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Cyclocross, ‘Cross and more CX

Alright, so the last time that I posted a real blog story was waaaaay back at ‘cross camp. When was that, August? What can I say, it’s been a busy season! Good, great, but busy. I won’t even think of giving a race recap of each and every race I’ve done this year, but I’ll tell you I’ve done a lot of racing. It all started with a hot and dusty CO race which was just a warm up before going to CrossVegas – the true kickoff to the season. From there we went to Madison for the first round of the USGP, then I took off to New England for Providence and Gloucester (and then got the heck out of dodge before I started talking like them because nobody wants to talk that), then headed south to Louisville for the second round of the USGP (and home of the 2013 World Championships), got to sleep in my own bed for the Boulder Cup weekend, and then again slept in my own bed for the third round of the USGP in Ft Collins, got to have Thanksgiving dinner at home before flying to Iowa for 3 days of Jingle Cross, headed west to Portland for the last round of the USGP (where I wrapped up the series in 2nd place), spent the week in Bend (one of my favorite towns) to prepare for nationals, and now find myself sitting in a hotel in Brecht, Belgium, hoping that everything goes well in tomorrow’s World Cup in Kalmthout.

Now maybe you understand why I’ve been too busy to write a blog. Or too tired. Or too lazy. Or all of the above.

Here are a few highlights from the last several months…

CrossVegas is always a highlight because it’s the official kickoff to the ‘cross season. But above all, my parents made a trip with close family friends to see this spectacle for themselves. They’d seen a few ‘cross races before but for them to be at “the” race that got me started in this business meant a lot to me.

Madison was another highlight because my parents (who had just gotten back from a week in Vegas – super troopers!), family and friends, many of whom had never seen a ‘cross race, were there to cheer me on. The cheers I got for my call up in Madison were deafening. Ok, maybe not deafening, but loud enough to get a few heckles from my competitors about “no pressure”. Ha, none at all. Although I didn’t start the USGP series with the results I was expecting that weekend, I could have crossed the line DFL and my friends and family still would have been proud of me and that’s pretty special. The picture below is during the call up when my cheering section was going nuts…if you could have seen my face it would have been the color of my skinsuit!

The entire month of October was especially fun because Teal and I wore pink Cal Giant kits in every race to support breast cancer awareness month. Not only was my kit pink but I was rocking a pink Crux from Specialized and pink decals from Zipp. I was definitely ‘pinked’ out. But it wasn’t just about wearing pink, it was the money that I raised through personal fundraising, a silent auction in Ft Collins and an online raffle that made it so special. All the dollars raised went to a Ft Collins-based breast cancer foundation, called Hope Lives, which provides complementary care for women undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Getting a W in Gloucester was pretty sweet since it was one of my biggest ‘cross wins to date. I had finished 2nd to LVG the day before in a sprint to the line (NEVER try to out sprint LVG because it ain’t gonna happen) so on day 2 I took the race into my own hands and rode across the line solo. It felt damn good.

Day 2 in Providence I took home another W. After a frustrating flat on day 1 that left me choking on people’s dust, I went out for revenge on Sunday. I had a solid, clean race and sealed the deal with a victory.

Louisville USGP – day 1 I won the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider award and on day 2 I finished 2nd. It might sound weird to be happy about 2nd instead of a win, which would have been incredible, but a podium finish at a USGP is still a bonus.

Because of its proximity to Louisville, it was the perfect time for a small crew of Zipp riders to visit the factory in Indianapolis. There’s nothing better than seeing first hand what goes into making a product that is such an essential part of the package. Andy Paskins and the gang at Zipp have built the finest, most bullet proof wheel for ‘cross – the Zipp 303. After touring the factory and posing for photos, the riders held a clinic open to the public. The turnout was awesome and exciting to see how many people were there to learn a thing of two from us.

Ft Collins USGP – I’m not just making this up because I live in Ft Collins but the race was a smash hit. I repeatedly heard positive comments about the course, the venue, the spectators, the volunteers. Joan Hanscom even said it was the best USGP race in series history. That’s huge! On day 2, when the course had become dry and fast, I finished 4th behind Katie, Katerina and Georgia. As much as I would have liked to have been on that podium, especially in my hometown, following right behind those women is still a decent accomplishment.

After winning all 3 days at Jingle Cross last year, I was pretty stoked to start the weekend with a win Friday night. Unfortunately, I didn’t do the triple repeat, but just as satisfying was witnessing Amanda (my TIBCO teammate and athlete) win the next 2 days.

Nationals. 3rd place. Again, I didn’t win, didn’t even come close, but I can’t be too disappointed about finishing behind Katie (who took her 7th consecutive win) and Georgia. In fact, the result was what I was realistically hoping for (unless I was absolutely on fire and one of them had a bad day, I didn’t think anything better was possible), and I’m stoked that I was able to make it happen, even after getting caught up in a first lap crash which pushed me back to around 40th place.

It’s been a relatively successful season so far, but my season has been epitomized by mishaps. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to get out of my own way on day 1 of the weekend. Whether it’s been crashes, flats or 10 ft of course tape getting tangled up in my drivetrain, I’ve had to claw my way back to the front of the race more times than I’d like to recall. I’ve heard or said, “there’s always tomorrow” too many times. Yet, I haven’t given up any of those times, no matter how badly I’d rather throw my bike or stop and scream the F bomb at the top of my lungs. Several of those times I have even ridden myself onto the podium or have walked away with the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider award. My nickname has become “Comeback Queen”. I’m not sure I like being pegged with that name, but there is something inspiring about it, too.

Thanks to Cal Giant, who continually supports me in my endeavors, I’m now in Belgium preparing for 2 World Cups which I’m counting on to help me secure a spot on the World’s team. More about those races to come…

December 20th, 2010. Written by meredith

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