Last Sunday was the grand finale of my 2010 cycling season, where I raced the collegiate and elite races at Cyclocross Nationals in Bend, OR. I was really looking forward to the collegiate race especially because I knew my WWU teammates and I had a good shot at winning the collegiate team title.
Whitney in the mud.
I watched Whitney, Hannah, and Courtenay throw down in the women's race while I warmed up. They all did amazing and placed 13th, 7th, and 3rd respectively! Awesome!
In the collegiate men's race, I started a couple rows back but worked my way forward on the first lap. Once on the second lap, my teammate Steve Fisher, was off the front by about 15 seconds. I was on the wheel of Ryan Leech, the '09 national champ, but was able to separate myself cleanly from him in one of the slow swampy sections. I was now free to work my way up to Steve.
Photo Credit: here
After another lap I had closed the gap and Steve and I were riding together with nobody near us. Taking turns leading, I think both of us were excited just to see that the race would most likely be won by a WWU rider.
It wasn't until the final lap that Steve and I ended our truce and began throwing down attacks and really pushing the technical sections. The crowd seemed to really go wild as we battled back and forth all the way to the final corner into the finish. Steve came out of the final turn ahead and held me off for the win.
Photo: Debbie Driver
I was really happy to take second place to Steve. It's always a great day when you go 1-2 with a teammate! Ian and Ben also delivered the goods with 8th and 16th place respectively! Nice work!
After all of our individual results, we were confident we would take the overall Division 2 team title. Sure enough, we were indeed awarded the win! Go Vikings!
Photo: Debbie Driver
Remembering that the fun was only half over, I started warming up for my second race of the day. I knew I didn't have any UCI points to help my starting position in the Elite race, but I did end up getting a lucky call-up that was relatively close to the front(behind only 70 people instead of 100+).
Once the race was underway, I didn't hesitate to pass dozens of riders in a short period of time. Knowing the course so well from my previous race must have been a big advantage because I was already in the top 30 at the end of the first lap.
Until... I plowed into a rider who crashed in front of me. Hooking my handlebars in his spokes, we fought to untangle the puzzle of a mess. Finally free to ride again, I was close to dead last. Temporarily heartbroken, I rode slowly until finding my rhythm and starting to gain back lost time.
Until... my crankarm broke. My pedaling started feeling really weird and I realized that my right pedal was at an angle coming out of the crankarm. Fearing that I would tear the pedal out completely, I didn't dare stand up and pedal hard. Relief came soon enough when I was pulled from the race before being lapped by the leaders.
61st place. Not exactly the kind of result you would write home about. However, I did have a ton of fun racing and suffering. Plus, the amount of spectators was totally unreal! I'd say at least three times as many as the World Cup in Aigle! It was really cool seeing first hand how big the sport of cyclocross is becoming in the US.
Photo: Dave Pearson
2010 has been a long year filled with some of the best races and experiences of my life thus far. Whether it was collegiate road racing in the spring, mountain biking in the summer, my two months in Europe, or cyclocross in the fall, I made big personal improvements that I had previously only dreamed of.
A good collegiate race report from CX Magazine: here