21 September 2011 | Race Reports
‘Cross Vegas- Race Report
Ahh ‘Cross Vegas. It’s one of the biggest and best races on the U.S. ‘cross calendar. It also happens to come right at the end of mountain bike season, and somehow I have never been able to come into it 100% prepared. It seems like every year there is always something, and this year was no different.
After a trying 6 weeks in Europe filled with mediocre results and lackluster training, I had 9 days at home before heading down to Vegas for Interbike. I was still pretty tired from my Europe trip, but there was no way I was going to skip ‘Cross Vegas! Every year the crowds are bigger and the racing gets better, and no matter how burned out I am I can always muster up something for Vegas. This year we were treated to cooler temperatures and a slightly wet course (due to torrential downpours in the days leading up to the race).
Caroline Mani got the hole-shot, and I was content to sit on her wheel- no need to tow everyone around on the start loop, right? Sue, however, wasn’t content to just sit on a wheel (she’s not nearly as lazy as I am), so she accelerated around us, and I jumped on her wheel. I went around Sue after the barriers and got a small gap. It was unintentional- I was just trying to keep the pace high to string out the field, but people started telling me I had a gap, so I decided to go for it. Katerina came across, and we rode together for a few laps, taking turns and working together. Behind us, a small group consisting of Amy, Kelli and Meredith was chasing hard.
Katerina was riding a little stronger than I was, so when I was a little slow getting back in my pedals after one of the run-ups she opened a small gap. I was able to keep the gap pretty steady for a while, but the chase group eventually caught me. I jumped in behind Kelli, and the pace felt pretty comfortable, but with 2 laps to go I knew it was going to be a tactical race. I wasn’t feeling particularly snappy, and so I figured that my best chance would be to make a move earlier rather than later- I didn’t like my chances in a sprint. I felt pretty fast on the run-up and with half a lap to go I opened a little gap there, but I didn’t have enough in the tank and they caught me. Oh well, at least I tried something…
Amy made her move in exactly the same spot as last year, and Kelli jumped on her wheel, but I just didn’t have the punch to go with them. Meredith eventually went around me too- right before the finish- so I ended up rolling through in 5th. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but pretty solid. (Or, as Colt from Cyclingdirt would point out: “YOU SUCKED!”) The crowds, however, did NOT suck. In fact, the crowds were amazing. I literally couldn’t see where I was going on one of the run-ups because there were so many flashes going off! It was a fun race, and I was happy to be back on my ‘cross bike. Now that I have had a few more days at home, I am hoping to be a little more fresh for the next races: the first 2 rounds of the USGP in Madison, WI.