Silver Goose Live Blog: Elite Pan Am CX championship races
Get right up to the course tape at the event in Midland, Ont.
All the masters jerseys have been awarded at the Pan Am cyclocross championships, but the action continues at the course by Little Lake. While it looks like the volatile weather has passed, the competition will be hot. Will the same riders who featured on Saturday’s C2-level race podiums, such as Ellen Noble, Gage Hecht and Nick Carter, be back on the top step? Will Canadians Maghalie Rochette and Michael van den Ham, who both finished third in their races, fare better? Stay tuned for course-side updates.
Call of the goose
A fan encourages riders in the masters 35-44 race with a goose call that he got, he says, at “Crappy Tire.”
Jeff Wells of Form p/b IRC Tires won the single speed men’s race, which started a minute after the master men in the 35-44 category. Wells’ time was 43:57. The winner of the geared masters race, Alec Donahue, came across the line in 44:47. Had Wells started at the same time, he would beat all the geared riders.
Can you guess whose bike this is?
Hmmm, stars on the seatstays, eh? This is a shot of none other than U.S. national CX champion Stephen Hyde’s Cannondale SuperX. He was second at Saturday’s C2 race. He’ll be vying for the elite Pan Am champ honours against Michael van den Ham, Kerry Werner and more.
Junior men’s Pan Am championship race
Magnus Sheffield of Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld won the junior men’s race. It was a fast race as the mud from the day before had dried. Racers could ride everything but the stairs. Sheffield got away early with two others. “In the final lap,” Sheffield said, “someone made a little bobble in the the sand. Then I was able to get enough of a gap to take the win.”
Early in the men’s under-23 Pan Am championship cyclocross race, Orillia, Ont.’s Gunnar Holmgren was in a crash.
Heading to a repeat?
Gage Hecht rides powerfully on the second day of racing. He won the elite races on Saturday.
A weekend of winning
Gage Hecht of Alpha Bicycle Co./Groove Subaru Silverthorne won his second race of the C2/Pam Am championships, which makes him the hemisphere’s men’s under-23 champ. Despite his seeming dominace, he had moments of doubt during the Pan Am race. “I really didn’t know what I could do today,” he said.
After this defence of his Pan Am title, Hecht is off to Europe soon. He hopes to improve on his ninth at CX worlds early this year.
“My race was a bit all over the place,” Gunnar Holmgren said after the under-23 men’s Pan Am CX event. “I was involved in a crash on the first lap. But the legs were good enough to move into fourth. I just had to fight my way through.”
Holmgren did get a boost from the crowd. The Orillia, Ont., rider said the volume of the cheers were comparable to worlds.
Looking ahead to CX nationals in less than a week, Holmgren is feeling confident. “Everything still has to come together on the day though,” he said.
Under-23 women’s race action
Canadian champ Ruby West, Specialized – Tenspeed Hero, and Clara Honsinger of S&M CX navigated the sand expertly.
Honsinger made sure to keep West and Katie Clouse, two fast starters within reach. West admitted after that she expected the race would be shorter, so she went out quite strongly.
Honsinger tried to drop West with accelerations and on the steep sections. “I thought maybe she’d crack a little,” Honsinger said of West,” but it just took forever. She was right there up to two laps to go. I thought, ‘Shoot, I hope I don’t run out of gas first.'”
“I think Clara tends to have a slower start,” West said, “so I expected her to come flying through at some point. When she did, I tried to hang on for as long as possible. She was definitely the one to beat. She rode strong yesterday and has been riding strong all season. When I saw her come up, I knew it was go time. I did what I could. She was just riding stronger today so she got away from me. But I couldn’t be happier with second.”
Honsinger, who was second at the Pan Am championships in 2017, is the new women’s under-23 champ.
So, so close
In the final sprint of the men’s Pan Am CX championship race, it was Canadian champ Michael van den Ham against Curtis White of the U.S. Van den Ham knew White had the better sprint. The Canadian launched and started closing the door on White against the barriers. White push on and beat van den Ham at the line.
“I wanted that one really bad,” van den Ham said. “It feels good to be that close. But I’m disappointed at the moment, especially when it comes down to half a wheel or a quarter of a wheel, whatever it was. Man, that was a full out brawl out there, right from the gun.”
Rochette breaks U.S. dominace at elite Pan Am CX champs
Maghalie Rochette crossed the line 14 seconds ahead of Ellen Noble, making the rider from Saint-Jérôme, Que., the elite women’s Pan Am champion.
On Saturday, Rochette lost positions early in the race after riding aggressively in a corner and then going down. On Sunday, it was Noble who erred in a turn. “She tried to pass me on the inside but crashed doing that,” Rochette said of Noble. “That’s where I got the gap on the last lap.”
Rochette noticed that the crowd in Midland, Ont., had a lot of CX Fever. She feels enthusiasm for the discipline has increased throughout the past few years. When asked if she could assign a temperature to CX Fever, she said, “I don’t think it could go higher. The thermometer would explode. It’s pretty powerful.”