Local Cyclocross Racers Heading to Bend Oregon

Local Colorado riders will be heading to Bend Oregon this weekend for the 2010 Cyclocross Nationals. A number of them have been on the podium or won National Championships and are back to be in the mix for a podium spot. We caught up with Pete Weber and Brandon Dwight of the Boulder Cycle Sport Team and Nicole Duke of the Hudz-Vista Subaru Team and asked them a few questions. Here are the questions we asked and their responses.

[303Cycling] How is the preparation going for Nationals? Are you prepared for what looks like a cold, wet and muddy affair? Any special "tricks" for these types of conditions?

[Pete Webber] I'm psyched that conditions in Bend are going to be difficult. Bad weather, mud, snow, ice, wind, anything challenging is good for me. Difficult courses and conditions really test a rider completely, and amplify mistakes. I'm ready to deal with anything that happens.

Preparation is the key. You gotta have everything dialed and feel confident in your training, bike, your tires, and your clothing. If you know your set-up is bomber, then you can just ride hard and not worry about anything else.

Racing well in mud or snow takes lots of practice and extra focus. I've been racing cross for 18 years, so I've had some time to figure it out. I've screwed up plenty of times at Nationals, but those races go into the memory banks and hopefully the lessons stay with you. Then you just try to enjoy the process and execute the plan.

[Brandon Dwight] The preparation for Nationals is going well. I guess you could say there are two parts to preparation when you are masters racer with a family and full-time job. I know there are a lot of people who can relate to this. One, is the physical preparation, but truth be told that preparation was done months ago. If you're not in shape now, well, it's a little too late! The second, is the rest of your life. From juggling family obligations and work, it never seems to end. Luckily, I have a very supportive wife and an awesome crew holding down the fort at our bike shops!

As far as the cold, wet mud goes, I will be ready. My bikes are dialed and I have Dugast Rhinos mounted to my Zipp 303 wheels, so there will be no excuses there. Mentally, I am ready, too. I love to compete when the conditions are bad, it keeps me more focused.

I don't really have any special tricks for the mud, but getting the tire pressure right will be important. I won't know what my tire pressure will be until I pre-ride the course. I am going to be using some of the new Castelli Nanoflex leg warmers that repel water super well. If it's cold enough I will wear them and I am hoping the muddy water just bounces right off instead of collecting on my legs. I wish I had a complete skinsuit made of the same material. Imagine finishing a muddy race without ten pounds of mud caked to your clothing! That would be a sweet!

I would have to say that both Pete and I race well in the mud because of the years we have spent on the mountain bike circuit, but I also think it's an accumulation of our years racing cyclocross bikes, too. Besides having the physical skills to ride a bike in the mud, I think we are both mentally strong. What I mean by that is, we know we are going to slide, crash, miss a shift and slip a pedal in a muddy race. However, we know how to forget about the mistakes immediately and not dwell on them. While some riders curse out loud and get frustrated when they can't clip in to their pedal or they slide out on turn, we just forget about it and keep racing.

[Nicole Duke] Training, what training? I was sick with a bad stomach flu and in bed for 3 days after Jingle Cross. Jingle was my last bought of training. I raced States not even knowing if I could ride yet. I lost 4 lbs which should make up for not training.

The course suited my style last year and I am hoping it will be the same this year. Mud, I like it. Anything to make it more technical. Cold? Hmmmm. Not for me. I think anything can happen on a course and conditions like Bend. I am ready to make it happen. But, first and formost I am going to have fun. That's why I started racing again and I want to always keep that in perspective. I am hoping for a top 5 in the elite race and a National champion jersey in my age group (that has been a goal since last yr when I got 3rd).

I love Bend and am treating this like a luxurious vacation!

2010 Cyclocross Nationals (Bend Oregon) - Mens 45-49

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Preview of the Cyclocross Nationals course from 12/08/2010

Cyclocross Magazine's National Championship Course Preview - 12/8/10 4pm from cyclocross magazine on Vimeo.

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nicole duke sandbagger?

Nicole duke is a phenomenal rider. Good enough to podium at UCI level races. Should she be racing in the age group categories at cx nats? I think once you podium at a UCI level race you should stick to the elites and let real age groupers battle it out.

"real" age grouper???

seriously? The woman is married with two kids and gets paid to do a job, not ride a bike. definitely not you typical full time elite bike racer. if you honestly believe in that comment, you are what's diluting local bike racing in CO. htfu.

be glad you get to compete in state that has so much talent.


kids and a job doesn't make you an elite or age group athlete. several top 10s in UCI level races and a podium spot and you are an elite level athlete not an age grouper or the flip side is none of the women competing at this level are elite but just a bunch of age groupers racing elite races. i like to think they are elite and have a place and race for themselves. there are not many athletes out there with these palmares and hopefully no one else with these results are racing in the age group fields. just my two cents. the good news is we can both agree colorado is a great place to race with great talent and nicole duke is a at the sharp end of that talent.

lack of pro depth is the issue?

