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  1. #1
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    Nationals 'Cross Race Reports

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    Yippee! Cross Season is Over! Boo! Cross Season is Over!

  2. #2
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    Friday, December 15
    Providence, RI
    26 Starters
    Women's 35-39
    Finish: 22nd

    I knew from looking at the list of racers who were pre-registered in this age category that I was going to be pack fodder. This was a field STACKED with Elite racers, including one of my own teammates. I expected that I could at least learn something from the experience, and since my goal for next season is to race at the Elite level, I might as well get used to finishing near the back of the pack .

    The butterflies started early for me - about 1:30 am. I was awake every half hour worrying that I had to be up and out of the house by 6:00 to get to my teammates to get down to the venue in time to pre-ride the course. Not a great start, but it was what it was...

    I managed to get in a pre-ride before the course closed for racing, and it was a lot of fun. Uphill pavement start to a 90 degree right turn (over a curb) onto the first grassy section of the course. This section included some tight corners and a somewhat greasy off-camber section, before some long straights, more 180 degree turns and a jump off the bike for the first set of barriers. Back on the bike into the "whoopdee-doo" section of the course. Litlerally, this was like riding a roller coaster - lots of short ups, followed by quick gullies, interspersed with tight turns. Out of here into the only real climb on the course, cross some pavement, a few more dirt turns and a downhill into 180 degree turn to concrete stairs. Off bike, run stairs, back on bike on long, straight pavement section. Would be a good place to recover, but I used it as an opportunity to pass (if possible) or to draft. Right turn around a tree onto a rooty path that paralleled the pavement, down a steep-ish stuttery hill into another 180 degree turn up to dirt stairs. Off bike, run up stairs, back on bike to the "gravity cavity" - an off-camber, left-hand entrance into a downhill/uphill, around a corner, back down, around another corner, up and around the tree. Now there was a long straight away that had a slight rise (and by lap 3, this rise was PAINFUL), down along the water, some more switchbacks, onto the pavement, uphill, back down and into the final run-up/stair section. Down over some REALLY slippery roots, and back through the start/finish.

    Any of you who raced at Nationals last year will remember this - there was a blizzard people! Not this year. We had an overcast day with temps in the upper 40s, low 50s. Now, for all of you from warmer climes - this is MILD! It meant not having to wear a jacket or tights... It also meant that the couse was DRY!

    At GO, these women went out like there were rockets attached to their bikes. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I heard a WHOOSH sound from the back of the pack. I think I knew I was in trouble early, but I thought I could manage and push through.

    For two and a half laps, one of my teammates and I were together, stuck somewhere in no man's land. I knew we had passed some of the other women, but I also knew that a good portion of the field was ahead of us. My teammate passed me and said "Let's go", but I didn't have much more to give. I stuck with her for another lap, hearing from the sidelines "Go get her wheel", "She's right there, you can catch her". What they all didn't know was that I was going as hard as I could, and my teammate was just having a better day than I was.

    As I was coming up the start/finish stretch after my fourth lap, the leader of our race, Wendy Williams, passed me. I could have done another lap, but wasn't really too sad when they told me that I was finished .

    The net was that the results don't show well, but I actually felt pretty good. I started and finished; didn't finish last; and I had a great time. It was humbling, but in looking at the results afterwards, there was only one person who finished ahead of me who had not all season (at least for the local racers) - my teammate !

    One of my teammates finished fourth, landing her on the podium! In another National Championship race, Julie Lockhart (another teammate) became the Women's 65+ National Champion! We were all so proud of her for her accomplishment - she has been out to EVERY practice and clinic all season, most of the regional 'cross races, and even calls me when it's pouring out to see if I want to go out to practice. I only HOPE that I have her energy and enthusiasm when I am 65 (BTW - they had to create a new category for Julie - they had previously never had someone in her age group race at Nationals!).

    Here are a couple of pics from the day:

    1. Suffering on the pavement
    2. Getting ready to go upstairs
    3. Julie - New National Champ

  3. #3
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    Sunday, December 17
    Providence, RI
    62 Starters!
    B Women
    Finish: 33rd

    What an experience! This was my first season of 'cross racing, and thus, my first visit to Nationals. I was inspired to see the number of racers in all of the fields this weekend, but to line up for a race with 61 other women, representing 19 states, was truly amazing.

    Standing on the line, the woman next to me declared, "this is getting cold" and I chuckled in response. It turned out that she was from Smyrna, GA, and was used to 70 degree temps! I told her the 40 was warm for us at this time of year, and she grimaced .

