Great Job Jesse!!!!!!
|Overall place||Name||License||Category place||Category name||Club|
|1||Jordan Cullen||229280||1||Men 1/2||Clif Bar Development Cross Team|
|2||CJ Faulkner||244650||2||Men 1/2||Crossniacs|
|3||Jesse Rients||147524||3||Men 1/2||Kuhl/Bicycle Fit Guru|
|4||Christopher Smith||118619||1||Masters 35+||Hup United|
|5||Matthew Petersen||244920||4||Men 1/2||Balance Cycling|
For the 2nd year in succession, a Wisconsin rider spoiled the party at the MN State Cyclocross Championships. Last year it was Specialized rider Mark LaLonde. This year, it was 16 year-old Jordan Cullen (Clif Bar Development Cross Team) taking the win at Minnesota’s biggest cyclocross event of the year. The rider, who hails from just across the border in Hudson, WI, overcame a 20 second deficit, catching CJ Faulkner (Crossniacs) just after the barriers as they approached the finish. Jesse Rients (Kuhl/Bicycle Fit Guru), Matt Peterson (Balance/Eriks), and Matt Allen (Behind Bars/LGR) finished 3rd, 4th, and 5th, respectively. As Cullen is a Wisconsin resident, the 2011 MN State Cyclocross Elite Men’s title goes to Faulkner.
Snowy, blustery, and cold conditions were a factor in the races later in the day. Nothing compared to the blizzard conditions of last year, but it certainly wasn’t just any day in the Park. The biggest challenge for riders was iced up cleats, making it difficult to clip back into their pedals, which made for a scary ride down the hill after the stair run-up.
Jenna Rinehart (specialized) chose to ride her mountain bike, and it proved to me the right choice. She made quick work of the Elite Women’s field, riding away almost immediately, and growing her gap all the way to the finish. The battle for 2nd place was much tighter, with Bianca Bergman (Texas Roadhouse) out-sprinting Linda Sone (CycleSmart.com/Flanders) for the honor. Jeanne Fleck (Velo Duluth), and Terra James (Sweet and Salty Cycling) finished 4th and 5th, respectively.
In the Elite Men’s race, Cullen was first off the line, but Jay “Hollywood” Henderson (Silver Cycling) would not be denied the hole shot, overtaking the youngster going around the ball field. A large group of over a dozen riders were still in contention after the first lap, led through by Cullen, Hollywood, Faulkner, and 2009 winner Doug Swanson (GrandStay Hotels). By the end of the 2nd lap, Cullen and Faulkner had separated themselves from the pack, with Swanson the closest chaser. By the halfway point, Swanson faded, and Rients had taken over 3rd position followed by Peterson and Masters 35+ leader, Chris Smith (HUP United). Contender Josh Roeser (Crossniacs/Bicycle Fit Guru) pull his hamstring and was out of the race, and his teammate Chris Fisher struggled with the cold, and pulled out as well. 2008 winner Pat Lemieux (Specialized) was not on a good day, but was still having fun, doing cross-ups off the bumps near the finish line.
With 4 laps to go, Faulkner dropped young Cullen and made his bid for glory. His lead grew to over 20 seconds with 2 laps to go, and Rients was closing in on 2nd place. Then the youngster seemed to find a second wind, and started charging forward towards the leader. As Rients fell back into a solid 3rd place, Cullen halved his gap to the front by the start of the bell lap. Faulkner still held a solid gap at the top of the stairs, but Cullen would not relent. The charge continued, and the catch was made right at the barriers, just a few turns before the finish. Cullen carried his momentum all the way to the line, posting up as the crowd looked on in bewilderment. An amazing comeback that no one, not even the winner himself could have predicted.
A hearty congratulations to all the newly crowned MN State Cyclocross Champions. A big thanks to HUP United and Curt Goodrich Racing for putting on an amazing event. Hope to see you Sunday at the season finale and final race of the Lazer Sport Cyclocross Super Series, the GP Zac Daab.