Verona, Wisc. (Jan. 5, 2012) — The 2012 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships took place near Madison, Wisconsin in January. Nearly 150 of the country's best 45-80 year-old cyclo-cross bike racers tackled the course at Badger Prairie Park on an unseasonably warm January day in Wisconsin.
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 to win her fourth cyclocross National Championship.
“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.”
The men's 65-69 contest was won by Lewis Rollins (Salt Lake City, Utah/Contender Bicycles). 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.”
Ten days later on January 15th, in the 2012 UCI Masters Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, Walker capped her season with a second place.
With conditions changing throughout the day, the women 50-54 took to the course while it was still covered in a coating of snow and frozen ruts. Karen Brems (Redwood City, Calif./Team Rambuski Law) claimed victory, followed by Walker (Pocatello, Idaho/Contender Bicycles).