Photo Epic: Cross Vegas 2014

Sep 15, 2014 at 20:04
by Ian Hylands  
If I were to start talking about cyclocross most people would imagine competitors racing in the cold, wet, rain, and snow with crazed fans cheering them on. Las Vegas then probably isn't the first place that comes to mind for a cross race, but over the past few years Cross Vegas has established itself as the season opener of the discipline. And with this growing reputation the race has also attracted more and more top competitors. This year's Elite rider roster almost read like a who's who of the sport, all coming to Sin City to test their mettle on a hot dry course.

The calm before the storm...
  The calm before the storm...

The Cross Vegas course is a 3.3 km loop with several sets of barriers stair run ups and bridges as well as some tight corners and a couple of sand pits. All designed to challenge the riders and make the grass course more interesting for racers and fans alike.
  The Cross Vegas course is a 3.3 km loop with several sets of barriers, stair run ups, and bridges as well as some tight corners and a couple of sand pits. All designed to challenge the riders and make the grass course more interesting for racers and fans alike.

Fresh off her World Championship XC victory only a week before Team Luna s Catherine Pendrel practices a run up on some sand stairs. While many cross stairs are fairly solid the ones in Vegas were basically sandboxes.
  Fresh off her World Championship XC victory only a week before, Team Luna's Catherine Pendrel practices a run up on some sand stairs. While many cross stairs are fairly solid, the ones in Vegas were basically sandboxes.

While we re used to Mountain and Road groups from component manufacturers most people might be unaware that there are specific CX groupos. SRAM was doing everything to make people aware of their CX1 kit.
  While we're used to Mountain and Road groups from component manufacturers, most people might be unaware that there are specific CX groupos. SRAM was doing everything to make people aware of their CX1 kit.

Cross fans come in all shapes and sizes and costumes...
  Cross fans come in all shapes and sizes, and costumes...

For those of you that are still new to the concept of cross, or CX for short, it's basically an event that's a cross between road riding and cross country racing. Competitors race road bikes with knobby tires and cantilever or disk brakes up and down hills and over obstacles including barriers and stairs. The season runs through the fall and winter, often when the streets are too wet and the weather is too cold for traditional road racing. The sport is nothing new, it's been around for over a hundred years, and probably even puts into question the story of the first mountain bike. Think about the fact that over a hundred years ago people raced knobby tired 29ers down gravel roads and through farmers fields, and some of them even had flat bars. It makes for some interesting thoughts...

While there were several categories that raced in the afternoon the first big race of the evening was the Wheelers and Dealers event. This is a race that is open only to full time employees of of the bike industry and anyone with a UCI license is not welcome. Shop employees bicycle media and bike company employees all racing for the bragging right of being the fastest non UCI pro in the industry...
  While there were several categories that raced in the afternoon the first big race of the evening was the Wheelers and Dealers event. This is a race that is open only to full time employees of of the bike industry, and anyone with a UCI license is not welcome. Shop employees, bicycle media, and bike company employees all racing for the bragging right of being the fastest non UCI pro in the industry...

Logan Van Bokel of Velo News leads out the first lap of the Wheelers and Dealers event.
  Logan VonBokel of Velo News leads out the first lap of the Wheelers and Dealers event.

Cross Vegas 2014
Cross Vegas 2014
Tara Picklo trying to hold onto a podium position in the Wheelers and Dealers race women s category. She ended up placing second.
  Tara Picklo trying to hold onto a podium position in the Wheelers and Dealers race women's category. She ended up placing second.

Tippie and his crew represent justthetip
  Even Tippie was there! #justthetip

Tim Allen leading the Wheelers and Dealers race through the first sand pit followed closely by Craig Etheridge. Craig and Tim both rode single speeds and would go on to take 1st and 2nd place respectively.
  Tim Allen leading the Wheelers and Dealers race through the first sand pit, followed closely by Craig Etheridge. Craig and Tim both rode single speeds and would go on to take 1st and 2nd place respectively.

Sean Rudzinsky didn t end up on the podium but here he shows he s got some CX bunnyhop skills.
  Sean Rudzinsky didn't end up on the podium, but he's got some CX bunnyhop skills.

