Some cyclists are particular about their socks. One guy likes to wear a new pair before a time trial; another can’t race in the pair he warmed-up in.
Some cyclists choose a certain orange and blue pair to remember Amy Dombroski and support the foundation established in her name.
Colorado venues are the scenes for these photos.
To order a pair of socks or donate, visit the Amy D. Foundation store online, which also hosts a gallery of photos from Amy’s life.
To chase or be chased. Which is a better position in a cyclocross race, hunting down a quarry or glancing over your shoulder and feeling hunted?
A target ahead can act as a goal and provide focus. Others, like Danny Summerhill, prefer attacking an open track to avoid getting taking down in a crash by riders ahead and to choose the best lines.
On Saturday at Cyclo-X Westminster Chris Baddick (Gear Movement) was Robin Eckmann’s target. Listening to Baddick explain how he became the hunted one, he sounded like a reluctant leader.
“I felt like I happened to come to the front by accident. Everyone was slowing down on the pavement and I just ended up at the front of the group,” Baddick said, speaking about the early part of the race.
“And so I just decided to go for it and see what happened, see who would go with me because I wanted to get the group a bit smaller. But then no one came with me so again I just went for it. It was kind of a difficult way to win.”
Stay off the front alone consumes a rider’s resources. When it’s blustery – more often than not on the Front Range, it’s easier to sit in with a small group and keep your nose out of the wind.
Chasing singlehandedly takes a lot of energy too and not just physically. More tactics come into play, like deciding how long to keep working with other riders and whether to strike out solo.
When Baddick attained a gap out front half-way through the race a group of three chased him: Eckmann (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) and Evol Foods riders Ken Benesh and Spencer Powlison.
Initially Eckmann waited to see if Powlison and Benesh would work together as teammates to bridge up to Baddick.
But the gap to the leader widened over three laps. With just over two to go Eckmann chose to go alone after Baddick. He shaved some seconds off the Gear Movement rider’s advantage, inching closer in the bell lap, but didn’t make contact. Eckmann crossed the line second with enough points to maintain his lead in the Cyclo-X series.
What was it like chasing the “new ‘cross sheriff” Baddick?
“It was definitely hard. Cyclocross is more of a sport for me to get in shape for the road,” Eckmann said while waiting for the podium. “I think that was the perfect practice for that. It almost felt like a time trial a little bit, so it’s definitely good.”
The initial four of nine laps proceeded at an easy pace for the strongest in the field. Baddick came through with the holeshot. Two minutes later Eckmann sprang ahead of him on the double set of concrete stairs.
In the front group of about a dozen riders Benesh and Maxx Chance (Clif Bar Devo) swapped out the lead position with Baddick and Eckmann as the guys seemed to be waiting for something to happen.
“There was a pretty large group so everybody was like we’ll just wait until the time makes it harder, just by the length of the race,” Eckmann later said. “So lap by lap it got a little bit faster and then we started dropping guys left and right and then the race got kind of a structure.”
Evol Foods’ Powlison and Josh Whitney, Chris Case and Pete Webber of Boulder Cycle Sport, Gage Hecht (Specialized Racing Team), Ian McPherson and Garrett Gerchar of Clif Bar Devo, Bryan Alders (Marin Bikes Factory Team), Steven Stefko (First City), and Greg Krause (Groove Subaru/Excel Sports) rounded out the early front group.
Structure began to appear when Baddick took off in the fifth lap. Eckmann, Powlison, and Benesh formed a chase group that set off after the Gear Movement man. Chance shadowed them in fourth position with Stefko in fifth.
Sometime mid-race Hecht slid out on the long grassy downhill which claimed additional victims and would shake up the podium with one lap to go. Early in the race, Eckmann switched bikes for a rear tire with better grip on the slippery grass.
When Eckmann pulled away from the chase group about fifteen minutes remained for him to catch Baddick.
The Cal Giant rider collected seconds between himself and the chasing Evol riders and began to dissolve the ones that kept him from reaching the leader. Baddick knew his pursuer was making progress.
“I was dying towards the end. I know if the race was a lap longer then I wouldn’t have held on anymore,” Baddick said. What did it feel like to be chased? As he caught his breath after the win, Baddick replied, “I was definitely riding scared. I was making some mistakes in the last lap. I ran into course tape with about three corners to go.”
Benesh and Powlison ran into problems of their own. With about one lap to go both fell to the wet grass on the long descent. Chance took advantage and swept by them, taking third place at the finish.
Powlison followed six seconds later for fourth. Stefko claimed fifth ahead of Benesh who had been further delayed by a dropped chain after the sliding out on the grass.
Eckmann continues to lead the eight-race Cyclo-X points series which concludes on December 7 with double points on offer at the Boulder Reservoir venue.
For full results from Cyclo-X Westminster see the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado’s website.
On a course that proved Judy Freeman’s ability to tackle yet another set of conditions, the Crankbrothers Race Club rider won her seventh cyclocross race of the season on Saturday.
