The Big Picture: DCCX 2016

[Editor’s note: CXHairs mainstay, Bruce Buckley, was on site at DCCX to capture the weekend in all its glory. Along with Bruce’s words and photos below, you can find a full gallery of his images from DCCX here: www.brucebuckleyphotography.com/Sports/Cyclocross/DCCX-2016/.]

Urban ‘cross racers are on a seemingly endless hunt for the perfect spot. Within the city limits, property is at a premium and bikes are usually prohibited in public green space. And so the search goes for that secluded corner of a park or that piece of abandoned property where you can cobble together a mini course for mid-week practices. Old staircases and punchy little climbs where you can do some session work. Stretches of lightly traveled pavement where you can work on your starts and knock out short intervals.

Despite some rain during the week, conditions were dusty and blustery through the weekend.
Despite some rain during the week, conditions were dusty and blustery through the weekend. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography

Ten years ago, when members of DCMTB went searching for a venue to host a ‘cross race within the District, they found their spot. Tucked in the corner of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in northwest D.C., the club took an overgrown and unused collection of fields and carved out what would become one of the premier cyclocross venues on the East Coast.

The DCCX course incorporates several of the historic structures on the Armed Forces Retirement Home property.
The DCCX course incorporates several of the historic structures on the Armed Forces Retirement Home property. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography

Over the years, DCMTB (which has co-hosted the race with Crosshairs Cycling since 2014) has refined the course’s concept, taking advantage of the property’s undulating natural features and incorporating AFRH’s historic infrastructure.

Although it's an urban event, the course flows through idyllic settings.
Although it’s an urban event, the course flows through idyllic settings. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
DCCX makes getting up early worth the effort. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
DCCX makes getting up early worth the effort. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
Day Two proved to be even drier than Day One. Who needs morning fog when you have a dust cloud.
Day Two proved to be even drier than Day One. Who needs morning fog when you have a dust cloud. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography

That ongoing effort earned the event a UCI C2 rating, drawing in top local, regional and national racers. This year, Katie Compton (KFC Racing) produced two days of dominant wins at DCCX, marking the first time a reigning elite national cyclocross champion toed the start line in D.C.

UCI Commissaire Jim Patton (right) lines Katie Compton up at the back of the Masters 35+ elite field so she could get a warm-up in before the elite women's race. She quickly worked her way to the front group and even survived a "silly crash," as she called it, to easily finish on the podium. After that warm up, Compton headed straight to staging for the elite women's race. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
UCI Commissaire Jim Patton (right) lines Katie Compton up at the back of the Masters 35+ elite field so she could get a warm-up in before the elite women’s race. She quickly worked her way to the front group and even survived a “silly crash,” as she called it, to easily finish on the podium. After that warm up, Compton headed straight to staging for the elite women’s race. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
Christel Ferrier Bruneau; Arley Kemmerer and Katie Compton battled for the podium all weekend.
Christel Ferrier Bruneau; Arley Kemmerer and Katie Compton battled for the podium all weekend. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
No, elite women's racers, you were hallucinating due to oxygen debt. That really was a mariachi band serenading you course-side.
No, elite women’s racers, you were not hallucinating due to oxygen debt. That really was a mariachi band serenading you course-side. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
After missing the podium on Day One, Arley Kemmerer bounced back with a strong performance on Day Two, earning the third step on the podium.
After missing the podium on Day One, Arley Kemmerer bounced back with a strong performance on Day Two, earning the third step on the podium. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
Compton proudly represented the Stars and Stripes in the Nation's Capital.
Compton proudly represented the Stars and Stripes in the Nation’s Capital. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
Brittlee Bowman and Kate Kirkpatrick catch their breath after a hard fought Day One women's elite race.
Brittlee Bowman and Ali Burton catch their breath after a hard fought Day One women’s elite race. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography

The men’s elite field produced some of the most exciting racing ever witnessed at DCCX with both days coming down to a sprint finish between Kerry Werner (Kona) and Dan Timmerman (Stan’s NoTubes).

On the men's elite side, the podium battle was largely between Adam Craig, Cole Oberman, Kerry Werner, Dan Timmerman and Anthony Clark.
On the men’s elite side, the podium battle was largely between Adam Craig, Cole Oberman, Kerry Werner, Dan Timmerman and Anthony Clark. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
Timmerman and Werner traded blows throughout the weekend, ending in sprint finishes both days.
Timmerman and Werner traded blows throughout the weekend, ending in sprint finishes both days. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
Oberman, Clark and Craig work together to try to reel in Werner and Timmerman on Day Two.
Oberman, Clark and Craig work together to try to reel in Werner and Timmerman on Day Two. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
Dan Chabanov clears the log obstacle on the backside of the course.
Dan Chabanov clears the log obstacle on the backside of the course. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
The bottom of the "W" descent was like a sand pit by the end of Day Two. Timmerman made easy work of it.
The bottom of the “W” descent was like a sand pit by the end of Day Two. Timmerman made easy work of it. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
The "W" descent didn't go well for all of the elites, but at least it offered a soft landing.
The “W” descent didn’t go well for all of the elites, but at least it offered a soft landing. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
Cole Oberman leads the front group into the "W" descent.
Cole Oberman leads the front group into the “W” descent. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
High fives from Werner (right) and Timmerman, who took the top spots on Day One.
High fives from Werner (right) and Timmerman, who took the top spots on Day One. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography

 

At the end of Day 1, Clark and Craig gave all they had, but came up short of the top steps.
At the end of Day 1, Clark and Craig gave all they had, but came up short of the top steps. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
UCI podium protocols are still a work in progress. Day 1 results: Werner (first place, right); Timmerman (second place, left) and Clark (third place, center).
UCI podium protocols are still a work in progress. Day 1 results: Werner (first place, right); Timmerman (second place, left) and Clark (third place, center). © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
Locally based Cole Oberman was the revelation of weekend, sticking with the elite leaders all weekend and earning the respect of the crowd.
Locally based Cole Oberman was the revelation of the weekend, sticking with the elite leaders and earning the respect of the crowd. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography

But what’s most notable about DCCX today is the growth of the event itself. You see the diversity of DC on full display, from bike couriers to K Street lawyers and everything in between. Plenty of local foods are on offer and there’s even some course-side entertainment (this year it was a mariachi band). The local cycling community and racers from around the region have truly embraced DCCX and, for one weekend every year, made it their spot.

The DC Dutch Club's "Poffertjes" (little pancakes) have become a DCCX staple over the years.
The DC Dutch Club’s “Poffertjes” (little pancakes) have become a DCCX staple over the years. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
Cadets from teh Captial Guardian Youth Challenge Academy were on hand to help with course crossing duties this year.
Cadets from the Capital Guardian Youth Challenge Academy were on hand to help with course crossing duties this year. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
Dombrowski traded in his Canondale cape for a "Dombrewski" jersey, in honor of the release of his limited-edition craft beer on Saturday. Seen here with DCCX Race Director Taylor Jones.
Local guy and pro Roadie, Joe Dombrowski traded in his Cannondale cape for a “Dombrewski” jersey, in honor of the release of his limited-edition craft beer on Saturday. Asking Joe to save him a growler or two is DCCX Race Director Taylor Jones. © 2016 Bruce Buckley Photography
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