Allen Krughoff and I debuted the Noosa CX colors today at KickIt Cross in Castlewood. I came away with the win, and Allen finished second to Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing), who has been in town in the build-up to CrossVegas. We’re both super happy with the way we’re seeing everything come together at the start of the season – and looking forward to meeting up with partners, friends and fans in Vegas in just a couple days. Team report is copied/pasted below.
Meredith Miller and Allen Krughoff debuted the Noosa Professional Cyclocross Team colors at KickIt Cross in Castlewood, Colorado on Sunday. They wore the kits they designed that featured logos from the sponsors they secured and rolled into the race venue with the staff they hired in the team van they purchased.
The professional racers also serve as the team co-owners and co-managers. Today was their first test, and they scored exceedingly well. Miller won her season opener while Krughoff placed second to Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing).
“We considered today a dry run before CrossVegas,” explained Miller. “We wanted to make sure everything was in place because we’re juggling so many new elements. We have new equipment, new clothing, a new team van and new staff. The most important thing about today was to work out any kinks in our system and identify any missing pieces. I was really happy with how well things went and how amazing all our new equipment performs in race conditions.”
“It was always going to be a little chaotic before we raced,” Krughoff added. “It’s the first day with everything new, so that’s to be expected. We’re both carrying a lot of extra responsibility compared to the past few years, and I’d say we had a healthy amount of stress in terms of getting everything to the start line today. I can’t say that I showed up to the line fresh as a daisy, but I did toe that start line with a huge sense of accomplishment. We’ve successfully put together a new team, and we both have the fitness we need to compete this season.”
(photo credit: Mary Topping)
MEREDITH MILLER WINS IN FIRST OUTING FOR NOOSA CX
Miller shined in the largely local field, taking the hole shot and opening up a gap within the first half-lap. With her competitors distanced, Miller continued to build her advantage throughout the 45 minute race. She crossed the line for the win more than a minute on second place.
“I took the hole shot, and that was that,” said Miller. “No one ever came around me again. When I opened up a gap on the first lap, I continued to ride hard to extend my lead. When the gap had stretched out significantly, I settled into a really good rhythm. It was nice to be off the front, but I had to keep reminding myself that it was important to race hard for training and stay on the gas the whole time.”
The race offered Miller the perfect pre-season tune-up for her legs and for her new equipment. Although the course was dry, it was slippery due to loose dirt. Tight corners and off-camber turns made for a dynamic lap.
“It was easy to slide out on this sort of course, and I think a lot of people did,” said Miller. “I slipped in loose dirt while I was dismounting and landed on my knee. I’m scraped up a little bit, but it’s no big deal.”
“The course provided us with a good opportunity to test out the new equipment,” Miller added. “I’ve been training on the Focus Mares for nearly two months now, and I’ve gotten really comfortable on it, but I haven’t gotten to ride on the SRAM CX-1 groupset much yet so that was probably my biggest concern.”
“With the CX-1, picking the right gearing – both the chainring and the cassette – is crucial because you only have one chain ring,” Miller added. “The benefit to the single chain ring is the lack of chain slap .I have to say that I was really happy with the way the bike handled today. The whole CX-1 group runs really smoothly and quietly. I’m really looking forward to racing on it during the rest of the season.”
Miller ran Clement MXP tires on the dry, dusty course.Although the circuit was fast, the loose dirt required a tire with grip, and the MXP fit the bill.
“The MXP was the perfect tire for today’s condition,” said Miller. “It’s an all-around tire, which was exactly what I needed today. Some people might have thought that the LAX would have been the best choice for a fast course, but because of the loose dirt, slightly knobby tires are required. The MXP provided me with the traction I needed in the tight turns, fast corners and loosest sections of dirt.”
Miller felt a sense of pride from start to finish on Sunday. Always happy to stand on the top step, her source of accomplishment at KickIt Cross went beyond the result.
“It was a really good feeling to show up to the race and have people come up to us with all sorts of positive comments,” said Miller. “All day long we heard from people who loved our kits and the team van. We also repeatedly heard how much people love Noosa Yoghurt, which was great. It was even better when we would hear: ‘We bought Noosa because they’re supporting a ‘cross team.’ “
“There’s a lot of support for our new team and for the companies that have stepped up to help us put together the program,” Miller added. “We still have a few small things here and there that we need to figure out, but we’re definitely on the right track. It was a proud moment for me to stand on the top step at the very beginning of the season for all the sponsors that helped us get to today.”
ALLEN KRUGHOFF SNAGS SECOND PLACE IN NOOSA CX DEBUT
Krughoff last raced on the Castlewood course in December of last year, and he was crowned Colorado Cyclocross State Champion. He stood on the podium again on Sunday, crossing the line in second place, approximately15” behind Powers, the reigning Cyclocross National Champion. Krughoff’s former teammate, Ben Berden (Raleigh Clement), finished third.
“The most important thing for me today was to test out the new bikes, wheels and tires,” said Krughoff. “The biggest thing I noticed during my pre-ride was how extremely solid my bike felt. When I had to carry it over barriers, it felt extremely light, which was incredible. I felt like I was lifting up a paperweight – a sturdy paperweight.”
Like Miller, Krughoff secured the hole shot. Charging off the line, Krughoff took the lead ahead of Powers and Berden. It was a significant moment for the team co-owner.
“I was determined to get the hole shot,” said Krughoff. “It was a nice way to start off the season – with the hole shot in the new kit in the new team’s first race. It’s the first time the cameras are out for the cyclocross season, and I wanted them to be pointed at the Noosa kit on the front for the first lap.”
Krughoff remained in the race lead for the first four laps of the eight lap race. The fast pace he set provided a natural selection. By the second lap, a four man group with Krughoff, Powers, Berden and Tim Allen(Feedback Sports) had taken shape.
“We started to lose Tim on lap three,” explained Krughoff.“On the next lap, one of my shifters slipped when I hit a hard bump on the course, so I took a bike change.”
“Having the lever slip was a big part of being out there today,”said Krughoff. “Pre-season racing, that’s the time to shake out potential problems and give the bikes some good, hard use before the real start to the season. The incident was nothing catastrophic, and the bike change in the pits with our new mechanic was seamless.”
Powers took to the front when Krughoff went into the pit. Following his bike change, Krughoff rejoined Powers and Berden as third wheel. This meant Krughoff was forced to come around Berden when Powers made his move.
“When Jeremy started to pull away, Ben told me he was going,”noted Krughoff. “I could tell Ben was pretty tired by that point, so I came around him and picked up the pace. I put a gap into him through some technical corners and stretched it out over the next few laps.”
The gaps held steady during the final three laps. Powers soloed across the line ahead of Krughoff, who maintained his advantage over Berden.
“I call it ‘Pac-Manning’,” Krughoff explained. “The three of us all rode around the course with the same advantage over the one ahead and the one behind for three laps. Jeremy held a 15 second gap to the finish.”
“My fitness is there, which is great,” said Krughoff. “I don’t think there’s any time to improve early season fitness at this point. You either have it or you don’t. The race today was everything I needed it to be.”