Kabush leading Driscoll before his big attack. file photo © Dejan Smaic /

Kabush leading Driscoll before his big attack. file photo © Dejan Smaic /

by Kat Statman
Yes, it’s still the off-season. How do we know that? Well, if you look at many cycling publications the front page headlines are all concerned with the Ardennes Classics, Andy Schleck’s Trek Madone and the fact that Ivan Basso is not racing the Giro d’Italia. Even though road racing has some similarities to ’cross (at least the early season classics with fat tubulars and heinous racing conditions do) it really isn’t the same.

Fortunately ’crossers are still alive during the off-season, and some are even mixing it up at the front of their respective “other” projects. This week Katie Compton survives a near-death experience only to hop on a plane and head to South Africa; Marianne Vos just can’t stop winning bike racers; arguably the two most dominant ’cross racers of both the 2009-2010 and the 2010-2011 seasons are putting in some miles together in Mallorca; Jeremy Powers has been logging the big miles for his debut race at the Tour of California, will we see him spend another day out in the break? If you’re looking for the perfect off-season race that mixes bike handling skills, ’cross bikes, and a little bit of mud, then look no further than the Paris 2 Ancaster, where Adam Myerson put together a quite respectable performance; With the London Olympic games coming up, many riders are looking for a shot at a gold medal in the XC mountain bike race, but is the course more suited to a ’crosser?

Katie Compton Survives and Keeps Pushing
If people ever says that Katie Compton is not one of the toughest women in cycling, then they need to read the news more often. Last weekend at the annual Sea Otter Classic as Katie was making huge gains on the leaders during the cross country mountain bike race, she had one of the scariest experiences of her life. Katie was stung by a bee and shortly thereafter went into anaphylaxis. Fortunately there was a spectator nearby with an epi-pen to keep her stable until EMS could arrive. Well, here’s the part where Katie gets the award: only a few days after the life-threatening day, Katie was back on a plane and heading to South Africa for the first XC World Cup of the year in St. Petermaritzburg. Katie has made it publicly known for a while that one of her big goals is going to the London Olympics, and gathering World Cup and UCI points is the way to do it. Good luck this weekend Katie, let’s see if you can get yourself on that podium box!

Marianne Vos, is she a Robot?
Marianne Vos has been a featured rider throughout Rumors & Rumblings for several weeks now, but when she’s mopping up the competition in every which way, we can’t help but notice. At this week’s Fleche Wallone, Marianne Vos stormed away with another victory. Vos, like Compton, is the Energizer bunny of women’s racing, and whatever she dips her toe into comes out gold. Keep it up Marianne, we can’t wait to see you and Katie face each other again next year during ’cross season.

Nys and Stybar Training Together
Two of the most dominant ’crossers have been logging the miles together in Mallorca. Zdenek Stybar and Sven Nys are obviously prepping differently and for two different types of events. But if the two train together that might explain why they’ve been so dominant the past few years. We already know that Nys and Stybar are two ’crossers looking to head to London for the Olympics, but they’ve decided to do it in different ways. Stybar headed to a Pro Tour road team and Nys will be chasing vital points at the UCI World Cup. Will their preparation bring them both to the Olympic games? Stay tuned.

Powers Looking for Another Successful Tour of California
From JPow’s twitter account we hear that he’s been logging the serious miles in preparation for the 2011-2012 racing season. Last year Powers put together a huge Tour of California ride, spending one stage in the break for over a 100 kilometers. Well, with the kind of hours we’re guessing he’s putting in, it sounds like he’s on tap to do that again. Maybe Powers and Boom will head out together again and drag each other all the way to the line. All of us cyclocross fans will be on the edge of our seats for that stage.

Myerson Puts Together a Respectable Ride at the Perfect Off-Season ’Cross Race
If you haven’t heard of it yet, there is a race held in Ontario called the Paris 2 Ancaster, the perfect off-season ’cross race. It’s a 60-kilometer mixed road, dirt road and trail race and the ideal bike is a ’cross bike. This year, Adam Myerson headed that way instead of his usual road race and showed that he’s got the chops to ride at the front of any type of race, especially a two hour ’cross race. Even with a flat tire, he still finished in the top 10. If you’re looking for that off-season race experience that isn’t a road race and isn’t a ’cross race, go look up the Paris 2 Ancaster for next year. If you can’t wait until next spring, well I hear there is a similar race happening in Utah this year called “The Crusher Race.”

Is the London Olympic Mountain Bike Course a Glorified ’Cross Course?
Geoff Kabush (veteran Olympic MTB’er and ’crosser) and Jose Antonio-Hermida (current XC World Champion) had a quick chat about the state of the London Olympic Mountain Bike race course. Can you ride it on a road bike? Or even a ’cross bike? Well check out the video, because it looks to me like a course where ’crossers will dominate. Maybe Nino Schurter and Julien Absalon will do a few more ’cross races next year in preparation?