Colorado Cross Cup: Crashed Out of the Chase

(photo credit: Brad Kaminski / VeloNews)

It’s hometown racing this weekend – with a course at two of my favorite Boulder haunts. We raced at the Boulder Reservoir today. On Sunday, we line up at the Valmont Bike Park.

While I’m usually eager to race at home, I have to admit that I’m pretty tired at the moment. This is the only weekend I’ve spent at home since the last weekend of August (and that weekend involved racing up in Fort Collins). My next weekend at home isn’t until the weekend before Thanksgiving. Mentally, I could have used a weekend to refresh, and I’m sure my legs would have appreciated it, too – but with racing in my backyard, I am still excited to be pinning on a number.

The course today was dry, bumpy, dusty and loose. In a lot of ways it was fairly similar to what we raced on in Madison last month – not a lot of consistent pedaling. Instead it was more of the pedal-turn-pedal-turn-turn-pedal style of riding, although there were a few places where I could get a little more flow than I ever did in Madison. The course included a sand pit, which was a welcome feature, especially since it was the first time riding in sand this year.

I got a decent start – nothing to brag about but far better than my starts from last weekend. I hit the hole shot in fourth or fifth wheel. Things began to spread out immediately on the first lap as we all followed Katie Compton (Trek Collective) through the twists and turns. When Katie slid out early in the first lap, Nicole Duke (Marin Spy), Crystal Anthony (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Stratgies), Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement) and I came around her. I was yo-yo’ing off the back of our little group as I struggled to find my legs and get comfortable.

Not too long after her crash, Katie came blowing past me – and then blowing past Nicole and Crystal. Nicole tried to hitch a ride but ultimately couldn’t maintain the pace. By lap three, Nicole, Crystal and I were the main chase. We traded turns on the front knowing that we were racing for 2nd as Katie kept a sizable lead from us.

In a meeting with my coach, Neal Henderson, this week, we had discussed holding back slightly today. He didn’t want me to go too deep. The situation that had developed presented me with an opportunity to attempt to respect that conversation. I know it’s almost impossible to chase down Katie, so I chose to sit on a little more than usual while Nicole and Crystal did the bulk of the work.

(photo credit: Brad Kaminski / VeloNews)

On the fourth lap, I followed Crystal into the sand and discovered she could only make it half-way through the section before she had to dismount and run. Remembering that scenario as Crystal lead us into the sand pit on lap five, I immediately dismounted before my front wheel even hit the sand and started running. I figured this would allow me to pass her and it worked. I came out of the sand pit leading the chase.

Two turns later, there was a tight left hand turn that’s off camber and a little bit sketchy. There was a wooden post right in the apex of the turn, and I nailed it with my handlebars. It flipped me onto the ground and knocked the wind out of me. Nicole and Crystal overtook me, and Chloe Woodruff  (Crankbrothers), who had been fast closing on our group of three, came around me, too.

I slowly got up, shook myself off and got back on the bike. I didn’t bother trying to chase the long gone group ahead with only one lap remaining. Instead, I rode the last lap just hard enough not to get caught by Kaitie Antonneau (CyclocrossWorld/Cannondale) who was riding solo behind me.

I finished the race feeling fairly frustrated. I’m still disappointed as I replay the race in my head. While I wasn’t meant to go all out today, if I’m going to race my bike, I want to get a good result. I went from racing for second in the first chase group to crashing out into fifth with essentially one lap remaining. I feel like I’m still waiting for it all to come together – good start, good legs, good result.

We’ll see what tomorrow is like. I know it’s going to be a really difficult course. Hopefully my legs recover well overnight and are up for the challenge on Sunday.

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