-for-bikes park is the ’cross course, designed by promoter Chris Grealish’s team and Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Peter Webber, with a long, gradual climb, two sandpits, a fast descent with a series of small tabletops and two sets of stairs. The course is technical, fast and, in muddy conditions, very slick.

With highs forecast in the low to mid 50’s on Friday and Saturday, the Valmont track should be in prime sloppy condition come Sunday. The City of Boulder closed the park Wednesday after four inches of snow fell in the area overnight. The snow should melt in time for Sunday’s afternoon elite start times and the conditions should perfectly suit riders like former winner Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant Offroad), Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt) and Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com).

After a weekend off to celebrate her brother’s wedding, Compton will return to Boulder to exercise the demons that haunted her here in 2010. In Saturday’s Cross Classic race at Boulder Reservoir, Compton became entwined in course tape at top speed, sending her over the bars, hard. Georgia Gould (Luna) took wins both days of the weekend after Compton crashed again and withdrew on Sunday.

Johnson is gaining form after a slow start to the season and scored a pair of top-20 results in the Czech World Cups last week. In the first of those, in Plzen, he came back to 20th after a television cameraman blocked the right side of the start grid, right in front of Johnson and defending World Cup champ Niels Albert, when the green light signaled the race’s start. Johnson said it was the worst start he’d ever experienced; the fact that he was able to salvage 20th is a testament that he is on the rise and potentially on track for the slow build to the world championships he came into the season chasing.

The three-time defending Boulder Cup champ will go against Trebon, who has been the rider of the year in the U.S. thus far. The Valmont course, particularly with the long climb to the backside summit and the deep 5280’ Stairs run-up, suits the long Oregonian. Trebon comes in after an off weekend and with his continued title sponsor search for the LTS squad, will certainly be primed to continue showing the power that has netted him two C1 wins in the U.S. this fall. Every $2,178 purse goes a long way for their two-man Labarr-Trebon Sports team.

One man who won’t be in Boulder is the top American at the opening World Cups, Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus). Powers will stay on the East Coast this weekend instead of taking a short week after returning from the Czech Republic to contest the events in Boulder where he has traditionally struggled. Powers told VeloNews last month that he would likely not be on-hand in Boulder and confirmed that on Tuesday.

Even without Powers, the cast that includes Compton, Gould, Johnson and Trebon, Nicole Duke (Cannondale), Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized), U.S. champ Todd Wells (Specialized), Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper) and Christian Heule (Cannondale), shouldn’t leave anyone wanting.

Colorado Cross Classic — Boulder, Colorado
Saturday October 29 3:20 p.m. (women) / 4:10 p.m. (men)
40 min. (women) / 60 min. (men)
$1,680 (women) / $2,068 (men)
Boulder Reservoir
*Non-elite races are Colorado Cross Cup

Victory Circle Graphix Boulder Cup — Boulder, Colorado
Sunday October 30 2:40 p.m. (women) / 3:40 p.m. (men)
40 min. (women) / 60 min. (men)
$2,000 (women) / $9,000 (men)
Valmont Bike Park
*Non-elite races are Colorado Cross Cup

Beacon Cross — Bridgeton, New Jersey
Saturday October 29 1:15 p.m. (women) / 2:30 p.m. (men)
40 min. (women) / 60 min. (men)
$1,645 (women) / $2,068 (men)
*Non-elite races are Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross series

HPCX — Jamesburg, New Jersey
Sunday October 30 1:15 p.m. (women) / 2:30 p.m. (men)
40 min. (women) / 60 min. (men)
$1645 (women) / $2,068 (men)
*Non-elite races are Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross series

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