The racers make their way along the course. Jon Peck

The racers make their way along the course at Manion's Cyclocross. © Jon Peck

by Steve Vockrodt

The Kansas City cyclocross season opened up last weekend at Manion’s Cyclocross, and now the rest of autumn’s racing schedule seems easy by comparison. Manion’s Cyclocross launched the 2011 campaign at an auction house tucked away in the bucolic Nearman Hills of Kansas City, Kansas, where at its highest points, the downtown office towers of neighboring Kansas City, Missouri. can be seen nearly eight miles away. The truth is that Manion’s never lies about how the summer months were spent training. The foibles of the undertrained and overachievers are laid bare on the hills and zig-zags of the Manion’s course, leaving podium spots only for the truest strongmen. Whereas many cyclocross courses either tax the legs with challenging climbs or test the upper arms with the handling of technical turns, Manion’s combines both on a scenic grass course.

A hat tip to the matrix of race sponsors is in order. Tallgrass, an upstart brewer of canned craft beers from Manhattan, Kan., had freebie aluminum pints on ice for racers and spectators both days. Kansas City restaurant PotPie prepared what seemed like a literal ton of Colavita pasta to feed race-weary riders, while local coffee brewer Parisi Coffee kept the crowd caffeinated on Sunday morning. Volker Bicycles, a chief sponsor of the Team Colavia/Parisi Coffee team in Kansas City, donated prizes and had cyclocross gear on sale.

Saturday’s course opened directly into a maze of hairpin turns before launching out on a faster-but-still-technical section before riders happened on a snaking descent that played to the advantage of the bike handlers. The burden on the arms of the technical riders shifted to the legs of the climbers on Sunday’s race where a reversal of the previous day’s route took racers up a move unforgiving set of climbs.

In its second year, it’s well-known in Kansas City that Manion’s is this Midwestern city’s toughest course. Yet it was an out-of-towner, Columbia, Mo.’s Jonathan Schottler who curb-stomped the locals in Saturday’s open race, gapping the field early on and extending his lead all the way to the finish. Schottler didn’t show for the following day’s open race, leaving Saturday’s runner-up, Andrew Coe, Sunday’s winner. Coe, who enjoys recognition as one of Kansas City’s elite cyclocrossers, still surprised some race watchers by up-ending one of the Midwest’s favorite son’s in Brian Jensen, who was considered the contender for a top finish and seemed to want to prove it with an early lead. Jensen, a mainstay of the Tradewind Energy/Trek Stores squad, faded to second while Coe increased his spread over the field over the course of the hour-long race. A thin women’s Cat 1/2/3/4 field was won by teenager Karen Brocket of Ethos Racing on Sunday, who earlier that day raced to a top ten finish among the men in the Cat 4 contest.

The men head over the barriers. Philip Wilkerson

The men head over the barriers. © Philip Wilkerson

Saturday Results:

Elite Men:

  1. Jonathan Schottler
  2. Andrew Coe
  3. Travis Donn
  4. Britton Kusiak
  5. J P Brocket
  6. Michael Gaherty
  7. Kyle Skinner
  8. Joshua Eggar
  9. Jason Fife
  10. Cameron Rex

Elite Women:

  1. Allison Adams
  2. Teresa Sedlacek
  3. Carol Flinchbaugh

Sunday Results:

Elite Men:

  1. Andrew Coe

    The course was wet, but racers blasted their way through. JP Brocket

    The course was dry and dusty, but racers blasted their way through. © JP Brocket

  2. Brian Jensen
  3. Travis Donn
  4. Bill Stolte
  5. Bobby Summers
  6. Britton Kusiak
  7. David Hejduk
  8. Cameron Rex
  9. Shea Bergman
  10. J P Brocket
  11. Kent Woermann
  12. Joseph Anderson
  13. Andrew Lyles
  14. Kyle Skinner
  15. Casey Buta

Elite Women:

  1. Karen Brocke
  2. Aubree Dock
Colorful barriers made it a true cyclocross race. JP Brocket

Colorful barriers made it a true cyclocross race. © JP Brocket