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Successful Cyclocross Master’s Nationals for Paul Bonds, JP Brocket and Shadd Smith

At U.S. Cyclocross Nationals, three Source Endurance athletes competed in the Master’s Men 45-49 category. Paul Bonds raced to 3rd, Shadd Smith to 6th, and JP Brockett to 18th!

Rider 1: Paul Bonds- SPCX p/b RK Black

Pre-Race Goal

Have fun and relax. The rider with the least mistakes will win the race. The fitness is there.

The Race

I could tell before the race many of my competitors were nervous. On the start line, I seemed to be the only one smiling from a confident ease. I wanted to be in the top 3 crossing the creek (first) feature. I hit it, no problem, but had to instantly not hop & dismount because 2nd place decided to dismount. No problem. I nailed it and accelerated around to move into 2nd. I wanted to hold same position into the hill. Went in 2nd.

Matt Davies felt the need to drive on Lap 1 and 2. It was no problem for me. During Lap 2 I could hear cheers for Adam Myerson and Shadd Smith with us as well. That was a perfect scenario for me. 4 guys with 2 finishers.

Leading into the critical hill, Matt was leading and I was close behind. At some point before we hit the hill, we detached first Shadd then Adam. When we hit the steep off-camber, Matt slid-out and went down. I had to come to a stop in order to prevent a mistake, by me, but was able to sneak around Matt. At that point Adam was able to re-attach to me but not to Matt. When we hit the pavement, I provided Adam the time to come around & assist in driving. He objected, in fine sprinter fashion, and just sat-up. I started driving as soon as Matt re-attached. I would rather lose in a race against 2 other guys rather than battle with 6.

This began the top 3 racing for those spots. We were in our own race. Matt & myself began the driving. I was hitting them hard each lap after the sand, going into the Belgain stairs. I could never really get the gap I wanted so just thought I needed to be patient and ride clean, hoping Matt or Adam would make a mistake.

Coming into the hill on the last time leading into the sprint we began to hit lapped traffic. Although it probably would not have created a difference in the outcome, I had to reach deep and close a 5 bike length gap created by lappers before the sprint finish asphalt. So when Adam started the sprint, Matt & myself had just reattached.

(NOTE: a video highlight of our race shows me dabbing on the last lap coming out of the hill. I had to take a steeper line because of a lapped rider but nailed it.)

Here’s the finish video.

Goal accomplished

 I had fun, made the least amount of mistakes, and the result came. The race could have been won by any of us 3. If I had been in front of Matt when he went down or one mistake by the others could have changed things that little bit. I rode a super clean race and felt like I was the strongest of the group but I didn’t want to race for top six each lap. Adam played the sprinter poker.

Rider 2: JP Brocket- Kuat Trek P/B A&B Cycle

The Race

During warmup I felt fatigue in legs, not like second day race legs, but in between totally rested and second day.

Lap 1 started on the outside, good position, sitting top 10 at first turn. Lost spots during a pileup and slid back to 15th or so, moved to 13th for lap 1. Could tell I didn’t have great legs today dangit.

Lap 2 moved past a group of riders on the uphill power section, was surprised they were going so slow. Ended up 11th I think that lap.

Lap 3 the legs were starting to get flat, not terrible but tired. Kept moving past people in the power areas and then made about pass in the technical off camber. Then on the last switchback I crashed, lost front wheel, rider behind me stepped into my back, chest and left knee hit pretty hard. Was 9th when I went down and turns out the rider I passed and crashed in front of was Shad. Rear wheel came loose, lost 3 spots and back to 12th for the finish of that lap.

Rest of the laps I struggled pedaling with power and breathing.

Finished 18th losing 4 spots on last lap.

This course should have been great for me. I was not able to do well after that crash, nothing broken, just bruised and scraped.

Rider 3: Shadd Smith- KCCX Elite Cyclocross Team

I arrived in Reno, NV, 2 days before the race. I took advantage of 5 different pre-ride sessions in the days leading up to the race. On the morning of my race, I completed one more pre-ride session on the course before hitting the trainer for a structured warm up.

Based on points I was called up to the second row. I chose to start behind Adam Myerson. My start was perfect as I slotted in immediately behind 8-10 riders charging for the hole-shot and the first obstacle of concrete steps. I jumped about 4 riders after pit 1 and before the concrete steps to put me in 4th position. For the remainder of the 1st lap, I floated in 4th place with the goal to join any group that formed at the front. Before the start/finish line a group of 4 including me, Myerson, Matt Davies, and Paul Bonds formed with a decent gap in front of a scattered group of chasers. I was definitely comfortable in that group and riding well within my limits.

On the second lap, misfortune struck. Approximately 10 seconds after passing the exit of pit 1 I felt my rear tubular get squishy. Fast forward 5 more seconds and it was completely flat. I made every effort to ride the flat as fast as possible. My heart rate was completely maxed out. Slowly and one by one a rider would pass me, some patted me on the back and said “sorry” as they noticed the flat. True sportsmanship. It seemed like an eternity to pit 2 but I eventually got there and bike #2 was ready to go. Eight riders passed me while I was riding the flat. Went from the winning group to about 12th place in the race. I lost approximately 45-60 seconds in the process.

Once on the fresh bike, I charged as hard as I could. This lap was not physically comfortable as my heart rate was still pegged. The following laps were a blur but I was definitely on the gas again and going good. I was picking off riders one by one.

On the last lap, Bill Marshall, my pit guy and team director, yelled out that 5th place “the podium” was 20 seconds up the road. I was only able to take 7 seconds off the guy in 5th and would eventually finish my Nationals race “once again” ONE PLACE OFF THE PODIUM! I finished 59 seconds behind the leaders who I was riding with before the flat.

Congrats to the top 5 guys in this order: Myerson, Davies, Bonds, Bolt, and Peck. So, reflecting on the outcome and the comeback, I could not be more pleased with my fitness going into Nationals and the way I rode my bike. Huge shout out to my coach, Adam Mills, of Source Endurance, for methodically preparing me for the physical side of racing and competition. The build-up provided by Source Endurance could not have been more perfect.

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