lead group on stairs in the Men's 35-39. © Matt Lasala

The lead group on stairs in the Men’s 35-39. © Matt Lasala

In the most suspense-filled, dramatic race of the 2014 Cyclocross National Championships week, Russell Stevenson (Voler Custom CX) and Jake Wells (NoTubes) battled mano-y-mano, trading the lead, trading attacks, and entering the final finish straight ready to settle their 45-minute fight with a final dual.

Wells took the final corner in the lead, confident in his sprint.

Stevenson rounded the corner, glued to Wells’ wheel, confident in his sprint, but nervous about his bike and the win.

“My bike was just popcorning the whole way down the finishing straight,” Stevenson told Cyclocross Magazine, alluding to his badly skipping gears.

The two crossed the line side-by-side, but it was too close to call.

“I hope [I got it]…my eyes were closed!” Wells said right after his finish.

“I was making so many mistakes.” Stevenson said.

The announcers couldn’t call the race. It was a photo finish, and finish line video needed to be reviewed.

Both riders were confident and optimistic.

“It was back and forth, we traded positions six times,” said Wells. “We’ll see.”

“I think I got it!” shouted Stevenson.

But officials were still looking at the finishing film.

Five minutes later, just before we interviewed Stevenson, the officials declared it. Stevenson won bike a few mm, and perhaps because of a superior bike throw.

Russell Stevenson and Jake Wells in their photo finish - Masters 35-39. 2014 Cyclocross National Championships © Matthew Lasala

Russell Stevenson and Jake Wells in their photo finish – Masters 35-39. 2014 Cyclocross National Championships © Matthew Lasala

“I was on my back foot the entire race,” Stevenson, last year’s winner, told Cyclocross Magazine. “I felt strong, fit, I prepared well, but this was a course that demanded 100 percent of everything, not just cyclocross, not just pedaling. The wind was causing me headaches and I was making lots of mistakes.”

Wells went to the front early and often, pulling down the finishing straight, and then gapping Stevenson, and Andy Jacques-Maynes, a former Masters 30-34 National Champion making his return to National Championship Masters racing.

“I wasn’t trying to take control, but I wanted to ride at my own pace, and I was riding [the off-cambers] a little better,” Wells said. “It’s just trying to play to your strengths.”

While Stevenson eventually took the win in a photo finish, relegating Wells to second, it was Steven Stefko who took third, followed by Christopher Case and Andy Jacques-Maynes.

Video interviews and full results below the photo gallery.

Masters 35-39 – 2014 National Cyclocross Championships – Gallery by Matt Lasala

Video: Russell Stevenson Interview, Seconds After Learning He Won the Masters 35-39 National Championship

Video: Jake Wells Interview, Before Learning He Was Second by Inches:

[youtube 476B0HeJeks 590 332]

Masters Men 35-39 Race Results at 2014 USA Cycling National Championship of Cyclocross

3247STEFKOStevenFort Collins Cycling Team
4195CASEChristopherBoulder Cycle Sport
6194CARRINGTONTaylorFeedback Sports Racing
7221KRAUSEGregGroove Subaru Excel Sports
8212HEITHECKERTroyRoosters/Bikers Edge-UT
10201DONAHUEAlecTenet Racing
12192BURKETomWolverine Sports Club
13230PERRYBrysonK4 Racing
16231ROBINSONJustinCalifornia Giant Cycling
17263HUSEBYJohannesBoulder Cycle Sport
18206GAREYLoganBoulder Cycle Sport
19258WATKINSGarrenUSC Cycling Team
21251TARKINGTONJonNatural Grocers Cycling Team
22242SHEEKDavidSDG Felt
23226MOSLEYWileyTeam Super Awesome
24238SCHULERDougBoulder Cycle Sport
25253UPTONScottTeam Kappius
26188ANDERSONGavinSonic Boom Racing
27198CRABTREEScottReal D-Amgen Masters Cycling
29215HUGHSRyanPain Cave Productions
30219JONESThomasScalo Veloce
33241SHARKEYMikeBoulder Cycle Sport
34234RONDEAUPatrickNorthampton Cycling Club
38229PARKERJessTeam Air Assurance/Tulsa Connec
39224MADOLORAReyTeam Super Awesome
40211HEALYJustinSki Utah|Plan 7
41187ALDEBARANSageCX Nation
42246SPRAFKEAndrewPactimo Cycling
43233ROMANRolandoCyclocross Project 2015
47240SERVAITESJamesBoulder Cycle Sport
48218JONESEricRally Sport Cycling Team
49186AIKENBrianBoulder Cycle Sport
51239SCISLOWICZJasonRevolution Cycle Sports
52235ROWLEYKeaganBoulder Cycle Sport
53189ARENSBERGCharlesEquipe Vitesse
54190BOLLSRodneyUSC Cycling Team
55196CHEENEYChadDurango Devo
56222LAILZachMock Orange Bikes
57213HENNESSYMatthewCharm City Cycling LLC
58232ROMAGNATonyOld School Racing
59217JAMESMichaelPrima Tappa Cycling
60244SIEGLEJasonSDG Felt
63259WEHREricTeam Q7
64254VANDERKOOYZachBoulder Cycle Sport
65256WALKERDavidUSC Cycling Team
67209HALLChristopherTeam Small Batch
68202DRAKEJohnLocal Velo
69236RYDHOLMEricGS Boulder/Organic India
70262ZALEWSKIMarkSpidermonkey Cycling
DNS199DELANEYBenUSC Cycling Team
DNS225MEREDITHShawnAlpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru
DNS249STONETravisRLW Cycling Team
DNS261WHITMOREJoshuaGlobalbike Racing

For all the best Cyclocross Nationals 2014 coverage, including bike profiles, race reports, results and video interviews, check out our 2014 Cyclocross National Championship Page here.