For Cyclocross race fan Loni Sullivan-Chesaux, the series of events that make up the Chesaux Cup will never be just another a race. For the petite brunette who's become a fixture at the start and finish lines of each race included in series, the Chesaux is a living, breathing, rolling memorial to a man who lived and breathed the sport.
Founded in 2011, The Chesaux Cup is named for Sullivan's late fiancé Boulder-area cyclist and all around outdoorsman Matthieu Chesaux who died tragically in backcountry skiing accident in 2008. "Cyclocross is all about the suffering and Matt loved to suffer," Sullivan said. "He was into adventure races, mountain climbing and ice climbing - pretty much anything that after you are done and come home you just want to roll up into a ball."
After the initial shock of Chesaux's death passed, Sullivan was left wanting to do something to honor the memory of someone she describes as “a man in motion.”
Sullivan’s first thought, she said, was organizing a ski race, but after talking with Lance Panigutti of Without Limits Productions, she began thinking more and and more about cycling and what it meant to Chesaux, a man who had at least a half dozen bikes at the time of his death.“Matt loved skiing, but I knew he loved his bicycles,” she said. “I dropped Lance a line and he told me about the Boulder Cyclocross Series and they would love to have a cup to be awarded.”
From there, the Chesaux Cup was born and this Saturday, the third winner will be announced, joining 2011 champion Brandon Dwight and last year’s winner Ken Benesh. Like its namesake, the Chesaux Cup is in constant motion. Winners retain the award for a year, but must defend their title the following race season. The idea of a movable memorial is in perfect keeping with the manner in which Chesaux lived his life, according to Sullivan. “Matt would want it this way,” she said. “The fact that it is a living, moving memorial is why it fits him so well. Even when he was sitting, he was doing something.”
The Chesaux Cup, consists of eight races, each one typically the final race of the day in the Single Men’s Open Cyclocross series held in different locations in and around Boulder County from September to December. This Saturday’s final race starts around 3 p.m. at Boulder Reservoir. As she has been for each of the prior races, Sullivan will be at the start and finish. “I have to be there,” she said. “This is so important and such a perfect memorial, I just want the racers to understand who Matt was, what he represented and how he lived.” Matthieu Chesaux was only 40-years-old when he died doing what he loved.
Thanks to the efforts of Sullivan, Without Limits Productions, Panigutti and others in the Boulder cycling scene, his memory will live forever honoring his life and the people participating in a sport he also loved.
- 2011 WINNER - Brandon Dwight (Boulder Cycle Sport)
- 2012 WINNER - Ken Benesh (Feedback Sports)
- 2013 WINNER- ????????