B oulder Cycle Sport's Pete Webber rode his way to a third cyclocross national title, with the help of his teammates and pit crew led by Russell Stevenson.

Then later that day, Stevenson won his first cyclocross national championship with the help of Webber in the pit.

"I had the Boulder Cycle Sport team manning the pit, and Russell was manning the pit for me, and that was a key advantage," Webber said. "I was able to repay the favor later... All of us were really proud."

As Boulder begins preparations to host cyclocross nationals in 2014, a crew of Boulder-area athletes have returned home from a successful weekend at 2013 nationals in Madison, Wis.

Webber won against 60 riders in the masters men's 40-44 division, while Stevenson topped a field of 80 riders in the masters men's 35-39 division.

Thick, goopy mud was the name of the game by Saturday and Sunday's races. The five-day event began Wednesday with hard, frozen dirt that quickly turned to mud after hundreds of wheels passed over the course and temperatures rose.

Stevenson said he made eight pit stops -- two for each lap -- which meant without a top-notch crew, he might not have finished out front.

"I've never done a race where I've pitted twice a lap," Stevenson said. "So if all your systems are not dialed, you lose time. Our system was absolutely dialed and everyone was an all-star.


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Yannick Eckmann, of California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized team, finished the U23 men's race in 44:42, nearly two minutes ahead of the next closest racer. Eckmann, 19, was granted dual German-American citizenship earlier in the season.

"I was nervous going into winner the race, but once I started I kept a clear head and had fun in the mud out there," he said in a phone interview. "I was trying to make as few mistakes as possible."

Eckmann said he knew he had a good lead because his dad kept him updated at each pit stop, but he said he tired not to think too much about his lead, for fear of losing focus.

"You can't stop racing until it's over," he said, "because if you stop or make a mistake, they can easily catch up from the back."

Nicole Duke of Denver's Alchemy Bicycle Co., finished third after overcoming mechanical problems, just three seconds behind second-place finisher Jade Wilcoxson. Duke's mechanical problems ranged from a flat tire to a frozen brake lever, which she described as "madness."

In the junior women 15-16 category, Boulder's Mina Anderberg of T.E.A.M. Fuji-Sports took home a second place finish. In the junior men 10-12 category, Broomfield's Nolan Stephenson of Boulder Junior Cycling got edged out of a first place finish by two seconds. His older brother Denzel Stephenson dominated the junior men 13-14 race, winning by more than a minute.

Boulder Junior Cycling coach Ann Trombley said the two did "amazing," though she guessed Nolan Stephenson would have been happier with a gold medal rather than silver.

"Poor Nolan actually was in first for the first two laps, and right at the end of the third lap, he crashed and bobbled and go up," Trombley said. "He still had a stellar race."

Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.