How do you define the exact threshold that makes an athlete "ineligible" in your mind for age group nationals? Top 20? Top 10? Maybe this should be viewed that there isn't enough depth in the true "women's pro" (those who do it for a living), and talented masters athletes placing well in the women' open just highlight that. I think we should respect that Nicole worked hard in the last year to make the leap that she did to acheive the goal she set out to accomplish for her season - to improve from third last year to a win this year. It's not like she has years of history placing top 3 all over the country for years. Either way, she has every right to do it, and until the people who are really bothered by it put legislation before USAC to outline some perceived threshold of where you become pro/elite, we need to accept and/or embrace our system that gives a national championship jersey to the fastest person in the country in each age group.

Glen, Great comments about


Great comments about the depth of women fields. One additional comment, USA Cycling has defined eligibility requirement to race at Master Nationals, not all 30+ folks can compete. BTW there is no such thing as sandbagging in an open master's category--we (the ACA) has bastardized master racing with all the crazy age group categories that sets up this mentality of master's being to good to race in their age group.

Here's the criteria from USA Cycling.

8G1. Masters Championships are open only to Masters riders
with racing ages in the specified ranges who are USA citizens
or permanent residents as shown on their licenses. Riders
with a racing age of 30 and greater, who hold Elite status as
defined in rule 1A7, may not enter Masters Championships.

1A7. An Elite rider is one who satisfies any of the following
(a) has a racing age of 23 to 29,
(b) has a racing age of 19-22 and is a member of a UCI
Protour team,
(c) has a racing age of 30 years or older and has been a
member of any UCI Team at any time in the current year,
(d) has a racing age of 30 years or older and has competed
in any elite UCI World Cups, World Championships, Pan
American Games, Pan American Championship, or Olympic
Games within the current calendar year. Riders who are
classified as an Elite rider per part d) above are classified as
such only in the discipline in which they competed.

Cherry Picking & Sand Bagging

I think it is a fine line, but man Colorado is becoming the king of racing pro/1/2 and cherry picking nationals (Duke, Baker, Brandon, etc.....).

I do find it rather disappointing to see a lot of riders spend all season racing pro/1/2 (on the road and in cross) then drop down to win masters nationals. To me that is more cherry picking, but it also is some sand bagging. Watching top pro/1/2 riders like Duke, or Brandon, or Weber, or John Baker all kill it the entire year in pro1/2, then show up do their only masters race of the year, and win it is disheartening. I would much rather see the riders who actually race masters all year long be the ones to get the spoils at States and Nationals (for example guys like Robinson or Faia in Colorado). That is just me and I understand others may disagree.

What is going on is well within the rules, but to me it violates the spirit of things. My issue is these riders in no way support masters racing, but then take the big prize. If you want the big prize, support masters racing and race in the masters regularly during the year. It would be like a top pro showing up at the CO state championship, with that being his/her only CO race, and then killed it for the win.

I have a simple solution, put in a qualification to go to master nationals (I think that is needed regardless of this issue, as the fields are too big, and too many people are just there not to get lapped) and maybe say for all raced under age 50 you have to be a cat 2 at least to race nationals. Something about a standard for # of points earned during the season racing masters. Then if these top pro guys and gals want to commit to racing masters more during the season, to earn points and qualify, fine with me. I would much rather see them support masters racing and do it during the year.

I cannot remember the guy who has won masters road the last 2 years, but he is also the national Elite champion too. The guys travels all over the US to do major pro races, then show up and wins Elite Nations, then wins masters nats too. That to me is the best example of a guy who is within the rules, but violates what I think it is the spirit.

I also agree with the posted who said we have totally bastardized masters racing in CO with all these special groups. We have way too many masters cats in CO.

You can't simultaneously be

You can't simultaneously be a cherry picker and a sandbagger. The verb sandbag is defined as "to hide the truth about oneself so as to gain an advantage over another". Racing successfully all season in elite racing is the opposite of that. Masters Nats is open to all except UCI elites. There's no reason the best qualified athletes should be discouraged from attending. A winner who didn't face the best qualified athletes in their race has had that win devalued.

new norm

By the tone of this thread it appears some people think it should no longer be the best rider who fits the qualifications that wins. I guess it's just the new norm that people don't like to loose and prefer to complain to get their own special category to do well in. It's in full swing on the road and seems to be spreading to cross as well.

So much for the days of riders enjoying a good ass whooping as an enjoyable part of the sport.