Who will be Number CX1 in the US?
“Toast” vs. “J-Pow” could be the race to watch at the US Cyclocross National Champs
A rivalry has been brewing this cyclocross (CX) season and will play out at the US CX National Championships this weekend, January 11, in Austin, Texas. Two-time champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) remains the favorite to continue his reign in the stars and stripes jersey. His strongest challenge will likely come from the 25-year-old roadie Danny Summerhill (K-Edge/Felt). In terms of racing style Powers relies on mistake free laps and punchy attacks, Summerhill depends on his endurance and pure speed. Both riders, along with the majority of the favorites, will race on SRAM’s Force CX1 groupset featuring SRAM’s HydroR hydraulic disc brakes.
Summerhill, who earned the nickname “Toast” years ago after a muffed heated bread order, is a former U23 CX National Champion. For the past several years Summerhill has extended his road season into ‘cross season, dedicating himself to an additional five months of travel and racing. His efforts have furthered his development and he is now a legitimate threat any day on any US course. The 25 year-old said his goal entering the season was to win against Powers, which he did at Louisville’s Derby City Cup, taking the two-up sprint.
In the midst of a training ride Summerhill shared with us his thoughts ahead of this weekend’s racing. “Of course I am focused on Jeremy, he is the favorite and the best US ‘cross racer there is. Jeremy is the golden boy and is leading the new wave, and ‘cross racing is his domain. On Sunday I really want to leave everything out on the course, have no regrets, but I also want to have some fun. And ultimately though I’d love to have the national title.”
“J-Pow” knows that there is a target on his back but said he is confident in his preparation, his bike and his abilities. “I will take what comes on Sunday, there are a lot riders with a chance to win, but I have been targeting this race for months and I am ready.” When questioned about the course and potential conditions Powers noted, “There could be a lot of running and that could become a real factor.” When asked about his competitors for Sunday Powers acknowledged that Summerhill is definitely one of them, adding, “Danny is a skilled rider and he will have a good chance.”
The course at Zilker Park is a mixture of elevation changes, numerous curb ramps, tight turns, two sets of limestone steps, and several off camber sections. Most racers agree it will make for fun racing and an interesting day and mistakes will be costly. The weather is expected to be cold and potentially wet.
Along with most of the favorites, both riders will be racing the world’s only Cyclocross specific groupset, SRAM Force CX1, including SRAM’s favored HydroR (hydraulic road) disc brakes. Powers will run his typical 44 chainring with an 11-32 rear cassette. Summerhill’s gear choice was unavailable at press time.
SRAM will follow up with two complete bike profiles ahead of Sunday’s race. Tune into the live race broadcast at: http://www.behindthebarriers.tv
We also recently posted a video with some insight into Powers and his mechanic Tom Hopper and how they operate around race day, check it out at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3UDEFU12v4&list=UUwPoOErBToGWC756Rfo2-Og