Day two at the 2012 Rohrbach’s Ellison Park Cyclocross race was sunnier than the first day, but the result was the same — European domination. The course was run backwards, with a steep runup only rideable by an excited Troy Wells, but even the uphill barriers didn’t stop the Euros from snagging indomitable leads in their races.
In the women’s race, Helen Wyman (Kona) continued her winning ways in Rochester, winning her third straight Ellison Park title, and second of the weekend. Behind, it was a familiar face of Gabby Day (Rapha Focus), with Nicole Thiemann (Team CF) in third, a big jump from sixth the day before.
“It was much better than yesterday,” said both Thiemann and Day, though for different reasons. With the course run backwards, it was more of a power course, and with the drier conditions, corners gripped better and seemed to flow smoother for the women, who all agreed that the course was much faster. None were faster than Wyman, though, who, as per usual, took a fast and aggressive start in the race: easy to do, as a fast right-hand turn off of the starting stretch immediately strung the field out. Thiemann, who had a bad crash in the start (“It would have been great, if I’d made that corner,” she later said about it. “But I didn’t.”) suffered from mechanicals and had to work her way back to the front the entire race on Saturday, but on Sunday, she had a fire under her to prove that one mistake doesn’t set the tone for an entire season. She quickly proved that she’s still one of the top Mid-Atlantic racers by slipping into third place and staying there the entire race, as Day led a chase toward Wyman but with no avail. The women throughout the field faced obstacles including what was rumored to be a 45 degree rutted-out runup, along with a slick log that the men bunny-hopped with ease, but the women alternately hopped and ran over. Day later said that she was pleased with her ride on Sunday, especially compared to Saturday, and her equipment choices were better informed after trying different tire treads on the course.
In the men’s race, Nicolas Bazin (Bigmat Auber) also went three-for-three, this time taking advantage of a Jonathan Page mechanical and holding off Jeremy Durrin (JAM Fund) and Troy Wells (ClifBar) for his second win in two days in Rochester. Page would finish ninth after his close second on day 1.
The first few laps played out similarly to Day 1, though the separations were smaller while groups were bigger. An early lead group comprised of Dan Chabanov (Richard Sachs), who snagged the holeshot, Page, Bazin, Durrin, Wells and Lindine was formed, with racers like JAM Fund’s Anthony Clark and Richard Sach’s Dan Timmerman working hard to catch back on and shut down the gap. Page had mechanical issues and a bobble that allowed Bazin to attack the small chase group with 25 minutes to go, and once Bazin went, the gap only grew. A lap later, Page was nowhere to be seen in the chase group, which was then comprised of Canadian Craig Richey, launching attack after attack, Jeremy Durrin, coming back after a few crashes sent him backwards on Day 1, Justin Lindine, who’s hand wound was proving to be more difficult to cope with in every lap, and Troy Wells, who’s ability to ride the runup was electrifying the crowd gathered to watch the show. Richey attacked the group over and over but was never able to make any separation stick/ On the last lap, though, Durrin told us, “I figured it was my turn, so I went.” He and Troy Wells made some separation from the chase, and shattered the small group. On the pavement on the back stretch about one kilometer from the finish, Durrin stepped on the gas and left Wells behind to come in for a second place finish. Wells maintained his lead over the Canadian and the Honey Badger, and the three came in behind Durrin, in that order.
Check out the slightly serious, mostly hilarious interview that Durrin and Day (and company) gave to Cyclocross Magazine post-race:
Stay tuned for results, photos and interviews.