Five earn first titles of 09 Cross Nats as comp warms up in Bend

Bend, Ore. (December 10, 2009)—More than 500 competitors opened the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships on Thursday in conditions no less than 100 degrees cooler than when the last USA Cycling National Championships took place in Bend last July. Things warmed up to nearly freezing however before five national titles were awarded in the 55 and over master men’s age divisions on the first of four days of competition.
In the day’s first national title race reigning national champion Gary Thacker (Louisville, Colo./Chipotle/titus) found himself in a fierce battle with Paul Curley (Taunton, Mass./Gearworks-spinarts) who fought his way up from the fourth row to win the 55-59 men’s national title. Curley, himself a 23-time national champ across multiple disciplines, came on strong late in the race to take out Thacker by a mere 17 seconds. Terrell Knight (Vancouver, Wash.) crossed the line a minute later to grab the bronze, while Michael Longmire (Missoula, Mont./Northern Rockies) and Randy Silva (Albuquerque, N.M./Knob Hill Velo) rounded out the podium.  
“The course was very technically challenging, but a lot of fun. I was looking forward to the next lap each time. It definitely favors those who have done this before,” said Curley, a Massachusetts native. “Conditions are actually very similar in New England where we’re lucky to have a lot of great races and competition. There will be a lot more jerseys going back east before the competition is over.”
The “grand master” 60+ race saw more than 40 riders from 60-76 years-of-age take to the start with national championship age divisions separated by 30 second increments. Dan Norton (Ronald, Wash.) was the first man across the line, winning the 60-64 division. For the second time on the day, the reigning champion, Phil Bannister (Putney, Vt.), was ousted as Norton blazed the course and took the victory by well over a minute.
“I knew there were some very good riders in my division so I just went out hard,” explained Norton. “In all it was a good course, good crowd and I’m happy.”
Check out the entire conversation with Dan Norton here:

Bannister went on to skillfully out sprint bronze-medalist John Elgart (Sacramento, Calif./Webcor-Alto Velo) to wrap up the silver in the 60-64 division.
Ten 65-69 year-olds followed 30 seconds later putting it all on the line for the Stars-and-Stripes. James Wagner (Auburn, Wash./Cycle Therapy 4 Corners), Robert Llamas (Montrose, Calif. /Montrose Bike Shop) and Rob Lea (Taneytown, M.D./TEAM Fuji) finished one-two-three in the day’s third set of medals. Wagner outpaced his group by more than a minute to win the national title.
Joe Saling (Bridgewater, N.J./Somerset Van Dessel) earned the 70-74 victory less than 30 seconds ahead of Erik Nordenson (Moab, Utah), while the contest’s oldest racer Walt Axthelm (Durango, Colo./DCCX) repeated his 2008 victory in the 75-79 category.
Hundreds of additional riders contested the expert course in the day’s earlier non-national championship “B”races. Full results can be found on the USA Cycling website at
As a part of a testing demonstration MyLaps Sports Timing ChipX timing system will be providing UNOFFICIAL, immediate results for Friday afternoon’s masters races via the USA Cycling website at: 
The USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships will continue Friday, with riders in both junior and masters men’s and women’s categories fighting for their shot at a national title.     
2009 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships
Bend, Ore.
December 10-13
Thursday’s National Champions:
Men 55-59: Paul Curley (Taunton, Mass./Gearworks-spinarts)
Men 60-64: Dan Norton (Ronald, Wash.)
Men 65-69: James Wagner (Auburn, Wash./Cycle Therapy 4 Corners)
Men 70-74: Joe Saling (Bridgewater, N.J./Somerset Van Dessel)
Men 75-79: Walt Axthelm (Durango, Colo./DCCX)

To view images from the competition click here.  

Photo caption: Paul Curley crosses the line with the win in the men's 55-59 division. 

Photo Credit: Ben Ross  
About USA Cycling   
Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including road, track, mountain bike, BMX, and cyclo-cross. As a membership-based organization, USA Cycling consists of 64,000+ licensees including 1,500 coaches, 4,000 student-athletes, 2,200 officials, 1,800 clubs and teams, 350 professional cyclists, 200 certified mechanics, and 34 local associations. The national governing body sanctions 2,500 competitive and non-competitive events throughout the U.S. each year and is responsible for the identification, development, and support of American cyclists through various initiatives and programs. Additionally, USA Cycling conducts national championship events for all categories of amateur and professional cycling. To learn more about USA Cycling, visit

This Article Published December 10, 2009 For more information contact: