Browse:Home / 2012 Cyclocross Nationals, Featured, race reports / Werner and Bahnson Ride Away to D1 and D2 Collegiate National Championships, Marian and Mars Hill Seal Team Competition: 2012 Collegiate National Cyclocross Championship UPDATED: Photo Galleries, New Videos, Full Report
Werner and Bahnson Ride Away to D1 and D2 Collegiate National Championships, Marian and Mars Hill Seal Team Competition: 2012 Collegiate National Cyclocross Championship UPDATED: Photo Galleries, New Videos, Full Report
VERONA, WISCONSIN—Temperatures approached normal today outside of Madison, and collegiate racers returned to Badger Prairie Park to find frozen ruts instead of yesterday’s mud. They made adjustments, running slightly higher tire pressures, and lap times dropped as speeds picked up. Fort Lewis College, third in the team competition yesterday after the women’s race, needed a win and many riders in the top ten to take the championship, and sent two riders, Skyler Trujillo and Eric Emsky, to the front early in an attempt to shut the door on leaders Lees-McRae. “Our team director said we’d have to win for sure to take the team competition,” said Trujillo at the finish line.
Despite their best intentions and attempts, Kerry Werner of Lees-McRae College was not to be denied, powering away from an early group of five to take the individual championship and lead his teammates to the team victory. College racing, scored similarly to cross-country running, in which packing the front of the race with as many competitors as possible is crucial, lent an importance to every racer’s positions, and athletes fought battles far back in the field. Supporters ran from corner to corner, exhorting their teams to “move up, move up!” In short, given the cold temperatures and mid-winter sun, nationals took on the flavor of a fall football match. Smiles were given and received, and the only thing missing was the band.
“The women set us up well yesterday,” an exuberant Werner said at the finish line. After building a big lead, Werner was able to hold Trujillo off by only 13 seconds, who worked together with Emsky to try to bring the Lees-McRae rider back on the last lap. Werner said he and his team had been riding the course at night, trying to get a sense of the frozen course rather than the thawed one, and he said the course was navigable, if treacherous. Trujillo, who raced in the U23 race yesterday, said “We made these ruts yesterday, so now we had to deal with them when they froze!” The Fort Lewis rider has raced in Europe, and said that conditions yesterday more closely mimicked what he’d experienced across the pond. “Over there it’s mostly a lot of mud; things don’t freeze there like this.”
Jeff Bahnson, third in yesterday’s U23 race, lined up in the third in the DII Men’s race in a pink wool jersey with his school’s name, Green Mountain College, pinned on the back. Despite his Clark Kent-style camouflage Bahnson made contact with the leaders halfway through the first lap, and then established a six second lead by lap’s end, a margin which he lengthened with apparent ease lap after lap.
Mars Hill College rider Timothy Jenkinson snagged the hole shot, but had some early bad luck which drove him into the pit before he had even completed a lap. “I felt my wheel dropping out, it obviously wasn’t tight enough after I got off the trainer,” said Capetown, South Africa student Jenkinson after the race “Next lap around I had to pit again; my shifting was all out, so I changed bikes for the second time and just started to chase.”
As Bahnson extended his lead to almost a minute and started lapping riders, the battle for second place heated up when Jenkinson caught Tanner Hurst (Cumberland University) with one lap to go. Jenkinson’s grit put him in a head-to-head battle with Hurst on the last lap. Jenkinson, who is riding his second collegiate cross series for Mars Hill college, widened his gap last time up the hill which had started to soften up as temperatures crept above freezing.
“It started to get a lot more technical the last two laps as it started to melt and get real slick,” said Bahnson, who is currently undeclared at Green Mountain College, a school traditionally known for its skiing program, not cycling. Bahnson, who is done for the season, is ready for cyclocross to end for the year. The U23 rider does not have any plans to head over to Europe for World Cups or Worlds. “I’m going skiing this winter … Killington!”