VERONA, WISCONSIN—On what perhaps was the most treacherous course conditions of the day, as the sloppy snow and mud began to freeze over in the cooling temperatures, Steve Tilford (TradeWind Energy) once again dominated the race to win in the Masters Men 50-54 category.
Tilford accelerated away from a tight pack on the opening turns, and was out of sight by the finish of the first lap. A hard crash on the second lap, however, injured the multi-time National champion’s shoulder, but did not slow his pursuit of another title.
“It just got slicker’n sh**,” said Tilford afterwards. “The water started freezing on top of the dirt. You don’t want to make mistakes, but… You can’t tell if the ruts are mud or ice. One time you hit it it’s soft, the next time you hit it it’s frozen. If you can’t read the course, what can you do? I think the last lap I didn’t fall, but every other lap I fell. Like falling on pavement.”
More exciting was the duel behind him between Evolution Cycling’s Ron Huebner and MAMBO CX’s Jeffrey Appeltans, who battled for much of the race, with Huebner appearing to have the upper hand. Appeltans, however, attacked Huebner on the penultimate lap’s barriers and run-up, opening a small gap that widened when Huebner slid out on the challenging course. Huebner crashed again on the final lap, all but ensuring Appeltans’ second place, and the podium was complete.