This past weekend featured the biggest races of the season (other than Nationals this January). Both days were UCI C2 races, so all the heavy hitters came to Boulder in hopes of getting valuable points that translate to call ups at World Cup races. Our team helped put on Saturday’s race, which was held at the Boulder Reservoir. This course was changed slightly from the past due to high water levels, but still featured a twisty course filled with lots of loose turns and sand. Sunday’s race was held at Valmont Bike Park and used a completely different course than any previous. It had us repeatedly going straight up and down a steep hill, so we were really happy to have our new bikes with disc brakes (but more about that later)!
For the second year in a row, we donated $20/rider to the prize purse for the Women’s Elite race. The UCI mandated prize levels for Men’s and Women’s C2 races are about $400 different, so last year we stepped up with a matching donation to try to help drive field size and equalize the payouts. This year’s fields were over 50% larger than last year’s, so maybe it’s working! In any case, we feel it’s the right thing to do, setting an example and driving change. It is also very appreciated by our friends who run the races, Aaron Bouplon and Chris Grealish, and in turn they give us lots of great publicity throughout the day.
Colorado Cross Classic
After helping to set the course Friday, Carl was back out bright and early Saturday morning to set up the team tent and prepare for the big day of racing! We have new banners for our tent and rack, so we’re growing our branding well. When we got out on the course, we found it to be a fun (but bumpy) combination of tight turns, and a sand pit interspersed with straight sections to get back up to speed. Despite having little actual climbing, it still didn’t offer much recovery and rewarded riders that could put out steady power and maintain speed.
Errin started us off with a bang, taking the hole shot by about 30’Bard came next, putting in a solid ride, moving forward throughout to finish 21st in a huge field. Rob and Carl’s race followed, with Carl getting off to a slow start, but moving up steadily before a bobble in the sand cost him 6-7 spots. He ended up finishing just above mid pack in 30th place. With fewer points, Rob started off towards the back of the grid, but in typical fashion, picked off plenty of riders to finish 46th on the day.
Last up was Kristal in the SW Elite race. For this race, start order was first determined by UCI points, then anyone with no points just drew a number. Kristal blew the draw, ending up at the back of the grid—not the way you want to start against the best riders in the country! She rode a decent race, but never felt like she quite ‘got going’ and finished in 30 out of 40+ riders.
This course proved to be an innovative use of space, as they tried to keep most of it on the north side of the park to improve sightlines and spectator experience. They even ran the racers through the expo each lap, which was really cool! It was full of short, steep, punchy climbs and followed by screaming descents.
Errin’s race was the first of the day, so there was still frost on the grass adding to the challenge. She was nervous in her preview laps, but put that behind her for the race. She dug deep throughout to hang with the climbers. In the end, she was battling for the final podium spot, sprinting out of the last loose corner when she went down, tearing open her knee and requiring 5 stitches. Nonetheless, she still rolled across 4th for a great weekend of results!
Carl came next; he rolled to the line with a limited warmup and knew the effort was going to be difficult. About halfway through the race, he started to come to life and was able to put in a strong last lap and a half to finish in 33rd, mid pack again.
Kristal’s race featured the same players, but she got a better starting spot this time, though still in the 4th row. She liked the course, but just couldn’t seem to get in gear, either mentally or physically and was pulled with 2 to go, a rare occurrence. This coming weekend are the Cross of the North races near Fort Collins. We like this course and this team always puts on good events, so we’re looking forward to some redemption.
Our Unovelo cx bikes finally arrived this week on Friday and JD and Dana at Foxtrot were able to build up two of them in time for this weekend’s races. We’ll do an in depth review in coming weeks, but suffice to say, we love them! They feature unidirectional carbon fiber, internal cable routing, and disc brakes and we’re already sold on the braking system. Kristal rides a Small, and Carl is on a Medium, so stop by our tent this weekend and check them out. You can even take them for a ride if you want!