Craig Etheridge and Tim Allen crossing the line for first and second in the Wheelers and Dealers race. Both of them rode single speed cross bikes...
  Craig Etheridge and Tim Allen crossing the line for first and second in the Wheelers and Dealers race. Both of them rode single speed cross bikes...

Who better than the King to welcome everyone to Las Vegas
  Who better than the King to welcome everyone to Las Vegas!

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A huge golden moon rises over the start of the Elite womens race... nofilter
  A huge golden moon rises over the start of the Elite womens race... #nofilter

The Elite women stand at the line waiting for the green light...
  The Elite women stand at the line, waiting for the green light...

Green means go and Gabriella Durrin of the Neon Velo Team was quick to get out in front followed closely by Kate Compton on her right.
  Green means go and Gabriella Durrin of the Neon Velo Team was quick to get out in front, followed closely by Katie Compton in the stars and stripes on her right.

By the mid point of the first lap it was European CX champ Helen Wyman out in front by herself. Unfortunately she blew up part way through the race and didn t finish.
  By the mid point of the first lap it was European CX champ Helen Wyman out in front by herself. Unfortunately she blew up part way through the race and didn't finish.

By the second lap the race was down to Katerina Nash Kate Compton Catherine Pendrel and Meredith Miller. Four top women cyclists all pushing each other and trying to come up with winning strategy for the race.
  By the second lap the race was down to Katerina Nash, Kate Compton, Catherine Pendrel and Meredith Miller. Four top women cyclists all pushing each other and trying to come up with winning strategy for the race.

Meredith Miller takes the lead part way through the race. This is Merediths first season racing for the new Noosa Yoghurt Team she started with teammate Allen Krughoff.
  Meredith Miller takes the lead part way through the race. This is Meredith's first season racing for the Noosa Yoghurt Team that she started with teammate Allen Krughoff.

Cross Vegas 2014
Cross Vegas 2014
Katerina Nash takes a turn at the front. While the lead changed multiple times throughout the race the lead group remained the same.
  Katerina Nash takes a turn at the front. While the lead changed multiple times throughout the race the lead group remained the same.

Cross Vegas 2014
Cross Vegas 2014
Cross Vegas 2014
With one lap to go Catherine Pendrel crashed on a paved section leaving Meredith Katerina and Katie in the race for the win. Third going into the last twisty section of the course Meredith pulled all stops in the sprint for the finish passing Katerina and Katie in the final hundred yards to take the win.
  With one lap to go Catherine Pendrel crashed on a paved section, leaving Meredith, Katerina and Katie in the race for the win. Third going into the last twisty section of the course, Meredith pulled off an amazing sprint for the finish passing Katerina and Katie in the final hundred yards to take the win.

Lars Van der Haar leads Jeremy Powers and Marcel Wildhaber down the start straight.
  Lars Van der Haar leads Jeremy Powers and Marcel Wildhaber down the start straight.

Quinten Hermans and Ben Berden lead the group up the stairs a lap into the race.
  Quinten Hermans and Ben Berden lead the group up the stairs a lap into the race.

Simon Zahner takes the lead through one of the sand pits.
  Simon Zahner takes the lead through one of the sand pits.

Cross Vegas 2014
  CLIF Bar is the title sponsor of the event and they sponsor their own team as well. Brady Kappius of Kappius Components racing for CLIF.

Sven Nys moving up through the ranks. Multiple time World Champion Sven was one of only a few riders to consistently bunnyhop the barriers and it paid off for him as he made his way to the front of the lead group.
  Sven Nys moving up through the ranks. Multiple time World Champion and probably without a doubt the winningest cross racer ever, Sven was one of only a few riders to consistently bunnyhop the barriers. It paid off for him as he made his way to the front of the lead group.

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Sometimes things go wrong... Troy Wells of Team CLIF Bar misjudged the spacing on the barriers and didn't get his second bunnyhop in time.

Ben Berden out in front.
  Ben Berden out in front.

Sven s bunnyhop skills finally move him to the front of the pack as the other riders run over the barriers.
  Sven Nys' bunnyhop skills finally move him to the front of the pack as the other riders run over the barriers.

