Tag Archives: Cyclocross
Jenny, our 16-year-old phenom, crushed her cross race this weekend taking the top step of the podium. Also, Jean encouraged her to keep pushing and took second too!
On Sunday morning I woke up feeling extra nervous for this race. It was at Xilinx (where a pervious race had been) and it was probably my favorite course. I was excited because I was racing in SW 4‘s that day. But once I got there, I realized they completely changed the course! After I registered and got my number pinned on, I pre-rode the course along with some friends. Even though the course was different, I still felt I had somewhat of a chance to do well since it was fast and hilly.
At the start line, I was called up to the third row. Once they blew the start whistle, everyone sprinted up the pavement hill! I like hills, so I knew this was the place to get away from the field. When we hit the dirt section, it was single-file so it was hard to move up. After racing not even half the course, my dad yelled at me that I was in 9th place. This motivated me and I immediately passed two racers. Since I knew what place I was in, I could keep track of how many people were in front of me. At each of the pavement sections I tried to make up as much time as I could to catch up to the group in front of me. By the second lap I was top 3. I could see Jean and my friend Savannah, who races for Front Rangers, in front of me. I caught up to them and tried to catch my breath before attacking again. Once I caught Savannah, I sprinted as fast as I could by her and leaped over the barriers. My dad once again yelled at me and told me I was in first place!
The next two laps I passed as many Cat 3’s as I could and tried to maintain my mini breakaway. But by the end of the fourth lap I could see Jean and Savannah closing in on me! This gave me even more motivation to go as hard as I could even though my legs were burning and my mouth was completely dry. Going into the fifth and final lap, Jean was hot on my heels yelling very inspirational words at me. To put it into PG words she said: “Open your heart and GO! You know you want this!” I pounded hard on my pedals and tried not to use my breaks. In the last dirt section before the pavement finish my heart was beating out of my chest and I was about to win my first Cat 4 race ever! Finally in the last turn I stood up and sprinted up the hill around the curve to the finish line and threw my hands in the air with a big grin on my face to claim victory in the most exhausting race I’ve ever done!
Also, congratulations to Jean for taking second and Savannah for getting third! Cathy also had a great race and got 9th out of a field of 33!
Who knew zombies could ride so quickly? Here’s Amanda B.‘s race report, zombie style.
Put the best things together and what do you get? Zombie Cross. This is a cyclocross race with winding trees, a spooky covered bridge, the ‘run up from hell’, great cheering, good food, delicious adult beverages and costumes. There was a wide range of costumes from a swarm of bees (MBs creative bent as a Zom Bee) to a roller derby king who wore rollerskates the entire race. There were handups of bacon, marshmallows, twinkies, candy, adult beverages and a banana giving a banana a banana handup (can’t follow that, see the picture). The course was well done complete with hills, trees, off camber turns and sand.
The Naked Women came out in full force dressed exemplary for the occasion. Emily Zombie Zinn (thank you for that nickname Larry Grossman) and I arrived 3 hours early for our race in order to ensure that we had enough time to do our “makeup”. We had a good warm up and took lots of pictures with the other ladies who decided to dress up for this race as well. The race started fast into a gravel corner, I had a good start, kept my position for the first two laps and then started feeling as though my tire pressure was going low. By the next lap, I was rolling the tire every turn and falling much more than is ever needed. I could feel every little pebble under my tire as it hit the rim of my wheel. Worried about my wheels and tires and being very frustrated with falling. I decided to get off my bike and run it in. There is no excuse to DNF, well unless you have a bone sticking out. So, I ran from where the announcer was located on a gravel flat, to an off camber s-turn, down a steep hill (much easier on a bike), up a hill and to the finish. Then proceeded to want to vomit as there is no need to run, unless being chased by a bear or some other ferocious animal. The cheering throughout the race was once again amazing. This wasn’t my best race but was one of the most memorable and I did win best costume. The other Naked ladies represented the team very well with strong finishes in SW Open, SW 3s and SW 4s. Thank you to Frites en Mayo and Happy Coffee/Salvagetti for putting on another stellar race. Thank you to the ColoRADo racers for keeping cross funky and not taking ourselves too serious. Special shout out to the people who came to cheer and didn’t even race and to Zombie Zinn for doing my makeup and getting up extra early because I wanted to.
Photos and video by Mary Topping with Pro Velo Passion
We are only a few weeks into the CX season and already had some true cyclocross weather! But that didn’t phase (too badly) the Naked ladies from tearing it up! Cathy reports on her stellar podium finish to boot!
I purposely did not pre-register for this race because I saw the weather forecast. Snow and cold. I even told my husband that we could just go for a drive to see the fall leaves. I can’t tell you what he actually said, but it basically translates to, “suck it up buttercup, this is ‘cross”. It’s great having a supportive spouse!
