20 November 2010  |  Race Reports

USGP Fort Collins

I think it is safe to say that the New Belgium Cup was a huge success!  Thanks to the USGP, local organizers, all the volunteers, and all the racers and spectators who showed up to make it one of the top ‘cross races this year in the US.

It was so cool to have a huge race right here in Fort Collins, and I want to thank everyone who came out and cheered for me — I could get used to cheering sections like that!  I only wish I could have pulled off a win.

So… after our balmy fall, winter managed to sneak in right before the race, dumping a few inches of snow and turning the the course from dry and dusty to slick and muddy.  Saturday morning I arrived at the venue to find tape-to-tape slop and plenty of mud-covered bikes (and bodies).  Everyone was excited about racing in the cold and wet, and with pretty much all of the top North American racers present, it was sure to be a good race.  At least that was what I was hoping for.

Day 1:   I knew the start was going to be important — muddy conditions make for more crashes and mistakes, and I didn’t want to get stuck behind anyone.  I got the hole shot, but Katie and Katerina were right there, and we rode together for a couple of laps.  We jockeyed for position as each of us bobbled, blew corners, washed out and otherwise made plenty of mistakes.  Unfortunately, I managed to be making a lot more mistakes than either of them, and before I knew it I was dropped.  Despite the enormous cheering section on the hill in the middle of the course (thanks guys!), I couldn’t manage to pull it together enough to close down the gap.  With Katerina and Katie riding together and attacking one another, the gap just grew and grew.  I crossed the line in 3rd place, not exactly what I was looking for, but based on how I was riding, probably what I deserved.  I resolved to make up for it on Day 2.

Day 2:   Conditions were still a little bit greasy, but some changes to the course and a little bit of sun had made the track much drier- even tacky in spots.  I got a good start, and just decided I would pin it from the start and see what happened.  I had a little bit of the gap for the first part of the lap, but Katie caught me about halfway through.  I stayed on her wheel, and I was riding much more aggressively than I had the day before — even passed Katie in a few corners.  Then, towards the end of the second lap I tripped on the barriers, awkwardly fell, and let Katie open up a gap.  I tried to pick myself up quickly, but Katerina caught me just as I got back on my bike.  “Come on, let’s go!” she said, but I just couldn’t go with her.  My legs were definitely feeling the effects of the race the day before, so I just watched as she rode away.  Once again, I found myself dropped with Katerina and Katie battling it out at the front.  Again.  I did manage to get a flat tire on the last lap- really made me feel fast going up the long climb in the middle of the course… but luckily I had enough of a gap on fourth that it wasn’t a problem.  I can’t say I was thrilled with another 3rd place finish, but I definitely tried my best and that was all I had that day.

Overall, aside from my results, I am really thrilled with how the races went.  Everything was very professional, and the support from our community was huge!  Everyone really came together to put on a truly excellent event, and I was proud to be a part of it.  Now I just need to train some more and get fast for Portland and Nationals!


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