The category 4 race at the 2008 Rolling Thunder had numerous story lines. None better, then that of Tyler Hurst. The first year racer, with a competitive spirit and solid bike handling skills.
If you don't remember the 2008 cat 4 cyclocross scene, let me know take you back in time. 2008 was the year we met Karl Vanderwood. The Flying Dutchman was not yet on MT Velo, and was sweeping cat 4 races left and right. Also, in the mix during 2008 was Jesse Doll, Dan Pierce, and Jason Delmue.
At Rolling Thunder, there were several potential winners. Dustin "Bandito" Phillips made a surprise last minute entry, Flying Dutchman of course, GAS's Delmue, NRO Pierce/Doll combo, and Andrew Geneco was riding well.
During the race the selection was made early. Hurst, Bandito, Delmue, and KV were in a group of 4 navigating the technical course. As the race wore on attacks started to fly. Each rider took turns trying to punish his opponents. Each time the riders would claw back together. From the Wild Rockies Trailer I could see the Tyler Hurst fan club starting to buzz. Hurst's family and friends began to realize he could win this thing. Going into the last lap, in my head I gave Tyler less then a 2% chance of winning. I'd seen Karl and Jason race all season, and I quickly learned of Bandito's racing resume. I think he was even gapped a little bit heading into the sections I couldn't report on. We waited patiently to see who would come around the last corner first. I saw the bright yellow jersey and laughed a little into the microphone. Not because it was funny, but because I couldn't believe it. Hurst had 10m on his nearest opponent. He came into the finishing straight and the crowd gasped. The Red Dragon and his family rushed the straightaway. THurst looked at his dad and said "That one was for you."
In half a season Hurst went from Wednesday Night mid pack, to Wednesday Night Winner, to Rolling Thunder Champion. It's still one of the best stories in Thunder Lore.
I look forward to this year's story.
Wednesday Night Cyclocross Tonight 5:45
Photo by John Sieber