    When the whistle blew, all 62 of us were eager to get the race underway. Unfortunately, a crash on the start line took down a number of riders, including two of my teammates. I managed to get around the bikes and bodies, and tried to sprint up the pavement with everyone else.

    It is important to note that there was some rain and/or frost on Saturday evening, making some of the opening sections of the course SLICK as SNOT. Really - that is the best way to describe not only the first two corners, but also the off-camber "slip and slide".

    I got lucky enough to be on the outside line in the first corner, which allowed me to get around the second crash of the race. I could see that another of my teammates was involved. From here, I negotiated the "slip and slide" - an off-camber section of the course that had women who chose to ride high, sliding to the bottom along, and through the course tape. Somehow, I made it through all of the chaos intact, with both wheels firmly on the ground!

    On either the second or third lap, as I was going over the barriers, I heard DH yell that I was in 33rd place. ACK! I couldn't believe that I was working this hard, and was that far back... Neither could the woman who was beside me - she let out a groan .

    I felt really good yesterday though (better, in fact, than I had on Friday) and kept on pushing. I managed to catch a racer I haven't been able to beat all season (who was riding dressed as Wonder Woman), and passed her. I worked really hard to try and stay ahead of her. The good thing was that spectators would call out "Go Wonder Woman" along the course, so I could usually gauge just how close to me she was . On the third lap, she and a rider from California got by me on the second greasy corner. DH had offered to change out my tires before the race for some better mud tires, and I opted not to - bad choice. Two times around this corner, I slide all across it trying to get ANY traction and/or forward direction, and both times, the tires completely clogged with mud making navigation of the "slip and slide" treacherous (especially when forced into a high line!).

    After Wonder Woman got by me, I felt a little deflated, and sat up for a couple of seconds before chastising myself. I KNEW that if I could stay with Wonder Woman until the pavement on the top of the course, that I could catch her. I hunkered back down, keeping her within about 5 bike lengths, and managed to pass both she and the CA rider on the pavement as I predicted. I put a little bit of distance between us here, and increased that at every opportunity - this was the final lap of the race!

    Every now and then, I could get a look back to see where she was, and put the hammer down just enough to stay ahead. On the final sprint, I didn't even look behind me, just geared it up, and went.

    As I crossed the line (ahead of Wonder Woman and CA-girl), my HR was at 180, which I thought was high. HA! Apparently I worked for where I was - average HR for 45 mins was 179 with a high of 189! YIKES!

    I am really happy with my finish yesterday, and with the season that I had. Although yesterday I was celebrating the end of a VERY L-O-N-G season, today I am more sad that it is over. I will miss all of my riding/racing buds over the winter months...

    It was amazing to me all weekend, the number of people spectating who would call out my name. I told my DH that I didn't know who half of them were . It did make a difference, to me and to the other racers though, having the support of our friends, teammates and fans.

    Here's to the end of a great season of 'cross in 2006. Who's going to Kansas next year ?

    SheFly

    Pics from Day 2:

    1. Coming in to the barriers
    2. Going through the "whoopdee-doos"
    3. Over the roots
    4. The "gravity cavity" (and Wonder Woman )
    5. The finish of a great race, and a long season
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4
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    Nice Job!

    I don't race cross, but several of my team mates were there. Kristi was third for a podium spot on her Friday age group race and also raced the elite race on Sunday, though I don't know where she finished yet. One of our juniors finished 6th in her field and our other rider unfortunately was very ill during her race - but she finished despite all of her tribulations.

    *edit* I looked it up and Kristi finished 15th in the Elites! Way to Go Kristi!
    Last edited by Eden; 12-18-2006 at 01:25 PM.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  5. #5
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    Eden - what age group was the junior in? Libby White is also a teammate of mine, and she won the 13-14 title. Seems our club has champs on both ends of the age spectrum .

    Nice results for Kristi as well!

    SheFly

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    Eden - what age group was the junior in? Libby White is also a teammate of mine, and she won the 13-14 title. Seems our club has champs on both ends of the age spectrum .

    Nice results for Kristi as well!

    SheFly
    I can't seem to download the day 2 results from the web site, but I believe Devon is 16 this year.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  7. #7
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    Congrats on a great season shefly. You'll be amazed at how much better you can do next year with this great experience under your belt!

    This year, cyclocross did not happen for me. A few injuries, older parents moving and selling and buying a house just didn't let it work for me. Maybe next year I'll join you in Kansas. That's where my family is from originally.