Cross Vegas 2014
Cross Vegas 2014
Cross Vegas 2014
While a bit of heckling and excitement makes for an interesting race the USA has seen a growing amount of rider abuse from fans. These guys were simply drinking their beers and ringing cowbells but some fans got a little out of control. While the idea of hand ups seems to be a part of cross racing at the local level it s actually against the UCI rules and any rider that even accepts a handup can be disqualified. And some fans went way beyond offering dollar bills and beers to the racers spraying beer and throwing other objects at the racers. Not cool...
  While a bit of heckling and excitement makes for an interesting race the USA has seen a growing amount of rider abuse from fans. These guys were simply drinking their beers and ringing cowbells, but some fans got a little out of control. While the idea of beer and cash hand ups seems to be a big part of cross racing at the local level, it's actually against the UCI rules, and any rider that even accepts a hand up can be disqualified. And some fans went way beyond offering dollar bills and beers to the racers, spraying beer and throwing other objects at the racers. There were more than a few of the top riders that commented on it, and several expressed that they may not come back because of it. Not cool...

Cross Vegas 2014
Troy Wells trying hard to work his way back up after his crash over this barrier a few laps before...
  Troy Wells, trying hard to work his way back up after his crash over this barrier a few laps before...

More Cowbell
  More Cowbell!

Zach McDonald proving that you can still get media coverage even if you re not winning...
  Zach McDonald, proving that you can still get media coverage even if you're not winning...

Adam Craig is always a guy to watch for in Cross season.
  Adam Craig is always a guy to watch for in Cross season.

Derek Zandstra deciding that it might be faster to ride up the stairs rather than run up them. The look on his face here isn t convincing.
  Derek Zandstra deciding that it might be faster to ride up the stairs rather than run up them. The look on his face here isn't convincing.

Two laps to go and Sven Vanthourenhout leads the pack ahead of Lars Van der Haar.
  Two laps to go and Sven Vanthourenhout leads the pack ahead of Lars Van der Haar.

With just one lap to go it looks like Sven and Sven with Jeremy Powers sitting comfortably in third...
  With just one lap to go it looks like Sven and Sven, with Jeremy Powers sitting comfortably in third...

No sprint to the finish line in this race Sven Nys simply rode away from the rest of the field on the last lap celebrating his victory with still almost 50 yards to go.
  No sprint to the finish line in this race, Sven Nys simply rode away from the rest of the field on the last lap, celebrating his victory with still almost 50 yards to go.

Cross Vegas 2014
The womens podium from Cross Vegas 2014. Meredith Miller Katerina Nash and Katie Compton.
  The women's podium from Cross Vegas 2014. Meredith Miller, Katerina Nash and Katie Compton.

The mens podium from Cross Vegas 2014. Sven Nys Lars Van der Haar and Jeremy Powers.
  The men's podium from Cross Vegas 2014. Sven Nys, Lars Van der Haar and Jeremy Powers.
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65 Comments

  • + 52
 Everyone should try to race cx at least once. I love it and am terrible at it.
  • + 6
 I have done a few USAC Pro MTB races on my single speed and somehow manage to podium in a Pro XCT earlier this year! Truly stoked about those results and I feel like I have a pretty good amount of power in my legs!

Until I raced Cross...

Correction. Until I raced CrossVegas! I was there last week and it was by far the most physically taxing race I've ever done and it was less than an hour long?! My results still sucked by the way. Those guys are on a completely different fitness level than most XC racers out there plus they have the bike handling skills to compete professionally in MTB (Katie Compton made the Pro podium in an Enduro race earlier this summer for those of you who didn't know). Balls to the wall for the entire race with no rest until you either die, pull out of the race, or somehow finish! It is by far the most fun I've ever had while racing even though it's so hard! Beer and cash hand-ups plus heckling for the entire course...sounds like a party!
  • + 4
 Catherine Pendrel is the new XCO world champ as well!
  • + 2
 I race XC, and cross kill the living shit out of me, specially the obstacles. I did a race this sunday and felt like a was going to have a heart attack the entire race...
  • + 9
 I just don't get it
  • - 4
flag jclnv (Sep 17, 2014 at 0:34) (Below Threshold)
 Should have died out 40 years ago.
  • + 1
 i dont quite understand it myself either.

but i will refrain from slandering such mtb discipline in a negative connotation. maybe the reason i dont care much for it is because it reminds me of road..? who knows.
  • + 21
 This article makes me Cross.
  • + 12
 bu dum shhhh
  • + 21
 Great coverage
  • + 11
 Hell yes!!!! Please continue this coverage all season! Gotta have something to get us through the cold months now that WC mtb is over. Idk about you guys, but I'd much rather read cx race reports than the cookie cutter freeride/trail edits we have to endure all winter.

