Last year, Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart) had a memorable ride in Hartford to win his first National Championship as a Masters racer. If he wanted to repeat the feat on Thursday in Reno, it was not going to come easy. The Masters 45-49 was stacked with strong riders, and they came to put all challengers in the pain cave.
By his own admission, Myerson was struggling to keep up with Matt Davies (Boulder Cycle Sport) and Paul Bonds (SPCX p/b R.K. Black) early in the race. “I wasn’t the strongest guy in the group by any means. I was getting dropped the whole time and just fighting my way back.”
As the laps ticked by, Myerson, Davies and Bonds were inseparable from one another. Three to go, two to go and finally one to go, the three riders were bunched up and trying to find their time to attack. As the bell rang, the advantage was certainly to Myerson thanks to his decades of cyclocross experience and noted sprinting prowess. He also had an extra trick in his back pocket.
“It’s a bad idea to go into the last lap in a group with me because then I forget how much I’m suffering and start thinking about tactics and sprinting,” he said.
One spot where Myerson was strong all race was the climb and then two technical descents in the latter half of the lap. Not surprisingly, he took the lead up the climb and through the descents on the last lap. With little room to pass in the last quarter of the course, the advantage was to the man who already had an advantage.
“I led though the last off-camber on the last lap and then ripped it and just went for it from there,” he said about the exciting finish. He was the first to make the sharp right-hand turn onto the finishing straight and unleashed his trademark sprint to take home his second straight Masters national championship.
Fittingly, Myerson’s winning sprint was launched after emerging from the Jurassic Park filled with dinosaurs while carrying a small triceratops for his son Flynn, who did not make the trip out to Reno.
A Big End to the Afternoon
Unlike some of the other races during the afternoon, there was no solo act at the front early on. A group of three riders, Myerson, Bonds and Davies, got off to a fast start through the first half of the lap and led the way toward the technical climb and descent. After the first lap, Shadd Smith and Matthew O’Keefe also dangled nearby.
With Bonds and Davies laying down a fast pace early on, dangling was not the place to be. Midway through the second lap, Myerson fell off the pace and trailed the lead duo by about five seconds. Bonds and Davies definitely came with a plan to put the pressure on.
In a moment that would foreshadow the race’s thrilling conclusion, the two leaders struggled on the two technical descents, while Myerson rolled through and had the lines dialed. At the moment, he had closed the gap and rejoined the lead selection. After two laps of trying to drop everyone, the lead group settled in for a four-lap game of cat-and-mouse.
A Game of Cat and Mouse
In terms of the leaders, exactly nothing changed for the next three and a half laps. Myerson, Davies and Bonds were all together and rarely separated by more than a few bike lengths.
However, within that group, the experience of the three riders was showing. Davies and Bonds knew Myerson was hurting on the false flat into the headwind and did their best to make him pull into the teeth of the brisk breeze. Myerson, not surprisingly, wanted nothing to do with that. The gamesmanship was so intense, at one point, the three riders nearly came to a standstill after exiting the starting straight.
Likewise, Myerson became a reluctant leader on the climb and descent. While leading the way several times, he was able to see his lines clearly and make notes for the tight last lap that was becoming increasingly likely. “I didn’t necessarily want to lead up the climb,” he said. “But I realized I was not only riding up the steep hill the fastest, but also ripping the downhill the fastest.” He concluded, “Once I did that once, I was able to do it repeatedly.”
The three riders hit the line together for the bell. They were still together. Half a lap later, the same story was true. The race was destined for a thrilling finish.
Myerson found the steep climb was his spot throughout the race, and on the last lap, he again accelerated up the climb and let gravity accelerate him down the descents. He kept his lead position through the off-camber as well. With a sharp turn onto the finishing stretch, he was exactly where he wanted to be leading into the sprint.
Myerson hit the straight first and accelerated down the long straight to take the win and his second-straight Masters 45-49 title. Davies took second and Bonds third. In a fitting homage to the tightness of the race, all three podium finishers received the same time from the officials.
Interviews and results are below.
