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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.

Hopping the Little Loenhout ditch was one of the skills Myerson brought to the Reno course. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Hopping the Little Loenhout ditch was one of the skills Myerson brought to the Reno course. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

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.

Adam Myerson and his son Flynn's triceratops. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Adam Myerson and his son Flynn’s triceratops. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

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.

Paul Bonds put the pressure on early. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Paul Bonds put the pressure on early. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

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.

As the lead group settled in, a large field worked its way around the course. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

As the lead group settled in, a large field worked its way around the course. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

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.

There were a lot of games played in the lead group. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

There were a lot of games played in the lead group. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

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.”

Adam Myerson was strong on the descents all race long. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Vander Stucken / Cyclocross Magazine

Adam Myerson was strong on the descents all race long. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Vander Stucken / Cyclocross Magazine

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.

Can't report on the racing without one of us sampling it, and hunting for the emerging tire-piercing rocks. Mission accomplished. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Can’t report on the racing without one of us sampling it and hunting for the emerging tire-piercing rocks. Mission accomplished. Masters 45-49. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Interviews and results are below.

Men Masters 45-49 Results: 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals

PlaceBibLASTFirstTeamCity STTimeGap
1549MYERSONAdamCycle-SmartDorchester MA47:54
2584DAVIESMattBoulder Cycle SportBoulder CO47:55s.t.
3482BONDSPaulSPCX p/b R.K. BLACKDeleon TX47:55s.t.
4582BOLTVincentCorner Cycle Cycling ClubLakeville MA48:2834
5498PECKChristopherCT Cycling Advancement ProgramLos Gatos CA48:4046
6491SMITHShaddKansas Cycling AssociationOverland Park KS48:5359
7538DICKIEBrockSanta Cruz CA49:011:07
8517HOLICKYGrantEVOL DevoElite RacingBoulder CO49:041:10
9578TUBBSIanAudiBellevue WA49:081:14
10537O'KEEFEMatthewNew England Bicycle Racing AssoIpswich MA49:151:21
11488KECKGabrielBoise ID49:15s.t.
12511BEHRENSJohnKnobbe CyclingSan Diego CA49:371:43
13577WALKERJasonEast Wenatchee WA49:441:50
14523CANNELLABradThe Fast ForwardCambria CA49:491:55
15489DICKENSONOmarSonic Boom Racing TeamGolden CO49:50s.t.
16501MCGEEMatthewN. Las Vegas NV50:022:08
17562HARPERDanSaugerties NY50:152:21
18554BROCKETJpKuat Trek P/B A&B CycleOverland Park KS50:312:37
19496HILDEBRANDDavidAetna-Expo WheelmenEllington CT50:392:45
20527HAIDETSeanSchnur RacingSan Luis Obispo CA50:502:56
