The Cyclocross National Championships were just held near the University of Nevada, Reno, over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.
Image Courtesy of Visit Reno-Tahoe
Las Vegas’ CrossVegas is one of the best-known cyclocross events in the U.S. and the first place that a World Cup was hosted, so it only makes sense that the event should come to Reno. Right? The 2018 USA Cyclocross National Championships took over Rancho San Rafael Regional Park from Tuesday, January 9 until Sunday, January 14.
Cyclocross is considered one of the fastest growing events in the world of cycling. Even the best racers get a challenge because of the tough conditions of the course. Reno has plenty of challenging terrain and natural obstacles for the 1,500 athletes that converged for the event. They raced on grass, mud and sand while navigating difficult terrain and unpredictable weather conditions. The race consists of many laps around a relatively short course with both natural and man-made obstacles. The bikes are incredibly light so that competitors can pick them up and trudge through muddy waters, or other obstacles thrown their way.
Spectators gathered around the more challenging portions of the track to cheer and get an up-close view of the action. The crowds cheering was a perfect indication to what exactly was happening on that part of the route – was the cyclist successful, or did they wipe out? Riders raced along this difficult course, especially as the event stretched through the week and the path became more beaten and rocky.
Reno is 4,506 feet above sea level, so even the most skilled of racers found themselves adjusting to the altitude. Many arrived in Reno well before the race began, while a few others opted to prepare with altitude camps. Even the participants that flew in from Europe added a few days to their stay to enjoy the outdoor recreation of the Reno/Tahoe area. Earlier in the week, the course saw some rain and became muddy and treacherous in parts which made it all the more fun for the racers.
Katie Compton, or KFC as some call her, is one of the biggest stories in the sports this year. She has won nationals every single time since 2004, making her a 13-time national champ. This season she’s had her ups and downs thanks to some issues with asthma, but she kicked off the New Year by claiming first in the Sven Nys GP race in Baal. KFC beat out world champion Sanne Cant, so it’s clear that she is back on her feet and hungry for the gold.
With all this talk of first place, there has to be someone coming in second. Kaitie Keough is hot on KFC’s tail – ranked second in the world right now. She has been patiently waiting in silver-medal position for a long time at nationals and Pan-Ams. This year, it’s been the Kaitie and Katie show at the front of many races, making for a fun and healthy competition. Compton is Keough’s former coach and still a very good friend.
This event is just one of many hosted in Reno for the outdoor enthusiast and is family friendly too. To learn more about the sport and next year’s competition, visit their website at www.renocx.com.
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