Masters crowned on Day 2 of cyclo-cross national championships


Linda Sone emerged victorious in a back and forth battle with Kimberly Flynn to win the women's 40-44 national title.
Linda Sone emerged victorious in a back and forth battle with Kimberly Flynn to win the women's 40-44 national title.
The 2012 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships continued Thursday with the crowining of 12 masters national champions. Nearly 150 of the country's best 45-80 year-old cyclo-cross bike races tackled the course at Badger Prairie Park on an unseasonably warm January day in Wisconsin.

Organizers saved one of the day's best races for last as the men's 55-59, shaped up to be one of the most hotly contested. Paul Curley (Taunton, Mass./Mid State Cycling Club-Gear Works-Spin Arts Cyclery), Robert Downs (Madison, Wisc./Planet Bike) and Norman Kreiss (Orinda, Calif./California Giant Cycling) broke away on the first lap and never looked back, completing the first two laps in a blistering 21:40. As the trio completed the second of their four-lap contest, Curley attacked and didn't let up, taking the win by 26 seconds over Kreiss to collect the 25th national championship of his career.

"I rode from the front," said Curley. "Anytime I could push ahead, I pushed ahead. I wasn't afraid to lead. I even led into the wind, which is uncharacteristic. It just came together. It's what the season is supposed to do. Today was supposed to be the day and it worked out. Full power, good technical, no crashes, great pit crew."

In the afternoon's other premiere contest, Linda Sone (Northfield, Minn./Cycle-Smart) and Kimberly Flynn (Hixson, Tenn./Scenic City Velo) were the story of the women’s 40-44 race; duking it out throughout the four-lap affair. After the lead flip-flopped several times, Sone, who is a firefighter in Minnesota, finally took the lead for good on the final lap as she began running the technical sand and mud sections.

The day began at 9:30 a.m. with the men's 60-64 race. Approximately halfway through the race, Fred Wittwer (Charlottesville, Va./Alan North America Cycling) pulled away from the leaders. At first, Joseph Brown (Walled Lake, Mich./Flying Rhino Cycling Club) was chasing him, but Brown was overtaken by Gregory Pausch (Chippewa Falls, Wisc./Planet Bike), who placed second, 16 seconds behind Wittwer and 24 seconds ahead of Brown, who earned the bronze.

The men's 55-59 field runs up a climb during their national championship race.
The men's 55-59 field runs up a climb during their national championship race.
The men's 65-69 contest was won by Lewis Rollins (Salt Lake City, Utah/The Contender Club). Rollins, who employed a healthier diet to lose 12 pounds heading into the event, collected the second national title of his career today.

"This year was a little different than other years. I've only raced twice before nationals," Rollins said. "This course suits me. It's not a technical as I'd like, but it has just enough climbs that are slippery and muddy, downhills that are muddy. If you can bike handle and not fall down, you'll make more time than guys who go fast, fall down, get up, go fast, fall down. I don't know that I'm a steady Eddie kind of guy, but that's just the way it was."

Robert Llamas (Montrose, Calif./Montrose Cycling Club), who played basketball recreationally for about 35 years, won the men's 70-74 race. After nearly rising to the top step several times earlier in his cycling career, the semi-retired psychologist won the Stars-and-Stripes jersey.

"Yes, it does mean something," Llamas said. "It's the jersey."

After winning the men's 80-and-over race on Thursday, Walter Axthlem (Durango, Colo./Durango Wheel Club) has entered the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships five times and has earned the gold medal each of those five times. He also earned national titles in the criterium and time trial at the 2011 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships.

"It is a really challenging course for me," Axthelm said. "I’m really glad there wasn’t snow because it would have been a dandy in the snow. Couldn’t ask for better conditions in this part of the world.”

In the first women's race of the day, Kathy Sarvary (Manchester, N.H./Blue Steel Cyclery) got the hole shot at the start of the race and rode away with the women's 55-59 national championship. Diane Ostenso (Cottage Grove, Wisc./Trek Midwest Team) mounted a late charge, but Sarvary won by 24 seconds.

Next up was the women's 60-64 competition where the powerful Tove Shere (Santa Fe, N.M./ took the lead from the gun and was able to hold off multi-time national champion Martha Iverson (Durango, Colo./Durango Wheel Club) to earn her first Stars-and-Stripes in cyclo-cross.

“I took the big ring right from the gun," Shere explained. "I risked a lot on the descents in order to get a lead pretty quickly. It could have been a whole new ball game if it were snowing or frozen, but I had some luck and I had great support from the New Mexico fans all over the course yelling and screaming.”

Julie O'Neill (Bennett, Neb.) earned the Stars-and-Stripes jersey for women 65-69 after traversing the 2.1-mile course four times in 56:27.

Julie Lockhart (Dunstable, Mass./Northeast Bicycle Club), who broke her pelvis and shoulder in a training accident in August, won the women's 70-and-over race to collect her sixth cyclo-cross national title today.

"I tried to chase down anyone who tried to pass me of the 55s," Lockhart said. "There was one person that I was determined to stay away from. It was a good race, very nice course. I like it a lot."

As the ground thawed later in the morning, the women's 45-49 race took the course. It didn't take long for the leader to find her way to the front of the pack. Gina Hall (Orinda, Calif./California Giant Cycling), who earned the second national title of her career today, quickly made it obvious she was the rider to beat. Hall broke away early in the race and didn't yield, as she won by 47 seconds.

