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  • Writer's pictureCaleb

Tacoma Cyclocross National Championships

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

A fortnight late, but a quick CX Nats report coming at you now! These past two weeks involved a bit of travel from Washington back to Indianapolis, and then from Indy back home to Wisconsin for winter break. I've been taking a little bit of time off the bike before training resumes for the next big goals.

Collegiate nationals was a success I was able to defend my Varsity National Championship title. After a slow start I rode my way up from mid-pack to the front group. Going into the second lap I started attacking on the run-ups and our group of four was well away from the field. By the third lap I had a small lead and continued to grow it on each run-up to take my second consecutive title.

The rest of the Marian team had some great rides as well, with Cade Bickmore finishing 5th, some strong rides from our women and a 5th place in the team relay and overall team omnium.

It was really a treat to have friends and family there to cheer me on again. I'm very grateful for the awesome support from all of our Marian mechanics/staff and the cheers from so many awesome teammates!

After a rest day with a little course recon on Saturday, it was all in for Sunday. Full gas for the u23 race. The past two nationals I finished 9th and 10th, both results I was very disappointed in. This year I could feel it was going to be different. I was finally fully healthy for nationals, I was confident in my fitness, I loved the course, felt smooth on it, and I knew my back would hold together. At the same time, there is always a degree of uncertainty. Anything can happen, self-doubt can creep in, but having the confidence and the support crew behind me helped immensely.

Things were almost derailed when I had a freak mechanical issue 30 seconds into starting my warm-up. Meanwhile my A bike was getting some last minute tuning from the Sram folks, and I was temporarily without any functioning bikes. I did my best not freak out, got 100% ready to go to the start line, and the Sram guys had me rolling in time to get 20 minutes of warm-up on the road. Luckily my B bike was fixed up in time to go to the pit as well, so big thank you to Sram, Trek, the Marian guys and my dad for saving my race! Before I go into my race recap, you can actually watch the full replay starting at 3:16 right there.

Photo by Wil Matthews

From there things went smoother. Internally it was an almost comical series of events, and I thought to myself that I'd had most of my bad luck for the day. Sure enough, I had a solid start and settled into the lead group on the first lap. On the second lap Eric Brunner and I separated from Scott Funston and Lane Maher through pit one. I chased after Eric for a lap and half, and lead for a brief period of time. Things were great until one small mistake on the last off-camber before the finish separated me from Eric.

Photo by Dennis Crane

Mentally, I think it was hard losing that 15 seconds when I knew how strong Eric was riding. I by no means gave up, but it was a tough gap to overcome.

Photo by Wil Matthews

I fought hard but in the end it proved insurmountable and I took home the silver metal. This was my first ever medal (non-collegiate) in 11 years of racing cyclocross national championships, my first medal in the u23 category for cross or mtb, and only my second ever medal at a national championship between cx and mtb. I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt a little to be racing for the top step and not make it happen. But that is just racing and considering all the positive aspects of this result I am thrilled!

For everything to finally come together again at nationals and have two great results is as much as I could ask for. Thank you to my dad and Tom Price for the pit work on Sunday. Thank you as well to Michael Kubancsek, Zach Bender, Matt McKinney and John Hoopingarner from Marian for the amazing support on and off of the course. Thank you to Josh Mckinney for helping glue up a last minute Challenge Limus. Finally, thank you to my friends, family, coach Brian Matter, team and of course my sponsors Linear Sport RT, Violich Farms, Englewood Grass Farm, Challenge Tires, Mike’s Mix, and JM Coaching Group as well as Trek, Bontrager, Wheel & Sprocket, Styled Aesthetic, and David Hobbs Honda.

It's been a great season so far and I'm pleased to say I automatically qualified for the USA World Championships Team in Dubendorf, Switzerland in early February. It's been three years since I was over in Europe for cyclocross so I am excited to get back across the pond! Be sure to follow along on my social media for updates. Thank you for reading and for your support!

2017 Cyclocross Worlds in Bieles, Luxembourg

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