"I was happy to see us finally racing in some muddy, sloppy conditions," said Kabush, a Canadian national champion and Olympian who had not scored a major cyclo-cross win in six years. He did so by knocking the dominant Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com team off their streak of winning the first four Greenware® USGP events and positioning two riders on every podium to date this season.
Racing in front of 5,000 noisy fans, Kabush started well against an opening barrage by series leader Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). He attacked on the second lap and drew a response from Power's teammate, Jamey Driscoll of Vermont.
Held on a slope of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the race for the win left behind a scrum for third that featured the superstars of American cyclo-cross: Ryan Trebon (Kona), Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Team), Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) and Adam Craig (Rabobank/Giant).
But they would never catch the two fugitives. Driscoll led for two laps until Kabush pounded away with two laps to go and held for the win. Driscoll held for second. Trebon won the battle for third over Wells and Johnson in that order. Johnson took over the ownership of the series leaders jersey.
In the Under-23 contest Zach McDonald (Rapha/Focus) rocketed from a third-row start position in one lap to reach the leaders. He held for sixth overall, top U23 honors, and earned the the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider award. Luke Keough (Champion Systems) was the second U23 and retained the series lead.
The women's race lived up to its billing for having the best female field ever assembled for a Greenware® USGP. But the expected smack-down came early in a rude fashion when half the field crashed on the first turn. Those not on the ground were stacked up behind in frustration. Last to get up was Laura Van Gilder (C3/Athletes Serving Athletes), wearing number one as the top ranked rider in the world. She would never contend.
Likewise, local favorite Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) of Fort Collins crashed repeatedly on the slippery course in the first lap and never saw the front. She did come from nearly 20 spots back, however, and advanced to ninth place to earn the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider award.
This put the hometown burden onto the shoulders of Georgia Gould (Luna), who found herself leading after one lap. But in American cyclo-cross the second lap belongs to six-time national champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike/Stevens), who fired an artillery barrage while both Nash and Gould were exchanging bikes in the pits. With that Compton pried open a 15-second margin over a struggling Luna duo. But Nash had other plans. She fired across the gap in a half lap and drew even with Compton.
A brilliant dual ensued between the two women who have posted World Cup victories. Both made mistakes; both recovered.
"I've gotten very good at getting up," quipped Nash, who fell twice and jokingly referred to her World Championships in her homeland last January when she fell repeatedly on a snowy course and finished a disappointing fourth.
And both had comical mishaps in the pits, where they normally ride with precise support. In one instance, Nash overshot her mechanic with a spare bike. In another, Compton rode through the pits only to find her mechanic on the wrong side of the double-sided pit.
But all mistakes and mishaps were canceled out, leaving the pair to hit the homestretch for a drag race to the line. "I let Katerina lead it out," joked Compton. "And she lead it out."
Nash won with two bike lengths to deliver one of Compton's rare defeats on North American soil.
10. Tristan Schouten ( cyclocrossracing.com/Blue/Rolf)
9. Nicholas Weighall ( Cal Giant Berries/ Specialized)
8. Adam Craig (Giant)
7. Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com
6. Zach McDonald (Rapha/Focus)
5. Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com)
4. Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Team)
3. Ryan Trebon (KONA)
2. Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com)
1. Geoff Kabush (Maxxis / Rocky Mount)
SRAM Most Aggressive Rider: Zach McDonald
10. Katy Curtis (Cyclemeisters/Bow Cycle)
9. Mo Bruno Roy (Bob's Red Mill/ Seven)
8. Meredith Miller (Cal. Giant Berries / Specialized)
7. Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com)
6. Alice Pennington (S&M)
5. Amanda Miller (HUDZ Subaru)
4. Amy Dombroski (LUNA)
3. Georgia Gould (LUNA)
2. Katie Compton (Planet Bike / Stevens)
1. Katerina Nash (LUNA)
SRAM Most Aggressive Rider: Meredith Miller