Christoph Heinrich (Kuhl) knew his competition in the Masters 50-54 race quite well. In fact, he had lost to several of his competitors on several occasions. In short, he knew he was in for a fight on Thursday.
One trick he had up his sleeve was the support of friends and his Kuhl teammates. The 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals have brought the West Coast and Western U.S. riders out in droves, and since Heinrich hails from Utah, the trip for his crew was not a long one.
“Oh absolutely,” he said when asked if the positive support helped. “We have a lot of people here from Utah and from my team, and it was great to have that support.”
Heinrich put on a show by getting off the front early and staying on the gas. He was eventually joined by former champion Victor Sheldon, but a roller tubular during the third lap ended his challenge to Heinrich’s supremacy. With no one else close to the Kuhl rider, Heinrich stayed cool and collected and rolled to his first-ever National Championship.
“It feels great,” he said. “First time I have ever won a championship and it feels great.”
One Kuhl Customer
With the strong fields at Nationals, riders know that starting fast can send a message and help put pressure on early. The Masters 50-54 race was no different, and Heinrich started strong and forced the other riders to chase him.
“It wasn’t the plan,” he said about the fast start. “I wanted to be in the elite group, and I happened to be at the front and I said, ‘Well, let’s see what happens.’ I got a gap and kept on it.”
While Heinrich was feeling good, one of the race favorites, former Elite and Masters National Champion Don Myrah got caught behind an early crash. If he was going to get into contention, it would be from nearly last place. Perhaps Masters 35-39 winner Kevin Day had used the small amount of luck allotted gingers for the afternoon.
After the first lap, Heinrich had 11 seconds on a big chase group of six. With the wind in full force, it was fair to expect the group of six to have the advantage pulling through the false flat. However, during the second lap, Heinrich’s lead only grew. He appeared to be a in a good spot.
A Bridge and a Mechanical
The one rider who took it upon himself to bring Heinrich back was Sheldon. Midway through the second lap, Sheldon broke off solo and started to chase down the leader. Heinrich has a sizeable lead, so the feat was a herculean one. At the start of the third lap, Sheldon was starting to close down the time.
Sheldon made the catch shortly after the barriers during the third of six laps. His bridge was successful and the latest tight race appeared to be on. Unfortunately, the excitement would be short-lived.
The second half of the course has been causing an increasing number of flats thanks to the rocks dotting the landscape and transitions between surfaces. Mechanicals appear to be playing an increasing role in the racing in Reno. Sheldon did not flat, but he did roll a tubular on the one of the technical descents. His challenge to Heinrich was over and the course claimed its latest victim.
Sheldon had bridged solo, so Heinrich was now all alone and his lead was massive. He would not be challenged en route to his first-ever National Championship. Kuhl customer, indeed.
“It was tough because I knew there were really strong riders there who beat me in other races,” he said about his win. “I didn’t think I was going to stay away, but it worked.”
Behind Heinrich and after Sheldon’s mechanical, a chase of Roger Aspholm and Paul Bourcier formed. As the race progressed, Aspholm gapped Bourcier, but slowly but surely, former Elite and Masters champion Don Myrah worked his way forward after getting caught behind an early crash. Myrah eventually caught Aspholm and nearly completed his recovery with a second-place finish. Aspholm finished third.
Interviews and results are below.
