VERONA, WISCONSIN — As the sun started setting, the last race of the day hit the course to steadily dropping temperatures, and the track progressively was becoming more tacky. The 30-34 “Baby” Masters race featured several of the Elite Men in the mix, including Jake Wells (Stan’s No Tubes), Dylan McNicholas (Cyclocrossworld.com) and last year’s winner Matt Pacocha (Bikeradar.com).
“Mayhem breaking out,” as Richard Fries intoned from his radio microphone, reporting from the course half-a-lap in. “These guys have been getting beat up all season by the Elite guys,” he added, mentioning that this race offers these working men a chance at glory.
Dylan McNicholas (Cyclocrossworld.com) may have registered last for the race, but he certainly didn’t finish that way. Achieving his first National Championship title in the Masters 30-34 race was a great warm-up for the Elite race less that 24 hours from when he crossed the finish line today, and he was happy with his result: a first place with a nearly two-minute gap on the rest of the field.
While McNicholas missed the holeshot, within less than half-a-lap, he had found his way to the front and had started driving the race. Behind him, Matthew Pacocha (BikeRadar.com) and Jake Wells (Stan’s No Tubes) chased furiously.
Within a lap, McNicholas had opened up a gap ticking up to 20 seconds.
Behind the top three, a group featuring John Curry (Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club), Kevin McConnell (Iowa City Cycling) and Andrew Wulfkuhle (Charm City Cycling) chased, and six seconds behind them was a group of four riders, including Robert Marion (American Classic Pro Team), Andrew Coe (Ethos Racing), Matthew Fox (Silverado Gallery) and Damian Schmitt.
As racers saw three to go, McNicholas had increased his lead to over a minute ahead of Pacocha, who had shed Wells. Behind them, Marion had bridged up to the group led by Curry.
McNicholas plowed on, creating the largest gap from first to second of the day in the “baby masters” field. “Dylan McNicholas is on a different planet right now,” the announcer intoned as he raced by with well over a minute and a half between him and the silver medalist.
Behind the top three, Curry, McConnell and Marion were fighting for fourth place.
“In Wisconsin, it’s illegal to spank your children as hard as McNicholas is spanking the rest of the field right now,” announcer David Towle frantically shouted as McNicholas blazed by, heading into the final lap. Pacocha went through minutes later, shaking his head slightly as he looked at the clock and saw the time gap. Wells, who had almost been caught by the trio behind him, continued to hold his own, now in no man’s land between Pacocha and the chasers, including Marion, who attacked the group and began to chase Wells in earnest. Brad Cole (KCCX Fuji Elite Cyclocross Team) also blazed through, chasing and closing.
McNicholas came in smiling as he took his first National Championship, trailed by Pacocha for second. Marion caught Wells on the last lap, taking the third podium spot, leaving Wells in fourth and Cole in fifth.
“I was able to tone it back for the last lap and try to just not fall down,” McNicholas said. “It’s nice to do some laps at race speed on the course. It was tough to start in the back … to win, I’m psyched.”
Full results beneath Video Interviews. Stay tuned for photo galleries.