by Kelly Clarke
The tenth annual Campton CX, held in Anderson Park of Campton Hills, IL was hosted by Training Bible Cycling & Bicycle Heaven. This sixth race of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup (CCC) Powered by SRAM was met with clear skies and mild temperatures. A constant downpour the day prior left a heavy ground that easily burned sticky tracks into the course and remained tacky throughout the day. This made the maze through prairie grass, long straight-aways and grinding climbs seem longer than they were. A fun jaunt through forest with tall mounds of dirt caked in pine needles, railroad ties and off camber turns tested all levels of technical ability.
Team tents lined the course in front of a telephone pole log jump and along the gravel path on the way to the finish. Racers from out of town noted the high level of participation. Many sported costumes to celebrate Halloween. Bicycle Heaven offered unique podium prizes from Penrose Brewing and Fresh Ground Roasters, both located in Geneva, IL near the bike shop.
Larkin Capitalizes On Early Mechanicals To Earn First CCC Victory In The Elite Women’s Race
Last weekend, Kate Powlison (Evol Elite Racing) raced in Broomfield, CO, near her old home in Boulder. This weekend she lined up at her first CCC race - after moving to Chicago for work. Powlison was off the front early, but a flat had her visiting the pit. With a diminished lead, she took off, only to snap a cable. This gave Maria Larkin (Chicago Cuttin Crew) the opportunity she needed to get out front. Ellen Sherrill (Voler/HRS/Clif Bar/Rock Lobster), visiting from South Lake Tahoe, CA came with her and the two stuck together for the remainder of the race.
In the final lap, they both dismounted to traverse a telephone pole obstacle. Larkin gained a slight advantage in the remount and took off down a long, loose gravel path, through tent city, looping around to the finishing straight. Fists in the air, she rolled across the line ecstatic. Having been on the podium in every CCC race she showed up to this season, she had never seen the top step until today. This was Larkin’s first elite win, and a major season goal accomplished. In the spirit of Halloween and #CostumeCross, Larkin produced this victory while dressed as David Reyes, the current CCC Elite Men’s series leader. This wasn’t too hard, as she also donned the Pactimo series leader jersey. Sherrill finished eight seconds behind Larkin for a solid second place.
Antonia Leal (Unattached) from Waukesha, WI and Kelli Richter (PSIMET Racing) battled in the first few laps, but Leal was able to pull away for a clear third place finish. Powlison never fully recovered from the early mechanicals and finished on a bike provided by SRAM Neutral Race Support in seventh place.
Ellen Sherrill, heading back west after a long UCI campaign on the east coast opted to race the CCC over the Pan-American Cyclocross Championships in Kentucky mainly because of the relationship she fostered with the Van Maldegiam family when they offered her host housing during the 2012 and 2013 New Year’s Resolution, a UCI race that served as a precursor when Nationals were in nearby Madison, WI. Having a brother and new nephew in the area helped. But seeing sixteen year old Amelia Van Maldegiam (Spin Doctor Cyclewerks CX Team) podium in the Women’s Category 4 race reinforced that she made the right decision.
Powlison’s Early Patience Makes Unexpected Attack Count In Men’s Elite Race
David Reyes (Heritage Race Club), dressed as David Reyes, had a hot start in the Elite Men’s race. Recent transplant from Boulder, Spencer Powlison (Evol Elite Racing) and Michael Dutczak (EGO p/b Sammy's Bikes) went with him, pushing the pace to create a gap on the field. Reyes laid down attack after attack. Dutczak would chase him down while Powlison stuck to his wheel, watching the strategies and devising a plan.
After the race, Reyes commented that the straight-aways nullified the technical sections. “You can go hard in the technical sections, but then you lose what you gained in the straight sections. Sometimes you just have to keep pushing until something breaks. Hopefully that something isn’t you.”
Dutczak got stuck with a flat, and then it was just Powlison and Reyes in the lead. Powlison picked what he perceived to be the toughest part of the course to make his move. At five laps to go, he punched it up a long climb that came after a 180 degree turn. When he looked back he was alone. Powlison admitted it was a little too early to make a move, but he felt good, so he dug in and maintained his lead for the win. Reyes, having put in huge efforts early on was left to time trial the remainder of the race. He finished second and maintained the series lead.
Federico Rios (Roll: Racing) and Matt Silvia (Unattached) had a cat and mouse game of their own. They were able to match each others attacks, giving them a sizable lead on the pursuing field. “When we passed Michael Dutczak, it finally dawned on me that only Spencer and David were in front of us and we were fighting for a possible podium spot. From that point on it became a game of energy conservation and planning how I was going to try and get away from him on the last lap for the finish,” Rios explained after the race.
In the last lap, Rios made his move on the same climb that Powlison chose. He made sure to be in the lead going into the forest section, relying on his mountain biking background to gain an advantage. Silvia, faster in the straights, closed the gap in the final run, but still finished half a wheel behind Rios. Dutczak finished behind them in fifth.
This was Rio’s first elite podium. Was it a coincidence that he showed up to the race dressed as Marty McFly from Back To The Future? No. “After getting 6th place at Dan Ryan, I noticed that staying relaxed leading up to the race lead to making less mistakes which would usually take me out of contention in the early laps. So channeling Marty was a way to keep calm and composed until it was time to warm up.”
Next week, the Chicago Cyclocross Cup Powered by SRAM heads to Woodstock, IL for Psi-clocross for Life, hosted by Psimet. Racers may see their first sand of the series, but there is guaranteed to be more grueling climbs and rooted forest sections. For more information visit www.chicrosscup.com.
Want more Chicago Cyclocross Cup news? Check out our archives to see all of our CCC race reports!