Boulder Racing #3 -- Louisville "Bowl of Death"

If you raced your bike yesterday at the Boulder Racing Cyclocross #3, there is no doubt you're feeling it today. Over the years this course has been labeled the 'bowl of death' as it runs in and out of the grass flood retention 'bowl' behind the Louisville Recreation Center. The only way in is a steep descent which becomes rutted out by day's end - and the only way out is to go up the bowl! This gave race promoter Brian Hludzinski the opportunity to hurt racers like we haven't seen yet this season with two leg-breaking run ups. Talk about great spectating, these runups were lined with fans for all categories shouting encouragement or heckling with the best of 'em, both varieties entirely appropriate for cyclocross!

The women's open race saw 25 starters with some new faces and some familiar names working their way onto the podium. Amanda Miller (Hudz/Subaru) from Fort Collins took top honors in front of Ann Trombley (Tokyo Joe's). Rounding out the podium in third place was Karen Hogan representing local bike shop Louisville Cyclery.

The men's race saw 55 riders battle it out on the long grass start into the first right hand corner to start the course inside the 'bowl-of-death'. A crash at 10th position coming into the first run up was the first source of breaking up the field as riders worked their way up the side of 'the bowl' on a long run before circling the southern edge on crushed gravel trail. Jake Wells (Hudz/Subaru) was quick to move to the front ahead of Pete Webber (Boulder Cycle Sport). As Wells pushed his gap in front of Webber coming through the finish line on lap 1, Allen Krughoff (Boulder Cycle Sport) jumped across to Wells from 4th position. Krughoff followed Wells through half of the 2nd lap until making a move on the 2nd run up on the course, passing Wells on foot. Wells and Krughoff were out front of a strong group of approximately 7 riders including Colby Pearce, Tim Allen, Pete Webber, Brandon Dwight, Jonathon Baker, and more.

Coming out of the S bends following the run up near the finish line, Krughoff put in an acceleration and increased his margin over Wells as they headed towards the sand pit. The gap grew to approximately 15 seconds after 2 laps. However, Wells would have none of this. He shut down the gap to Krughoff and took over the lead. Krughoff apparently feeling his effort, was lax with holding onto Wells' wheel and slowly Wells established a gap over Krughoff that would never be closed.

With Wells riding solo off the front, the race was on for second place as Brandon Dwight (Boulder Cycle Sport) and Jonathon Baker (Hudz/Subaru) had separated themselves from the chase group and were now closing in on a fading Krughoff. They made the catch and established a group of three with Baker looking for the pass at various parts of the course. As he made a push in the sand section, an error cost him time which Krughoff and Dwight attempted to capitalize on coming through the finish with 3 to go and heading back down into the bowl. Krughoff tried to push the pace yet again after his teammate Dwight signaled to 'hit it' after the run up out of the bowl. However, Krughoff was running on empty and couldn't create enough separation from Baker and the group of three came back together again with two to go.

With Krughoff barely hanging on, Dwight took over the lead from third with Baker following closely coming into the run up out of the bowl. One more lap of a tough course took its toll on Krughoff and as the trio came through to hear the bell with one to go, it was going to come down to Baker or Dwight for second place. Wells' gap had grown to over 30 seconds and wasn't coming back anytime soon. Coming up a steep sidewalk stretch before the sand section, Dwight put the heat on Baker by sprinting up the 50 meter climb. Baker followed suit, out of the saddle. Dwight making the 180 turn into the sand pit, nearing the end made an error and came to a near stop as Baker made the pass on the last lap. Baker held the lead up over the steep dirt/grass hill to the finish line making it a 1-2 victory for Hudz Subaru with Dwight in third followed by Krughoff in fourth and their third teammate Webber winning the chase group to place fifth.

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I agree

I agree 100%. If it is within the tape, it is a legal line. There should be no interpretation of where the promoter meant for you to ride. The kid on the 29'r was riding through a gap in one of the barriers at Aspen Lodge and no one called him out on that. In fact, if we are to ride within what the promoter meant for you to do, then bunny-hopping obstacles should be illegal, since their intent is to force you off of the bike. How is a racer to know the intent, or if the course changed, or who changed it and for what reason?

Agree is right

It is up to the promoter to set the course and keep it maintained (easier said than done). The intent was very clear to have riders ride the sand. As mentioned the corner was knocked down and reset (by a spectator) wider allowing a grass line that Jake took advantage of. Honestly, I take advantage (find the best lines whenever possible)of 'ill' marked courses when I can (ie. Salida inside corner of switchback down by the river, ride over the rocks and cut the corner instead of wide in the loose sand). If there isn't a consistent marking strategy then you have to assume all potential lines are open and the better rider will find and use them.

In this case at the sand pit, its tough to cover 100% of the course and anticipate every possible nuance - we did add inside marking at top of last climb right before finish when we realized riders going on the inside. Boulder Racing routinely marks all inside corners and stakes tight to the barriers in running sections. For the most part, I think we have some of the best marked courses out there dictating lines and forcing our "intent" of the course.

Kudos to Jake for finding the grass line, I only wish my BCS boys found it too ;)

Thanks for everyone's advice

Due to all of the insight here I was able to take advantage of some broken tape yesterday at the Rez and was able to cut an entire corner section and pass 3 riders on a section was was taped off but due to some incident was no longer taped. I was able to do this for 3 laps until it was repaired.

Wrong, again.

Nice try with the hyperbole here; however, if you comprehend the original comments, there was no mention of cutting through course tape, whether it has been knocked down or not. The rules state that you must follow the course, the course being defined by the tape and the stakes; If the tape is down, you must still go around the stakes. If you cut inside of a stake, you are cutting the course, and should be relegated. The original video shows a rider riding within the course, albeit one that was unintentionally modified.

"cheating" foiled

My saying "exactly right" was referring to a spectator putting the tape back up, not that it was cheating to take that line. If it's between the tape, it's absolutely fair game.

My perspective on this relates to another hot topic from last weekend - pre-riders. During my pre ride I noticed that line, circled back and inspected it more thoroughly. I thought it was kind of iffy with very little room on the grass but the sand seemed shallower. During my race I saw it opened up and on the last lap as I was setting up for an attack I tried it but there were pre riders on the course, in the way. They caused me to crash and eat sand. Oh well.