Cross Season Kicks Off in Louisville and Valmont this past Week

By Bill Plock

Sept 21 Boulder–On Thursday of last week the first cyclocross race was held at the Louisville Recreation Center in the infamous “Bowl of Death.” It will return there every Thursday night for the next four weeks (register HERE for upcoming races). On Saturday, in Boulder the first of the 6-race Shimano CYCLO X Series was back for its 22nd edition.  The Valmont Course has a bit of everything; the short Belgium Stair Case, the longer 5280 Run Up, and one of the hardest sand boxes going.

In both cases, race directors Todd Stevenson and Lance Panigutti have worked hard with city and county officials to put major protocols and procedures into place to make it as safe as possible.

In Louisville, two courses were laid out so two smaller groups could line up safely and race. With the race starting late in the afternoon this was about the only way to cover all the categories and keep racers safe. Only racers were allowed in “the bowl” after completing a heath screening. We interviewed Todd Stevenson who talked about how they put this together so quickly and how it benefits Team Colorado–a junior development road cycling team. Andy Johnson and Shawn Ferrell from the Bicycle Racing Association make a cameo in Andy’s first stint as head referee!

In Boulder, Without Limits kicked off the season at Valmont with over 400 racers spread out during the day in fields of no more than 25. There were also some breaks between categories to let folks clear out. The parking lot was controlled more than usual giving people more space to park and keep socially distant.

Mia Aseltine

The race, with Valmonts’ challenging obstacles and staircases brought out some of the best racers in the country. In fact two national champions from 2019, the male winner, Eric Brunner competed in the same race as the female national champion Clara Honsinger. Honsinger who lives in Oregon has been training in less smokey Boulder and decided to line up in the mens open division.

Carlos Casali

Others joined in from out of state like Carlos Casali, who used to live here and race for Gates Carbon and took the win in his category. Jim Gentes, founder of Giro helmets made the trek from California to race.

Rick, Nathan and Emily

But, maybe one of the more interesting stories is about the Abbott family. Nathan traveled from his home in California and took second in the men’s 40plus as his niece, Emily Arnow a senior at The Dawson School took second and her grandfather and former World Champion Rick Abbott competed in the 60 plus category. Here is a video of Emily talking about her family and cyclocross.

After the race we caught up race director Lance Panigutti and he had this to say, “The best part of the day was seeing the community gather again in a safe and responsible manner, seeing some competitive racing, some smiles, and also a ton of brand new people trying cyclocross for the very first time. Overall, everyone really embraced all the new protocols, and that’s the reason we’ll be able to continue on with our season.”

The race results from Valmont can be found here: https://my.raceresult.com/158907/

Professional photos from Ryan Muncy and Brent Murphy can be found here:

Ryan: https://ryanmuncyphotography.smugmug.com/2020-Shimano-GRX-CX-Series-Valmont/

Brent: https://www.brentmurphyphoto.com/2020-Cyclocross/2020-09-19-Shimano-GRX-Series-Valmont

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