Emily Unger’s Report
The morning of CX State Championships dawned cool and sunny; cold enough for the ground to freeze overnight but not nearly as frigid as the morning of the Boulder CX where the temps barely creeped above zero. The course had been very slick on Saturday, and I hoped it would remain cold enough for our race to be dry. This would be my first CX State Championship race as this was my first season racing CX, and I was excited to not only race but watch super stars like Georgia Gould compete later in the day. I pre-rode the course and it was indeed hard and fast. The past couple of races had been slow, technical courses, but this course had some nice flowing sections and stretches to pedal hard followed by fun descents that would give my legs a few seconds of rest. I went into the race knowing winning was a long shot because my super speedy teammate Jenny Lucke was also racing Cat 4. My goal was to ideally stick with Marian Mead who was consistently slightly faster. By the time our race rolled around it had warmed up enough to make the course incredibly slick. I had a good start and ended up in 5th which I was pleased with because I started in the second row. I quickly passed the racers in 3rd and 4th places and sat on the wheel of Marian for the first 3 laps. Marian was riding very smart and I couldn’t quite pass her. By the fourth lap Jenny had a sizable gap and Marian was opening a lead on me. I made a critical mistake in the beginning of the last lap and missed a turn and ended up riding through the tape. Luckily I had a large gap on the fourth women and didn’t lose any places, but unfortunately second place was certainly now out of reach. I strove to make up as much time as possible in the last lap but Jenny and Marian were untouchable. I ended up finishing in third not far behind Marian, just as I’d hoped. Overall it was an awesome end to the Colorado Cross Cup and a great way to finish my first CX season. I would especially like to thank all the women who supported me this season and showed me the CX ropes. It is an intimidating sport to try but I’m so glad I did.
Jenny Lucke’s Report
I woke up that Sunday, December 15th excited yet nervous to race in SW 4 for the Cyclocross State Championship Race. I already raced juniors the day before and I loved the fast course with all the cyclocross elements included. There was sand, dirt, grass, snow, mud and ice. There were also plenty of barriers, hair-pin turns and a giant run-up followed by a steep icy downhill. Once I arrived at the race, the sun was shining and it was probably in the high 40º’s. Today was a perfect day to race and I was looking forward to my last race of the season before Nationals. At the start of the race there were only two Naked Women to race in the SW4 category. It was just myself and my fast teammate Emily Unger. I got the fourth call-up and got to line up in the first row, and Emily lined up right behind me. We were ready to race hard and hopefully both get podium! Once I heard the whistle I pushed off as hard as I could and just pedaled like crazy without looking back. The race started with going straight down that big hill that I despised, so I knew I had to get a good start to make up for any mistakes I might make going down it. The race was going great so far and I was in the lead with my main competitor, Marian Mead, right on my tail and Emily right behind her! I had a big enough gap on Marian and Emily that they couldn’t pass me, but if I made any mistakes, they could quickly close the gap. The entire race I just kept pushing it, but I could see the Marian was determined to catch me. After the first and second lap a guy said I only had 17 seconds on them, but by the last lap I had 20 seconds. At every barrier or hill I tried to go as hard as I could to put more time between us and I was determined to win! Coming around the last few corners on the fourth lap I looked back and I couldn’t see Marian or Emily anywhere. I knew that as long as I didn’t crash, I was going to win! I got really excited and I couldn’t wait to finish this exhausting race. Once I came around the last corner to the pavement I smiled big and put my hands in the air to claim Cyclocross State Champion title for SW 4.
I had so much fun this entire cyclocross season and I met some really nice people who made the experience that much better! Also congrats to Marian Mead and Emily Unger who also had great seasons, and both got 2nd and 3rd in the State Champs race!