As Rob mentioned in his report last week, this weekend brought us back to the high country for Frisco CX at 9000’ of elevation! Snow Friday brought a treacherous drive the night before and morning of the race and Saturday morning came with light snow and cold temps with a bitter wind off Lake Dillon. The snow (and mud later in the day) made the course a lot more fun than the usual dusty, hardpacked course we have at the Frisco Nordic Center and we all had a lot of fun.
On Sunday, we were back down in town with temps in the 70’s facing a new course at the Jeffco Fairgrounds. This course wound up around a rodeo arena with some mud of suspicious origins (keep your mouth closed through it!), before dropping down to a twisty section through a grassy park. The payout at this race was huge, so we knew the fields would be large. Overall it was a good course, but brought some bad luck to a few team members!
Following the usual schedule, Kristal started us off in the SW Open and set a high standard for the day. She got off to a bit of a slow start up the 1/3 mile start climb, coming past Pit 1 just behind mid pack. However, after that she started making her way forward and by the third lap had taken the lead. She defended the front until local legendary strongwoman Karen Hogan put in a monster attack the last time up the big climb. No one could follow her, but Kristal was able to hold on for 2nd place on the day in what was easily the most exciting Women’s race this season.Carl came next, with retribution for the past few races on his mind. He got a good start, making his way up from the 5th row to about 10th wheel when a rider in front slammed on the brakes, putting him towards the back. He was able to consistently make up ground throughout the race, railing and drifting muddy corners and riding the runup before finally losing 2 spots after blowing on the final lap and finishing in 20th, happy with the ride, if not the result.
It was much colder and more snowy than expected when we arrived in Frisco, and I was really nervous as I haven't done any racing in snow or mud. I figured the best way to get over my nerves was to get on the bike and get going. Watched as much as I could of the women's open race while I started warming up. Loved seeing Kristal leading in those tough conditions! After her finish, Kristal gave me some great advice on handling the snow and ice, which I tried to heed on a warm up lap, then hopped on the trainer to finish warming up (or as warm as you can get with an ambient temperature of 24.) This was probably the most nervous I have been for a race, I knew that the climb at the start combined with the altitude would be really tough for me, but I just tried to remind myself to do the best I could.
Started strong, but by the left turn at the top of the hill, I was close to last in our group of 15, and was pretty demoralized. Passed a few people on the descent thanks to Kristal's advice, and then a couple more on the flats before settling in. With 2 to go, my husband was telling me I was in 4th, but I was convinced I was 8th or 9th. 2 possibilities crossed my mind; one, he was just trying to keep me motivated, or two, the front of the 4's were integrated into the 3's group and he couldn't count. Well, turns out he was right and I ended up 4th! Definitely need to keep improving the fitness so I can work toward staying in the front group, but not nearly as scared of snow or mud or cold now!
Overall a fun day on a gorgeous course. Go Rapid Racing!!
After a silent lap in honor of Amy Dombroski, the SW Open took the grid. It was an emotional moment, definitely affecting the riders and fans. Kristal felt pretty flat all race, struggling to stay in contact with the lead group, and the efforts in Frisco were certainly being felt. She ended up rolling in 10th, not what she hoped for, but just barely in the money!
I have to admit, after watching Kristal’s race from the poor vantage point of the pits, I wasn’t that keen, but once I started doing some preview laps I really liked the course. There were some narrow (dangerous) spots, but overall it was a fun course, with high speed sections interspersed with tight, twisty parts, stairs, and even some bunny hop barriers. I felt good warming up and rolled over to the grid.
At the start, I ended up a little ways back at a pinch point going over barriers. I saw the lead group heading away, so decided to ride the right side of the mud section to get past about 10 slower riders in front of me, which was huge mistake! The right side turned out to be a ditch about 18” deep and full of water, so once I entered, I couldn’t get out and had riders flowing past me. NEVER ride somewhere in a race that you haven’t previewed!
I got out of that eventually and started making my way forward. On lap 2, I noticed my front tire was getting soft (lots of goat heads here), so I was looking for Kristal to have her get a wheel to the pit for me. Before finding her, I rolled the tire on an off camber 180. I jumped up and started running until I got to the paved finish straight, where I rolled the tire back on and ride gingerly to the pits. Kristal met me there with a front wheel, but it was only at about 15psi. I headed back out, but soon decided I would probably just end up rolling this tire as well, so I went back into the pits the next time past and borrowed a pump to add some air. At that point, I knew I was WAY behind the race, so I just jumped back in and rode hard for training until the end.
Sunday was not my day. I flatted twice trying to warm up. About halfway through my first preview lap, my front tire started to run low. In a foolish rush to get back out and preview the whole course, I took a short cut and pulled out about a half dozen goat heads, added some Stan's, and jacked up the pressure, without bothering to check my tire. I headed back out, and after seeing the same first half of the course, the front tire again started leaking quickly. I headed back to the car, pulled everything apart, and found a good thorn buried on the inside of the tire. It took an extraordinarily long time to get the thorn out. After what felt like half an hour I got a new tube in, added some sealant, and had about ten minutes to get over to staging.
I got a third row call-up, but without any real warmup, the uphill start drove me back in the pack. I took it easy on the back half of the course, as I hadn't ridden it yet. I started feeling good as I finished the first lap, and picked off a few spots coming th
rough the finishing straight and along the starting climb. There were two low barriers near the summit of the course, which I had easily hopped on the first lap. This time, I cleared the first, but my back wheel landed square on the second barrier, and I felt the rear pinch flat. That was the end of my day, and the first DNF of my short CX career.
Looking forward to a full race (and no flats!) at the Boulder Res this weekend for the Colorado Cross Classic.
UCI Weekend—Colorado CX Classic and Boulder Cup!This coming weekend are the big UCI C2 races, with all the national level riders coming in. We’ll have a tent out both days and are once again donating $20/rider to the prize purse for the Women’s Elite race in hopes of driving larger fields. So far, there are nearly 40 riders both days! Stop by the tent and visit if you’re out there.