While us Colorado folk were playing in the dirt, snow and cold last weekend, Emily Zinn was tearing up the CX scene in Louisville, KY at the USGP. Here’s her account of racing in the ‘dirty’ south.
Wearing Naked kit in Kentucky is like being in a celebrity entourage. Can’t pedal three strokes without someone stopping you to ask if you know Rachel Scott. The entire state seems to have voraciously followed her movements on Facebook, and everyone in Kentucky knows that she sold her cyclocross bike for a Specialized mountain bike, yet still asked if she would be racing that day.
Pro. Not only was it a USGP, it is the site of the first EVER world championships outside of Europe. “The first city outside of Europe to host a cyclocross world championship is Louisville, KY!?” you ask. Yes. And deservingly so.
Unless you are Adam Craig, there are a minimum of four dismounts, and not wimpy little grab-my-bike-and-run-over-a-couple-barriers dismounts, but crazy-steep stairs, limestone steps, and, if you missed your line, the Clif Bar Sand Land. Sounds fun, like going to the beach with a shovel and castle-shaped bucket, right? Yeah, it’s nothing like that.
On form. A sampling for your enjoyment:
“Can you believe they let that girl race naked? Shameless.”
“That’s it, nice and easy. It’s not like it’s a race or anything.”
“Just remember, you paid to do this.”
“Touch my monkey.”
“Chase the unicorn.” Side commentary: I think this is Peloton Don!
“Katie Compton is right on your tail.”
“Isn’t it uncomfortable to race naked?”
Race report from day 2, as it ran through my head at the time:
Me on the line, to the girl next to me: “You’re Emma, right?”
Girl next to me: “Nope.”
Me: “Right. Are you Emma? Who’s Emma?”
Very young and cute winner of both days, quietly: “I am.”
Me: “Sweet! Awesome job yesterday! You’re coming to Boulder to train with Ingrid Alongi on the track, right! Excellent! Look me up when you get there! I can’t wait for you to come out riding with us!”
Emma: “I’m excited to come.”
Girl next to me shifts, unclips, swings leg over and turns her crank. Really? Panic. Is she going to get stampeded? Look over and see marshall is rolling his eyes and waiting. She swings her leg over. Gun goes off immediately.
Launch. Clip. Push. Sweet, second to the grass. Now I’ve just got to hold this for, like, a few minutes so I can be top-3 into the sand and not have to run.
Did they add more stairs to this permanent staircase during the night last night? Sneaky buggers.
My Norwegian friend was talking yesterday about how hard he was “breading” in his race. Yes, the heavy breading has already begun.
Already to the alligator swamp. Means the second pit is coming up.
Cool, neutral support is cheering for me. Or perhaps for that other girl named Emily that has been right with me the whole time and I tell myself that the cheers from people I don’t know are all for me. Either way, doesn’t seem very neutral.
Gnats don’t really fly into your eye, you ride into the gnat. Do young gnats have nightmares about giant eyes coming at them at a speed they can’t out-fly? How long does a gnat stay alive squirming in my eyeball after I ride into it?
I hope that’s really a unicorn in kit and I’m not delirious. They haven’t even started counting off laps yet. I could have eight laps to go, for all I know, and I’m already seeing unicorns. The bubbles are definitely real, though. Must look for photos after the race. Hope there’s a sweet one of me bursting through bubbles as I fly over the barriers.
I better not close my mouth, because it’s so dry my tongue might stick to the roof of my mouth like it does when I lick ice and I won’t be able to open it again for the rest of the race.
That Strava segment is only like 20 feet of flat with no turns. Why didn’t they put the Strava segment on any of the many actually cool features? I should go for it, anyway. If you can’t win the race, you might as well win the Strava segment. Wait, Katie Compton is riding this Strava segment.
This is so off-camber it wouldn’t even recognize camber any more. This would be hilariously stupid in the mud. Some people would probably crawl it. I wish it were muddy and I were crawling this section for others’ enjoyment.
It was so thoughtful of all these hecklers to come out with rubber chickens and stuffed monkeys and gramophones to tell me I’m sucking in clever ways. It’s early in the morning and nobody ever comes out to heckle. I should buy them a beer or something. There are too many of them. I’ll just touch the monkey each lap in stead. Next lap I’m gonna grab the monkey and stuff it down my skinsuit for a lap. That will never work. My skin suit is way to tight to accommodate me and a monkey.
Louisville, KY is the greatest place on earth to race cyclocross. And then after, you can go to Sergio’s World Beers and Belgian TFU with legit Belgian beers that actual Belgian cyclists have wrung out their skinsuit into, it’s that legit. Sergio knows just about everything about beer… but doesn’t know what the sign on his own, unmarked establishment says.
Most importantly, the biggest event ever in American cyclocross is happening in Louisville, KY, on February 3 and you definitely want a ticket to that action.