Feb 18, 2016 – Jeremy Powers’ video missive for American cyclocross fans, The Book of Cross, comes to a conclusion for the 2015-16 season in Heusden-Zolder with Chapter 3. This third installment chronicles Powers’ success at Nationals. Watching, the inevitable fatigue after a long season is evident on the four time U.S. national champion’s face in the days leading up to the World Championships at Zolder. A long season of racing can be a grind.
Clive Pursehouse/The Book of Cross
The season’s final chapter for Powers’ The Book of Cross project allows his fans to see both the thrill and relief of a fourth national title, along the disappointment in his performance at the Worlds. Powers’ front row position was short lived when he failed to engage his pedal at the race’s start.The insanely wet conditions and the crowded field made for tough sledding and while Powers fought back throughout the race he was mired in the mid-thirties for much of the mud covered slug fest and went onto finish 31st.
Top level form and focus are hard to maintain from August into February, though Powers closed out his season with a victory at the Cyclocross Tokyo event last weekend. While his World Cup results in Europe were not to his standards, his racing was impressive on American soil. He finished with a fourth national title and a sixth place result at the World Cup race in Vegas, along with many victories on the U.S. circuit throughout the fall. And while this final chapter of The Book of Cross has a different feel to it compared to the effervescence Powers displayed when the series opened in Vegas, that passion is again evident in a highlight at the Zolder race.
A visibly tired Powers lights up when talking about the new faces on the U.S. national team racing at Zolder. Ellen Noble, Scott Smith and Anthony Clark in particular; all riders who got their start in Powers’ grassroots cycling effort, the JAM Fund. Ultimately for Powers this will be his legacy and how he gives back to the sport. And with the compelling stories of up and coming JAM Fund riders like Clark, and the undeniable talent of Ellen Noble, that legacy and the next chapter of The Book of Cross has yet to be written.
Jeremy Powers is ultimately an optimist and while he didn’t quite get it right in the European World Cup this season, he’ll be back. With a second World Cup race on American soil next year, we should expect to see him once again charging to the front of the American field. But not until after a well deserved off-season.