The course was muddy, icy, wet and incredibly slick on Saturday after an evening of 40 degree temps and rain. On Sunday the course was a mixture of frozen ruts and semi-frozen mud.
Lees-McRae had a solid showing, capturing third overall in the D1 Collegiate competition. One of our seniors, Kerry Werner, defended his National Collegiate title, winning the D1 Mens race by an incredible margin.
The Elite/Pro Mens race was the story of the weekend, though. Jeremy Powers, the defending champion failed to perform as expected and finished a disappointing 6th place. The battle for the win was between Jonathan Page and Zach McDonald. Jonathan Page is one of the country's most established cyclocross racers, having held the title of National Champion in 2002, 2003 and 2004. McDonald, however, is just 21 and opted-out of the U-23 race this year to compete in his first Elite Championship race. The old champion eventually pulled away from the youngster and won with an impressive gap. Even more notably, Page was unable to get picked up by any teams this season and has been racing for himself without any sponsors. I'm sure that will be very different after this race.
For anyone on the course with a bike it was hell. The pictures speak for themselves.
|Sarah Hill racing for Lees-McRae College|
|Hailey Sarausky racing for Lees-McRae College|
|This U of Wisconsin racer didn't win but she sure was excited to get her picture taken mid-race.|
|Twizzler hand-ups are almost as important as beer hand-ups.|
|The Ft. Lewis College train ascends the run-up.|
|Kerry Werner (BMC, Lees-McRae College)|
|Zach Bender (Cycle Smart, Lees-McRae College)|
|Kerry Werner in the U-23 Mens race.|
|Kerry Werner, post race.|
|On second though, coming as a mechanic may have been a poor choice.|
Kevin Burgess' Giant TCX.
|Muddy Cassette on Kevin Burgess' Giant TCX.|
|Brian Jorgensen's Redline.|
|Start of the D1 Collegiate Mens race.|
|Kerry Werner took the lead with this inside pass early in the race and couldn't be caught.|
|Cody Phillips (R) and Gunner Bergey (L) early in the collegiate race.|
|Cody Phillips descending a tricky, rutted section of the course.|
|Kerry Werner keeps his title for another year.|
|Gunnar Bergey left it all out on the course.|
|Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus) in the Elite Mens race.|
|McDonald, who finished 2nd, leading the eventual winner, Jonathan Page.|
|Well before the halfway point Jonathan Page had a convincing lead.|
|The run-up drained even the fastest of profession racers.|
|Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) failed to defend his title, also falling short of making the top-five.|
|Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) rode to a top-five finish.|
|Ryan Trebon (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld), an icon of American off-road racing, finished seventh.|
|Jeremy Powers finished sixth.|
|Danny Summerhill (United Healthcare), a professional road racer, placed fourth.|
|Adam Craig (Giant Factory Off-Road) was less than excited with his 16th place finish.|
|Tim Allen (Feedback Sports) of Golden, CO held on for top-30.|
|Conditions were brutal on the bikes.|
|Jonathan Page winning his fourth Elite Title.|
|Ryan Trebon: "I think I broke my finger."|
|Tim Allen: "I can't feel my face."|
|D1 Collegiate Men Podium. Kerry Werner, 1st.|
|D1 Collegiate Omnium Podium. Lees-McRae, 3rd.|
|Lees-McRae racers grabbed 3rd, 4th and 5th in the U-23 Womens race just one day after getting third overall in the D1 Collegiate Womens race.|