If I could only have one bike it would probably be my 'cross bike. You can tour, shred singletrack, commute, or go on long road rides, and it does them all pretty well, plus it's super customizable. True all-around machines. Ok, maybe a rigid 29er with off-road drop bars, just so I could fit in some fatter tires. But you get the idea.
  • + 14
 Holy hell, not one comment on Thor racing? ep1.pinkbike.org/p5pb11418865/p5pb11418865.jpg
  • + 15
 Thanks for the CX-love PB!!
  • + 6
 I'm sure many of the pinkbike followers who have a hard time accepting XC and xc coverage as a legit mtb branch , will or have already suffered a heart attack seeing CX on the site Smile )
  • + 4
 FYI, most of the top Euros (Nys, Stybar, Albert, Muessen etc) were top ranked BMXers when they were younger, Nys was an 8 time national bmx champ so yeah, all these guys have skills. Check the attached pics

www.rise-ride.net/myBloggie/files/20111112_1.jpg
cyclingtipscontent.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/ZdenekStybarJump.jpg
  • + 1
 Sven nys raced some WC XC races this year, Wildhaber is an enduro rider, Todd Wells also races CXX these days, Zdenek Stybar from OPQS is a succesful roadie ... probably most of the CX riders are also into other types of biking mainly because CX is a filler between the main WC's .
  • + 2
 Sven Nys raced the Albstadt World Cup in Germany this year and finished 21st if i remember correctly.
  • + 3
 Cross is hands-down is one of the best bike-related spectator sports. I don't race anymore (sold my CX bike to build another mountain bike) but everyone should go at least once. There are typically good crashes and you can actually see side-by-side critical moments unfold on the track.
  • + 3
 Look at those roadies hoppin 2x4s thinking they're tough ; )

Cool article thanks for adding it. I reallly hope the people throwing beer weren't mountain bikers... We all ride bikes.
  • + 8
 Some staff from Campus Wheelworks from Buffalo. www.facebook.com/adammyerson/posts/10152769945600719

Support your local bikeshop...so that they can be complete douches.
  • + 7
 Those '2x4s' are about a foot high, and bunnyhopping with drop bars is a lot harder than it is with flat bars.
  • + 5
 Hell, most mtbers I know would seriously struggle to bunny over barriers that close together and that tall (if they cleaned them at all). I do a lot of singletrack riding on my cx bike and it's a blast! Takes your bike handling skills to a whole other level.
  • + 3
 I hit the trail centre on my CX bike last week. Great fun but my tyres weren't inflated enough and every time I landed a jump my rims touched the ground... Definitely the best way to improve your bike handling.
  • + 4
 Yeah the trails around me are super chunky and rocky, with lots and lots of square edges everywhere. My first time out on the cx bike I flatted 5 times... even after I went tubeless I could feel the rims bottom out pretty often. I never realized what a brute I was being on the mtb just smashing through all that stuff, and having the skinny tires really forces you to be smooth, shift your weight perfectly, and know exactly what's underneath your bike at all times. It's definitely made me smoother on mtb too, and on smooth twisty trails.... I think it might actually be more fun than my mtb. Best of all I can ride to work, ride to the trails after work, shred said trails, and commute home without ever using my car. Huffing my mtb that far on pavement to and from the trails would SUCK, but on the cx it's quick.
  • + 0
 www.facebook.com/campuswheelworks

