Frigid Temps Don’t Slow Raleigh-Clement Team
One of the best – or worst – things about cyclocross is the ever-changing weather. The season starts in summer, and ends in mid-winter. Unpredictable changes are common, and extreme race conditions can be expected at least a couple times per season. But this weekend’s frigid cold in Bend, Oregon made racing even more severe than usual, and the tough-as-nails cyclocross peloton would be tested to their max.
The setting was the Deschutes Brewery Cup, the final UCI category 1 race on USA Cycling’s Pro Cyclo-cross Calendar. An arctic blast pushed race day temps to about 5 degrees Fahrenheit and dropped 6 inches of snow before the race. The normally fast course in Bend became super technical as hard-packed snow and ice made every corner a challenge, steep hills unridable, and passing difficult on the single-file track.
In addition to bike-handling skills and pure power, the racers also needed experience and creativity in choosing clothing and gear that would protect from the cold but allow enough movement and dexterity to ride fast. But maybe most importantly, extreme conditions demand mental toughness and focus.
The Raleigh-Clement team proved up to the challenge, putting all 3 guys in the top 10. The team was lead by Jamey Driscoll, who used his cornering skills and toughness to land on the podium in 3rd place behind cross veterans Tim Johnson and Geoff Kabush. Although Jamey is only 26, he’s one of the most experienced riders on the circuit. He was U.S. Junior National Champion in 2003 and has been a member of seven U.S. World Championship Teams since then. Jamey grew up in Vermont where ski racing and cycling in sub-zero temps are common, and he proved once again to be one of the most consistent and reliable riders when conditions are dicey. His pre-race interview showed he was ready for the challenge. http://www.cyclingdirt.org/coverage/251200-Deschutes-Brewery-Cup/video/726027-Jamey-Driscoll-A-Technical-Mans-Race
Team rider Allen Krughoff delivered an excellent 7th place, matching his best result ever, and Ben Berden was 8th. Allen is from Colorado and somewhat comfortable with the wintery stuff. Ben on the other hand is from Belgium where the lowest temperature ever recorded is a balmy 9 degrees Fahrenheit and rarely drops below freezing. Here’s a post-race interview with Allen.http://www.cyclingdirt.org/coverage/251200-Deschutes-Brewery-Cup/video/726171-Allen-Krugoff-Seven-Sevenths-In-A-Row-On-The-Seventh
Now’s also a good time to give a high-five to the team staff. When conditions are extreme, team support becomes even more critical, but harder to deliver. These guys are true professionals and we’re awed by their dedication and attention to detail! At least they didn’t have to wash race bikes this weekend, as the frozen ground meant bikes finished as clean as when they started!