Saturday, October 25, 2008
USGP Louisville day 1
First off - big thanks to Jamie Young for all of the great photos from the events today.
A beautiful sunny day with temps in the upper 50s - my kind of cross weather. A good day for the Planet Bike cross team to rock the new black skinsuits. Jesse, Mark, and I made the trip down on Friday and met up with Anna and her dad, Jaime, for packet pickup at the Louisville Slugger Field. Fierce competition showing up for the first of three USGP weekends. 31 women on the line with riders from all over the country making the trip to Louisville. Long flat course with 5 sandpits, 1 set of barriers, 1 set of stairs built into a hill, and 1 green monster. The green monster is this huge ramp with about 7 steep stairs on one side, about 8 feet of flat surface, and then a steep descent on the other side. The whole thing is covered in that plasticy green carpet they use at mini golf courses. At the start I was determined to have a good start and get clipped in without issue. And somehow that happened. I was in the top 10 as we looped around to the barriers and somehow my bike slipped as I jumped the second barrier and my transition back on the bike was pretty awkward. I made it through the first two sand pits fine but on the third my front wheel got stuck in a rut and I had a spectacular endo crash. The super fans cheered loudly as I scramled to retrieve my bike and stay out of the way of all the riders trying to come around. My lever was all twisted so I had to take several seconds to pound it back in place. As I hopped back on the fans rooted me on and told me they caught my awesome crash on camera - sweet! - I'd like to see it. I was now sitting in like 25th place and began my mission to regain my lost position. I had a lot of adrenaline so I picked off quite a few in the first lap. I felt like I was riding decently well and luckily rode smoothly through the pits and barriers.
With two laps to go I picked off 2 more riders and could see two more in the distance. I really wanted to get redemption for my earlier errors. On the last lap through the sand Meredith Miller had to put a foot down and I took advantage and went past her. Rebecca Wellons was just ahead and as we looped towards the Green Monster I was gaining on her. Through the final turns before the pavement finish I was about 5 feet behind. I got in the drops and sprinted for the line but Rebecca held me off by a bike length for 10th place. One place out of the points I was frustrated but given the talent at this race and my stupid mistakes I was happy with how the race went. Hopefully tomorrow I can ride a clean race.
Anna rode a great race and also got stuck behind some crashes. She was consistently moving up within the field and snagged the final money spot for 15th. She flies through those barriers like a gazelle too - I wish I had those skillz.
The LaLonde bros put on a great show for us and rode together the majority of the race. Jesse got caught up in an incident by the barriers and it took him a lap or two to catch up to Mark. They then dropped the group they were riding in and hunted down riders. They rode a strong race and finished 13 and 14 in an incredibly talented field of riders. Trebon, Anthony, the Wells bros, Powers, Johnson - a who's who of cyclocross for sure.
Another Wisco kid representing strong out there was Brian Matter who was in the group for 10th place most of the race and ended up 12th on the day. Impressive ride.
Thanks to Bob and Planet Bike for helping us all get to this awesome event and racing the best in the country. I've got lots more of my own photos and some videos that I'll post once I get home on Monday. Tomorrow should be another great day for cyclocross - a little warmer and perhaps a little windier. Anna and Jesse are going to rock the white skinsuits while I think Mark and I will be sporting red - fun to mix it up! Thanks for checking in!!