I’d like to report the actual temperature for Frisco this last Saturday, but my mind doesn’t understand temperatures below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Let’s just agree that it was brisk. . .
I was happy that I made the decision to purchase a new long sleeve base layer (thanks to Eric at Bike Source for the help). I was even happier to find that my tall socks met up with my knee warmers, which meant to no exposed leg skin. The lovely woman lined up next to me (Kristi Arend) was not so lucky, but it didn’t seem to affect her performance as she shot off the start line and was never seen again. Congrats to her on her first place finish!
There were a few surprises during the women cat 4 race in Frisco. The first being that it wasn’t too cold after the monster of a start. The start was up this nice incline that warmed us all up, split up the field and then proceeded to a long, muddy descent. The second surprise was that I was able to move up throughout the race – a foreign concept to me thus far. I caught up with Michelle Moffat, who unfortunately misjudged a sharp turn and ran into the course tape. I am amazed that this doesn’t happen more often – the running in to tape part- as my depth perception is not great, and while the tape is typically brightly colored it can be hard to tell which way to go. Alas, I was able to make the turn and move up one more spot. There’s nothing like having a strong racer behind you to light a fire under your butt! I was able to hang on and finish in 2nd place. Wha?!? Yes, I was and am still surprised at that one too – surprise number three.
Congrats to Emily Z. for taking third in the SW3 race, and Amanda B. for freezing her booty with us!
If you can make it to Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park, you can also join in a public memorial the Dombroski family is holding tomorrow from 6-8 PM. You can follow the Facebook page for more updates. Ride there if you can because parking will be limited. We’ll miss you, your smile and your fierceness out there on the road and in the dirt.
Britt just keeps getting faster and continues to rip legs off. Congrats on the top step of the podium!
I am so happy there is a SW3 category for CX this year. This is the first year that Cat 3 women don’t have to line up with the elite women’s field. And guess what? There are 3’s coming out to race!
Sunday was the Without Limits’ Flatirons Cyclo-X ‘cross race, and 18 Cat 3 women lined up to race. For a women’s field, for a race category that hasn’t existed before, that’s an exciting number. There were also 32 Cat 4 women, and looking at their finishing times, several won’t be 4’s for long. And now they have a not-scary place to go.
We arrived early Sunday for my boyfriend’s single-speed race at 8 AM. I love watching the single-speeders, but have been particularly impressed with Megan Hottman (the cyclist lawyer) for lining up with some seriously strong men this season.
After Justin’s race, the elite women raced, and I noticed that one of my “rivals” (Kristen is super nice, and super strong, and has beaten me at several races) was again racing SW Open prior to her SW3 race. I was beginning to feel kind of lazy, because I knew Megan Hottman would also be racing again in the 3’s.
After the SW Open, I began to warm-up. The course looked tough—lots of climbing, lots of energy-sucking grass. After a couple laps though, I was feeling pretty good about it. The dismounts were not going to be smooth for anyone; the hill up to each barrier was steep and you lost all momentum before you swung your leg off your bike. One remounting area was also awkward; right at the top of the grassy hill where you would want to remount was a curb. If I tried to remount before the curb, I wouldn’t be fully on my bike as I went over it, so
I’d have to run another 10 feet to get off the grass, over the curb, and onto the paved road, 500m from the finish. But the rest of the course was fast and climb-y, which works well for me.
As I warmed-up, I found my teammates, Amanda Bye and Cathy Goodheart. We talked about various parts of the course to watch for and rode around a bit more, eventually heading to the start line for call-ups. Just before call-ups, our roadie teammate, Katie Harrer, appeared with hugs and tons of positive energy to cheer us on and watch her first CX race.
I lined up in the second row, and as usual had a less than stellar start. I spent the first half of the first lap just trying to make up ground. Then things started to look up. I caught Megan towards the end of the second lap, and spent the third lap chasing down Kristen. I caught her, passed her on the climb, and then she came around me. I held on. I knew if I could stay with her until the climb, I’d have a decent chance.
As we made our way up the hill for the fourth time, I came around her again. As I got to the top, I did everything I could to open up a gap, and almost slid out as I braked for the 90 degree corner. The 5th and final lap, she was on my wheel, and I kept reminding myself that every time I touched my brakes, I lost time. As we came to that final awkward remount, Kristen was right behind me. And I was sure she’d get around me—I have terrible remounts: I double and triple hop all over the place, and my pedals are never where my feet want them to be.
I’m 500m from the finish and having my worst remount of the day! I cannot find my pedals and I’m waiting for Kristen to come blasting past me to take the win. I find one pedal, have grass clogging my other cleat, and push as hard as I can to get to the line (it’s so close—it shouldn’t take this long!). I cross the line just barely in the lead and win my first Cat 3 cross race! I’m excited, but it takes a few minutes before I have enough energy to do anything about the drool and snot all over my face, much less express excitement. Luckily, Katie was there to document that utterly exhausted feeling.
