Running across the finish line on foot ahead of a sprinting Jamey Driscoll (Clement) is probably not how Stephen Hyde (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) envisioned winning his first U.S. Cyclocross National Championship, but it will suffice for the red-haired rider.
“You never know how races are going to work out, and this is a particularly epic race course and conditions. So it went as good as it could’ve gone.”
After taking the lead midway through the race, Hyde dominated the latter portion of the race until a mechanical-plagued last half lap almost dashed his National Championship dream.
Hyde hit the back half of the course with a 15-second gap back to Driscoll when he suffered a flat front tire. Already past the pits, Hyde was forced to continue riding on the damaged front tire as Driscoll made one final late-race surge to get back to him.
With the finish line in sight, Hyde suffered a second, more catastrophic mechanical on the last off-camber before the steep elite-only section. His flat front tire slipped out on the icy, rutted off-camber and when he crashed to the ground, he broke his derailleur hanger, leaving the component dangling lifelessly off his bike.
— TheSlowRidePodcast (@TheSlowRidePod) January 8, 2017
After summiting the run-up, Hyde coasted down the descent onto the start/finish straight. He gave a few skateboard pushes on the pavement, looked back, and when he saw Driscoll’s new red Clement kit rounding the corner, he hopped off his bike and sprinted the last few meters with his bike raised above his head.
Hyde said ultimately, it was the gap he built up that gave him the win, “I was focused. I was terrified. I had a front flat tire for the last half lap. Jamey [Driscoll] was coming pretty good. And another mechanical right before the line. It was hairy, for sure, but I had a good gap built up, and it worked out.”
Fast Start for Eckmann
Hyde took the holeshot and led the racers into the first trip up the embankment, but once on the top, he crashed while trying to ride the narrow high line at the top of the unique feature. A traffic jam formed behind Hyde, and the lower line emerged as the better choice for the first lap.
Hyde said this mistake made his challenge on Sunday a bit tougher:
“I had a mishap. I got the holeshot and did exactly what I wanted to do, but then I kind of slipped on the run-up and I just got clobbered. I mean those guys just came running up over me. I just made mistake after mistake the first 45 seconds of the race, and it’s critical there. So I had some ground to make up and I made some smart moves where I could, and had some battling with Jonathan Page back and forth, and luckily was able to pedal my way back up.”
One of the beneficiaries of Hyde’s mishap was Yannick Eckmann (Boulder Cycle-Sport/YogaGlo). Eckmann rode half of the embankment section along the bottom before running up the hill. He was able to open up a sizeable gap heading off the levee as the other riders dealt with the melee behind Eckmann.
One of the riders caught in traffic was three-time defending National Champion Jeremy Powers. Powers fell behind Hyde and then suffered a major crash in the woods that injured his knee and essentially ended his chance at contending for the podium in Hartford.
Hyde Breaks Away, Kisseberth Has Career Day
With two laps in the books, a large group of seven riders sat at the front of the race. Hyde had worked his way up to the front and took the lead of the group heading out onto the course for lap three. Hyde crashed on the slick levee off-camber, but was able to retain his lead because other riders could not maneuver around him.
Hyde eventually got off the front solo while the chase behind him sorted itself out. Kerry Werner (Kona Endurance Team) was with Hyde for a while, and then Jack Kisseberth (JAM Fund/NCC) took up the chase in second.
As the afternoon progressed, Kisseberth would emerge as one of the stories of the afternoon. The JAM Fund rider has experienced success in the Northeastern U.S., but on Sunday the entire nation would begin to learn his name.
He would ultimately finish the race in fourth, drawing huge cheers from the New England crowd each time he rode up the steep elite-only section and navigated the icy descent. As he crossed the finish line he pumped his right arm to celebrate the ride of his young cyclocross career.
Driscoll Diesels to the Front
Jamey Driscoll came into Sunday’s race as a bit of an X-factor. Driscoll recently became a father; his child was born two months ago. He took a month off of racing between October and November before returning to the cyclocross circuit two months before Nationals.
Driscoll got off to a slow start on Sunday, but could be seen slowly working his way through the field while getting stronger and stronger as the race progressed. He eventually worked his way to the second position midway through the race and took over the duty of chasing down Hyde.
Driscoll said it was challenging to ride hard but clean and deal with the ice that continued to emerge as temperatures dropped in the late afternoon:
“Everyone was telling me smooth and steady, and people were kinda going too deep and making mistakes because of it, and I just had to ride inside my limits and try to minimize mistakes, and I think it succeeded. I actually had to pit a couple of times because there were times where I was doing the long sections in between pits unable to clip in because the mud on the sunny hill would then freeze in the shade. That was a tough part. I can only imagine that other people were dealing with the same issue.”
Werner Has Rad Afternoon for Third
Coming into the Hartford Nationals, Werner had won three Collegiate Cyclocross National Championships, but his best Elite finish was 5th in Asheville in 2016. After having a successful ‘cross season this year, Werner told Cyclocross Magazine he had his sights set on the podium.
Werner put himself in position to achieve his goal by getting off to a strong start and distinguishing himself from the large group that formed early in the race. He rode with Stephen Hyde for a while before settling into the bronze medal position behind Driscoll.
A former teammate of Driscoll’s, Werner said he knew holding off the new father was going to be difficult,
“I was teammates with Jamey last year, and I’m very aware of his style of racing. So it was kind of a bittersweet moment, because you know, I was still up there for the second-place battle. But I knew that with Jamey up there at the end of the race, usually if he’s up there toward the end of the race he’s going to go full gas. He usually gets better at the end of the race so I knew I had my work cut out for me.”
