Questions about Crossvegas becoming a World Cup race has been asked of Brook Watts since Iíve known him – and probably a long before that. He has always talked about it, but he also emphasized that itís not an be-all-end-all matter for him, if it happens, great, if not, Crossvegas would continue just as healthily. During one of his visits to Europe during the 13/14 season, Iíve learnt that he became pretty close to putting on a World Cup race, but things havenít worked out in the end. It was Simon Burneyís Milton Keynes race that has the bragging rights of the first cyclocross World Cup race outside continental Europe. However, rumours were rife before the Worlds in January, that Crossvegas would become a World Cup.
As me and my good friend, Dan Seaton were entering the presentation of the 2016 Worlds in January, in Tabor, we were greeted by Brook, who was grinning like heíd just won on the lottery. He just muttered three words: weíve got it! A few minutes later, the schedule of the 2015/2016 cyclocross World Cup season was announced officially, and Crossvegas was there indeed, the first race, the one that kicks off the season. It was great news as I have covered the race once, back in 2011, I loved it and I was really happy to be able to come back again. It was a lucky coincidence, that road Worlds are going to be held in Richmond, VA, so I planned out a month-long trip to the US, half-work, half-leisure.
Iíve had high expectations, but but the big day didnít go without hiccups. Having supplied images for the official brochure and having been in frequent contact with Brook in the last few weeks prior to the race, I became somehow convinced that it was known to his organisation, too, that Iíd be there and I simply forgot to send my application for accredtiation. A really rookie mistake. Iíve managed to sort it out, but I had to find Brook and he had to confirm to the press people that I am who I claim to be.
This delay proved to be too long and I missed the race of Nick Lemke, who is the editor of my latest cyclocross album. Weíve had lunch before the race, though and it was great to finally meet him in person, after exchanging hundreds of emails and working closely on the book for such a long time. Long story short, Iíve managed to catch him just before he crossed the finish line. But I wasnít done with rookie mistakes, there was one more to come.
I always complain about how tricky it is to shoot the womenís race, because you have a lot less time and a lot less laps to work with. When the PA claimed that there was still two laps to go, I knew that I had plenty of time to make my way back to the finish line. But then I got caught up at one point of the course and I could only watch on one of the screens as Katerina Nash soloed to victory. I havenít missed a race finish since 2009, this is what I call a proper rookie mistake.
The menís race went smoother and I made sure that I was there when Wout Van Aert stormed crossed the line, victorious. And it was suddenly over. The first World Cup in the US was over. Brook and his team put on a great race, an evening that riders and spectators seemed to enjoy alike. With this race, my cyclcross season has officially started, though there will be a small interlude in Richmond, in the form of the road World Championships. While Iíll be there to cover mainly the womenís races, a few clients needed photos of the men as well, so expect shots from both. More to come soon.