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Field Notes: Cross Vegas
PHOTOS: John Watson - Prolly Is Not Probably
Jeremy Powers has fired the first shot. On Wednesday night in Las Vegas, the open season sign for cyclocross – Cross Vegas – was hammered into the desert. Just a few miles from the fabled strip, the entire bicycle industry was present to witness another lung burning iteration of this race. Every name that has been at the front end of a cross race, both here in North America and on the famed Belgian side of the pond, was present to take part. Rob Peeters (Telnet-Fidea) and Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) were part of the action as well as Powers teammates Zach McDonald and Chris Jones (fresh from his 5th place Tour of Britain finish). However, Powers real competition came from former teammate Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld). If this is any indication to the rivalry and racing that we may see in the coming months it will be a knock down, drag out fight to determine the fastest man in cyclocross.
Cross Vegas is a special race. Not only is the first cross monument of the season a pro face-off, it is also a platform for the industry to go toe to toe. There were more new helmets, glasses, shoes and frames on show than one could shake a stick at. Combine that with the fastest grass race that you have ever seen in a desert and you will start to build a better picture of what we are working with. This year organizer Brook Watts added a new USA Cycling category alongside the Pro Men and Women's races, and there is a Wheelers and Dealers race to find out who is the fastest person in the bicycle industry. This was won for the second year in a row by Craig Ethridge who not only sports the Raleigh-Clement jersey with teammate Ben Berden, but also does the race on a single-speed.
The race itself is something to behold. Heading out along the top of the course, taking a sharp left for a parade lap and then dropping into the meat of the Cross Vegas course. A course which included not only Knog Hill – the steep climb to the back of the course – but a euro looking flyover that was built by the Undisputed Queen of Los Angeles Cyclocross: Dorothy Wong. Our good friend Ty Hathaway promptly launched his bicycle off this in the Men's Pro Race.
If there is ever a place that welcomes some of the more extreme sides of the Cyclocross world it is Las Vegas and once again this town did not disappoint.
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