Men Masters 45-49 Results: 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals
|2||584||DAVIES||Matt||Boulder Cycle Sport||Boulder CO||47:55||s.t.|
|3||482||BONDS||Paul||SPCX p/b R.K. BLACK||Deleon TX||47:55||s.t.|
|4||582||BOLT||Vincent||Corner Cycle Cycling Club||Lakeville MA||48:28||34|
|5||498||PECK||Christopher||CT Cycling Advancement Program||Los Gatos CA||48:40||46|
|6||491||SMITH||Shadd||Kansas Cycling Association||Overland Park KS||48:53||59|
|7||538||DICKIE||Brock||Santa Cruz CA||49:01||1:07|
|8||517||HOLICKY||Grant||EVOL DevoElite Racing||Boulder CO||49:04||1:10|
|10||537||O'KEEFE||Matthew||New England Bicycle Racing Asso||Ipswich MA||49:15||1:21|
|12||511||BEHRENS||John||Knobbe Cycling||San Diego CA||49:37||1:43|
|13||577||WALKER||Jason||East Wenatchee WA||49:44||1:50|
|14||523||CANNELLA||Brad||The Fast Forward||Cambria CA||49:49||1:55|
|15||489||DICKENSON||Omar||Sonic Boom Racing Team||Golden CO||49:50||s.t.|
|16||501||MCGEE||Matthew||N. Las Vegas NV||50:02||2:08|
|18||554||BROCKET||Jp||Kuat Trek P/B A&B Cycle||Overland Park KS||50:31||2:37|
|19||496||HILDEBRAND||David||Aetna-Expo Wheelmen||Ellington CT||50:39||2:45|
|20||527||HAIDET||Sean||Schnur Racing||San Luis Obispo CA||50:50||2:56|
|21||530||HARTMAN||Jason||Groove Subaru Excel Sports||Centennial CO||50:50||s.t.|
|22||520||WILLIAMS||Steven||Recycled Cycles Racing||Seattle WA||50:56||3:02|
|24||478||TURNER||Brent||Bike Barn Texas||Beaumont TX||51:21||3:27|
|25||558||SCOTT||Christopher||Crosshairs Cycling||Harrisonburg VA||51:22||s.t.|
|30||513||KANE||Robert||Bicycle Heaven / PVA||San Antonio TX||43:20||@1Lap|
|31||550||TAKAYAMA||Eric||Hup United||San Carlos CA||43:20||@1Lap|
|32||476||SIEMENS||Christopher||Air Assurance Devo P/b Spoke Ho||Tulsa OK||43:21||@1Lap|
|33||515||FLORES||Anastasio||La Selva Beach CA||43:23||@1Lap|
|34||568||FLACK||John||Olympia Orthopaedic Associates||Olympia WA||43:31||@1Lap|
|35||571||SWINFARD||Derric||Monster Media Elite Masters||Riverside CA||43:35||@1Lap|
|36||525||RAWLINGS||Jonathan Mark||GS Tenzing||Dallas TX||43:40||@1Lap|
|37||535||LIVINGSTON||Scott||Horst Engineering Cycling Team||Bolton CT||43:49||@1Lap|
|39||547||DELUCA||Keith||Bicycle Racing Association of C||Fort Collins CO||44:01||@1Lap|
|40||569||DEAN||Charley||Rally Sport Cycling Team||Lyons CO||44:17||@1Lap|
|41||541||LAVOIE||Philip||Granite Springs NY||44:21||@1Lap|
|43||477||GRAY||Stewart||Salt Lake City UT||44:38||@1Lap|
|44||551||CANNARD||Timothy||Los Gatos CA||44:48||@1Lap|
|48||534||TRUMMERT||Dwaine||University Place WA||45:06||@1Lap|
|60||576||STABY||Brian||Santa Rosa CA||46:31||@1Lap|
|62||540||BUCKTROUT||Justin||San Francisco CA||46:55||@1Lap|
|66||532||LARRO||Rene||San Mateo CA||47:33||@1Lap|
|68||506||ROSALES||Rick||Las Vegas NV||47:39||@1Lap|
|74||514||CASHION||Ken||Castro Valley CA||48:12||@1Lap|
|75||575||JURGENS||Rolland||Walnut Creek CA||48:25||@1Lap|
|76||486||MARTINEZ||Jorge||Cedar Park TX||48:34||@1Lap|
|77||536||DONOVAN||Robert||Santa Monica CA||48:40||@1Lap|
|81||533||KOZERA||Martin||San Carlos CA||49:15||@1Lap|
|82||560||NEWMAN||Matt||San Francisco CA||49:25||@1Lap|
|87||557||DUNCAN||Mark||Las Vegas NV||50:59||@1Lap|
|88||505||YEE||Andrew||Mountain View CA||51:13||@1Lap|
|92||529||SWITZER||Thomas||San Mateo CA||52:03||@1Lap|
|95||566||VAHLBERG||John||Mountain View CA||43:58||@2Laps|
|97||586||SMITH||David Dwight||Church Hill TN||45:30||@2Laps|
For more from Reno, see our continuing coverage of the 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals on our dedicated Nationals page.
Photos from the races and reports are available to license here, with more to be added throughout the next week.
Haven’t yet entered our Nationals Fantasy Game? Enter your team for a chance to win a set of Vittoria Elusion Disc Wheels and Terreno Dry tires.