"I just tried to be patient and move to the front," Hall said. "I think I got to the front close to the climb on the first lap. I decided at that point to attack and put some time between me and the group. I knew there were some fast women in there. I was concerned about trying to battle them throughout the race, especially on the slippery descents. It's so easy to fall. That's where I got my gap. I just tried to hold it. Someone was closing down on me for a while, but somehow I held them off."


In the women's 50-54 competition, the action came late in the race. Kris Walker (Pocatello, Idaho/The Contender Club) built a lead approaching 15 seconds heading into the last of the four-lap affair. Approximately midway through the last lap, Walker heard cheers for Catherine Walberg (Topeka, Kansas). Much to Walker's surprise, Walberg had made up the gap and was close to passing Walker. Walker stepped on the gas and sprinted to the finish line, holding off Walberg by only four seconds.

"They're all really special to me," Walker said. "The first one was just awesome because it was my first. Today's is also special because Catherine is really on her game. To beat her is really special because she is a tough, tough competitor."

Next Up

The event continues Friday with Junior Men 10-16, Junior Women 10-18, Masters Men 50-54 and Masters Women 30-39. The event culminates Sunday, Jan. 8 with the elite men's and women's races, which will be streamed live at

More Info

Visit the official event webpage of the 2012 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships for more information on the event, including eligibility and call-up details, complete schedule, results, photo gallery and more. Follow the event on Twitter, using hashtag #CXNats.

2012 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships
January 4-8, 2012
Verona, Wisc.


Masters Men 55-59
1. Paul Curley (Taunton, Mass./Mid State Cycling) 42:58
2. Norman Kreiss (Orinda, Calif./Cal Giant) 43:24
3. Robert Downs (Madison, Wisc./Planet Bike) 43:44
4. Randy Shields (Winston Salem, N.C./Carolina Masters) 44:26
5. Randall Root (Sterling, Va./Evolution Cycling) 44:36

Masters Men 60-64
1. Fred Wittwer (Charlottesville, Va./Alan North America Cycling) 38:41
2. Gregory Pausch (Chippewa Falls, Wisc./Planet Bike) 38:57
3. Joseph Brown (Walled Lake, Mich./Flying Rhino Cycling Club) 39:33
4. Harold Parker (Lenexa, Kansas/360 Racing) 40:11
5. Timothy Leonard (New Hartford, N.Y./ 40:18

Masters Men 65-69
1. Lewis Rollins (Salt Lake City, Utah/The Contender Club/Contender Bicycles) 42:11
2. Rick Abbott (Boulder, Colo./Excel Sports Boulder) 42:49
3. Richard Bagienski (Durango, Colo./Durango Wheel Club) 46:38
4. John Adamson (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Twisted Spokes Racing Team) 48:13
5. Richard Wall (Colorado Springs, Colo.) 49:55

Masters Men 70-74
1. Robert Llamas (Montrose, Calif./Montrose Cycling Club) 45:28
2. Erik Nordenson (Moab, Utah) 45:29
3. Joe Saling (Bridgewater, N.J./Somerset Wheelmen) 48:47

Masters Men 80+
1. Walter Axthelm (Durango, Colo./Durango Wheel Club) 48:56

Masters Women 40-44
1. Linda Sone (Northfield, Minn./Cycle-Smart Inc.) 46:10
2. Kimberly Flynn (Hixson, Texas/Scenic City Velo-Ussc-Trekp/bVantaggio) 46:30
3. Katrina Dowidchuk (Wilmington, Del./Team Tbb-Deep Blue) 48:06
4. Margell Abel (Boulder, Colo.) 48:12
5. Heidi Beck (Delafield, Wisc./Twin Six) 49:00

Masters Women 45-49
1. Gina Hall (Orinda, Calif./Cal Giant) 40:38
2. Antonia Leal (Waukesha, Wisc./Planet Bike) 41:25
3. Stacey Barbossa (Rugherford, N.J./Elite Endurance Training Systems) 41:45
4. Karen Hogan (Louisville, Colo./Team Kappius) 42:22
5. Katrina Baumsteiger (San Luis Obispo, Calif./Team Rambuski Law) 43:02

Masters Women 50-54
1. Kris Walker (Pocatello, Idaho/Conender) 42:58
2. Catherine Walberg (Topeka, Kan.) 43:02
3. Karen Tripp (Deerfield, NH/Blue Steel Cyclery) 46:28
4. Deirdre Garvey (Boulder, Colo./BRAC) 46:48
5. Susan Prieto (Boulder, Colo.) 47:14

Masters Women 55-59
1. Kathy Sarvary (Manchester, N.H./Blue Steel Cyclery/Blue Steel Cyclery) 44:08
2. Diane Ostenso (Cottage Grove, Wisc./Trek Midwest Team) 44:32
3. Elizabeth Heller (St. Louis, Mo./708 Racing p/b Dressel's Pub) 45:27
4. Melissa Behr (Madison, Wisc./MadCity Velo Club) 49:28
5. Beverly Enslow (Metamora, Ill./Hammer Nutrition-CMG Racing Team) 50:46

Masters Women 60-64
1. Tove Shere (Santa Fe, N.M./ 50:27
2. Martha Iverson (Durango, Colo./Durango Wheel Club) 52:05
3. Linda Shelburne (Sandwich, Mass./Cape Cod Cycling Club LLC) @1LAP

Masters Women 65-69
1. Julie O'Neill (Milwaukee, Wisc.) 56:27

Masters Women 70+
1. Julie Lockhart (Dunstable, Mass./Northeast Bicycle Club) 55:37

Related Articles

This Article Published January 5, 2012 For more information contact: