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Boulder Cycloross Series #5
Boulder, CO, November 28, 2004
Brown and Abel wrap up series
In what was sure to be another cyclo-cross season showdown, Marc Gullickson and Travis Brown duked it out for the overall Boulder Racing Series final race, the fifth of a series that started in October. Gullickson is a national cyclo-cross champion and has the highest ever American finish at the World Cyclo-Cross championships. Brown is a US National Mountain Bike Champion and 2000 Olympic Mountain Bike Racer. Other notable appearances were made by the TIAA CREF teammates, Brandon Dwight, Ben Turner and Colby Pearce.
On Sunday, Boulder finally received its share of inclement weather for a cyclocross race. Early Sunday morning saw temperatures below freezing and 6" of fresh champagne powder with continued snow all day. Over 150 racers braved the bitter cold with a completely rideable course of snow drifts and slippery run-ups. A few die-hards even left their mountain hideaways in Breckenridge to brave the two hour drive to Boulder.
In dry conditions, the Xilinx course takes about 6 mins, but the early classes had the privilege of breaking a new trail through the snow, which led to 15 min times. By the end of the day with the pro race, lap times had decreased to an 8 min lap. Bermed corners helped make the icy conditions manageable and shoe spikes were a necessity on the off-camber runs. Although the conditions sound treacherous, the weather was much appreciate compared to last week's race as noted on the men's start line by Brown, "I prefer snow over mud any day, less bike cleaning".
In the women's four lap race, all the heavy hitters were in attendance. Gretchen Reeve's took the holeshot and led the women up the road climb to the first ride and run through the woods. The lead group stayed tight until the small gaps started to open as
At the end of lap one, Heather Szabo took a chance with a big effort and gapped Gretchen, just enough to maintain a small lead to the line. In the battle for third, Margell Abel (Denver Spoke) and Cristina Begy took turns exchanging positions, but Margell, an established crit racer, attacked on the road portion and never looked back. The lone single speeder, Megan Harrod, finished up the podium.
From the gun, Travis put the hammer the down in the men's open race and only Brandon was able to match his pace. The duo put an early 20-second gap on the next group of chasers. The large group of chasers included Tim Faia, (Valdoro Mtn Lodge), Mike West (Giant), Colby Pearce, Marc Gullickson (Redline) and teammate Adam McGrath. The race quickly turned into a test of one's skills as a momentary lack of concentration could easily propel a rider off course into deep snow. Minor mishaps were frequent of the chasers and helped the Brown train stay away. On the final lap, Travis' skills finally got the better of Brandon with a 10 second gap for the win. Gully, West and Faia finished up the podium and although seventeen-year-old McGath was dropped from the group, kudos for making the chase group and setting an early pace.
Travis easily took the Series championship with wins at the four races he entered and Margell Abel was the surprise women's winner with consistent finishes across the board. Expect to see the Boulder contingent dominate in Portland as this year's competition was the best yet and the last two races prep everyone's technical skills. Check out www.BoulderRacing.com for all the latest results and photos.
Images by Brian Hludzinski
Men 1 Travis Brown 2 Brandon Dwight 3 Marc Gullickson 4 Mike West 5 Tim Faia Women 1 Heather Szabo 2 Gretchen Reeves 3 Margell Abel 4 Cristina Begy 5 Megan Harrod Boulder Cycloross Series Overall Men 1 Travis Brown 2 Marc Gullickson 3 Brandon Dwight 4 Time Faia 5 Mike West Women 1 Margell Abel 2 Heather Szabo 3 Gretchen Reeves 4 Megan Harrod 5 Catherine Johnson
Local results 2004