Danny Summerhill more than holding his own in the Gila crit. Via flickr by Trillion photos.

Danny Summerhill more than holding his own in the Gila crit. Via flickr by Trillion photos.

by Josh Liberles

We at Cyclocross Magazine are not above listening in on Tweets and scavenging through riders’ blogs to find out what they’ve been up to for your reading pleasure. Here’s some of what we’ve overheard:

While the top off-road talent has been chasing World Cups in the UK and Belgium, many of the more asphalt-oriented toed the line in Silver City, New Mexico for the Tour of the Gila alongside the likes of Mara Abbot, Tom Danielson, Dave Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer and some dude named Lance who famously raced Cross Vegas a couple of years back.

The most prevalent recurring theme, both at the Gila and around the world recently, may very well have been the weather:

We hope that Amy Dombroski‘s weather report was only metaphorical: “(It was) wicked flipping windy. Like flip off your bike windy.”

Meredith Miller, who came to ‘cross from a national-championship-winning road background was able to overcome a crash before the decisive finishing climb of stage 1 to put together consistently stellar results and claim top-tens in each of the first four stages, including a podium in the brutal time trial: “That, my friends, was a wicked pissah (is that how it goes?). [Ed. note: as a native Bostonian, no, not really] Stage 2 of Gila was epic. The wind blew things to bits. TT tomorrow.”

U23 national ‘cross Champ Danny Summerhill seemed to be the designated breakaway guy for his Holowesko Partners Cycling team. After Stage 2, Summerhill Tweeted: “Quite the long day in a two-man break with my new Trek homie Ben King 30+ miles off the front, is gonna make my legs unhappy tomorrow morning.”

Then, for the Gila Monster finale stage, “What a day! 80 miles driving the breakaway for Caleb Fairly (the winner of Battenkill, who went on to finish fourth on the final Gila stage), and I was just two points away from pimping the green jersey from my boy Taylor Phinney,” said Summerhill. “Next time…”

David Kessler, who recently completed his stint racing in the cyclocross motherland of Belgium as a part of EuroCrossCamp (see the soon-to-release Issue 9 for a feature article on the camp) was duking it out in the Cat 2 field and turned in an impressive 13th in the tough time trial – pretty darned good for a Junior!

Gila Podium 2010 via BikeSnobNYC

Gila Podium 2010 via BikeSnobNYC

Perhaps the only subject that got more attention than the weather was the Gila’s unorthodox, “edgy” podium girls. BikeSnobNYC may have summed it up perfectly with his, um, enhanced photo (at right).

A little further north, in Colorado, the only constant with the weather was change.

Bill Teasdale (promoter of Boulder’s Blue Sky Velo Cup): This weather is pathetic. I just might have to get out the CrossPropz and do some drills today. Only four more months to ‘cross! [Note: see Cyclocross Magazine's review of CrossPopz in Issue 8.]

Matt Shriver: Huh? Snowing again today after riding in shorts and jersey on trails yesterday. Do I wax the skis again? Maybe they’ll groom the golf course?

Troy Wells: One of those days in D-town (Durango). Rain, sleet, hail … we have had it all in the last two hours.

But the crapshoot from above wouldn’t be enough to dissuade a true ‘crosser from biking.

The Alien Run cross-country MTB race in Aztec, NM, saw some familiar faces, including race winner Ben Sonntag (Fort Lewis College, second in Collegiate National Championships), Troy Wells in second, Rotem Ishay third (he was fourth for FLC, Collegiate National Championships) and Matt Shriver, FLC’s coach, in fourth. Looks like the teacher may be doing too good of a job with his students.

Crazy weather wasn’t limited to the Rocky Mountain region. Multiple-time cyclocross national champ Jesse Anthony was seeing more of the same in Asia, where he was able to snag second place overall in the 10-stage Tour of Korea behind Mike Friedman (Jelly Belly). The mixed bag of conditions included what the race commissaire described as Korea’s coldest April day in recorded history. It snowed just after the finish.

In my own local Oregon race scene, apparently folks are getting antsy to get skinny tires back on the dirt. The past two weekends featured road races with off-road sections, and I had the chance to line up with domestic ‘cross standouts like Ryan Trebon, Barry Wicks and Carl Decker. Look for an article on those races in the next couple of days, as well as interviews with Trebon and Decker coming soon!

Meanwhile, Jonathan Page is taking a decidedly lower-key approach to his offseason in Europe. As he wrote on his Facebook page, “For less than a beer would cost in the USA (3.50Eu), I went on an organized mountain bike ride with Lievin and (Page’s wife) Cori today. 65 kilometers with two stops with cookies, cake, fruit, sports drink and water. At the end, there was more of the same plus nice sandwiches and an Ename Blonde (Belgian ale)! Really fun day!”