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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.”

Christoph Heinrich celebrates his win. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Vander Stucken / Cyclocross Magazine

Christoph Heinrich celebrates his win. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Vander Stucken / Cyclocross Magazine

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.

The Masters 50-54 field gets underway. Christoph Heinrich was in a good spot to move off the front. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Vander Stucken / Cyclocross Magazine

The Masters 50-54 field gets underway. Christoph Heinrich was in a good spot to move off the front. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Vander Stucken / Cyclocross Magazine

“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.

Don Myrah had a heartbreaking first lap before roaring back from last to second. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Don Myrah had a heartbreaking first lap before roaring back from last to second. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

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.

After Heinrich got off the front, other riders had work to do to bring him back. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

After Heinrich got off the front, other riders had work to do to bring him back. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

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.

Victor Sheldon suffered a rolled tubular, ending his time at the front. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Victor Sheldon suffered a rolled tubular, ending his time at the front. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

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.”

The course had its pitfalls as ruts start to get dug in. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

The course had its pitfalls as ruts start to get dug in. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

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.

Roger Aspholm chased to third. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Roger Aspholm chased to third. Masters 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Interviews and results are below.

Men Masters 50-54 Results: 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals

PlaceBibLASTFirstTeamCity STTimeGap
1730HEINRICHChristophKUHL Cycling TeamSalt Lake City UT47:58
2688MYRAHDonaldNorthern California/Nevada CyclSan Jose CA48:1012
3653ASPHOLMRogerHaworth NJ48:1719
4671BOURCIERPaulEugene OR48:5052
5700FISHERMarkKUHL Cycling TeamSandy UT49:111:13
6713FUNKEJohnTeam Mikes Bikes p/b Equator CoSan Francisco CA49:151:17
7719PRENZLOWBrentCelo PacificCarlsbad CA49:441:46
8673AUGUSTAndrewPark Ave Bike ShopPittsford NY49:531:55
9696DAUBERTScottTrek Cyclocross CollectiveLake Mills WI50:162:18
10717LAURELSteveGroove Subaru Excel SportsLongmont CO50:362:38
11728BOWENBartonDeschutes BreweryBend OR50:512:53
12677MORRISSEYPatrickTeam Cross ColoradoBoulder CO50:542:56
13676MUNDELIUSJohnAlamo CA51:043:06
14693SHELTONMatthewMill Valley CA42:45@1Lap
15657TADDEUCCIJosephBoulder CO43:03@1Lap
16714GAFFNEYChrisSunPower RacingSan Jose CA43:05@1Lap
17692HUETERDavidNoCo Cycling ProjectFort Collins CO43:08@1Lap
18720COATSJamesNorthern California/Nevada CyclBend OR43:09@1Lap
19697MYALLGannonHangar 15 BicyclesLafayette CA43:12@1Lap
20690HUDSONDouglasFeedback Sports RacingGolden CO43:15@1Lap
21721CARAMADRERichardKUHL Cycling TeamSalt Lake City UT43:28@1Lap
22660TREPESSRodneyDeschutes BreweryBend OR43:46@1Lap
23706MILLERJwMadison WI43:47@1Lap
24703PLANTDaleBellingham WA43:49@1Lap
25652SCHMIEDEKEChristopherDallas TX44:08@1Lap
26731SHELDONVictorVista CA44:16@1Lap
27686HOEFERToddFamily Cycling CenterAptos CA44:23@1Lap
28672ANDERSONChuckSanta Ana CA44:42@1Lap
29724KEEPMilesMenlo Park CA44:53@1Lap
30674GRAVERDougSnohomish WA44:56@1Lap
31718LIPPERTDaveMonster Media RacingLa Quinta CA45:13@1Lap
32716MILLERRonaldBoise ID45:14@1Lap
33702GORRELLGregFeedback Sports RacingCrested Butte CO45:18@1Lap
34680HINDMANStevePen Velo Racing/Summit BicyclesLos Altos CA45:23@1Lap
35661FASTChristopherBlack Sheep VeloSeattle WA45:36@1Lap
36668OUZOUNIANSteveReno NV45:55@1Lap
37651HAMLINRobertKUHL Cycling TeamLogan UT45:56@1Lap
38725FIXMatthewNoCo Cycling ProjectFt Collins CO46:20@1Lap
39679BECKERShawnPen Velo Racing/Summit BicyclesBurlingame CA46:21@1Lap
40707BURKERobertEastside Cycles-IdahoBoise ID46:24@1Lap
41732OFFERMANSteveRio Strada RacingSacramento, CA46:44@1Lap
42683SPANIERGregoryAlamo CA46:48@1Lap
43669GOTTARDIMikeGold River CA46:52@1Lap
44695MARSHALLWarrenGilroy CA46:52@1Lap
45711HOWLANDMarkFamily Cycling CenterSanta Cruz CA46:56@1Lap
46654BUSTOSEricAlameda CA47:00@1Lap
47678BERGMANJimFeedback Sports RacingThornton CO47:07@1Lap
48705LIEURANCEThomFeedback Sports RacingArvada CO47:15@1Lap
49694STRINGHAMJackDrop Bar RacingSeattle WA47:19@1Lap
50698MUSGRAVEScottAvout RacingLittleton CO47:23@1Lap
51659WILLSZacharyNuGo RacingPittsburgh PA47:32@1Lap
52699ISENBERGChrisAggressTucson AZ47:47@1Lap
53666HAGENDavidFort Lewis CollegeDurango CO47:52@1Lap
54670MASCHKADonBoulder Cycle SportBoulder CO47:55@1Lap
55655TAFTToddKUHL Cycling TeamSalt Lake City UT48:04@1Lap
56656FERRARIOBrianSan Jose CA49:17@1Lap
57662TAYLORTomSan Francisco CA49:18@1Lap
58712BROWNRichardSt. Lukes Sports MedicineEagle ID49:20@1Lap
59684DUNLEAVYShaneKUHL Cycling TeamSandy UT49:35@1Lap
60691DALYShawnThirstyBear CyclingSanta Rosa CA49:49@1Lap
61667MALLORYMichaelShuksan Velo ClubBellingham WA50:17@1Lap
62663ROLANDSONMatthewSan Francisco CA50:26@1Lap
63687SELLStaceyFamily Cycling CenterPrunedale CA50:48@1Lap
64682BRATTONStuartLeadoutracing.com CAFolson VA50:59@1Lap
65734GALLAGHERJonHeber UT51:53@1Lap
66710DOLERobertViolet CrownAustin TX52:40@1Lap
67704LAWSONDavidKnobbe CyclingCarlsbad CA53:03@1Lap
68664WATSONMarkHagens Berman CyclingRentonWA43:40@2Laps
DNF658STEPHENSONHaroldRally Sport Cycling TeamBoulder CO
DNF675MCCLUNGRichardBroadmark CapitalKirkland WA
DNF726ROGERSTrigPortland OR
DNF681SMITHChristopherPower Fix CXMinneapolis 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.

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