The 2014 Delta States Grand Prix of Cyclocross put its best foot forward, kicking the season off with a brilliant hillside course, distinguished by Belgian Gates, a pair of extremely sandy turns, and a stack of long swtichbacks that traversed the hill like a grassy game of Donkey Kong. Several promising riders made their presence known, along with their intentions for DSGP Champion Jerseys.
In the weeks since, several changes have occurred, including category upgrades and new riders. All these changes have a significant impact on how DSGP 2014 will begin to play out. For last week’s results, peep here. For a peek into the crystal ball, see below:
DSGP 1, Baton Rouge, featured two sandpits that were crushing to many riders, sapping them of their will to live and often their ability to stay upright. All this, and not much ado over the prevalence of sand. Hence, a recent announcement from DSGP that Covington will be exceptionally sandy has many wondering just how bad the coming torture may be.
Misdirection, Missed Connection
Christina Person laid waste to much of the Women’s field at DSGP 1, before a miscommunication led her believe that the race was done and caused her to prematurely evacuate the course. DSGP 2 will be an opportunity to set the record straight with Rosanne Simons (Nola Lending Racing), who took 2nd in DSGP 1. Typically racing on MTB, Person’s tires may be well suited to the sand with which DSGP Director Wes McWhorter is threatening innocent racers at Covington. Simons, however, is also known to keep an MTB in the pit. Expect a brawl.
Young and Restless
With Jacob Haddox, Cat 5 winner at DSGP 1, not yet registered for DSGP 2, Zach Thomas (Rouler Racing) may be looking at his first DSGP win. That is only, however if he can keep threats such as Nate Batts (Rouler Racing) and Dustin Drewes (4D Racing) at bay.
Up, Up, and Away
After locking down 1st and 2nd in the Cat 4’s in DSGP 1, Baton Rouge, Micheal Boedigheimer (Rouler Racing) and Chris Reed (Rouler Racing) have upgraded categories into the Pro/1/2/3 race. While both put a serious hurting on the 4’s field, will they muster the gusto to give lightning fast Will Sheftall (Raising Canes) a run for his money? The two are just coming off the heels of a weekend bender of racing in Texas. DSGP 2 will show us whether this road trip helped them step up their game.
That pair’s departure would seem to relieve tension on Skip Town (Semi-Tough Cycling Club) and Richard Carman (Rouler Racing) in the 4’s, both vying for their first trip to the top of the podium. However, DSGP 2 marks the arrival of Matthew Erchull (Cycle-Smart) to the series. With a stout season of racing in New England already under his belt, Matt seems a likely bet for gold in the 4’s. Whether or not he sticks around for the remainder of the season, a cameo may significantly alter the outcome of this race, and the series.
After fetching 3rd place in the Cat 4/5 race, track star Dustin Drewes will likely be ditching last week’s fat bike in favor of a mean looking new steed. He is fully expected to put up a serious fight for the Cat 4 podium in DSGP 2, Covington, toeing the line against former 4D teammate Erchull.
Spread Too Thin
David Feinswog (Tulane Racing), Ben Spain (Tulane Racing), and “Tricky” Travis Johnson (Rouler Racing) are all names that show up on three different category race results from DSGP 1, Baton Rouge. And indeed, there are many other racers who put in well over 60 minutes in the day. It remains to be seen whether these and other riders who have consistently proven themselves to be strong will focus on a category in the coming race and put serious pressure on the field. Johnson could be a likely contender in either Cat 4 or SingleSpeed, both in DSGP 2 and the overall series.
Down, But Not Out
Whether you think he is a force of nature, or a freak of nature, you’ve got to love Matt Gandy (Team Mississippi Modern). A showman as well as a sportsman, Gandy ran probably as many minutes as he rode in Baton Rouge, shouldering his bike and coiffing a frosty handup. Multiple major mechanicals haunted his performance in Baton Rouge, thwarting his chances at a podium. Keep an eye on this beast in DSGP 2, as we wait to see if he has tightened up his game in the garage.
A Throne Abdicated?
Last year’s Pro/1/2/3 Series Winner, Andrew Sorey (Indian Cycle Racing) was oddly absent from the start line in Baton Rouge, giving his chief competitor Will Sheftall a serious lead in series points. Will he return in time to reclaim the title? His appearance at DSGP 2 (or lack thereof) may play a large part in determining the pecking order as the series proceeds.
A New Sheriff In Town?
Boedigheimer and Reed are hardly the only new additions we should expect to make waves in the Pro/1/2/3 field. Recent Nola transplant Liz So (Team TATI) looks to rock the boat, shaking things up among podium incumbents Sheftall, Kevin Conerly (Team Mississippi Modern), and Davis Winstead (Team Mississippi Modern).
Pedal To The Medic
Even after thoroughly destroying a pedal during DSGP 1’s P/1/2/3 race, MTB Stunna Miles Juneau mounted an impressive comeback. DSGP 2 provides a shot at redemption as Juneau looks to make a comeback on Overall Series Points.
Without question, DSGP 2 at Covington will be crucial to building a foundation of series points for jersey-seekers. Keep your eyes on these racers as DSGP shapes up. There will be plenty more surprises to come as new racers find their groove, and new faces introduce an element of unpredictability into their fields.
We look forward to seeing all of you at DSGP 2! Weather is projected to be beautiful for this beach trip; don’t forget a towel. Best of luck to all racing and big ups to all the spectators that keep us pumped. We love you Cyclocross!
Yeah You Ride