For a third-straight Nationals, it looked like Curtis White (Steve Tilford Foundation Racing) would have another heartbreaking race with a disappointing second place.
2021 Champ Eric Brunner (Blue Competiton Cycles p-b Build) had a 12-second gap with just two laps remaining, with his teammate Scott Funston chasing down White for second. Rounding a right-hand turn, Brunner got his front wheel stuck in a rut and went over the bars.
Suddenly White had a chance to exorcise his Nationals demons.
White finished sixth in the U23 race as the favorite the last time Nationals was in Hartford, and wasn’t available for interviews after the race. We later caught up with him weeks after the event, and he told Cyclocross Magazine that he made too many mistakes and raced like an amateur:
“I was in the pits a couple times just kind of changing the pressures, changing tires. I crashed early on and I let myself get way too frustrated. It was a course that really rewarded you for staying as calm as possible which it’s kind of silly to say, but I raced it more like an amateur and just went balls to the wall and crazy from turn to turn trying to catch up and that was just really destructive. It just caught up to me in the end and then the last two laps, there was just no way I could have brought the gap back.”
Could he use that tough lesson to his advantage?
The first lap was chaos, with Lance Haidet (L36ion of LA) getting the best start and leading the first lap.
White conservatively got off and ran the steep hill before the finishing straight in the middle of the race, while Brunner repeatedly rode it and gained a few seconds.
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White has had plenty of second place experience. He was second in 2021 in Chicago, second in 2019 in Lakewood, sixth as the U23 favorite in Hartford, second as a U23 in Asheville and second in 2013 in Juniors. And that’s an incomplete record of the cyclocross racer’s impressive podium track record, but without hitting the top step.
With one Brunner crash, White found another gear, caught and passed the defending champ, and then stretched out a gap to five seconds.
Then White put his recent motorpacing and cyclocross skills training to work:
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Brunner kept White in distance, but dabbed in several corners on the final lap and couldn’t quite put together a clean lap to take back the lead.
White rolled down the finishing straight, with all the emotions of an accomplished racer who finally accomplished his biggest goal.
Doing it in front of his local family and friends made it even sweeter.
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See the full results at the bottom of this post. Stay tuned for more coverage.
Featured photo: Curtis White takes his first National Championship in Hartford in the 2022 Elite Men’s race. USA Cycling/Tory Hernandez/Evrgrn Photo
2022 USA Cycling Cyclocross Nationals Hartford, CT Results: Elite Men
|1||2||Curtis WHITE||Steve Tilford Foundation Racing||1:03:21||7|
|2||1||Eric BRUNNER||Blue Competiton Cycles p-b Build||1:03:25||7|
|3||5||Kerry WERNER||Kona Adventure Team||1:04:27||7|
|4||4||Scott FUNSTON||Blue Competiton Cycles p-b Build||1:05:05||7|
|5||6||Lance HAIDET||L39ION of Los Angeles||1:05:36||7|
|6||3||Caleb SWARTZ||ENVE Composites||1:06:17||7|
|7||11||Tobin ORTENBLAD||Santa Cruz Bicycles||1:06:47||7|
|8||18||Ben FREDERICK||The Small Monsters Project p-b Ritchey-Ornot||1:07:00||7|
|9||13||Jonathan ANDERSON||J Moneys Racing||1:08:21||7|
|11||7||Andrew DILLMAN||Ignition p-b Rigd-Leitner||1:08:36||7|
|12||21||Sam NOEL||Competitive Edge Racing||1:08:36||7|
|13||9||Brannan FIX||Fix Racing||1:09:18||7|
|14||10||Sam BROWN||Alpha Bicycle Co - Groove Silverthorne||1:10:50||7|
|15||33||Max JUDELSON||Rock Lobster||1:12:28||7|
|16||12||Keiran EAGEN||Team Durango Segment 28||1:01:08||6|
|17||20||Jack TANNER||Forever Endurance||1:01:27||6|
|18||36||Cody KAISER||Kinetic Cycles - Specialized - SRAM - Zipp||1:01:37||6|
|19||17||Andrew GINIAT||Pony Shop Cyclocross Team||1:01:44||6|
|20||30||Terol PURSELL||Forever Endurance||1:01:49||6|
|21||35||Allan SCHROEDER||High Desert Hustle||1:01:52||6|
|22||34||Ethan JEDLICKA||Marian University||52:15:00||5|
|23||39||Trevor RAAB||RSCX - House Industries||52:21:00||5|
|24||8||Scott MCGILL||Blue Competiton Cycles p-b Build||52:22:00||5|
|26||31||Tayne ANDRADE||Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team||53:34:00||5|
|27||37||William HARDIN||Project Echelon||53:35:00||5|
|28||41||Andrew WULFKUHLE||Rock Lobster||53:49:00||5|
|29||19||Nicholas LANDO||Competitive Edge Racing||43:42:00||4|
|30||38||Devon FEEHAN||Devon Feehan Racing||44:11:00||4|
|31||44||Michael MARSTON||Daedalus inc||44:12:00||4|
|32||32||Frederick JUNGE||Broom Wagon Works||44:15:00||4|
|34||40||Alden COPLEY||Ludwig and Larsen||44:55:00||4|
|35||45||Eli WOODARD||Velocious Sport||34:17:00||3|
|36||55||Thomas FULLER||Lindenwood University||35:20:00||3|
|37||47||Darren PIOTROW||Alpine Carbon Racing||35:20:00||3|
|39||51||Joshua FITZGERALD||Lindenwood University||36:06:00||3|
|40||54||Bjorn SELANDER||Bianchi Collective R-D||36:13:00||3|
|41||53||Erik CARLSON||University of Rhode Island||26:34:00||2|
|DNF||50||John FLACK||Kinetic Cycles - Specialized - SRAM - Zipp||0|
|DNS||42||Noah HAYES||Rock Lobster||0|
|DNS||49||Joshua NOGGLE||Gambit Racing p-b Sleepy Hollow Bikes||0|
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