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29 October 2007  |  Race Reports

USGP #1, #2

Last weekend the USGP Cyclocross series kicked off in Louisville, Kentucky. Cyclocross in Louisville? It seemed like a random place to have a ‘cross race, so I was curious to see how the event would go. Apparently Louisville is “the Boulder of the Midwest,” and judging by the number of tiny kids riding around the venue on ‘cross bikes, I think that’s probably about right.

On Friday night we headed over to the Kentucky Derby museum at Churchill Downs for the number presentation ceremony. There were a ton of people there- and I was really impressed with how excited the locals were to have the USGP come to their town.

The Louisville USGP race course

The Louisville USGP race course

The race course was in a park that used to be a golf course, and the terrain was relatively flat with plenty of sand pits. There were 2 run-ups (not too steep), a set of stairs and a set of barriers. The course was mostly grass with 2 paved sections. It had been raining the few days before the race so Day 1 the course was a little bit greasy, but it was still fast.

I was called up on the 3rd row (owing to a lack of UCI points), and it took me awhile to make my way through traffic. I eventually caught up with the main chase group, consisting of Wendy, Lyne and Alison. I rode with them for a bit, but soon realized that they had given up chasing Katie and were racing for 2nd place. I attacked the group and got a small gap, which I opened up to about 20 secs by the end of the race. Katie was already long gone by that point, so I rode the last lap by myself eventually finishing 2nd: about 1:30 back. I did manage to score the “most aggressive rider” prize, so that was nice bonus.

Most aggressive rider award

Most aggressive rider award

After the race Saturday I was excited for Sunday’s race: I usually feel better on the second day of racing, and I hoped that I would be able to make it to the front before Katie had too much of a gap. When I was called up the only open spots on the 3rd row were right in the middle- not exactly ideal, but hey, it’s good practice right? I had a better start, and caught up with the chase group (Wendy, Lyne, Alison and Rachel) by the end of the first lap. I could tell that the pace was slowing which meant the gap to Katie was growing.

I went to the front and pushed the pace higher, trying to bring the gap down. Wendy, Lyne and Rachel dropped off, but Alison stayed glued to my wheel. I knew better than to sit around and wait for the sprint, so I kept attacking out of every corner. My legs felt great, so I pushed hard, and eventually I opened a little bit of a gap which I was able to hold until the finish. I finished 2nd again, 30 secs down on Katie.

My cheering section

My cheering section

Perhaps the best part of the race was my cheering section. There were 4 shirtless guys with my name written on their chests making plenty of noise every time I passed them- those guys had great energy and I couldn’t help but smile each time I rode by. There were also a few guys dressed up like Roman gladiators and some other cool costumes (my cheering section doubled as Barry’s cheering section where they donned “Wicks” T-shirts and wore bright orange jock straps over their jeans).
I could use a cheering section like that at every race, in fact I could use a cheering section like that in life, like when I have have to mow the lawn or go to the DMV. Having a bunch of rowdy shirtless guys cheering me on in life would definitely help me get more stuff done.

Anyway, now I am home. Think I am going to make some delicious banana-chocolate-chip muffins.


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