7 December 2007 | Race Reports
Portland USGP #5 & #6
The last two races in the USGP series were held in Portland, and I was looking forward to some good sloppy racing. The forecast was for rain, cold temps and wind, and the weather didn’t disappoint. We got to Portland on Thursday night (it was raining, of course) and pre-rode Friday. The course was wet, with a few puddles, but it wasn’t muddy yet. I didn’t feel super good during the pre-ride — my legs just felt a little flat, but I wasn’t too worried because sometimes I feel bad the day before a race and then good in the race.
My Dad and Abbi and my little brothers Timo and Trenor made the drive up to Portland from Idaho just to watch the race, and it was so awesome to have them there cheering. Eric Rector also made the drive from Ketchum and did his part to heckle me during the race — just like old times. Tons of folks came out to watch the elite races — there was lots of cheering, plenty of cowbell and even a few speedos.
Saturday’s race started off well — I got the hole-shot but was immediately passed (by 4 people…idiot!) in the first corner when I had to swing wide to keep from sliding out. I managed to stay smooth and passed a few other riders who crashed early on. The course was very slippery which made it challenging even though there was only one forced dismount (for the barriers). I rode in second place for awhile, and after a few laps I caught up to Katie, but when she went into the pit for a bike change I rode by and tried to open up a gap on the long paved section through the start/finish. My tactic worked and over the next couple of laps I managed to grow the gap to around 20 secs. I was very happy with this result because my legs felt good, and I felt very comfortable riding in the greasy conditions.
Sunday’s course was a little bit different, and though it was muddier it wasn’t quite as greasy. Once again I had a great start, and once again 4 people passed me in the first corner. Katie was in the lead, and the gap was starting to open up. It took me awhile to pass the women in front of me, but by the beginning of the second lap I had made my way up to second with Katie about 10 seconds in front of me. I felt good and was having fun on the course, and with 2 laps to go I caught and passed Katie. I managed to take the win again, with Katerina finishing second- a great day for the LUNA team. I also won the series overall which was a nice bonus because this year’s women’s field at the USGP races is stronger than it has ever been. Racing the series has definitely benefited all of us North Americans, and I think that will be evident at the World Championships in January.
Now I am back in Fort Collins and there are 2 inches of snow on the ground- a reminder that it really is winter. (Luckily, Dusty and I just got a hot tub, so we won’t have to drain our whole hot water heater by taking 40 minute showers to warm up after cold rides.)
We leave next Thursday for Kansas City. I race on Sunday and then that’s it for the season. I can hardly believe that ‘cross season has come and gone! At this time last year, I was pretty burned out, but I am actually excited to be racing at Nationals next week. Anyway, blah blah blah.