Tag Archives: Cyclocross
Gayle took 1st place this weekend at one of Boulder’s biggest cyclocross races, but not after getting a face full of sand….and getting it caught on camera. Read more or just laugh at the picture instead.
If a picture is worth a thousand words this picture writes the race report for me…
This will be my first real season of racing cross after a few races on a borrowed bike last year. My season started this weekend at the US Open of Cyclocross at the Boulder Reservoir. I was nervous for the race after a week of traveling for work (read: not enough sleep/exercise and too much free breakfast buffet). I made my way up to Boulder on Friday to pre-ride the course (in the snow) and was disappointed to see that they hadn’t marked the course yet and since it is a very “taped” out course, it was impossible to get any real idea of what the course would be. I was able to tell that there would be a lot of dirt! I rode around in the snow for a while and made the journey back down to Aurora – after a pit stop for some warmer gloves
Saturday was an early morning. The SW4 race was at 7:32 so I was out the door by5:15 to get up there. I threw every layer of clothes in a bag and just hoped it would warm up. I appreciate that cross is an all-weather event, but I just wasn’t ready for sub-freezing temps in the beginning of September. It was 32 degrees when I pulled in the parking lot…ouch. I layered up and rode the course twice. Not the warm-up I would have like, but I got to ride the course and see where some of the muddy, sandy, challenging spots were. I was glad to see a few other SW3 and SW4 Naked racers there that morning. There’s something to be said for pain in numbers.
As the SW4 race started I tried to get to the front as soon as possible. The two Junior racers started with us and they were the first off the pack. Those girls were fast – I have total respect for their ability at their age. Part way through the first lap I passed two racers and it dawned on me that the juniors were in a different category so I was winning the SW4 race. I tried to keep a steady pace and be cautious in some of the sandy areas. I realized which spots it was faster for me to put a foot down or hop off and run and I sucked it up on the totally bumpy dirt, grassy areas that jostled you to the core. On the third lap I was pumped to still be in the lead, I got to the drop-off spot that was a challenge the first few times. First lap I felt like I got whiplash I landed so hard, second lap was good, third time…not so much. I “guess” I was a bit too far over the bars and in a flash I was flying over the handlebars, face down in the sand. I totally knocked the wind out of myself and it took a few seconds to get up. I stood up, took a few big breaths to re-inflate my lungs and spit out some dirt. A few steps to make sure I was basically ok, put the chain back on my bike and took off the best I could. A few people were pretty close behind me at that point, but I knew if I pushed I could hold them off. In the process of falling I must have smashed my handlebars into the meaty part above my knee-cap which made it hard to push hard, but generally I was ok – except for the massive quantities of dirt covering my entire body. I think I spit out dirt the entire last lap and still had dirt up my nose when I finished the race.
The whole wipeout happened to take place directly in front of two photographers and a medic. Good crowd for a crash! I bet John Flora stayed in that spot all day getting “money shots” of people in mid-crash. I saw he had a bunch of other crash photos later, but I also noticed that over the course of the day the ledge that was there in the morning smoothed out a bit and wasn’t as harsh of a drop-off. Goes to show how much a course changes over the length of a day of racing.
After a post-race stop at the medics (they waived me down asking to check me out) and a trip to the top of the podium I stole an ice-pack from my kid’s diaper bag and made that journey back to Aurora again. I was glad to just be in some pain and not actually hurt and anxious for the photos I knew would emerge in a few hours. After posting my epic face plant pic to the world of facebook lots of great comments followed. My favorite was a post on the photographer’s page from a woman I didn’t even know and it just said “Bless her heart”. Too Funny!
This was definitely an exciting way to start off the cross season. Although I’m hoping to not have this much excitement in future races I am hoping for a great season and possibly another trip onto the podium.
Our dirt diva Brittany J. recapped the cyclocross awards party. Naked cleaned up again. It was one dirty job but these ladies went above and beyond and came out on top!
This last Saturday was the Colorado Cross Cup awards party, and Naked represented well.
For those who are unfamiliar with BRAC’s Cross Cup (or the very similar Road Cup), it is a points system that spans the entire CX season. You earn points both as an individual and as a team based on your results, and some races are weighted more heavily than others.
Our own sponsor in 2013, Prestige Imports, hosted the awards party. Basil Docs supplied a veritable wall of delicious pizza, while Great Divide and Izzie provided libations. There was also a raffle for some pretty nice swag from Rudy Project, Polar, and several others.
As the awards got underway, Jenny Lucke took to the podium. Our rockstar junior not only won the individual racer competition for Jr Women 17-18, she also single-handedly earned a second place spot in the team competition for Naked in the same division.
Jenny wasn’t the only Naked woman to earn a spot on the podium, though. Every Naked woman that raced as a Cat 4 during the season helped earn a Team 3rd Place for Naked. Cathy Goodheart and Emily Unger (and I’m not sure why Jenny wasn’t up there, because she raced Cat 4 as well as Jr.) represented Naked on the podium. I’m looking forward to seeing all of these women race Cat 3 next year.
And finally, after many slices of pizza and many grapes and strawberries, Naked was called back up to the podium as the 1st place team in the Senior Women Cat 3 division.
