BCS CX Racers Grant and Ross Ellwood Recap Their Cyclocross Seasons
Boulder Cycle Sport is thrilled to congratulate our cyclocross team riders, Grant and Ross Ellwood on their hard work and dedication this season. These two University of Colorado-Boulder students achieved top race results throughout a packed season while also balancing successful semesters at school. We met up with Grant and Ross to hear more about how their season of cyclocross racing went and what they’re looking forward to in 2019.
What were your main goals for the 2018-2019 cyclocross season?
Grant Ellwood: My main goals for the season were to finish in the Top 5 in C1 and C2 races and then finish in the Top 6 at the National Championships in the Elites. I had a really busy semester of school, which got in the way of training and sleep. So, I wasn’t as fit as I would have liked to have been, didn’t get to travel to as many races as I would have liked, and I didn’t perform as well as I had hoped. Because of the stress of school, I shifted my expectations and focused more on performing the best I could for the fitness I was in.
Ross Ellwood: I had two main goals this season. One was to be in the Top 15 in the C1 and C2 races. And the other goal was to make it on a trip to Europe with the National team. I accomplished my first goal with some good results, such as a 6th place in the C2 at Jingle Cross and a 9th place on day one of the Valmont UCI race. I did not reach my goal of going to Europe as it seemed USA Cycling was going to have fewer trips and send fewer riders over this year.
What did you season look like? Which races stood out as your favorites?
Grant Ellwood: My season started early with the Trek CX Cup in Waterloo, WI and Jingle Cross World Cup in Iowa City, IA where I finished 36th and 37th respectively. I had a tough time at the US Open of Cyclocross finishing 11th on Day 1, and 10th on Day 2.
One of my best races of the season happened in Cincinnati on Day 1, where I finished 6th. The course was super slippery, which made it super fun. The second day was dry and fast and I ended up finishing in 11th after making some little mistakes along the way which cost me lots of time. The final big race of the season was Nationals. I ended up taking the win in the Collegiate Club Mens race after duking it out with a good friend. The final race of the season was Elite Nationals. I was still pretty tired from the collegiate race and did not have my best day, but I was able to pull off a 10th place finish.
Ross Ellwood: This season consisted of two main traveling races, Jingle Cross in Iowa City, IA, and Cincinnati. I raced Nationals later on in the season and then mixed in a bunch of local races in between. Probably my best result was during the C2 at Jingle Cross. The conditions were very tough and combined both mud and many trips up the infamous “Mount Krumpit” hill. Still, I rode a clean race and beat Brannan Fix in the end, finishing 6th and as the second American in the race.
What was your favorite memory or race of the season?
Grant Ellwood: One of my favorite memories of the season was getting to race with my brother at the US Open of Cross and help him get in the Top 10 in the Elite race. It is special to be able to help out my brother when I can at such a high-level event. One of the other favorite memories of this season was winning Collegiate Nationals of cyclocross after having come so close to winning in many different disciplines for so many years.
Ross Ellwood: My favorite race was Day 1 of the Valmont UCI race when both Grant and I were riding together. It was super cool to be part of the Ellwood and BCS train!
Grant and I really benefited from the support of BCS this season and we’re very thankful! Having Chris Flecknoe dial in our bikes before the big races was huge. In addition, at Valmont Park, it was super fun to hang out with and get support from BCS’ Alex Hoese and James Read!
Which race was the hardest? Any lessons learned?
Grant Ellwood: The hardest races of the season for me were both days at US Open of Cyclocross. I had a rough week of school leading up the race, which made it really hard to compete at a high level. I had good starts both days, but quickly lost of ton of spots and was close to dropping out. But I stuck it out and stayed with it for a few laps and then came back to finish well. Mentally, it was difficult not to pull the plug, but because I kept going I ended up catching my brother and getting the opportunity to help him finish in the Top 10. Big things learned from these types of races are to never give up, which can be very hard sometimes, but it paid off!
Ross Ellwood: The hardest race by far was the National Championships in Louisville, KY. For almost a third of the course, I was running in thick, deep mud that would make the whole body burn and ache. With this race being so physically difficult, I definitely had to be mentally tough. I had a bad start and missed my pedal, meaning I had to fight the whole rest of the race. I climbed my way into 9th place, but a hard crash onto some rocks left me in the end with 10th place. It was the type of race that leaves your whole body dead afterward, but gives a sense of satisfaction and accomplished.
What are you doing now that the season is over?
Grant Ellwood: My brother and I enjoyed Christmas and spent some time up at our cabin skating on our pond and playing some hockey. We also spend a few days in Breckenridge building a giant snow fort and cross country skiing.
Ross Ellwood: Directly after my race at Nationals, I flew back to Boulder, finished off a stressful semester at CU, and began Winter Break and offseason. My break consisted of fine-tuning my video game skills, and playing pond hockey! As of now, I am just beginning to gear up for the Collegiate Road season with CU!
What are you looking forward to for next season?
Grant Ellwood: I am looking forward to not being in school next cyclocross season so that I can get more sleep and have more time to focus on racing and training. I plan to find some part-time work, but nothing too significant that would interfere with racing and training.
Ross Ellwood: I am really looking forward to next cyclocross season in the hopes of dialing in my skills and fitness and getting better results!
Hear more from Grant and Ross Ellwood at our 2018 BCS Cycling Season Celebration + 2019 Team Kickoff Party on January 30th. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/217181272570114/