  8. #8
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    Results for Eden

    Quote Originally Posted by Eden View Post
    I can't seem to download the day 2 results from the web site, but I believe Devon is 16 this year.
    Here you go:

    Junior Women 15-16 8 Starters 9.6K
    1 2432 Coryn RIVERA Major Motion Tustin CA 28:32
    2 2426 Kaitlin ANTONNEAU Nova-IsCorp Racine WI 31:05
    3 2425 Michelle MORRIS Queen City Wheels Cincinnati OH 31:54
    4 2429 Kendall RYAN Scary Fast Junior Racing Ventura CA 32:23
    5 2427 Hollis OWENS charlottesville racing club Lynchburg VA 32:49
    6 2430 Devon SIMPSON RAD Racing NW Kirkland WA 33:20
    7 2428 Tatum TYYNISMAA Rad Racing NW Walla Walla WA 34:32
    8 2431 Marcie WEISS Team Mack

    I was wondering because there was another RAD Racing junior in Libby's category:

    6 2413 Catherine MAIER Rad Racing NW Yakima WA 36:30

    BTW - Coryn (the 15-16 champion) won the B women's race by over a minute... They won't let her race elite because she is too young!

    SheFly

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by spokewench View Post
    Congrats on a great season shefly. You'll be amazed at how much better you can do next year with this great experience under your belt!

    This year, cyclocross did not happen for me. A few injuries, older parents moving and selling and buying a house just didn't let it work for me. Maybe next year I'll join you in Kansas. That's where my family is from originally.
    Thanks! I feel great about my first season, and have my sights set on an upgrade and racing Elite next year. Might as well get my butt kicked now - then I'll be used to it for next season.

    Hope to see you in Kansas next year!

    SheFly

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    I was wondering because there was another RAD Racing junior in Libby's category:

    6 2413 Catherine MAIER Rad Racing NW Yakima WA 36:30

    BTW - Coryn (the 15-16 champion) won the B women's race by over a minute... They won't let her race elite because she is too young!

    SheFly
    Cool - thanks!

    Wow -that's impressive! Sounds like Coryn will be the gal to watch in a few years maybe. Devon races for both teams (mine, Group Health, and Rad-Racing) depending on whether or not she's racing juniors or not. Rad has a pretty darn good cross team. Some of my other team mates have kids on the team. One of the boys is even getting to go to cyclocross camp in Belgium in a few weeks.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  11. #11
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    Congratulations, Cathy!

    The course design sounds just like last year, with the exception of the ice & snow last year. Gravity cavity (nice name, where'd that come from), is where I crashed twice and separated my shoulder.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    Congratulations, Cathy!

    The course design sounds just like last year, with the exception of the ice & snow last year. Gravity cavity (nice name, where'd that come from), is where I crashed twice and separated my shoulder.
    Thanks, Lorri! I made up the name - reminds me of a feature we have on our local MTB trails that we gave that name to... I think the announcers were calling it the Fruit Bowl. That thing scared the bejeebers out of me on Friday 'cause the entrance to it was both off-camber and slick. I can see how someone could go down here really easily.

    And a big thanks to you for all of your support through the season!

    Cathy
    Last edited by SheFly; 12-18-2006 at 04:01 PM.

  13. #13
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    Yeah, last year it was a sheet of ice. It was fine on Thrusday pre-ride and I nailed it in my pre-ride on Friday. I'd say at least half of the women went down there on our first lap last year. At the point I crashed the first time, I was sitting pretty in the top ten. The bike literally slid right out from under me (I tried to ride the inside, high line) and I landed on my shoulder, hip, and knee. Separated my right shoulder which meant I couldn't dismount, mount, or carry the bike on the right side. It was pretty laughable but I plugged on, falling again in the same place in the second lap and then falling on the back side on the third lap.

  14. #14
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    Aug 2006
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    YAY! It's Over!!! I mean BOOOOOO.

    Ah, isn't cyclocross just a miriad of contradictions?

    YAY SHEFLY!!!

    And of course, all those other riders who won, placed and finished!

    I am so disappointed that we didn't make the trek, but so happy/sad for you- The course looks like lots of fun/stress.

    On a different note, at Hubby's first cyclocross race (one of the Verge series races), I met this guy whose wife had started cyclocross racing and was really into it in a big way. We chit-chatted and he showed me who she was as she rode by and it was Julie! Good for her!

    Sounds like a great/difficult time and course! Congratulations/My Sympathies! We are have actually been talking about taking the trip to Kansas next year.....We will see!!
    The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew--and live through it.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    Here you go:


    2 2426 Kaitlin ANTONNEAU Nova-IsCorp Racine WI 31:05

    SheFly
    She races in our WI Cat1/2 races....and is pretty fast.
    Just keep pedaling.

 

 

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