You raced or watched the USGP Cyclocross Derby Cup in Louisville this weekend. With course tape snapping in the wind, you rang the cowbell at the fly-over, heckled Georgia Gould, followed Powers lines warming up, shielded your junior kid’s eyes from the guy cheering with a nipple-taped blow up doll and, even though you can’t draw a correlation, the three gladiators seemed to fit in with the atmosphere. You had a blast. Now, it’s Monday, November 14th. In two months, Cyclocross Masters Worlds unfolds on the same course. We’ll see real rainbow stripes pulled over team jerseys and tears of joy in the winner’s eyes. After doing my best 20/20 investigative reporting, crunching results, and talking with masters peers this weekend, I wont be surprised if those rainbow tears could be rolling down the cheek of someone we know.
It won’t be me. The way I figure it, I’m still 4 degrees of separation from the next 45-49 year old Masters World Champion. I finished in 23rd place in Day 1 of the USGP 45+ Elite Masters, an eternity of 2 minutes and 47 seconds behind the beaded bling wearing 45+ winner Jonathan Card. However, Card finished 1:12 behind a certain 3rd place Jonny Bold at Nationals last year. 45-49 year old Nationals in 2010 were won by the legendary Olympian/World MTB Champ and four time Elite Cyclocross National Champion Don Myrah. While Myrah didn’t make the trip to Mol, Belgium for Worlds last year, Bold did. He won bronze, nine seconds behind 2010 (1961-65) World Champion Marc Druvts. According to Bold’s blog, the race was very close. Sadly, Marc Druvts passed away this August.
1 Marc Druyts (Belgium) :37:28
2 Dirk Mertens (Belgium) :00:07
3 Jonny Bold (USA) :00:09
Granted you can’t compare last year’s Jonny Bold to this year’s Jonathan Card, Fred Rose or Mike McShane. Variables such as geography, course layout, weather, and jet lag come into play as well as the typical boring master’s issues of family, careers and who's going to snow blow the driveway when I'm gone. 44 year olds turn 45. 49 year olds blow out 50 candles. While it’s not a divining rod of Masters Cyclcocross, it does show the general caliber of talent present locally in Ohio Valley Cyclocross OVCX and the USGP. Take a look at the current USA cycling rankings. You may recognize a few names.
|1||214.80||Frederick Rose||Bloomington, IN||30553||45|
|2||216.22||Jonny Bold||Marstons Mills, MA||117383||47|
|3||219.53||Jonathan Card||Sylvania, OH||6078||48|
|4||221.85||Ralf Warmuth||Edison, NJ||231788||48|
|5||225.46||Michael McShane||Louisville, KY||23836||47|
|Card Tails Rose|
In the USGP 45+ Elite Masters race on Saturday, OVCX regular, Fred Rose finished 3rd, only 7 seconds off Card’s mark. Mike McShane only 32 seconds off Rose. Personally, I’m thinking Card may be even faster than last year. In lieu of having Worlds in their backyard, I think many OVCX racers have raised their game. After talking with a few Masters racers at USGP this weekend, I heard Card deliberately started training later and put less emphasis on early September races in order to focus on Nationals and Worlds.
For me, looking at the theoretical gaps between myself and guys like Bold, Myrah and the late Druvts, I’m just glad it doesn’t get too much faster than this. Staying on the lead lap at Worlds would be a dream. While it may be a few rows in back of Bold, Card, Rose, Myrah and a few Europeans getting away to tropical Louisville in January, there’s a place on the Worlds starting grid for me.
USGP CX Derby Cup 45-54 11/12/11
1 43 CARD Jonathan TEAM CARD 6078 36:56:00
2 2 BUTLER Tim WestEndBikes/Specialized 211505 37:01:00
3 11 ROSE Frederick BikeReg.com 30553 37:03:00
4 1 MCSHANE Michael Bob's Red Mill- p/b Focus Bikes 23836 37:35:00
5 65 MORSE Samuel Corner Cycle 25187 37:41:00
6 7 SIMON Wayne Enzo's/ Psimet 32742 37:41:00
7 6 LUCAS Keith Schellers Racing Team 209624 38:00:00
8 49 AUGUST Andy Park Ave Bike Shop 2073 38:03:00
9 5 KRAUSE Troy Monkey Wrench/Inglis 210684 38:11:00
10 57 CASPER Daniel GrandStay Hotels 214654 38:23:00
11 68 NISSEN Dave QCW 165977 38:25:00
12 4 STEPNIOWSKI Waldek lUNA 93056 38:43:00
13 14 FAGERBERG Erik Papa John's Racing Team 11159 38:53:00
14 32 TUCKER Troy Inside Ride 91206 38:59:00
15 56 TOTH Peter ONE DAY 39:04:00
16 12 MANDROLA John Papa Johns Racing Team 201258 39:13:00
17 61 POHLMANN Dirk Texas Roadhouse p/b Motorex 51532 39:22:00
18 63 PAGELL Mark Team WORC INTL 39:25:00
19 53 MCNAMEE Steve Le Scomparse Racing Team 189612 39:26:00
20 23 HUNTER Todd Garneau Customs p/b Powerbar/ W 178827 39:31:00
21 10 WELLSMAN Peter Pro City Racing INTL 39:33:00
22 15 MAY, SR John Papa John's Racing Team 195083 39:35:00
23 16 BELLANTE Joe BioWheels/Reece-Campbell Racing 199092 39:43:00