The final weekend in October the past few years has been devoted to the Colorado Cross Classic and Boulder Cup, which are generally UCI races offering large prize purses and international points. Riders from all over the country come in for these races, so most riders peak for them, hoping to score a big win. The Classic is held at the infamous Boulder Reservoir (aka The Res), home of goatheads, sand, and wind. The Boulder Cup has been to numerous venues over the years, but this year was being held at the new Valmont Bike Park in Boulder. If you haven't read about the park, Google it. It is a really cool 40 acre park that opened this year incorporating singletrack, pump tracks, dual slalom, freestyle, and many other features. In addition, we had 8" of snow mid week, so conditions would definitely be muddy and fun!
Nick's Race Report:
Nick had a good sized field to head out on Saturday. As has been his habit, he got a great jump off the line, heading into the first turn in third wheel. The course immediately headed into some twisty chicanes, then a triple barrier and he lost some spots getting caught up in traffic. It then headed straight west to some tight turns as the course headed up and down the long slope that drops to the lake. Nick laid it down in some mud out there somewhere, but actually seemed pretty jubilant about that afterward--guess he feels crashing in mud is pretty crossy! It was a long course and he was pretty wiped by the time he turned into the final straight, but finished like a trouper.
Sunday's field was huge with 36 kids in his category! Just like the day before, Nick launched off the line and was 3rd wheel again, heading into the long climb up to the main course. He gave up a lot of spots on that climb (Carl's genes?), but kept battling valiantly. After some turns, the field encountered their main obstacle, a 30' long sand pit. Only the leader cleared it, with most other kids stalling out about halfway. Nick made it to the last 4', then stalled and had to dismount. We were really proud that he almost made it! He headed out of sight to the back side of the course, and eventually finished a tired but happy 30th.
Carl's Race Report:
Saturday's race was my favorite course design ever at the Res. It avoided the long beach stretches of previous races (although I'm better than most at sand) in favor of lots of tight turns. The upper 2/3 of the course was drying out and buff by the time I raced, so with confidence you could rail the turns brakeless. The lower 1/3 was deep mud, and tire selection was key. There were numerous times where I had guys pass me earlier in the race, then blew past them as I drove through the mud on the Rhinos.
Nick's race was right before mine, so I didn't get much of a warmup. After riding around cheering for him, I suddenly realized I had less than 20 minutes to warm up. I generally take about an hour, and cramming for a race is no more effective than cramming for tests. As a result, my legs loaded up right after the start and I suffered slowly for the first 3 laps or so. They started to clear after that, and I had a lot of fun the last 2 laps, but still finished further down than I had hoped in 32nd. But, I was less disappointed when I looked at the overall results and saw the depth of the field.
Sunday dawned cold and clear, but there was plenty of moisture at Valmont. I was eager to better my result from Saturday and the course looked good for me. I made sure I got a good warmup (Kristal raced early, and Nick went about an hour after me), and by the time I got to preview the course, it was good and muddy. I was beside myself with excitement, knowing the conditions favored me (I'm way better in bad stuff). I got an okay start, although a lot of guys gapped me on the climb. That would be the case the rest of the race--I would make up tons of time throughout the twisty, technical, slick, muddy course, then lose a bit on the climb. Overall, I moved up consistently, riding with great confidence and having a blast. I ended up finishing ahead of a number of guys I had never beaten.I finished the race in 25th on a total high and it felt great after a couple of down weekends!
Due to the UCI races this weekend (don't want any elite points to disqualify me from Master's World's) I chose to race the 35+ Women's category. A few other girls I typically race with also were on the line both mornings. We had a bright and early 8am start resulting in cold, slightly frozen conditions.
Saturday I had no call up so started at the back of the field, the SW3's went off a minute ahead of us and then we were off. I got a little panicky being so far back and made a poor passing choice causing me to get bogged down. Once I calmed down I was able to make better decisions and started moving towards the front. Within the first lap I was starting to close in on the leader. On lap 2 I made contact and moved past her but had to keep on the gas knowing that she could close on me especially on the pavement. By the end of 4 laps it was official…I had WON! I was thrilled.
Saturday night I was talking to Carl and saying how great it would be to get another win on Sunday. The internal pressure was on. Sunday morning came dark and early, we headed over to Valmont Bike Park and as soon as it was light enough, I started preriding. I LOVED the course and it wasn't even muddy, which I would have loved even more. Race time came and fortunately they figured in Saturday's results to the callups so I got a front row position.
Off we went up the first climb, I was in about 5th position and started moving up. As we started descending I took the lead and held it for the rest of the race. Mentally it's a lot different, for me anyway, to race as a leader compared to chasing. I'm much more cautious when needed but trying to stay focused. Melissa Barker, who chased me on Sat., was once again on my tail and I had to keep pushing. Fortunately everything worked out and I finished with another 'w'. Two in a row is a first for me and I have to admit, feels pretty good. The best part were the hugs and love from my family. They are my biggest supporters.
The podium was really cool with Melissa in 2nd and Karen Hogan in 3rd. I received an awesome winner's jersey and the coolest cowbell I've ever seen. Needless to say, I felt incredible.
On a side note, I am officially registered for Master's Worlds! Louisville here I come.
Thanks for reading.