Ian Brown came to this event feeling confident that he could finish in the top-3. At the non-champ warm-up race on Wednesday he rode safely at a manageable pace to finish in 4th place while the leader managed to put in some huge attacks and get almost 2 minutes up on Ian. But he paid the price and spent the last lap barely able to ride his bike once the effects of high-altitude oxygen deprivation set in. On Thursday, Caiden Hartrich rode the course, worked on passing in narrow sections, dialed in tire pressure, and identified places on the course to go and where to rest.
Ian lined up on the line in 38th position while a light drizzle soaked the course. After a couple minutes on the start road Ian decided that he could make a move into the first section of singletrack so he jumped to the front and took the lead into the hole shot. Riding with 18-seconds at the end of the first lap, he looked strong and controlled, but his body language doesn’t always show how hard he’s working. He gave everything and finished his final lap with nearly a minute gap to second place.
“I made up lots of time on the descents,” he said, grinning. That was Ian’s second national title this year. He won his category in Louisville at Cyclocross Nationals this winter. After a brief cool down in the rain, he turned to cheering for Caiden.
Caiden lined up in 107th position out of nearly 140 riders at 6:45 PM. The rain cleared, the sun was descending behind the mountains and the conditions were perfect for a hard race. He was able to negotiate the congestion at the start and ride a fast first lap to come around in about 50th position. With the traffic and altitude, he suffered more and more as the race went on. As the light faded and temperatures dropped, Caiden pushed hard through the final lap to finish a very hard-fought 59th place.
“I’ve only done one other big race before this,” he said. “Sea Otter only had 40 kids so this was really crazy.”
SHORT TRACK RECAP
Ian lined up for his third event early Sunday morning. The Short Track raced around a parking lot, up a steep road, down a techy and flowy singletrack for a 2-minute lap. Ian’s plan was to ride near the front on the first lap or two, then see if he could make a move, and that’s exactly what he did. By the third lap he was sitting at the front, looking smooth on the descents. At only 13 minutes long, he didn’t have much time to rest or change tactics, so he simply poured gas on the fire and finished with a clear gap across the line. Congrats on your third National title in 2019, Ian!
Great job to the Riders, huge thanks to their families who support them in their disciplines and watch out for our Cyclocross Team at Nationals in Tacoma this winter!
Also thanks to Giant Bicycles & Hutch’s Bicycles for supporting our team so we can race fast and have fun riding!