Armchair Quarterbacking the CX World Championships

5:48 AM

So I thought this past Sunday was going to be a non-stop sports-o-rama with Cyclocross Worlds and the Super Bowl, but the rising Ohio River forced a move to Saturday for the final CX race of the 2012-13 season.  Looking at pictures of the course Sunday, this was probably a pretty good decision, though I still think it would be fun to see the pros race through the flooded sections of the course.  Can Sven Nys swim?
The women’s race gave us all a reminder of what cyclocross can do to even the best laid race plans – one woman goes down in the first minute and takes out a podium hopeful (the amazing Helen Wyman) and my favorite racer (Georgia Gould) along with about a dozen others.  Us web-viewers never really got to see Helen or Georgia again, as all attention shifted to the front of the field and Marianne Vos’ incredible ride to a fifth World Championship title.

I don’t think that anyone can argue against the fact that Marianne Vos is one of the greatest cyclists ever, man or woman.  On Saturday all of her skills were on display –stunning strength, quick speed out of turns, and technical bike-handling that can make one drool.  Though I was rooting for Compton to finally get the top step of the podium, you could see that Vos was in a whole other class of racers out there.  Completely untouchable. 
And she wants to try mountain biking next year…!
If the dominance of Vos’ performance didn’t make for exciting viewing, the race for bronze and silver certainly did.  Katie Compton came back from a bad first lap and powered her way through the riders to second – definitely the most gutsy race of the day.  And the back-and-forth between Katerina Nash and Lucie Chainel-LeFevre in the last lap had me cheering for both racers – too bad a dropped chain made the difference…
Simon Burney, one of the commentators, absolutely blundered when he called everything before the men’s race a “side show.”  You can count this crosser as one who tuned in primarily for the women, and stuck around for the men’s race because I didn’t have anything else to do.  I had realistic hopes for the Americans and knew I wouldn’t get to see them after the first lap, so the rest of the race really came down to cheering for anyone but the Belgians. 
Sorry, I know they invented the sport and all, but seeing a herd of Belgian riders dominate at the front is a bit of a yawn.
With that in mind we cheered mightily for Bina, Mouray, and Fontana.  Go, Go, GO anyone but the Belgians!  
But this is cross, so the Belgians did what Belgians do.  It was exciting to watch as the field was whittled down by the cross gods: a dropped chain here, a slide-out there, a few bad decisions and you were gone from the front pack.  As the race wore on, it became an easy decision for which Belgian to root for – Nys was very vocal in his support for moving the World Championship to the USA, so I’m glad he was able to pull out the win with his cool bunny-hopping style and ability to navigate fence posts. 
Whew!  Cross is really over.  Is it possible to hibernate the rest of the winter away until I can get my mountain bike out on the trails?

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