A trend has been developing in the race to schedule cycling events, and that can only mean good things for us cyclists. So many goodies to choose from. So here is the 2009 Mountain States Cup season schedule, which is the main squeeze of the DEVO contingent. Only scheduling conflict so far is the late date switch by Snowmass, on the same weekend as Durango’s host action for Singlespeed World Championships, August 6-9th. Darnit.
2009 USA Cycling Pro Cross Country Mountain Bike Tour (ProXCT)
March 29: U.S. Cup – Fontana, California
April 19: Sea Otter Classic – Monterey, California
May 31: Bump N’Grind – Birmingham, Alabama
June 13: Carmichael Training Systems Sand Creek International Classic – Colorado Springs, Colorado
August 8: U.S. Cup – Mount Snow, West Dover, Vermont
August 15: Yankee Clipper at Windham Mountain, Windham, New York
September 26: USA Cycling Pro Cross Country Mountain Bike Tour Finals, Las Vegas, Nevada
Local mountain bike Hall of Famer, and DEVO friend Travis Brown is in the house, your house, on your computer screen. Travis is a former mtb Olympian and has been moonlighting on the cross scene ever since it became a scene. Today he wrapped up his season as the series champion for the local Squawker Cup. Its always interesting to here how our heros evolve within their sport, so read on and then go ride.
Q: What year, and how did you first get involved with the sport of mountain biking?
A: I messed around with mountain bikes a little bit in high school but I was more into cross country running and skiing then. I remember watching the Iron Horse MTB race in the mid ’80s but It didn’t get me to try racing then. While skiing in college I had a coach that had us do a lot of mountain biking for summer training. Around that time I started riding more with friends in Durango who were into racing. That was around 1988. I did my first race in ’89 that was a Sport category race at the Iron Horse Classic. I raced a few more races as a Sport in the summer of ’89, like Crested Butte FTBW and a couple of other races that were part of the CORPS series (Colorado Off Road Point Series, which has now evolved into the MSC series). I upgraded to Expert (this was pre Semi Pro) that summer at the Colorado State Championships which was the Hermosa Creek trail from the south end to Purg. I raced for the rest of ’89, ’90 as an expert, riding for the Durango Wheel Club. At the end of the ’90 season I upgraded to pro and did the qualifying race to get into the first official World Championships which was held here in Durango. I made the cut in the qualifying race and have been racing as a pro since then. ’91 and ’92 I raced for Answer Manitou and in ’93 I signed on with Trek and have been with them since.
Q: How about Cyclocross? What was your first cross bike setup?
A:My fist cross bike setup was a mountain bike like a lot of people. I raced my first cross race in 1990. I think I went to my first cross Nationals in ’91 or ’92 but I think It was more like ’95 before I had a true cross bike. That was before Trek was making cross bikes so I had Chris Hurting at 3D build my cross bikes.
Q: What are your 3 bestest cross race results?
A: I was third at the Cross Nationals in Domain Chandon/Napa, CA. I think that was in 2002. I guess it was second, My best Super Cup (which is now the GP/cross national series) was in Boulder where I was second (on my single speed). This was Mark Gullicksons first Super Cup win, I think It was in ’99. I won one cross race in a sprint with Todd Wells and I think that was in 2003.
Q: You’ve been dominating the local scene on your singlespeed Trek cross rig, its been several months now, what are the advantages to your set-up.
A: It is a lot easier to clean after the race! If it is muddy your chain never pops around. I am never in way to big of a gear after a dismount because I didn’t shift down properly going into the barrier. I end up racing more aggressively on my single because there are only a few places on the course that you can really put the pressure on the other racers so you are more motivated to throw down on those sections. The chain never bounces off.
compared to a geared ride?
A: Some courses are a bigger disadvantage on the single than others. If the range of speed is very broad that is tough on a single but overall I think that racing a single is a really good idea for cyclocross.
Q: If you were going to design the perfect cross course for you to win, throwing out all rules and regulations, what key features would you include?
A: I like lots of medium speed corners with grass straights after them. Bike set up has a lot to do with different courses. If things get really muddy and the people on geared bikes aren’t having a pit clean there bike the single is a big advantage. I like high speed barriers too. Slow uphill corners are really tough on the single. There were a lot of those in Boulder Cup.
Q: We have the amazing Wells, Trebon, TimJ and Powers on top of the US cross scene at the moment, what was it like when you were in the mix, as compared to now?
A: I raced with all of those guys when I was traveling to a lot of races, that was only four or five years ago. The scene has clearly blown up a lot but it is still most of the same guys at the front.The number of quality events and the continued growth is fantastic. I think If I were in the middle of my racing career now I could justify dedicating a lot more time to cyclocross than I used to. It was always mostly an off season training and I never really fully committed to cross racing because the upcoming mountain bike season was always more important for me. That is unfortunate looking back on it because I had at least as much fun racing cross as XC.
Q: What do the race organizers across the US do to please the parks and private owners who lend their turf for cross destruction? On the Durango front, killing the grass seems to be an issue. Is there a realistic future for this sport on America’s lawns?
A: We plant grass to play on! It gets damaged and then it grows back, it is the reason that it is there. It is totally unnatural. There is a disconnect between justifying using grass for football, soccer, baseball ultimate etc and using it for cycling. I think that will change. As users we need to be committed to rehab when there is the rare damage that doesn’t repair itself but the paradigm that bikes don’t belong on grass is not defendable with a rational argument.
Q: Who is your favorite cyclocrosser of all-time?
A: Vintage favorite is Mark Howe, he rocked the boat by making bunny hopping a tactic and won the Nationals in ’92 because of it. Plus he did it on a mountain bike. Contemporary favorite would be Tim Johnson. He has been around focusing on cross for a long time. He has a broad skills bag, he is a humble champion and someone who is really easy to be happy for when he wins. Really, almost everybody in the cross scene is great. They are fun people to hang out with.