Werner hails from Pennsylvania and has a strong mountain bike background, so he said he was prepared for whatever weather New England had to dish out at the Hartford Nationals:
“It was weird because it definitely kept changing throughout the race. It actually did the opposite of what I thought it was going to do. I thought it was going to get more muddy and wet but it actually got way more icy, which was interesting because by the end of the race maybe muds weren’t the best option. But yeah, the course was rad. Definitely a bit out there in terms of what we’re normally used to seeing. But that’s New England and you gotta live up to what it’s gonna give you. I’m excited. It was fun.”
Hyde Risk, Hyde Reward
Stephen Hyde has made a name for himself by riding cyclocross courses aggressively. This season part of his success is due to his ability to minimize big crashes or other untimely mistakes. As it became apparent a healthy amount of snow would fall on Riverside Park before the race, one of the questions that emerged was whether Hyde would be too aggressive for the slick, rutted, technical course.
Hyde said his plan was to push the pace as far as he could on the tough course:
“On a course like this, there’s not a lot of pedaling to do, so time can come from just being, not reckless, but being on the edge. So I changed tires a couple laps in, and things started to freeze back up, so it was getting colder, so I switched back over to file treads, and it made a world of difference. A lot of the snow was getting pushed out of the lines and it was just sheet ice everywhere. I really just needed to take some chances here and there, and be as smooth as possible in the other ways.”
Driscoll echoed Hyde’s sentiments about feeling good with the technical aspects. He said if he had gotten going a little earlier, maybe he could have been able to take advantage of Hyde’s misfortune as his teammate Lance Haidet did in the Men’s U23 race,
“I was just in the zone even more. I felt like I had the course pretty dialed. And yeah, I just wish I had a little bit more in the tank. The legs didn’t feel awesome today but you know, the skills definitely were there, and yeah, I just wish I had a little bit more to make it a real race, because he got away and just not quite enough combo legs and skills to bring him back.”
Stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine for more coverage from the 2017 Cyclocross Nationals in Hartford.
2017 CX National Championships Hartford Results - Elite Men
|1||2||Stephen HYDE||Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||1:05:03|
|2||5||James DRISCOLL||Clement Pro Cycling||1:05:05|
|3||4||Kerry WERNER||Kona Enduance Team||1:05:34|
|4||12||Jack KISSEBERTH||JAM Fund / NCC||1:05:59|
|5||3||Tobin ORTENBLAD||San Cruz Factory Racing||1:06:07|
|6||11||Yannick ECKMANN||Boulder Cycle Sport/ YogaGlo||1:06:36|
|8||17||Todd WELLS||SRAM-Troy Lee Designs Racing Te||1:07:52|
|9||18||Cody KAISER||Lange Twins/Specialized||1:01:16|
|10||10||Allen KRUGHOFF||Boulder Cycle Sport/ YogaGlo||1:01:47|
|11||8||Jeremy DURRIN||Neon Velo Cycling Team||1:01:51|
|13||30||Merwin DAVIS||Cyclus Sports||1:02:19|
|14||25||Scott SMITH||JAM Fund / NCC||1:02:47|
|15||45||Bjorn SELANDER||Borah Teamwear||55:45:00|
|16||22||Kevin BRADFORD-PARISH||SET Coaching||55:54:00|
|18||26||Andrew JUILIANO||ROCK LOBSTER||56:22:00|
|19||27||Daniel CHABANOV||HOUSE INDUSTRIES - WITHINGS - S||48:21:00|
|20||24||Casey HILDEBRANDT||The Underground Project||48:34:00|
|21||19||Robert MARION||American Classic Cyclocross Tea||48:36:00|
|22||20||Eric THOMPSON||HED p/b Molten Speed Wax||48:44:00|
|23||47||Skyler TRUJILLO||Fort Lewis College||48:52:00|
|24||1||Jeremy POWERS||Aspire Racing||48:59:00|
|25||14||Anthony CLARK||Squid Bikes||49:17:00|
|26||33||Dylan POSTIER||Renewed Cyclocross||49:18:00|
|28||35||Brendan MCCORMACK||CCB Racing||49:36:00|
|30||32||Samuel OKEEFE||HOUSE INDUSTRIES - WITHINGS - S||50:12:00|
|31||40||Michael MIHALIK||J Mac Cycling LLC||41:34:00|
|32||39||Tyler CLOUTIER||Renewed Cyclocross||41:35:00|
|33||13||Dan TIMMERMAN||Stans NoTubes Elite CX||41:37:00|
|34||41||Mike FESTA||Philadelphia Ciclismo||42:09:00|
|35||29||Alex RYAN||MOB PRO CYCLING TEAM||42:38:00|
|36||28||Jake WELLS||Stans NoTubes Elite CX||42:38:00|
|37||31||Ryan WOODALL||Team TGB||34:02:00|
|38||37||Andy SCOTT||Riverside Racing||34:30:00|
|40||6||Daniel SUMMERHILL||UCI PCT: UnitedHealthcare||34:38:00|
|41||43||Jesse STAUFFER||Lateral Stress Velo Inc.||35:15:00|
|42||42||Tim WILLIS||King Kog||35:19:00|
|DNS||44||David GREIF||Sabino Cycles Racing|
|DNS||46||Erik TONKIN||Team S&M|