Daphny van den Brand is going into her last season of racing before retiring. File Photo.

by Kat Statman

Wow, mid-August is upon us and that can only mean one thing: pulling out the practice barriers, heading to the local park and getting our hup on! With that, Jesse Anthony has certainly been getting his hup on at the Tour of Utah, can he take the points jersey? Johnson and Wells head high to attempt to race 100 miles above 10,000 feet. Amy Dombroski has been productive and looks to be on track with her ’cross program. Daphny Van Den Brand has announced her retirement after the 2011–2012 racing season, can she do the triple? Logan Owen continues his upward movement with a win in Belgium. In this week’s working man’s edition: Tristan Schouten and Brian Matter head to the first round of the Midwest Triple Crown, The Ore to Shore.

Jesse Anthony, do we have to say anymore?
Anthony has been having the best season he could have imagined on the road. An Overall Win at the Nature Valley Grand Prix, in contention for KOM jersey at the Tour of California and now a stage win by outsprinting Pro Tour veterans in the Tour of Utah. Not only did he outsprint those veterans, but he’d been on the attack and in the break for quite a bit more time than any of them. Now, after that impressive ride and win, he is in the running for the points jersey! Can anyone say, “Mr. Anthony come on over to Europe!” Man, what a great day for us ’cross fans that like road racing too!

Tim Johnson and Todd Wells go after the Leadville 100.
Yes, there has been way too much press about this insanely physically demanding 100 mile mountain bike race that is less than ten percent singletrack in the Colorado High Country, but, with a former multiple-time ’cross national champion and a current ’cross national champion towing the line you have to say something, right? Wells has been having another one of his career seasons where he has been strong and consistent from the beginning, so we know that if the cards play out right, he will be in the mix. But Johnson, well, he was in the break or at least gave it a shot at the Cascade Classic, so I guess he’s in good form, but we really have no way to tell until the race really gets going up and over Columbine.

Amy Dombroski keeps her focus squarely on ’cross as she races herself into form
It is still rare to find racers (at the professional level) that are able to really devote themselves to ’cross. It’s tough, the sponsorship situation is bleak, though noticeably getting better each and every year. The travel in the US for one hour races is horrendous (flying 12 hours in a weekend to race bikes for a total of two hours is nuts!) and the equipment is exponential (two bikes, six wheelsets and tubulars, spare tubulars, spare shoes, clothing for all weather conditions, etc.) … But Amy is giving it a go and that requires a big chapeau! With a good summer of road and mountain bike racing, she should be flying and bringing up the level of the US women’s ’cross field, which just gets faster and faster every year!

A Tip of the Hat to Daphny Van Den Brand!
In sad professional women’s racing news, Daphny Van Den Brand has announced that the 2011–2012 season will be her last. Earlier in the year, she had told Cyclocross Magazine of her plan to retire in 2012, but now they’ve been confirmed. Daphny has been a mainstay at the front of the women’s professional field with an impressive results list including multiple 10 Dutch National Cyclocross Championships, two European Cyclocross Championships, one World Cyclocross Championship and one Dutch National Mountain Bike Championship. So, with 35 races left in her career, what is she shooting for? Well, only the biggest and the best. Daphny wants to win the Dutch Championships, the European Championships and the World Championships on a “true ’cross course,” as she calls Koksijde. Good luck Daphny, we know you’ll be up there!

Logan Owen Takes Another Step Towards the Big Leagues!
Owen is one of the many young American bike racers that headed over to Europe for a little bit of summer road racing, but he is one of the few to come home with a win. Owen won the Egem Kermesse against what I can only assume is a strong Belgian field. Well, if you’re winning races in Europe already, then we can only imagine what you may be able to do in the future. Owen made the cover of Cyclocross Magazine’s Issue 13 with the headline, “The Next Nys?” and clearly he’s working hard already to make that prediction come true. Keep up the good work, Logan, and keep those legs fresh for ’cross season!

Working Man’s Edition: Schouten and Matter
Normally in the working man’s edition, we talk about some impressive result for one of the many working man heroes out there or a new team announcement or something that deserves mention, considering all the extra hard work these guys put in. This week we’re going to take a slightly different look and keep our eyes on the future. This weekend is the beginning of the fabled Midwest Triple Crown with the 48 mile Ore to Shore mountain bike race. So why are we talking about it? Pretty simple, regular mention in the Working Man’s Edition Tristan Schouten will be towing the line to try to win this event. But the competition won’t be easy with Brian Matter, another Working Man ’cross racer, there to try and stop him. Schouten has never been able to seal the deal at the Ore to Shore, is it the distance? Or is he already preparing for ’cross season and not worried about his top end fitness in the middle of August, as he should be? Either way, good luck Tristan, hoping one day you’re not one of the working men, if that’s in your sights!