All photos by Chad Cheeney
The second running of the Muscle Cross rolled out to the tune of a nice day. Kids Cross was a highlight early on as the kids proved that they can do the same stuff we do. The B’s race had Joe and Annie taking decisive victories. Big air awards go to Hicks and Eric, for their sweet boosting on the finish line double jumps. The A race had Travis and Carmen taking wins, with the crowd cheering on every turn in the sweetly spectatious course. French Miami played the post race hang out to the approval of everyone. Thanks to Russ and the Cyclery for the amazingly challenging event. Full results later.
“We have just met with the facilities director, grounds director and head grounds keeper and they have gotten a ton of complaints from campus goers about what was left behind from last weeks race. Rather than bicker back and forth we are taking responsibility and have agreed to do some mitigation work. This will show them that we have respect for what they work hard to maintain and what we like to play on. What they are concerned about is the mud tracks on the sidewalks (unsightly and risk management issue), some of the grass to cement transitions and some of the corners/ruts/cupping we created. FLC Grounds is marking up a map with the spots they have concerns about. So — After the race on Sunday please be prepared with regular clothes (unless you like gardening in your chamois), and one of the following: stiff brissle push broom, flat head shovel, garden rake or spade. We will walk the course and fix. Another crew will walk the course and pick up all the flagging, yet another will get the rebar/pvc. It really won’t be that much work if we get good numbers. We are getting some grass seed also and will do that where needed. In the future we will have a better pre and post muddy race contingency plan. Thanks for being a part of the CX season, see you Sunday.” Dave Hagen
The third annual Muscle Cross is this Saturday, 10am at Buckley Park, the heart of downtown. Durango Cyclery is hosting the event, with the name rooting from owner Russell’s nickname, Russell the Muscle. The event is not you typical cross race as it includes many barriers and obstacles, as compared to the modern standard of one or two. Registration begins at 9am with the fees being $10 for adults and $5 for kids, all the proceeds will be going to the upstart Durango ReCyclery, a used bike shop located downtown.
The first event is the Kluncker Cross. 15 minutes of pain on any “non-racer” bike. Costumes and goofy things usually go down. Then the Kiddie Cross takes the stage with elementary aged kids taking to the course. Helpers are placed all along the course and the name of the game is super fun. Hot chocolate pours hot all morning, and the kids dig in when their race is over. Then at around 11:30 the B men and B women take to the course, followed by the A men and women at 12:40 or so. Last years race was cancelled due to poor turf conditions, but this year is looking perfect, so come on out and enjoy the show.
The sweet 2009 newbie to the Colorado mtb race scene, The Breck Epic will open registration at noon tomorrow. This event looks like a much needed classic for our already amazing season schedule. Check it out and stay on pace here. Mike Mac is the man behind the race and his work with the Mountain States Cup is proof that the Breck Epic will be a nice treat. Wool leaders jerseys!
Local womens’ bike club, Strawberry Field Trips is currently looking for women to sign up for their sweet overseas bike tours. The club is run by Betsy Richards, mother of DEVO alumni Nora Richards and Lucy who is currently on a trek to Washington DC to spread the good word of the earth. Check out their site for more information. Here it is.
The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is back for the 2009 season and training has begun with the folks at Iron Horse Training. They provide the answers to all the questions attributed with the 50 mile haul up and over the passes to Silverton. If you need the help or you just want to do it with other cyclists, check here for more information. Plus, it looks like the folk in charge have also added a new event, the Quarter Horse. A shorter version of the race, to Durango Mountain Resort. Sounds good.
There’ s a meeting regarding the development of an Access Control Plan for US 550 (Camino del Rio) between the Doubletree Hotel and the Main Ave. Bridge at Park Ave. The public meeting will be held Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, at the Durango Community Recreation Center, 2700 N. Main Avenue. A presentation about the Camino underpass will take place at 6:30. FYI.
race-6-squawker-cup-results DEVO rider Howard Grotts took his first cyclocross victory on sunday, riding his new used steed masterfully through the mud. The B mens field could not hold off the young lad as his Dad cheered with an echoing voice. Former U-14 rider and upcoming U-19 rider, Elliott Saslow was also on hand, racing to a 12th place finish. Wearing shorts and a t-shirt, Saslow plowed around the mud bog aboard his outgrown Scott carbon, mountain bike, sporting 2.3inch tires. Not necessarily the bike for the mission, but by looks of his smile, it was no cause for concern. After the race, Cortez local Tom Millerman was kind enough to donate his old cross bike to the DEVO program. An Alan carbon frame, Shimano Wheels, Orgin 8 brakes, Ultegra Crank and carbon form were all donated to be built up for future DEVO cross action. Thanks to Tom for his support and good luck to him in his goal of catching Howard at next sundays event.
Sunday December 7th from 4-6pm at the Durango Recreation Center, local road cyclist Carmen Small McNelis will be hosting a fundraiser to help her travel to Europe to live and train, in preparation for the 2012 Olympics. For more information, please check out her blog at www.cmcnellis.blogspot.com.
“This fundraiser is to help local athlete and Olympic hopeful Carmen Small McNellis to raise money, so she can race this season in Europe. As part of her long term preparation, she intends to race in Europe for the next 4 years leading to the Olympics. In order to do this successfully, she needs to raise money so she can train full time to reach her full potential. As a native of Durango, she has always admired how the community supports their athletes and is hopeful that you’ll continue that tradition with her. “
Last minute things happen. The Squawker Cup #6 has been postponed until 12pm on sunday due to the ice on the FLC campus track. Registration will be at 10:30am. Tell your friends.