Here, Katie Compton wins her eight title in a row at the 2012 Cyclocross National Championships in Madison, WI. © Cyclocross Magazine
by Kat Statman
It’s Spring. The Classics are over, the Giro is starting, and still, all we think about it are 32 mm tubulars with little bits of rubber glued to them, mud, running, snow; and which bikes, wheels and tires we’ll be running next year. Well, to keep you satiated, here’s the run down on what else may be going on in the world of pro cyclocross racing. Katie Compton and Georgia Gould move their competitiveness off the bike; Bart Wellens Returns, but Not Necessarily for Good; Geoff Kabush is riding a freight train of awesome; John Gadret returns to the Giro to earn a non-posthumous spot on the podium; Sven Nys, no different than you and me; The return of Barry Wicks, could it be?
Katie Compton and Georgia Gould, Culinary Extraordinaires?
If you haven’t been paying attention, there are apparently two women in the cycling world that not only can ride their bikes faster than most men on this planet, but they apparently have an affinity for cooking awesome food and it seems that their on-the-bike rivalry (documented to be only while racing and very cordial) has translated over into to the world of culinary cuisine. Many may not know that Georgia Gould has gone to school specifically for the culinary arts and often has some great recipes on her blog as well as photos of her and her husband fighting bees for a little local honey. But, KfC is giving her a run for her money with some cooking escapades of her own, hare ragu with red wine and cocoa. So who is the best culinary master of the two? Well, we may just have to have a show down at the next bike meet. Maybe who makes the best Belgian waffles?
Wellens Returns, but Conditionally
Bartje has been undergoing some noticeable health problems the past few years from his battle with cytomegalo virus to his septic infection that put him in the hospital last year and led to all of the rumors (unfounded) of his doping. Well, in good news, he is returning this weekend at the Omloope der Kempen, a smaller race (considering the Giro starts today) in Belgium, where he hopes to have good sensations. But, Wellens has been clear, his return is only conditional on no adverse affects on his heart and that he is not interested in returning at a lesser level than he was and will wait to hear what the doctors say after undergoing more tests. Here’s to hopefully seeing another year of Bartje out there, hopefully with the form we saw glimmers of last winter.
Geoff Kabush Riding the Spring Freight Train of Awesome
In an Olympic year, racers have a tendency to really notch things up a bit more, likely because the once every four year chance to race at an event like the Olympics is sort of special. Well this year, Kabush has certainly been doing that. Since his 11th place in Houffalize (a course that is not 100% his strong point, with the insanely steep climbs) he has been riding a freight train of awesome, taking the win in the Sea Otter Cross Country, Whiskey 50 Fat Tire Crit, and Whiskey 50 XC. If that’s any indication of the rest of his season, I fear for his competitors, the last time he was riding like this he stormed away from Julien Absalon in Bromont, Canada, to take his first mountain bike world cup win.
Gadret Returns to the Giro, Will He Make the Official Top Step?
With the Giro d’Italia starting up this week, there is probably one question on every cyclocross fan’s mind, because, well, we covered this last year: John Gadret. Gadret, as of the past week, has been given a podium finish from his amazing performance in the three week Italian race after Contador was subsequently stripped of his title. So, with no Contador in the picture, will we see Gadret get his chance to stand on the official podium? Stay tuned, folks, and keep an eye on the last week of the race in particular, where the Dolomites loom and Gadret made his mark last year.
Sven Nys Just like the Rest of Us?
Sometimes we place pro riders on a pedestal, something we really probably shouldn’t be doing. Why do I say that? Well, if you take the time to translate Sven Nys’ Twitter page on occasion, you realize a couple of things. (1) He’s a bit boring. That’s great that you’re on Twitter, but I really don’t care that you’re at home with your feet up watching TV, which is probably what I’m doing right now after a long hard week of work and not as much riding as I wanted to do. (2) But at the same time it’s nice to know that you are just like the rest of us and sit at home watching TV with your feet up, the only difference being that you ride a bike really fast in conditions that here in the US, we wish we had more often. Well, I guess that means that you’re only sort of like us, then.
The Return of Barry Wicks?
It seems like a long time ago now, but I remember the days of the Twin Towers (we should get a cool nickname for Johnson, Trebon, and Driscoll for next year, folks, any ideas?) going to the front of the USGP and just putting everyone in the hurt locker, between Wicks and Trebon winning everything that involved fat tired road bikes and tubulars. Then, things changed and we had the era of the Green Machine, while Trebon was constantly at the front it seemed that Wicks faded back into the pack a bit. Well, it seems that with Wicks’ return to Oregon he has rekindled his speed and fire and he’s back at it, with an impressive finish in the Sea Otter Short Track, on an all mountain bike nonetheless. But things will be different this time around, Wicks will be in it by himself or with teammate Sean Babcock at the USGPs. If Wicks is back, then Babcock better step up and give his tall teammate some support to combat the new team dynamics we will see this fall.