In the most suspense-filled, dramatic race of the 2014 Cyclocross National Championships week, Russell Stevenson (Voler Custom CX) and Jake Wells (NoTubes) battled mano-y-mano, trading the lead, trading attacks, and entering the final finish straight ready to settle their 45-minute fight with a final dual.
Wells took the final corner in the lead, confident in his sprint.
Stevenson rounded the corner, glued to Wells’ wheel, confident in his sprint, but nervous about his bike and the win.
“My bike was just popcorning the whole way down the finishing straight,” Stevenson told Cyclocross Magazine, alluding to his badly skipping gears.
The two crossed the line side-by-side, but it was too close to call.
“I hope [I got it]…my eyes were closed!” Wells said right after his finish.
“I was making so many mistakes.” Stevenson said.
The announcers couldn’t call the race. It was a photo finish, and finish line video needed to be reviewed.
Both riders were confident and optimistic.
“It was back and forth, we traded positions six times,” said Wells. “We’ll see.”
“I think I got it!” shouted Stevenson.
But officials were still looking at the finishing film.
— Jake Wells (@IamJakeWells) January 12, 2014
Five minutes later, just before we interviewed Stevenson, the officials declared it. Stevenson won bike a few mm, and perhaps because of a superior bike throw.
“I was on my back foot the entire race,” Stevenson, last year’s winner, told Cyclocross Magazine. “I felt strong, fit, I prepared well, but this was a course that demanded 100 percent of everything, not just cyclocross, not just pedaling. The wind was causing me headaches and I was making lots of mistakes.”
Wells went to the front early and often, pulling down the finishing straight, and then gapping Stevenson, and Andy Jacques-Maynes, a former Masters 30-34 National Champion making his return to National Championship Masters racing.
“I wasn’t trying to take control, but I wanted to ride at my own pace, and I was riding [the off-cambers] a little better,” Wells said. “It’s just trying to play to your strengths.”
While Stevenson eventually took the win in a photo finish, relegating Wells to second, it was Steven Stefko who took third, followed by Christopher Case and Andy Jacques-Maynes.
Video interviews and full results below the photo gallery.
Masters 35-39 – 2014 National Cyclocross Championships – Gallery by Matt Lasala
Video: Russell Stevenson Interview, Seconds After Learning He Won the Masters 35-39 National Championship[youtube rxPC-WNrAWE 590 332]
Video: Jake Wells Interview, Before Learning He Was Second by Inches:[youtube 476B0HeJeks 590 332]
Masters Men 35-39 Race Results at 2014 USA Cycling National Championship of Cyclocross
|3||247||STEFKO||Steven||Fort Collins Cycling Team|
|4||195||CASE||Christopher||Boulder Cycle Sport|
|6||194||CARRINGTON||Taylor||Feedback Sports Racing|
|7||221||KRAUSE||Greg||Groove Subaru Excel Sports|
|12||192||BURKE||Tom||Wolverine Sports Club|
|16||231||ROBINSON||Justin||California Giant Cycling|
|17||263||HUSEBY||Johannes||Boulder Cycle Sport|
|18||206||GAREY||Logan||Boulder Cycle Sport|
|19||258||WATKINS||Garren||USC Cycling Team|
|21||251||TARKINGTON||Jon||Natural Grocers Cycling Team|
|23||226||MOSLEY||Wiley||Team Super Awesome|
|24||238||SCHULER||Doug||Boulder Cycle Sport|
|26||188||ANDERSON||Gavin||Sonic Boom Racing|
|27||198||CRABTREE||Scott||Real D-Amgen Masters Cycling|
|29||215||HUGHS||Ryan||Pain Cave Productions|
|33||241||SHARKEY||Mike||Boulder Cycle Sport|
|34||234||RONDEAU||Patrick||Northampton Cycling Club|
|38||229||PARKER||Jess||Team Air Assurance/Tulsa Connec|
|39||224||MADOLORA||Rey||Team Super Awesome|
|40||211||HEALY||Justin||Ski Utah|Plan 7|
|43||233||ROMAN||Rolando||Cyclocross Project 2015|
|47||240||SERVAITES||James||Boulder Cycle Sport|
|48||218||JONES||Eric||Rally Sport Cycling Team|
|49||186||AIKEN||Brian||Boulder Cycle Sport|
|51||239||SCISLOWICZ||Jason||Revolution Cycle Sports|
|52||235||ROWLEY||Keagan||Boulder Cycle Sport|
|54||190||BOLLS||Rodney||USC Cycling Team|
|56||222||LAIL||Zach||Mock Orange Bikes|
|57||213||HENNESSY||Matthew||Charm City Cycling LLC|
|58||232||ROMAGNA||Tony||Old School Racing|
|59||217||JAMES||Michael||Prima Tappa Cycling|
|64||254||VANDERKOOY||Zach||Boulder Cycle Sport|
|65||256||WALKER||David||USC Cycling Team|
|67||209||HALL||Christopher||Team Small Batch|
|69||236||RYDHOLM||Eric||GS Boulder/Organic India|
|DNS||199||DELANEY||Ben||USC Cycling Team|
|DNS||225||MEREDITH||Shawn||Alpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru|
|DNS||249||STONE||Travis||RLW Cycling Team|
For all the best Cyclocross Nationals 2014 coverage, including bike profiles, race reports, results and video interviews, check out our 2014 Cyclocross National Championship Page here.