Jonathan Page, here at Heerlen, moves up in the Belgacom Mountain Bike Series. © Bart Hazen

Jonathan Page, here at Heerlen, moves up in the Belgacom Mountain Bike Series. © Bart Hazen

by Kat Statman

It’s been a few weeks since Rumors and Rumblings, but things have been going on in the rumor mills around the ’cross world. There are races going on, ’cross racers showing their mettle and other ’crossers building their form day by day. So, where are things? Lars Boom has abandoned the Tour. US and Canadian mountain bike nationals are set for this weekend, can anyone unseat Geoff Kabush or stop Todd Wells‘ stars and stripes jersey collection? While that’s happening, the race course rivalry between Katie Compton and Georgia Gould is sure to come to light. Tim Johnson is a glutton for punishment as he prepares for ’cross season. Sven Nys dominates the knobby tires and dirt racing in Belgium. Jonathan Page goes from row 25 to seventh in the Belgacom mountain bike series. Kathy Sherwin is still putting solid results together against the worlds best. The US Pro ’cross circuit gets another jolt of enthusiasm with the NEPCX. This week’s Working Man’s Edition goes to Chris Sheppard for his win at the BC Bike Race.

Lars Boom Abandons Le Grande Boucle
Lars Boom out of the Tour? After such success spending time in breaks and general Boom-style riding, the big man from the Netherlands has succumbed to the high speed of this year’s edition. After a cold and wet stage 11 in the break, Boom must be worn out and ready for some rest. All that Grand Tour racing will do that to you, especially when you spend so much time at the front. Let’s hope that Boom can recover, race the Vuelta and World Road Race Championships and finally come to destroy some cold and wet ’cross races.

Mountain Bike National Championships to Crossers?
’Crossers around the world are lining up to unseat mountain bikers at their respective national championships. What races should we be watching this weekend? Well, Todd Wells will be trying to win his fourth consecutive National Championship after his dominant 2010 season when it came to capturing the stars and stripes. Katie Compton and Georgia Gould will be rekindling their race day rivalries in Ketchum, Idaho. Who can tackle the steep climb and altitude the best? Geoff Kabush will be looking to defend and lengthen his record as the Canadian National Mountain Bike Champion, which without his own bike might be difficult. Is Rocky Mountain going to give him one of those new fancy touring bikes to get through the weekend?

Tim Johnson to tackle the Crusher in the Tushar
Burke Swindlehurst is not a ’cross racer, though I would not be surprised if he has lined up for a few of the hours of power in his long and storied career. Though as the veteran from Utah he has retired, he has moved on to find new ways to make bike racers suffer, other than his legs. This weekend h is running the Crusher in the Tushar, a heinous day on the bike where most riders are opting to use their ’cross bikes to handle the mixture of dirt and pavement in the Utah high country. So who’s signed up to suffer? None other than Tim Johnson.

Sven Nys, knobby tire mastermind
Sven Nys, jack of all trades? Nys has always had a penchant for riding fast when knobby tires, dirt and multiple laps are involved. Well, even as he ages, that doesn’t stop. In the Belgian Grand Prix race, Nys bested the young and adept mountain biker Tom Meeusen.

Jonathan Page, working on that last row start
Jonathan Page has been holding down the mountain bike fort to prepare for his fall and winter campaign in Belgium. Page has been using the Belgacom Mountain Bike Series this summer to prepare for the fall and with some solid results, it seems to be going his way for sure. In one of the early races of the series he went from row 25 on the start grid to finish inside the top ten. Wonder what would have happened had he been able to start near the front?

Kathy Sherwin, keeping things together on the World Cup Circuit
Kathy Sherwin puts together a solid ride against the world’s best. It is no easy feat to line up at the back of a start grid of the world’s best racers, but Kathy clearly has the guts to do it and pull together a solid result. Finishing in 47th, Kathy held on to finish on the lead lap, which as I’ve said a number of times, is a huge feat unto itself.

NEPCX, bringing more national level cross racing to the US
The US pro ’cross circuit is shaping up to be a good one this year with two national level series on tap for this fall. Not only do we have the USGP (though not the oldest series, it has become a mainstay in the US national ’cross scene) but this week the New England Professional Cyclocross Series was announced. This eight race series in New England was developed after the Verge Series was banned from the UCI and will be providing national level racing in New England. With a schedule of the classic New England races on tap, it is sure to attract the best racers both in New England, if not the country. It’s never a bad sign when there are more series on the calendar.

Working Man’s Edition
Chris Sheppard isn’t lumped into this category too often, but holding down a real job along with a new baby girl puts the Canadian ’cross national champion solidly in this category. Sheppard may have only won one stage but he was consistent enough throughout the ultimate singletrack experience to hold the lead in the BC Bike Race. We know that Sheppard won’t be at all of the big ’cross events this fall, but when he does roll up he will definitely animate the racing.