Ben Berden Wins at Providence Cyclocross Festival
With a combination of toughness and wits, Raleigh-Clement Cyclocross Team leader Ben Berden won his first race of the year this weekend at the hugely popular Providence Cyclocross Festival in Rhode Island. Berden earned 2nd place on day one of the weekend behind an unstoppable Jeremy Powers. But on day two Powers called in sick and Berden marked a surging Tim Johnson throughout the race to set up a two-man sprint which favored Ben’s explosive kick.
At 38, Berden is one of the most experienced riders in the field. While his victories at major European cyclocross races in the 1990’s are big milestones, it’s been his move to U.S. cyclocross racing in 2011 that has been most exciting and rewarding. Since then, he’s found a home at Raleigh-Clement and consistently lands on the podium among North America’s top racers. His win caps off an opening month of cyclocross racing in which the Raleigh-Clement Cyclocross Team has enjoyed remarkable success and momentum.
But victory at Providence did not come easily. Berden recently sent a journal of his season so far, so let’s hear it in his own words…
“Let’s talk about the first big block of the cross season. Where do I start. I want to get better, faster, more snappy. So this summer training hard and different with a new coach, it was going good. But then my back started hurting. I did not listen to my body and kept on training. Just ignored it. One morning I could not get out of my bed any more. Verdict: a hernia disc on the L5. Remedy: rest. But really, 2 weeks before cross start, dealing with a hernia disc? And not doing any good trainings.
Team boss Donn Kellogg was not worried. Trust your body, you are doing it for 20 years he said. Your body will remember. So I got on a plane with the team and went to Seattle. Had a nice meeting at the main office of Raleigh. And there are three new bikes ready for me. 10 pair of FSA/Vision wheels with Clement tires on. Thanks to mechanics James Sullivan and Drew Esherick. And the Raleigh crew. Fantastic support.
So then the first race. Starcrossed. My back was in full pain. I told my self: suck it up. You know what to do. Believe in yourself. I ended up in 3rd place. Crazy. My old body still had it.
So next off to Vegas. Again a big sufferfest. Hold on to 9th place there. Good to see old friends and buddies. My best friend Bart Cops was there. And my friend Rudy from Belgium.
Next race Wisconsin. Back was getting better, 3rd place and a 4th place, following wheels… looks like my thing. Need to work on that.
Then to Gloucester. Two times 4th place. Again it was following wheels. Me and my teammate Jamey Driscoll try to do a little tactics. It almost worked out! This week we are getting ready for Providence. Let’s hope this old body can relax and get ready… maybe a win this time.”
Thanks for the update Ben, and congrats on your win!
Next stop for the Raleigh-Clement Cyclocross Team: The Boulder Cup weekend in Colorado.
The Raleigh-Clement Cyclocross Team rides the Raleigh RXC Pro, an innovative full carbon frame featuring disc brakes. They roll on innovative tires from Clement, drivetrains by Shimano, brakes by TRP, and FSA provides components. Wheels are by Vision, clothing by Castelli, helmets by Giro, and K-edge provides its essential chain watchers.