contributed by Ken Lundgren
For the last nine years, Owen would win the Cyclocross National Championship for his age group, and a day later, Kate Compton would one-up the young racer by winning another consecutive Elite Women’s title.
But with Owen racing a light early-season cyclocross schedule, and a heavy road season under the Bissel Development Team, it was unclear if he’d be entering these National Championships with his typical dominant form. By the time the mid-afternoon U23 race was set to begin, the weather was overcast and the course looked drier than racers experienced in the previous Junior races.
After the whistle blew, Tobin Ortenblad (Cal-Giant), Yannick Eckmann (Cal-Giant), and Curtis White (Cannondale Cyclocrosworld) surged form a leading group of three. Nine-time National Champion Logan Owen was sixth into the first turn. Owen had a lot to defend as he has never lost a National Championship in the last nine years.
A win would mean he would tie Compton, if only for an hour, for ten consecutive cyclocross national titles.
Would this be the year it ends? Overseas and in New England, Curtis White has been having a stellar season and represented one of the best chances to upset Owen.
White didn’t waste time showing off that form, blasting off the front mid-lap and forcing Logan Owen to immediately chase.
Owen’s form was immediately clear as he simply rode away. He sped up the Bonk Breaker steps, looking a step faster than everyone else. White was second into the pits, but his team was stationed in first part, and he was forced to run the remainder of the pit post-bike exchange, and he lost two spots. As races progressed, White’s team set up shop at end of pit, near Cal-Giant, clearly the fastest.
Logan Owen was the only rider to clear the tough uphill chicane after the pit, and in the first half of the race Cal-Giant was in full control with four riders in top-five. Yannick Eckmann proved to be the best of the rest, clearly the second-fastest of the day as he got clear after lap two. White struggled early, was off the pace, he had issues with his shoe unbuckling in the mud, but he fought back to ride in third for majority of second-half of the race.
Owen cruised in with the big lead, Eckmann rolled in for second and White third. Andrew Dillman finished in fourth while Tobin Ortenblad faded to fifth.
As we caught up with Eckmann after the race, we saw him gritting his teeth and holding the back of his leg. “I tried to get the gap down towards the end and dug in too deep. I started cramping in the last lap super bad. I just had to minimize my losses in that last lap.”
When we talked to Owen about his year of cycling, we wondered if he ever got a break between road and cyclocross. “Yea,” he laughed, “I got two weeks off after I did Road Worlds in Spain. I wanted to do well at [the Pan-American Cyclocross Race in Cincinnati], but I knew I wouldn’t be good and that I needed to take a break… So I prepared myself for Nationals and I’ll prepare myself for Worlds before getting a break for another road season.”
“By plan [today] was to get a good start, and that didn’t go so well,” Owen talked us through the race. “I started with a low pressure, and just didn’t have it in my legs today… It was just about finding the advantages on the course [in the early laps to take the lead] and keep a good pace.”
Owen will go to Cyclocross Worlds to compete in the U23 races for the United States. Then, his next major goal is to take a victory in the Road World Championships taking place this year in Richmond, Virginia.
2015 National Championships U23
|Rank||First Name||Last Name||Team||Time|
|1||Logan||Owen||California Giant Cycling||56:06:00|
|2||Yannick||Eckmann||UCI CT: ROTH - Skoda||57:15:00|
|4||Andrew||Dillman||Cyclocross Network Racing||57:41:00|
|5||Tobin||Ortenblad||California Giant Berry Farms/Specia||58:06:00|
|7||W||Grant ellwood||Boulder Cycle Sport Devo/BJC||1:00:12|
|8||David||Lombardo||Verdigris-Village CX Team||1:01:34|
|10||Ian||Haupt||Milwaukee Bicycle Company Racing||1:03:35|
|11||Nick||Torraca||Elevate Elite Cycling Team||1:04:19|
|12||Luke||Haley||Red Zone Cycling||1:04:35|
|13||Skyler||Mackey||Elevate Elite Cycling Team||1:05:00|
|18||Jules||Goguely||Green Line Velo||@1Lap|
|20||Taylor||Squillaci||Get Out! New Mexico||@1Lap|
|22||Byron||Rice||Clemmons Bicycle Racing||@2Lap|
|23||Trent||Blackburn||Mock Orange Bikes||@2Lap|
|25||Colin||Catlin||NorthStar Development Cycling||@2Lap|
|26||Jonah||Meadvancort||KMS Cycling-Killington Mountain Sch||@2Lap|
|29||Jonathan||Anderson||Essex County Velo||@2Lap|
|31||Ian||Gielar||Giant Northeast Off-Road Racing||@3Lap|
|32||Samuel||Cerruti||Family Cycling Center||@3Lap|
|33||Ryan||Ramirez||The Pony Shop||@3Lap|
|DNF||Samuel||Bramel||Basso pb Tonka Cycle|