As the moments grew closer to the start of the Single Speed race on Friday afternoon on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate I was reluctant to head to the starting grid. I stood and stared into the French Broad River as it swelled closer to the banks from rains early in the week, I thought about the overwhelming heat of the opening weekend in Rochester and how unbelievably refreshing a dip in a river like this would have been. I thought about the 155 crazy bastards I was about to line up with and how I just wanted to get through the first lap without getting my bike mangled in a stroke of bad luck, and how this was it, no race next weekend, nor the weekend after. I stared at the water and continued to hesitate as the familiar voice of Richard Fries called us to staging. Just as I stared at that river I have been staring at this blank page on my computer screen off and all day. I am reluctant to start typing because much like the race efforts I would put out a week ago this will likely be my last post for the season, much like the French Broad River ends in Douglas Lake, cyclocross season ends in January.
I thought I would make this a greatest hits post but lets be honest greatest hits only really scratch the surface, and I wanted to make sure we got into the deep cuts. Nationals is a celebration of the sport, a festival of all things cyclocross and just like a festival sometimes you catch something amazing on the second stage. CXHairs teammate Libbey Sheldon opened things up under sunny skies with a 4th place in the Women’s 50-54 race.
On Friday a pile of us flying the CXHairs took on half the population of Asheville in the Single Speed race and oh yeah Asheville is a wonderful place, tucked away in the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains. Friday also saw the collegiate championships take place and our very own Kevin Hays lined up with some heavy hitters including eventual and perhaps inevitable winner of the D1 mens event Drew Dillman.
Saturday brought us some experimental acts in the ways of the industry races, collegiate relays and the doughnut race, and to be honest I still don’t know what the hell a doughnut race is because we left early to go skate the Food Lion Skatepark.
Sunday came early, maybe too early for the amount of local scenery we took in. Two things happened on Sunday that most had expected and maybe even demanded, Katie Compton and Jeremy Powers both won their respective races. I’m not trying to play down their efforts, not in the least, both of their performances were incredible much like going to see The Sword on a Tuesday night under a cloud of medicinals, you know they are both gonna bring the heavy stuff.
Powers and Compton weren’t the only ones bringing heavy riffs on Sunday, Georgia Gould showed she can smash a ‘cross course whenever she sees fit, Ellen Noble tuned down 4 octaves and shredded the muddy course to win another U23 title and Tobin Ortenblad rode the lightning to his first national championship.
As another season comes to end I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone at CXHairs for making this an incredible season, for letting me contribute here at the site, sleep at their houses and make me delicious curry dishes. I look forward to next season how the site continues to grow.
[Editor’s Note: No, thank you, Brett! The word and the pictures. We always look forward to them. Case in point, see below for the rest of Brett’s photos including some fantastic portrait work.]