21530HARTMANJasonGroove Subaru Excel SportsCentennial CO50:50s.t.
22520WILLIAMSStevenRecycled Cycles RacingSeattle WA50:563:02
23539SCOTTMatthewBoise ID50:593:05
24478TURNERBrentBike Barn TexasBeaumont TX51:213:27
25558SCOTTChristopherCrosshairs CyclingHarrisonburg VA51:22s.t.
26500WEIKELDannyPortland OR43:14@1Lap
27543SOLOMONPaulSandy UT43:15@1Lap
28502BROWNMichaelBend OR43:15@1Lap
29570LUGARPaulBoulder CO43:19@1Lap
30513KANERobertBicycle Heaven / PVASan Antonio TX43:20@1Lap
31550TAKAYAMAEricHup UnitedSan Carlos CA43:20@1Lap
32476SIEMENSChristopherAir Assurance Devo P/b Spoke HoTulsa OK43:21@1Lap
33515FLORESAnastasioLa Selva Beach CA43:23@1Lap
34568FLACKJohnOlympia Orthopaedic AssociatesOlympia WA43:31@1Lap
35571SWINFARDDerricMonster Media Elite MastersRiverside CA43:35@1Lap
36525RAWLINGSJonathan MarkGS TenzingDallas TX43:40@1Lap
37535LIVINGSTONScottHorst Engineering Cycling TeamBolton CT43:49@1Lap
38559CONAWAYBrettZionsville IN43:55@1Lap
39547DELUCAKeithBicycle Racing Association of CFort Collins CO44:01@1Lap
40569DEANCharleyRally Sport Cycling TeamLyons CO44:17@1Lap
41541LAVOIEPhilipGranite Springs NY44:21@1Lap
42521CLARKAaronLouisville CO44:37@1Lap
43477GRAYStewartSalt Lake City UT44:38@1Lap
44551CANNARDTimothyLos Gatos CA44:48@1Lap
45522TYBOROWSKIDariuszZebulon NC44:51@1Lap
46573RUGGLESPatrickBenicia CA44:59@1Lap
47495UETRECHTRobertBend OR45:02@1Lap
48534TRUMMERTDwaineUniversity Place WA45:06@1Lap
49519LONGJasonNiwot CO45:08@1Lap
50479RAPINZPaulBoulder CO45:13@1Lap
51563ROBINSONStevenBellevue WA45:22@1Lap
52516MOUTSOPOULOSBasilBelmont CA45:23@1Lap
53564HLUDZINSKIBrianBoulder CO45:26@1Lap
54581MORRISEricShelburne VT45:37@1Lap
55544ANDERSONMattReno NV45:57@1Lap
56493ROTIArthurGranby CT46:17@1Lap
57579MEISERThomasLakewood CO46:20@1Lap
58484MOODYMichaelJacksonville OR46:26@1Lap
59585WILCOXGeoffBerkeley CA46:28@1Lap
60576STABYBrianSanta Rosa CA46:31@1Lap
61499BECKERChrisMoraga CA46:35@1Lap
62540BUCKTROUTJustinSan Francisco CA46:55@1Lap
63483BARTONJerryPlacerville CA47:11@1Lap
64492HEKKERTCarlSunnyvale CA47:22@1Lap
65508YOUNGMANWilliamRocklin CA47:26@1Lap
66532LARROReneSan Mateo CA47:33@1Lap
67490SALAZARJesusHelena MT47:33@1Lap
68506ROSALESRickLas Vegas NV47:39@1Lap
69485MABRYJeffreyHenderson NV47:46@1Lap
70552MARESKcReno NV48:02@1Lap
71565WALLACEBrianReno NV48:04@1Lap
72556WASSONDannySparks NV48:04@1Lap
73555HYNESPhilipTruckee CA48:05@1Lap
74514CASHIONKenCastro Valley CA48:12@1Lap
75575JURGENSRollandWalnut Creek CA48:25@1Lap
76486MARTINEZJorgeCedar Park TX48:34@1Lap
77536DONOVANRobertSanta Monica CA48:40@1Lap
78553KOHAGENBrianBoise ID48:56@1Lap
79285IVANCICMikeLeawood KS49:07@1Lap
80561LEYRyanReno NV49:14@1Lap
81533KOZERAMartinSan Carlos CA49:15@1Lap
82560NEWMANMattSan Francisco CA49:25@1Lap
83528WORTENDYKEScottScottsdale AZ49:48@1Lap
84487HERZMANJamesTruckee CA50:12@1Lap
85572MOEStevenKingston WA50:24@1Lap
86531SABOLDeanEdmonds WA50:42@1Lap
87557DUNCANMarkLas Vegas NV50:59@1Lap
88505YEEAndrewMountain View CA51:13@1Lap
89494MCNAMARAMatthewSunnyvale CA51:32@1Lap
90504DUNNMichaelReno NV51:35@1Lap
91580LANHAMKennethDenver CO51:46@1Lap
92529SWITZERThomasSan Mateo CA52:03@1Lap
93574MORGENSONRussellSeattle WA52:26@1Lap
94503HARDERScottBothell WA53:39@1Lap
95566VAHLBERGJohnMountain View CA43:58@2Laps
96546PLUMMERJamesChico CA44:37@2Laps
97586SMITHDavid DwightChurch Hill TN45:30@2Laps
DNF512YOZELLMichaelEmmaus PA

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.

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