Cyclocross roughs up Steamboat
Racers participated Saturday in the first Steamboat Velo Cross cyclocross event
By Joel Reichenberger Saturday, September 11, 2010
Steamboat Springs — The bikes and jerseys are the same, as are the fans lining the course, but the first and last lap of a cyclocross event don’t always look like the same race.
They sure didn’t Saturday afternoon.
The top men’s competitors tore out from the starting gate raring to go and excited.
An hour later, the same cyclists who had flown around the 1.8-mile course at Wild horse Meadows, the Steam boat Ski Area towering above, lost most of their enthusiasm.
They grunted and groaned as they hauled their bikes through obstacles.
Eager eyes glossed over as they pushed bikes rather than carried them up a steep 100-foot section of trail.
“I’m hearing some weird sounds from the racers,” the public address announcer called out as the afternoon wore down.
They all finished, though, and by all accounts, they loved it.
Saturday’s inaugural Steam boat Velo Cross cyclocross event attracted nearly 100 racers. Some were regional pros, such as Avon resident Jake Wells, who won the men’s Class 1 division.
Others were local favorites, such as Jon Cariveau, who pushed Wells through the first 75 percent of the hourlong race, only finally losing contact as Wells put on one last surge.
Still others were area mountain bikers or road-riding aficionados just checking out a new sport.
“It was good,” event promoter Corey Piscopo said. “We got quite a few people to travel up, and we’re happy.”
Wells came in as one of the most heralded racers in the field, and he lived up to that reputation.
He led the whole way, but he couldn’t shake Cariveau, who also travels the region and consistently shines in the hybrid shoulder-season sport.
Cariveau answered the bell when Wells made a charge after four laps, and he tried to close a small gap after that. He couldn’t get any closer, however, and when Wells pushed again, he couldn’t hang with him.
“He put it in another gear,” Cariveau said. “You have to dose your efforts. It’s like a matchbook. You only have so many to burn. He put in a really concerted effort, and I tried but couldn’t hang on for that.”
Wells won the race. Cariveau was second, and Shawn Harshman was third.
“It was a little longer course than typical, and they did a great job building this course,” Wells said.
There were two sections that required riders to pick up and carry their bikes, one of which was on a steep hill.
Neither of those was a problem, Wells said.
Instead, a sustained climb on pavement wrecked his legs — or at least weakened them. That’s the section where he opened up his lead.
“That part was hard. That was the real attrition section,” Wells said.
“I was pretty happy with my performance. I wasn’t sure who would come up. There’s a lot of guys in Boulder that are really good, so not racing against those guys, you never know, but I was happy.”
Finishing second did little to ruin the day for Cariveau.
In fact, he was thrilled, first with his performance and even more so with the event.
“I was really happy. It was great to be able to race here,” Cariveau said.
“They did a great job setting up this course, and it’s really exciting to have this in your hometown, to wake up in your own bed and just drive to the other side of town for a race.”