Men Masters 50-54 Results: 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals
|1||730||HEINRICH||Christoph||KUHL Cycling Team||Salt Lake City UT||47:58|
|2||688||MYRAH||Donald||Northern California/Nevada Cycl||San Jose CA||48:10||12|
|5||700||FISHER||Mark||KUHL Cycling Team||Sandy UT||49:11||1:13|
|6||713||FUNKE||John||Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator Co||San Francisco CA||49:15||1:17|
|7||719||PRENZLOW||Brent||Celo Pacific||Carlsbad CA||49:44||1:46|
|8||673||AUGUST||Andrew||Park Ave Bike Shop||Pittsford NY||49:53||1:55|
|9||696||DAUBERT||Scott||Trek Cyclocross Collective||Lake Mills WI||50:16||2:18|
|10||717||LAUREL||Steve||Groove Subaru Excel Sports||Longmont CO||50:36||2:38|
|11||728||BOWEN||Barton||Deschutes Brewery||Bend OR||50:51||2:53|
|12||677||MORRISSEY||Patrick||Team Cross Colorado||Boulder CO||50:54||2:56|
|14||693||SHELTON||Matthew||Mill Valley CA||42:45||@1Lap|
|16||714||GAFFNEY||Chris||SunPower Racing||San Jose CA||43:05||@1Lap|
|17||692||HUETER||David||NoCo Cycling Project||Fort Collins CO||43:08||@1Lap|
|18||720||COATS||James||Northern California/Nevada Cycl||Bend OR||43:09||@1Lap|
|19||697||MYALL||Gannon||Hangar 15 Bicycles||Lafayette CA||43:12||@1Lap|
|20||690||HUDSON||Douglas||Feedback Sports Racing||Golden CO||43:15||@1Lap|
|21||721||CARAMADRE||Richard||KUHL Cycling Team||Salt Lake City UT||43:28||@1Lap|
|22||660||TREPESS||Rodney||Deschutes Brewery||Bend OR||43:46||@1Lap|
|27||686||HOEFER||Todd||Family Cycling Center||Aptos CA||44:23||@1Lap|
|28||672||ANDERSON||Chuck||Santa Ana CA||44:42||@1Lap|
|29||724||KEEP||Miles||Menlo Park CA||44:53||@1Lap|
|31||718||LIPPERT||Dave||Monster Media Racing||La Quinta CA||45:13||@1Lap|
|33||702||GORRELL||Greg||Feedback Sports Racing||Crested Butte CO||45:18||@1Lap|
|34||680||HINDMAN||Steve||Pen Velo Racing/Summit Bicycles||Los Altos CA||45:23||@1Lap|
|35||661||FAST||Christopher||Black Sheep Velo||Seattle WA||45:36||@1Lap|
|37||651||HAMLIN||Robert||KUHL Cycling Team||Logan UT||45:56||@1Lap|
|38||725||FIX||Matthew||NoCo Cycling Project||Ft Collins CO||46:20||@1Lap|
|39||679||BECKER||Shawn||Pen Velo Racing/Summit Bicycles||Burlingame CA||46:21||@1Lap|
|40||707||BURKE||Robert||Eastside Cycles-Idaho||Boise ID||46:24||@1Lap|
|41||732||OFFERMAN||Steve||Rio Strada Racing||Sacramento, CA||46:44||@1Lap|
|43||669||GOTTARDI||Mike||Gold River CA||46:52||@1Lap|
|45||711||HOWLAND||Mark||Family Cycling Center||Santa Cruz CA||46:56||@1Lap|
|47||678||BERGMAN||Jim||Feedback Sports Racing||Thornton CO||47:07||@1Lap|
|48||705||LIEURANCE||Thom||Feedback Sports Racing||Arvada CO||47:15||@1Lap|
|49||694||STRINGHAM||Jack||Drop Bar Racing||Seattle WA||47:19||@1Lap|
|50||698||MUSGRAVE||Scott||Avout Racing||Littleton CO||47:23||@1Lap|
|51||659||WILLS||Zachary||NuGo Racing||Pittsburgh PA||47:32||@1Lap|
|53||666||HAGEN||David||Fort Lewis College||Durango CO||47:52||@1Lap|
|54||670||MASCHKA||Don||Boulder Cycle Sport||Boulder CO||47:55||@1Lap|
|55||655||TAFT||Todd||KUHL Cycling Team||Salt Lake City UT||48:04||@1Lap|
|56||656||FERRARIO||Brian||San Jose CA||49:17||@1Lap|
|57||662||TAYLOR||Tom||San Francisco CA||49:18||@1Lap|
|58||712||BROWN||Richard||St. Lukes Sports Medicine||Eagle ID||49:20||@1Lap|
|59||684||DUNLEAVY||Shane||KUHL Cycling Team||Sandy UT||49:35||@1Lap|
|60||691||DALY||Shawn||ThirstyBear Cycling||Santa Rosa CA||49:49||@1Lap|
|61||667||MALLORY||Michael||Shuksan Velo Club||Bellingham WA||50:17||@1Lap|
|62||663||ROLANDSON||Matthew||San Francisco CA||50:26||@1Lap|
|63||687||SELL||Stacey||Family Cycling Center||Prunedale CA||50:48||@1Lap|
|64||682||BRATTON||Stuart||Leadoutracing.com CA||Folson VA||50:59||@1Lap|
|66||710||DOLE||Robert||Violet Crown||Austin TX||52:40||@1Lap|
|67||704||LAWSON||David||Knobbe Cycling||Carlsbad CA||53:03||@1Lap|
|68||664||WATSON||Mark||Hagens Berman Cycling||RentonWA||43:40||@2Laps|
|DNF||658||STEPHENSON||Harold||Rally Sport Cycling Team||Boulder CO|
|DNF||675||MCCLUNG||Richard||Broadmark Capital||Kirkland WA|
|DNF||681||SMITH||Christopher||Power Fix CX||Minneapolis MN|
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.