As much as we want it to be, it cannot be cyclocross season year round. Rumors & Rumblings is here to keep you up to date on what cyclocross stars are up to get ready for ‘cross season.

This weekend, Emma White and Ellen Noble took to the streets of Minnesota at the North Star Grand Prix Stage Race, Wout Van Aert got revenge on Mathieu van der Poel by topping his rival in a sprint at the Elfstedenronde road race in Belgium, ‘cross racers lived the #critlife at North Star and Tour of America’s Dairyland, Katerina Nash and Geoff Kabush won a bit of a different mountain bike race in Bend, and then they headed to Carson City for an epic ride.  

Emma White and Ellen Noble Star are Stars of the North

Emma White and Ellen Noble have been racing against each other for years in cyclocross, and with Noble racing her first full season on the road, the two got the opportunity to throw down on the pavement this weekend as well. White and Noble were in the Minneapolis area for the five-day, six-race North Star Grand Prix. The event featured three criteriums, two road races, one time trial (and a partridge in a pear tree?), including Sunday’s Stillwater Criterium that some have described as “the toughest criterium in America” thanks to the climb up Chilkoot Hill and ensuing descent.

White took the lead in the GC chase after Wednesday’s St. Paul criterium and did not relinquish the leader’s jersey for the remainder of the Grand Prix.

She took podium spots at three of the last four races, including a third-place finish at the Stillwater Criterium, to win the GC overall title by four seconds over Marlies Mejias and Ruth Winder of the elite United Health Care Pro Cycling team.

Ellen Noble had a successful trip to the northern reaches of the Upper Midwest as well. After Noble got close to the podium in Tulsa, she had two outstanding crits at the North Star GP. Noble can be seen in the video above taking third at the St. Paul Criterium, and she followed up that performance with a second third-place finish at the Minneapolis Uptown Criterium on Friday.

In typical Ellen Noble fashion, she also shared an important cycling life lesson for stage race racing:

Van Aert Tops Van der Poel to get Sprint Revenge

Last month, Mathieu van der Poel topped rival Wout Van Aert in a sprint at the Tour of Belgium. This past weekend, the two cyclocross phenoms lined up against one another at the Elfstedenronde road race that began and ended in the city of Bruges.

The two found themselves in a bunch sprint coming down the finishing stretch, and unlike last time when Van der Poel effectively used Van Aert as a lead out, Van Aert pounced at the right moment to grab the victory ahead of Van der Poel.

We get the impression cyclocross fans will be very happy if Van Aert and Van der Poel incorporate more thrilling sprint finishes into their “Beautiful Duel” this Fall and Winter.

Other Cyclocrossers Live the #Critlife

Minnesota and Wisconsin are rivals in college football, and this weekend they were competing for the attention of U.S. cycling fans with the North Star Grand Prix and the start of the 11-day Tour of America’s Dairyland criterium series in the Milwaukee area. Several familiar names took to the start line at ToAD, including Katie Compton, newly-minted Masters road race national champion Adam Myerson, cyclocross Masters national champion Christina Gokey-Smith, and young star, and lover of bacon, Laurel Rathbun.

Several men ‘crossers also made the trip to North Star in Minnesota. Maxx Chance and Tobin Ortenblad took 9th and 13th, respectively, at Sunday’s Stillwater Criterium.

Nash and Kabush Win the Blitz in Bend

Thus far in this edition of Rumors and Rumblings, it is becoming clear that criteriums are becoming a favorite type of #crossiscoming training for cyclocross racers. Some riders, however, have chosen to engage in a different type of off-season training.

Last Wednesday, mountain bike stars descended on Bend, Oregon for the Tetherow Blitz mountain bike race/party. The 18-mile race included several sections of single track and concluded on the patio of a golf course where riders had to quaff a beer to finish the race. The women’s contingent included familiar names such as Katerina Nash and Maghalie Rochette and the men’s start list included Geoff Kabush, Troy Wells, Todd Wells, Cody Kaiser, and Carl Decker.

In the women’s race, Nash and Rochette got off the front and found themselves in a decisive beer chug-off on the golf course club house patio.  Said Nash about the finish (thanks to the Bend Bulletin for a great story from this event) “She was riding so strong, but I was like, man, I know I got the drinking,” Nash said. “I think I could take her down. Because I’ve seen her drink, and it’s not good. She’s an amazing cyclist, but …”

In the men’s race, Geoff Kabush beat out Todd Wells and Cody Kaiser to take home the title.

It also appears some of our old cyclocross heroes were there in a spectating capacity:

Nash, Kabush Dominate Fat Tire Crit at Carson City Off-Road Epic Rides

So maybe we lied if we said Katerina Nash was completely eschewing crits this summer. She did line up for the fat tire criterium at the Carson City Off-Road festival and won the event over a field stacked with cyclocross stars. Sofia Gomez Villafane took 4th, Maghalie Rochette 5th, Crystal Anthony 7th and Mindy McCutcheon 8th. On the Men’s side, Geoff Kabush added to his palmares with a victory ahead of Todd Wells (2nd), Carl Decker (7th) and Cody Kaiser (19th).

During Sunday’s backcountry cross country race, the cyclocross Women again filled up the Top Ten. Nash finished 3rd, Rochette 5th, Anthony 6th and Gomez Villafane 7th. On the Men’s side, Todd Wells took 8th and Carl Decker took 14th. The winning time for the men was nearly four hours, so there is no false advertising in the series’ Epic Rides title.

Stay tuned to Rumors & Rumblings for more updates from #crossiscoming season. Drop us a line at [email protected] or on Twitter (@cyclocross) if you have any rumors and rumblings you think we should know about.