The Big Picture: 2017 U.S. Cyclocross Nationals (Elite Men)

With a course full of icy ruts formed by days of racing, dozens of dicey corners and descents topped with a fresh blanket of snow, all bets were off for the Men’s Elite Cylocross National Championship in Hartford. It was anyone’s race and early on it looked like any pre-race predictions might be tossed aside. After leading up the Bonk Breaker Hill climb on the first lap, Stephen Hyde (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld) fell and his bike tumbled down the grade, indicating that even the race favorites would struggle.

For spectators (and photographers) out on course, it was an impressive display of skill and determination. Riders were being tossed from rut to rut, making it difficult to keep momentum and put down power. Racers’ abilities to fight frustration were a major factor and as was fight the fear of catastrophic mechanical failure.

In the end, many of the top-ranked riders held on for high finishes, with the notable exception of reigning champ Jeremy Powers. Some rising stars also made their mark, including Jack Kisserberth (JAM Fund/NCC) in fourth and Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz Factory Racing) in fifth.

Stephen Hyde carries his broken bike across the line and wins his first national championship. (photo by © 2017 Bruce Buckley)
Cody Kaiser navigating the slick line at the top of Bonk Breaker Hill. Kaiser landed a top-10 finish at the end of the day. (photo by © 2017 Ethan Glading)
Following weeks of recovery, Anthony Clark made his return to racing in Hartford. (photo by © 2017 Ethan Glading)
Eventual podium finisher and the pride of Pennsylvania, Kerry Werner, capped off an impressive season in Hartford. (photo by © 2017 Bruce Buckley)
On Bonk Breaker Hill, Stephen Hyde tosses his glasses and gets on with business. (photo by © 2017 Ethan Glading)
Alan Krughoff traded blows near the front early in the race, but in the end matched his bib number, finishing in tenth. (photo by © 2017 Bruce Buckley)
After firmly establishing his place among the elites this season, Tobin Ortenblad capped it off by finishing fifth in his first Elite Nationals. (photo by © 2017 Bruce Buckley)
Hyde descends the VW pro-only section before hitting the start/finish straight.(photo by © 2017 Bruce Buckley)
Jamey Driscoll and Kerry Werner battling it out for second place. (photo by © 2017 Ethan Glading)
Jamey Driscoll on a tricky-off camber turn on his way to nearly catching Hyde on the finishing straight. (photo by © 2017 Ethan Glading)
Stephen Hyde carries his broken bike across the line and wins his first national championship. (photo by © 2017 Bruce Buckley)

 

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