Kevin Pauwels crosses for the win in Hasselt. File photo, © Bart Hazen

Kevin Pauwels dominated the Belgian MTB National Championships. Hasselt File photo, © Bart Hazen

by Kat Statman

Summer heat is at it’s high point. Twitter accounts across the eastern seaboard keep referencing the 90 plus degree temperatures and more and more often the cyclocross hashtag comes up on twitter. So is anything exciting happening in the wide world of pro cyclocross? Tim Johnson and Ryan Trebon are taking on the Cascade Cycling Classic this weekend, one on a ’cross bike, the other on a road bike: who will be the ’cross winner? Kathy Sherwin lands a pro contract for ’cross season, big things from the tough woman? Belgian ’crossers including Kevin Pauwels dominate the Belgian Mountain Bike National Championships. Todd Wells makes it four in a row at the US mountain bike cross-country national championships. Katie Compton gobbles up another stars and stripes jersey in the short track and takes second in the cross-country. ’Cross riders all but neutralized in the Tour de France: is it harder than the Giro or is the field stronger? Working man’s edition: Tristan Schouten and Brian Matter still in a heated battle for the WORS series overall.

Cascade Cycling Classic Brings out another Top ’Crosser Race: Tim Johnson vs. Ryan Trebon
Normally when we look at who’s the best ’crosser in NRC stage races like the Cascade Cycling Classic, there is a big competition between all the ’crossers that are double duty racers, putting in full road or mountain bike seasons along with full ’cross seasons. This week at Cascade two ’crossers rolled up that are not doing double duty this year but are putting all of their chips down on ’cross season: Tim Johnson and Ryan Trebon. So how is the top ’crosser competition going? Well, maybe points is a better way to set this one up instead of overall time. I have to give points to Johnson on this one for racing his ’cross bike and going on the attack. Not only was he on his ’cross bike, but he was wearing his mountain bike shoes too. That is some serious extra points in my book. But Trebon is always a tough one and he may just put something out there for us as the stages continue on.

Kathy Sherwin wins Raleigh’s Midsummer Night Cyclocross for a Pro Contract!
Kathy Sherwin has been on a venerable rampage of ’cross racing and mountain bike racing the past couple of years and it hasn’t stopped there. At Raleigh’s Midsummer Night Cyclocross race where the top prize was a pro contract, Sherwin took her awesome mountain bike fitness and ripped the legs off the field. She didn’t take the contract though, instead, it was passed down to third place. Sherwin also ended in fourth on the short track at MTB Nats this past weekend. ’Can’t wait to see what she does this fall, especially if the trend she’s put together the past year continues. More fast women on the US circuit is exactly what we need!

Belgian Crossers Dominate Belgian Mountain Bike Nationals
Kevin Pauwels took the top step ahead of Sven Nys and Tom Meeusen, who took a solid fourth place finish. All three of these riders were easily within three minutes of each other, making it a close and fast race. So, why are the top Belgian ’crossers dominating Beligan mountain bike nationals? Well, because these guys are some of the top bike riders in Belgium, simple as that. It’s clear why Pauwels, Nys and Meeusen are always at the top of the more technical ’cross races too, summering on the mountain bike is the perfect way to get good handling skills.

In the US, Todd Wells Makes it four, almost five, in a row!
Who would’ve thought that Wells could have done it? Well, after seeing his stellar season so far, I would. Todd Wells made it four for four in his bid for the stars and stripes jersey at last weekend’s Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships. Todd showed that even though he is a bigger rider, he can climb better than most and killed it on the Sun Valley course. Glad to see Todd keeping it solid and holding on to the stars and stripes for another year. So, is Todd going to the 2012 Olympics? At this point it seems pretty clear that he will be on the very short list!

Katie Compton Continues her Short Track Domination at US Mountain Bike Nationals
With a strong ride in the cross-country on Saturday, Katie once again showed that the short and hard races are her forte when she rode away from the pro women’s field on Sunday in the short track race. With the short bursts of speed and power required by short track racing, Katie took to it and powered away, almost effortlessly. With a strong spring and summer under her belt it’s going to be great to see Katie take on the world’s best again during this winter, especially when the World Championships arrives at the sands of Koksijde.

’Crossers on the Road Neutralized at the Tour
After an awesome Giro d’Italia for ’crossers, the opposite is happening at the Tour de France this summer. Lars Boom has abandoned and looking over who is left it doesn’t seem like a single strong veldrijder is still in the running. So is the Tour really that much harder? Probably not, especially after seeing this year’s Giro. But, the talent is much deeper and clearly the top tour contender’s are on a mission to make things hurt for everyone in the Peloton. At least there is still the Vuelta.

Working Man’s Edition: Schouten and Matter Still Neck and Neck in the WORS Series
Tristan Schouten and Brian Matter have been doing battle in the WORS Series all spring and summer and they are still neck and neck. Though Schouten seemed to pull a little away at the most recent race where he took second place to Matter’s sixth. So with a bunch of races left, who is going to take the top honors? Should be interesting.