Real classy guys. "While a bit of heckling and excitement makes for an interesting race the USA has seen a growing amount of rider abuse from fans. These guys were simply drinking their beers and ringing cowbells, but some fans got a little out of control. While the idea of beer and cash hand ups seems to be a big part of cross racing at the local level, it's actually against the UCI rules, and any rider that even accepts a hand up can be disqualified. And some fans went way beyond offering dollar bills and beers to the racers, spraying beer and throwing other objects at the racers. There were more than a few of the top riders that commented on it, and several expressed that they may not come back because of it. Not cool..."
  • + 1
 I second drop bars being hard to bunny hop with, I can easily clear barriers on my am/xc bike but it's difficult on a cx bike, and it's a lot easier to screw up on a cx bike which isn't exactly forgiving either. I love cx for all the weird things you have to learn, going foot out in a corner while staying in the saddle is a weird one for sure.
  • + 1
 This has been fantastic to see a variety of racing coverage on PB this season. The same goes for Red Bull doing an awesome job of covering the whole WC series. It seems like there's more of a 'one big rowdy family' vibe going on and I love it. I really hope that continues in coming seasons. For any haters out there, before you badmouth, try going REALLY fast in one of these other disciplines. I don't mean just ride it, I mean ride it balls to the wall. Riding a bike fast, is still riding a bike fast. I have some freshly bruised ribs from cross to remind me of that.
  • + 1
 I love CX its so much fun and has a great vibe. I ranked just two spots back form Tinker in the world of Endurance MTB but this is a who new world. I missed the wheelers and dealers registration so i did the USAC. We went off at 5pm it had temps near triple digits plus humid as Florida. Did I mention when we stated the gras was about 3 inches long and when we were done 1 inch. We made that course nice and fast for the pros. That being said this was my first Cross Vegas and can't wait to go back again next year. The rowdy crowd is what makes it fun. I wish we had attendance like this for US Cup and State champs.
  • + 0
 ya, the wheelers and dealers race sells out within an hour of opening, every year
  • + 0
 Cross racing was actually the first form of racing I did since BMX when I was like 10. I wasn't bad but man was it tough to go straight all out for 45 minutes straight. Reminds me a lot of short track only with run-ups and barricades to get over...
  • + 2
 Cyclocross is for bike-sexuals than can't decide which team they are on. Much like a troubled college teen bouncing from men to women. Pick a side!
  • + 3
 I'm pleasantly surprised by the positive comments here. Honestly thought there would be a tidal wave of negativity.
  • + 1
 The only thing worse than racing in cyclocross would be watching everyone carrying their bikes half the time. I don't get it at all
  • + 1
 Adam Craig is racing everything these days. Good to see him having that shape to join every race. A bonus for Giant having him to race everything from XC, Enduro, and CX.
  • + 3
 "Unfortunately she blew up part way through the race" f*ck
  • + 2
 This photo spread puts all the other reporting of Cross Vegas to shame- including the CX specific websites!
  • + 3
 Honestly guys.. CX is so much fun... don't knock it till you try it.
  • + 1
 Haha, SUPERB to see Ben Berden over here, GO BEN !!! Next to Nico another CLASS ACT from Belgium.
  • + 1
 A great article and fantastic photos. I would love to see more CX coverage on PB.
  • + 1
 Hope pinkbike post more coverage of CX in the off-season when the CX is going on!
  • + 1
 Ah got to love CX.........they are only only races i have done under flood lights with beer handups.
  • + 1
 Based on Troy Wells face (15/24) it is safe to say he thought his carbon niner was the boogeyman...
  • + 0
 I did a few CX races on my hardtail MTB several years back, an hour of pure punishment! can you still enter local 'cross races on a MTB?
  • + 1
 You can in the uk. Most local races have a novice race as well so you can try out a few times on a short 30min race before committing to the full 1 hour of pain.
  • + 0
 Those are some seriously short barriers! The ones we use for OBRA races are at least 18" high. much tougher to bunnyhop. Those looked like 8-9" high in a few of those pics.
  • + 1
 the race was a blast to watch, doesn't hurt to have beer tents.....
  • + 0
 Awesome to see almost all disciplines of cycling on pinkbike now! Only the largest one is missing...
  • + 0
 Poor cross racers being offered beer and money and still not happy. please be happy everyone racing bikes at CROSS VEGAS?!
  • + 1
 Great photos and recap. Thanks for including this on PB!
  • + 0
 Sven Nys = God, holmes would kill it in Enduro. He's also had some notable results in XC already.
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