Brecktobercross punishes cyclists
BRECKENRIDGE – Cyclocross races can bring out the best statements from bicycle competitors. “Sometimes I go to them and I just ride until I puke,” spilled out of 2003 champion Tim Faia’s mouth moments before he started the men’s open division of Saturday’s Brecktobercross race at the Breckenridge Nordic center. Faia was referring to the way this esoteric form of bicycle racing forces racers to ride as hard as they can for more than 45 minutes with little or no recovery. In the men’s open division, competitors push themselves for an hour. A Breck resident, Faia finished third in the race behind Boulder’s Jonathan Baker and Winter Park’s Andrew Lee. Cyclocross courses are usually flat and always include obstacles designed to make riders get off their specially designed bikes – which are part road bike and part mountain bike – and run. Unlike mountain bike races, where competitors can use the downhills to catch their breath, cyclocross races require an all-out sprint from start to finish. Just the same, the discipline doesn’t look much like road racing either, as courses are usually between 60 and 80 percent off-road.
The Brecktobercross course was no different, with less than 100 feet of vertical gain per lap and two obstacle sections, including a steep but short climb buried deep in the woods of the Nordic center. Its one paved section featured a sequence of short climbs. All of this added up to 120 racers extending themselves to the limit, riding in circles to the point of exhaustion.The elevation at the Nordic center – 9,850 feet above sea level – didn’t help the mostly Front Range-based competitive field much, either. As Baker said, “This course was fun, but it’s hard up here at elevation.” Faia wasn’t too worried about losing his title after falling behind Baker and Lee early on. “I didn’t even try to stay with Jon when he went,” Faia said. “The guy is good and I don’t have that kind of form. I was with Andy for a while, but then he gassed it.”
Baker is a professional road rider who recently won a state title in hill climbing, while Lee is a pro mountain biker who finished 21st overall in the regional Mountain States Cup series despite only racing two of eight cross country events.Faia, on the other hand, is a professional cyclocross specialist racing for Independent Fabrications whose season is just beginning. His goal is to peak in December for the state and national championship races. In fact, Faia was elated with his Saturday result, considering it a good start to his season. “My skills feel good,” he said. “I’m just starting to train with soft rides and getting in the base work for cyclocross season.” Boulder’s Lora Heckman won the women’s open division. James Lee, who recently won the overall title 19-29 men’s sport division in the A Racer’s Edge Summit Mountain Challenge, finished fourth in the Category 4 race. Cat. 4 is road racing’s equivalent to Lee’s mountain biking class. Meanwhile, in one of the first races of the day, Breckenridge’s Leon Fetzer won the senior men 55-and-over division.
Oktoberfest 5KMoments after the start of the junior division in the cyclocross race, several dozen trail runners set out on a separate course for a 5K. Kent Lange of Montezuma won the men’s race with a time of 16 minutes, 22 seconds, and Monica Ryan of Denver won the women’s race at 19:36.Check Monday’s edition for results on the cyclocross race, and Tuesday’s edition for 5K results. Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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