After successful campaign at the UCI World Cup openers in the Czech Republic, American cyclo-cross talents have returned home to resume the domestic calendar at the Colorado Cross Classic and Victory Circle Graphix Boulder Cup, both held in Boulder Colorado this weekend. The elite women will showcase recent World Cup #1 winner and UCI world standings leader Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant Offroad).
"I am looking forward to the racing, it'll be nice to load up the car instead of pack a bike for flying," Compton told Cyclingnews. "It'll be good to get some sand practice in on Saturday and I'm excited to race Valmont Park on Sunday since I haven’t been able to ride there yet. I'm sure the courses will be very different and the racing hard. We'll also get to see some friends and have a relaxing weekend after the racing and that is always a good time."
Compton, the US National Champion, won the opening World Cup held in Plzen two weeks ago and is currently leading the UCI world ranking with 1670 points, based on the newly instated 12-month rolling points system. Her nearest opponent, Czech National Champion Katerina Nash, is leading the World Cup ranking after her victory in the second World Cup in Tabor, and is currently ranked second in the UCI world ranking with a total of 1550 points.
Nash dominated the early domestic calendar with a series of six consecutive victories, her winning streak was ended by Compton during day two of the Exergy Cyclo-cross US Gran Prix New Belgium Cup in Fort Collins. Nash is not currently registered to compete during the Boulder weekend. However, notable competitors in attendance are Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), Nicole Duke (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), Caroline Mani (SRAM) and Sue Butler (River City Bicycles).
"I'm not sure Katerina is racing in Boulder but if she is that will be great," Compton said. "I think all the US girls have stepped it up this year and gotten faster which bodes well for good results in Europe. I think we all need the stronger competition to improve and keep the racing exciting. I really enjoyed the racing in Fort Collins and hope it will be that hard again."
On the men’s side, Swiss National Champion Christian Heule (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), who is currently ranked 11th on the UCI world standing, will be in attendance along with his teammates Tim Johnson and Jamie Driscoll.
Exergy USGP leader Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt) will also be on the hunt for another victory after his series of strong performances during the early season. He will no doubt be challenged by riders like Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) and Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus), who recently placed inside the top ten at the opening World Cup and is ranked 15th in the world standings.
The Colorado Cross Classic will kick off the weekend with a C2 event at the notorious Boulder Reservoir on Saturday, October 29. The course was recently cut out with a Bobcat along parts of the park and the ‘Boulder Beach’ in an effort to resemble the sandy terrain of this year’s UCI World Championships held in Koksijde, Belgium.
"We custom-built a trail through the main field at the Boulder Reservoir, opening some ridiculously fun cyclo-crossing," Bouplon said. "The city of Boulder has been amazingly supportive. We’ve also been allowed to incorporate a large amount of rideable sand, at least semi-rideable, that will prepare our riders for the World Championships."
The riders will reunite at the C1 Victory Circle Graphix Boulder Cup held on Sunday, October 30 at the newly opened Valmont Bike Park. Racers can expect a challenging three-kilometer course that plays off of the park’s steep run-ups and grass terrain.
"The course features a massive 20-foot wide and 100-foot long staircase by the beer garden that the riders have to navigate on each lap," said event promoter, Chris Grealish. "Most of the course is viewable from the hillside and it is an amazing course put together by the city of Boulder and the private fundraising effort that we have done here to make this park a reality."
The nearby city of Denver recently got its first winter storm with snow accumulation between three and five inches along with sub-freezing temperatures. Boulder itself typically has an unpredictable weather pattern, however, the snow is expected to melt and the sun to shine with temperatures reaching back into mid-60 Fahrenheit before the weekend’s events.
"The winter storm, we’ve gotten about three inches of snow so far," Bouplon said. "It will serve to further smooth out the course, reduce dust, and make everyone bring all of their tire options. The glory of Boulder is that Saturday might be a file-tread day."