Between floods and a serious home life issue, Cathy had a rough Friday the 13th. But she hung tough and showed that unlucky day who’s boss!
September (Friday) 13th was a terrifying day for me and my husband. So, when I arrived to the Zero gravel course in Littleton I was terrified in a whole new way! After all the rain, floods, and trauma folks had gone through, a little mud was fine – right? After a warm up lap and crash course in bike handling in mud, my nerves subsided. The second warm up lap was still slippery, but fun! I hosed off a layer of mud before riding in circles to keep my mind clear. Did it work? Nope.
The morning prior my five year old daughter had a seizure, and all I could think about was her tiny frozen body. She was back to her typical self a few hours later; chasing her brother and instigating a wrestling match. I wavered back and forth as to whether I’d race and decided it would be better to ride my bike rather than stare at my daughter all day. Still, I had to force myself to get ready and carry on with some semblance of normalcy. Normal for me is pinning on a number and doing some crazy race. It’s the best and cheapest form of therapy, and I’m learning that with cyclocross you get more for your money!
With tears on the verge of exploding from my eyes, I lined up and took off with my other crazy peers. I figured I could harness my emotions for power. Each lap was harder, more fun, and faster as the sun dried up some of the soggy mud. I finished with a nice coat of mud and big hug from my daughter!
Izzy (my daughter) is back to her normal shenanigans. She’s acting and feeling fine. We had a neurology appointment with the Children’s Hospital, and will do an EEG next week to see what’s going on in her busy brain. My heart goes out to everybody going through their own tough times right now, and hope that the sun helps with all the floods.
See you at the next CX race!
Emily getting creative for those of us with short….hey a pony!
Cyclocross is well-suited to those with short attention spans. The national champion agrees. He has ADD, and says his weapon in ‘cross is being able to concentrate for the duration of the race.
Think about it: within a 60-second span in a ‘cross race, you can ascend two nearly impassable hills, dismount your bike and run over multiple obstacles, ride through a sandbox and power-slide through about 20 turns, all the while trying to stay upright through ice, mud and ruts. Even with all those things to concentrate on, my mind will wander everywhere from the type of pedal the girl in front of me rides to… what was I saying?
In recognition of this sport that caters to the attention deficit, and an era that rewards the same, here is a recap of my season, each race report wrapped up in under 140-characters, with gratuitous hashtags and terrible puns — some of which I came up with mid-race while attempting to dissociate from the excruciating pain I was causing myself.
Pikes Peak Velo Campus Cross
Kick It CX Festival and TT
My first love (cyclocross) and my worst enemy (time trials) join forces to glorious results #CrossContamination
Boulder CX Series #1 — Valmont Park
Won yesterday’s TT that supposedly determined call-ups, yet somehow got last call-up. Then got stung by a wasp during the race. #BadToWorse
Boulder CX Series #2 — Xilinx
Started with Katie Compton in my first race as a Cat. 3. Didn’t get lapped, less than 5 mins down. #CrossedOffTheBucketList #SmellsLikeKFC*
*This may be too obscure. The national champion — currently the top-ranked woman cyclocross racer in the world — Katie Compton’s nickname is KFC, for Katie Effin Compton, as in when you show up to a race thinking you’re going to do well, then you realize that Katie Effin Compton showed up
USGP SmartWool Cup day 1
Dry race, raining and muddy the rest of the day while I stood at the venue coaching Boulder Junior Cycling juniors and waiting for the elite race #WorstOfBothWorlds #MudFestAndNoInviteUSGP SmartWool Cup day 2Don’t drink the water #IllegalHandUp #AlmostDQd #ReadYourRaceBible
Colorado Cross Classic
Sunrise reflected off the mountains and then reflected into the Boulder Res as I raced along the sandy banks #TotallyTubular
Wanted to race in Mexican wrestler mask to celebrate Halloween, but opted for full vision in stead #CrossDressin
DFL>DNF>DNS #PedestrianCrossing — Still recovering from last weekend’s post-race bonk. Respect the 30-minute rule. #CrossFade
USGP Derby City Cup day 1 in Louisville, KY
#CrossPolinated the Kentucky field. #ChickenCrossedTheRoad
USGP Derby City Cup day 2 in Louisville, KY
Spent more time packing and unpacking bikes than I did racing. A lot more. Wish it counted as chamois time. #CrossCategorize
Boulder CX Series #4 — South VBP
Maybe doing Valmont Park backwards has turned the world on its axis and that’s why there’s no winter. It’s late November and I’m not wearing knee sox because it’s too hot. #HotCrossBuns
Big Ring Cycles CX
Girl I passed in final 30 secs of the race: “I almost puked trying to hold you off.” Krispy Kreme hand-up, Naked mimosas and Shit Show Hill
Feared DFL at BOD CX. Considered DNF. VO2 maxed. FML #CrossWordPuzzle
Season ain’t over yet! There’s still states in the open field. States and I don’t have a great history, as I got friendly with the pavement last year, but it wasn’t very friendly back.
