By Loni Sue Jenkins
On a Summer day over 10 years ago Lance Panigutti and Loni Sue Jenkins met in Boulder to discuss a memorial for Matthieu Chesaux, Jenkins’s late fiancé. Matthieu was Boulder-area cyclist and all around outdoorsman, who died tragically in a backcountry skiing accident in 2008.
The Chesaux Cup was founded in 2011, the cup, a memorial to the late 2019 is the 9th year of the Cup and the excitement for the Cup turning 10 is aflame. Matt loved skiing, but I knew he loved his bicycles,” she said. I dropped Lance Panigutti of Without Limits Productions a line and he told me about the CYCLO X Series and they would love to have a cup to be awarded for the SM Open Category.”
From there, the Chesaux Cup was born. This is the ninth year of the Chesaux Cup, the last race in the series November 16th at Westminister City Park.
This years winner will be joining 2011 champion Brandon Dwight, 2012 champion Ken Benesh, 2013 champion Robin Eckmann, 2014 Spencer Powlison, 2015 was the first year to have a repeat champion with Ken Benesh, 2016 champion Gage Hecht, 2017 champion Samuel Dolzani, and Garrett Gerchar was the 2018 champion.
Says Hecht, winner of a stage of the Colorado Classic in 2018, “I am very honored and proud to have been the youngest rider to earn this award. Not only does the sense of being part of a strong Colorado Cyclo-cross tradition make me thrilled, but to be able to carry something with so much meaning behind it makes me very gratified. I hope that juniors will be able to benefit from programs similar to what I have had for years to come. I want to also thank Loni Sue Jenkins for keeping the tradition of honoring Matthieu Chesaux and his love of suffering.”
Lance Panigutti said of the Chesaux Cup You can win the race once, but if you want to keep your victory, you’ll have to win it again.” 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. Matt would want it this way,” Sue 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 six races, each one typically held in the morning right after the Single Women’s Open race, the races appear in different locations in and around Boulder County from September to November. (Race dates and locations: 09/07/19 at Harlow Platts, 09/21/19 at Valmont, 10/05/19 at Interlocken, 10/20/19 at Louisville Rec Center, 11/02/19 at Siena Lake, 11/16/18 at Westminister; all races start at 10:30 am.)
Last year’s winner is currently placed 1st after the first four races. If Garrett holds up, he will be the second person to win the Chesaux Cup twice!
Last years winner Garrett Gerchar’s had these thoughts about the Cup; It’s actually a funny story about how I won last year. It was at the last race held in Westminster on a very cold day and I finished 4th in the race so I didn’t place on the podium but that race got me enough points for the Chesaux Cup win. Unfortunately, I was unaware of the existence of the cup and had already left the race when I got a call saying I had won. Luckily, I didn’t need to be present to receive my award and my friend who had won the race accepted it for me. I feel honored to have won the award and I love that it is encompasses the series and not just a single race, because in one bike race anything can happen, but through a series you have the ability to continually prove yourself. I’m so excited to be in contention again for the cup and think winning it for a second time would be something really special.”
Thanks to the efforts of Jenkins, Without Limits Productions, Panigutti, the racers like Dwight, Benesh, Eckmann, Powlison, Hecht, Dolzani and Gerchar along with others in the Boulder cycling scene, his memory will live forever honoring his life and the people participating in a sport he also loved.