The 3rd Annual Chesaux Cup

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- ????????

*Story courtesy of Julia Bayly and Loni Sullivan-Chesaux. For more information on the Chesaux Cup, please contact Loni at chinacat14@yahoo.com.

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20 Comments

Thanks for all that WOL has

Thanks for all that WOL has done - the series is great, the courses are great as well, and the story above is always nice to read. Having said that, I fear the conditions for the race tomorrow are not good. One thing to be snowy or muddy or this or that; another thing when it is below 10 and you are holding races in those temps... I totally understand it is voluntary (I will not be there), but fear for cold implications (frostbites, respiratory complications, etc)... at thich point do you cancel a cross race for severe conditions? Maybe I am just not that tough. Good luck with the race tomorrow and all that you guys do for the community.

Reset your expectations.

Reset your expectations.

Do they cancel ski races when it's below 10 degrees? Nope...and there's a lot more wind chill and a lot less heat-generating aerobic exercise during such a race.

It's actually quite easy to dress warmly for an hour of hard of hard effort at 10 degrees.

Try it, you might surprise yourself.

Good Call

Talk to people that did Nationals the last few years in Wisconsin in January. Lots of frostbite and hypothermia. Is a bike race worth it? Make the call yourself. Looks like you are making the right call.
I feel sorry for the volunteers and officials our there in the negative wind chills.

Friday Night>>> Mostly cloudy, with a low around -1. Calm wind.
Saturday>>> A 40 percent chance of snow, mainly after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 15. Light east northeast wind. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Even the Beer was Frozen!

Funny! I was there (one of the few) and am just starting to thaw out from that icebox race as well. I remember the Upslope guys freezing out at their tent (beers frozen too). They finally broke down their tent and invited all the racers who braved the elements to a beer across the street at their brewery. That was by far the coldest race ever...until perhaps tomorrow!

Cold Nats

Hey Chris, thanks for the data. Any idea (or anyone) what the temps were at that one cold, snowy KC Nationals when Todd Wells rode an amazing race and epic conditions and won? It was a mud and snow mix so am speculating it wasnt as cold as it looked or the National's temps you just listed for CO. I think one other KC Nats was also extremely cold.

Let's dish up the rest of the country both cold AND altitude when we open a can of whoop ass!

The cold weather may be a good test/prep

I agree with the comments about snow skiing/snowboarding. Thousands of people will be at the ski resorts this weekend. It might even be colder in the mountains.

As far as the problems at the nationals. How many of the people who had problems were from warmer parts of the country? Did they have any very cold weather experience with clothing, gear, etc.?

What if the weather is this bad at the Valmont nationals? Being the nationals there would be more pressure to race and not drop out. To think that you should suffer through it since it is nationals,

Use the two races this weekend to test what clothing works. What to use on covering your head/face. Face, hands and feet are the problem areas. You might need to upgrade your clothing from what works at 20 or 30 degrees. Will your bike components work at the very cold conditions? I read some pro was using the Shimano electric shifting. Would it work in the bitter cold? How will hydraulic disk brakes work at zero degrees?

These two races will be a good prep for nationals. If your clothing/gear does not work well enough dropping out of these races will be easier than having to drop out at nationals.

Sram Hydros?

I've seen a few reports of close to zero function from the new SRAM hydros in the uber-cold, be careful folks! Other than that it is only a damn hour and you "should" be going all out for most of that. Warm up on a trainer, glacier gloves, neck/face covered prior to start, windstopper base layer, wool everything.

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