Also, I was insane enough to register for the elite national championships. The points predictor has me third-to-last, in front of one girl who I have only beaten once.
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.
Denver’s 1st Annual Mile High Urban Cross Chaos in an industrial area of Denver. This cyclocross race had the promise of being something new and different, mostly on paved roads with some off road terrain and it did not disappoint. The night before the weather forecast called for a few inches of snow and a significant decrease in temperature. I awoke to a dusting of snow and lots of ice. Fortunately the registration was brilliantly placed in a bar that provided external warmth and if needed internal as well in the form of whiskey.
The first few races were postponed due to icy conditions and the course not being melted enough to be safe. The SM 45+, 55+ and SW 4 all started within a few minutes of each other. It was about 17 degrees and the cold was almost unbearable. I had lathered on Embrocation that morning and to no avail. The first part of the race was on icy streets and then we crossed a railroad track and went off road to a section of mulch, dirt jumps, large rocks to maneuver, 4 small logs that one could hop over, a berm, two soft dirt hills, an off camber straight away to a sand pit (later a railroad tie was found in the sandpit) and barriers to either run or hop over. Then it was back to more icy roads before doing it all over again.
This race was unique in so many ways from the type of course, to the location and also having an awe inspiring Adaptive category for anyone who was physically challenged to participate in. Most people stayed a majority of the day to cheer other categories on. The power slides, beer and whiskey handups, bacon handups and overall fun atmosphere is what cross is all about.
I certainly hope this race returns again as this year has shown that even with the harshest elements, cyclocross racers will come out in full force and make it a party.
The Naked Women’s Racing team did well at this race with first and second place podiums in SW35+ and a second in SW4. Congrats also goes out to Angie Michalik for racing in SW 4 and a great big thank you to both Vera and Brittany Jones for coming out to cheer.
Joan took the 35+ victory at Schoolyard Cross this past weekend. She and many other Naked racers have been competing every weekend since CX season started! View all pics from the event at sportifimages.com. Cover photo by Dejan Smaic.
For those of you who missed the Schoolyard Cross race this year, you really missed out. The promoters mapped out a new course and it was ten times better than last year’s course. Everyone who raced was very excited with the new course design. Thank you to Clint Bickmore and his crew for all your hard work on this race.
Cross racing is an interesting hobby, you ride around in the dirt/grass on skinny tires, going as hard as you can for 45 min, tongue hanging out and potentially drool running down your chin. I’m not quite sure which of these aspects appeals to me, but it’s a hoot. There is an awesome group of people out there doing it and they are all having fun (for the most part)!
The cross atmosphere is great. You can go watch and maybe even try it out for those of you who are considering racing, but haven’t done it yet. The people are friendly and out to have a good time. Now don’t get me wrong, these people aren’t out there sipping tea, remember the part I mentioned about the drool running down your chin.
This past weekend my main goal was to not be the last one off the start line. At the last couple of races I’ve done, I’ve used that approach but it certainly wasn’t working well for me. Yes you have the advantage of getting to see all of the lovely ladies you are racing with, but after the race is a better time for this. So after a good warm-up, we were off and I was up in the front with a handful of the other ladies.
The course was fun, even better at race speed than in the warm up. After the first lap we had a bit of a gap starting to form. I just wanted to stay as far in the front as I could and keep the top girls within a bike’s length distance. The fly up was a bit exhilarating as I had never ridden over one on my cross bike before, but basically harmless. There were a couple of corners out in the grassy section that caught me off guard, but I put some markers up in my mind so that wouldn’t happen again. Going into the last couple of laps I was riding in 2nd position behind Tracy Yates who has once again been riding really strong this year and has a number of wins under her belt already. At some point, I felt like I could give a little more so I made the pass around Tracy and take the lead of the race. Then the thoughts started racing through my head: what was I doing in the lead? What if I crash? Am I going to slow, too fast? I was more nervous being out there and tried to make sure I didn’t panic, go all out and crash which I have managed to avoid this weekend for a change. I focused on trying to catch as many of the women from the SW open group as I could, while maintaining my composure (picture that with snot/drool all over your face). Tracy was hot on my wheel and I knew one little slip up would cost me the race.
I managed to hold it together during the last lap and rode through the finish line in 1st place!!!! It felt great to win. Although I have to admit, it feels good to finish any of these races.