“That mountain bike kid is strong!” was the description of Travis Livermon from Cannondale’s Jeremy Powers after the Salisbury race in North Carolina. When Powers rolled away from the lead group in that race, Livermon was the only rider to stay with him – even at times pushing the pace. Although the young rider popped with two laps remaining, he hung on for a well deserved second place.
Now one week later Livermon was again toeing the line, this time in Tennessee at the UCI C2 ranked race in Kingsport. The field, while not deep, still boasted several strong riders. Jonny Sundt, preparing for the road season, had flown in from Texas to not only participate but also get his time trial bike dialed in for the road season.
With an eye toward next season’s ’cross nationals Sundt was already laying the groundwork.
“Nationals are in January next year so we’d better get use to it (the cold weather).”
But beyond preparing for next season’s national championships Sundt was full of praise for the race.
“This promoter does a great job and everything is legit. We need to support the expansion of cyclocross into new markets. The Southeast is where we should be racing in January right now. The weather in Madison last weekend was 19 degrees – so that’s nationals next year.”
Like Sundt, Adam Myerson wanted to show his support for promoters taking chances with late season UCI races.
“I think we’re ready for it,” said Myerson. The Team Mountain Khakis racer had already taken a two week break and was now re-booting for the road season. However, he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to race.
“I felt like I should support the race even though I’m not in top form.”
The course was flat with the ground frozen underneath; however it was thawing as the day wore on creating muddy sections. There were a few technical off-camber turns but still a lot of open ground for pedaling.
“Those turns can be tricky,” warned Myerson. “It’s like frosting on a cake – it will give away pretty easily.”
When the flag dropped Alec Donahue immediately got a gap. Like Myerson, Donahue had made the trip from the New England area in support of the promoter. On the second lap Livermon bridged up and started to work stretching the duo’s gap to over 30 seconds. Chasing hard solo was Sundt. Behind the Texan was a group of five, one of those was Myerson.
For most of the race that is how the dynamics of the race remained: two off the front with a very secure lead, Sundt being chased by a small group that was working together. First and second looked secure but could Sundt hold off Myerson and company?
Into the final lap Livermon started to ride away from a tiring Donahue taking the win. Crossing the line behind him and feeling the effects of the hour long effort was Donahue. Behind them and screaming onto the long cement finishing stretch was Myerson. The group that had caught Sundt and Myerson easily sprinted across the line for third. A dejected looking Sundt finished in 5th.
“It was all out the whole time,” Livermon said. “I saw that Alex was hurting so I punched it and got the gap.”
In the women’s race the wheat quickly separated itself from the chaff. Three ladies got the winning gap: Meghan Korol, Anna Jean Dallaire and Kim Flyn. With three laps remaining Korol bobbled and that was all it took for Flynn and Dallaire to get a gap. Into the muddy section Lady Luck didn’t rule in Dallaire’s favor as she was the one this time that faltered. That was all it took for Flynn to put her head down and power to a convincing win. It was this mountain biker’s first UCI cyclocross win.
“My season is winding down and it was a great year. Today was a great way to go out.”
1. Kimberly Flynn – Scenic City Velo
2. AnnaJean Dallaire
3. Meghan Korol – Bob’s Red Mill
4. Emily Shields – PainPathways Cycling Team
5. Cara Applegate – Performance Bicycle Racing
1. Travis Livermon – Mock Orange Racing
2. Alec Donahue – Wheelhouse/NCC Cycling Team
3. Adam Myerson – Team Mountain Khakis
4. Robert Marion – Carpediem Racing
5. Jonny Sundt – Kenda Pro Cycling