Lanier Allen and I received the 1st place plaque on behalf of Naked and our other Cat 3 teammates.
As far as I can tell, it was a stellar end to an amazing season. Several people have a new mud addiction, while others continued to hone skills and aim for the hole shot.
Congratulations to all the women who raced this season—you played an important part in earning these awards. And thank you to everyone who cheered and encouraged us.
Photos 1 & 2, Jenny Lucke
Photo 3, Ryan Muncy Photography
Emily Zinn shares her CX Nats experience. We had several Naked ladies out there representing in almost every age group and during the UCI race!
The week of the Boulder 2014 Cyclocross National Championships was amped. Juniors grinned ear to ear or scoped the course seriously with their headphones blocking distractions. Masters over 70 sharpened their elbows to contend for stars and stripes. I took it all in with pleasure and the pride of getting to show off something you love at its best.
The non-championship race was a wild ride on off-camber ice that saw girls running icy descents. Fortunately, my Challenge Fangos hooked up great and rolled fast in a straight line. The racing was tight and competitive with lots of back and forth. I was happily in the 5-way sprint for 3rd.
But, as someone who loves chaos, lining up 80th in Sunday’s elite race was something special. Fighting for every position, running the stairs to deafening howls of enthusiasm, hearing the gasps that mean someone went down behind you, the focus of navigating a tough off-camber with eyes blurry from a hard effort, it was all a buzz I could never describe. I fought through a lot of the pack, and took a donut hand-up on the stairs. My Zinn Magster ‘Cross was super responsive and I made lots of passes in technical sections.
I also got to send off the kids I’ve been coaching in Boulder Junior Cycling to battle for their own wins, one of whom took home the jersey and all of whom won the pleasure of racing a championships in front of their community on a course their coach, Pete Webber, designed. It was a uniquely wonderful race and the organizers did a phenomenal job getting the crowds out.
Impressively, more women lined up for the elite race than men, one more thing to be proud of.
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!
And the Naked ladies stay on the podium. Due to the superb handling skills, we do quiet well when the conditions, well…aren’t! Here’s Emily Zinn‘s take on the weekend’s cross races.
Finally, back to some real cyclocross. Enough of these lovely, 60 degrees and sunny days with perfect hardpack that make you feel like you’re riding on rails. I want to slip and slide a bit.
It was cold enough that the few inches of snow behaved like light sand if I got caught in the deep stuff, and my bike would start to slither. As the day wore on, the frozen ruts and icy patches began to expose themselves and get slicker, with each lap offering a new surprise and a new patch where your bike thought it might rather be laying on the ground.
The Reservoir course carved up and down the deep sand along the beach, with at least half the course through the sand, but as the snow packed down the sand became hardpack, in most cases it was more forgiving than the conditions the rest of the course.
I find that I am more confident in my relationship with my bike when the day gets slippery and I move my way up the field, and such was the case both days this weekend in both categories I raced.
Sunday carved through the Battle of the Bear trail network in Golden, CO, and on its own wouldn’t have been a technical course, but with the thawing conditions each lap was a different animal and I gapped girls on the slick descents each time. I managed a feat I didn’t realize I was capable of, as well, taking the holeshot from the second row. I finished second behind an astoundingly talented bike handler and all-around tough girl, Katie Clause. Look out for that name in a few years, her face will be on magazines, no question. Now that I’ve thawed and gotten rid of my cold-weather cough I can’t wait for the next day like this.
Coach Cathy made it on the podium despite the less than desirable conditions – but, that’s cyclocross and why she loves it!
When I first read about this race I thought I should add a Mohawk to my helmet. I signed up immediately and had grand plans for getting my ‘cross punk on – you know, tons of safety pins, doll head dangling from the saddle – you get the idea. When Sunday rolled around it was all I could do to get out of my warm bed to race. I decided braving the single digit temps that morning would be “punk” enough for me.
As crazy as it may sound, you do get warm during these cyclocross races. Don’t get me wrong, I did have a minimum of two layers of clothing on, and three in places (knees, chest, and arms), but it wasn’t miserable. It was actually pleasant and fun (like any other CX race)! The sun even peeked out a bit.
The start was on snowy hill on asphalt, which sharply turned into a descent on the trail. The cold temps had frozen some good ruts into the trails, which made for a sporty descent. And as the temps rose the course changed. Whatever started as a frozen and iced over became slushy, muddy goodness! The course meandered through the forest and abruptly stopped at a barrier and run-up. There was a flat chunk of the course with two more barriers, a thick sand pit, and one more barrier for good measure. It was a good mix of riding, and running.
My start was horrendous! I was dead last, but that meant I had people to chase. By the second lap I was in second place. After that I lost track of cold, pain, amount of laps, and everything else (as evidenced by the snotcicles). At one point I was right on the wheel of Maurine Sweeney, a formidable competitor and all around nice lady, who was in first place. Between a fumbled remount, and a snowy crash I lost some ground, and finished second.
I was happy to see some of my fellow crazy teammates out in the cold. Brittany Jones and Emily Zinn (2nd place) both made it out for the SW3 race.
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.