As a previous host of the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships, Louisville, Kentucky was familiar with dramatic events. Heavy snowmelt and a river rising onto the race course being one of them. This year, the weather delivered in a more predictable way. Rain came down and riders churned the wet hillsides into muddy trenches, the way it’s supposed to happen. At least in the world of cyclocross. But the event also delivered some of the most incredible race stories and rider performances that could be hoped for. Castelli teams and athletes, from juniors to the elites, all raced with grit, carrying mud-thickened bikes like crosses, and often finished with smiles and looks of disbelief.
Here’s a look back on the mud and gray skies, on emotional performances, and on seemingly unthinkable victories.