At first the Cyclo-X Westminster course appeared like an easy target for a roadie. Long stretches of pavement and gravel path in Westminster City Park connected three technical sections of turns on dirt or grass as well as concrete stairs. The light snowfall from earlier in the week wouldn’t begin to melt and make corners slippery until late in the women’s elite/open contest.
However once racing commenced it became clear the mixture of power and technical sections gave riders stronger in either type of terrain almost an even chance.
That’s “almost” because any betting person would have placed high odds on Freeman sweeping up another win given her collection of medals so far this season.
But that didn’t discourage the rest of the field. In fact, it motivated many, like Kristen Peterson (Evol Foods).
Peterson conceded the holeshot to Melissa Barker (GS Boulder / Studio 1 Dental) then took the lead on icy stairs and held it for half of the 45 minute race before finishing second after Freeman.
“I think it’s a great thing,” Peterson said about Freeman’s string of successes. “It’s great to have that level of competition around here. We all have something to shoot for which is great every weekend we come out here, and just see her [Judy] go, but hopefully try and battle it out as much as we can throughout the race.”
Freeman commented on the day’s result after the finish. “I’m very happy, and feel really fortunate to have gotten a seventh win today. It’s just awesome coming out here and battling with everybody. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a good spirit.”
The riders sped off uphill from the paved start area under a black, yellow, and red striped Belgian-inspired arch. Emma Dunn (Feedback Sports), Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport), Laurel Rathbun (Hammer) and then Ksenia Lepikhina (BMC XC Racing Team) followed after Barker and Peterson through the first turn. Freeman pursued in seventh place.
After a bit of grassy track the women scaled two sections of concrete stairs on their way to the highest point on course. Peterson passed Barker there and took the long sweeping downhill back onto pavement with Dunn several bike lengths behind her.
Peterson reached the stairs in the second lap with Freeman just steps behind her. A small gap separated them from the next group. Led by Weber, the chasers included Barker, Rathbun, Rapid Racer and masters world champion Kristal Boni, Dunn, and Ann Trombley (Tokyo Joe’s).
By lap three Freeman had closed in on Peterson and any gap between them was determined by their different strengths as riders. “I think I gapped Judy out a little bit on the power stuff,” Peterson said later, “and then as soon as we hit the technical stuff she was right back there.”
Freeman took the race lead as the pair headed into the last twisty dirt section before the finish straight with two laps remaining. Peterson tried to remain in contact but saw Freeman slip further away in the technical sections and finish with a 19 second advantage.
Among the chasers Weber held third place on course. Rathbun raced in fourth then pulled out with a damaged derailleur. Next on course, Boni and Barker rode briefly as a pair until Boni took off in search of third place. She and Weber fought for the third step of the podium over the final two laps.
Boni later explained that she moved ahead on a paved section but Weber reclaimed third by passing her on the stairs in the bell lap.
Nonetheless Boni felt satisfied crossing the line in fourth just three seconds after Weber. “I’m feeling really good,” the masters world champion said. “I feel like mentally and physically my race conditioning is really starting to come around and my head is getting in the game and so I’m really happy.”
Peterson was pleased with her performance as well. “It was great. It was fun to be able to chase someone and actually be in the race this time which is always fun.”
Weber continues to lead the eight-race Cyclo-X points series which concludes on December 7 with double points on offer at the Boulder Reservoir venue.
For full results from Cyclo-X Westminster see the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado’s website.
Gallery in progress
What happens when roadie power meets mountain bike agility on Rocky Mountain foothills fields in late fall? Recently it means a fierce fight between Danny Summerhill (K-Edge/Felt) and Tim Allen (Feedback Sports) on a cyclocross course. Both ‘cross riders, Summerhill races on the road and Allen on the dirt in the summer.
Two weeks ago the showdown played out in Golden at the Feedback Cup where the circuit didn’t include one lick of pavement. Allen led early in the first lap. Then an incident behind him slowed the field and helped him open a gap. Summerhill almost snared him but slid out in a corner; he took several moments to recover. With his strong engine it seemed like Summerhill, a previous national ‘cross champion, might still take first. In the end he finished second.
Allen never eased up in Golden. He knew who chased him.
Roles reversed last Saturday at Cyclo-X in Louisville.
The two dominated the action early on. Then around the same lap that fate intervened in Golden, it appeared again in Louisville. This time it gathered Allen into its immobilizing embrace.
“Danny was using a bigger gear when he got to the top of that corner, and I was spun out coming up quick and I hit his back wheel,” Allen explained to a teammate while catching his breath after finishing second in Louisville. The rear-ender resulted in a dropped chain for Allen but he remained on the bike.
“That caused me to lose contact,” Allen said. “I was already just barely hanging on so after that I knew unless he [Danny] sat up and waited for me there was no way I was going to get back on.”
And like Allen two weeks before, Summerhill didn’t take any lead over his main adversary for granted.
“With the way that Tim rode last time, that couldn’t have been a harder fought battle between us both,” Summerhill said after Louisville’s contest. “That was a hard race the whole time. So there was really no letting up. Once I got a bit of a gap I had a couple places where I could ride easier than when I was with him but other than that it was just checking over my shoulder the whole time because as you could see the last lap he really turned it on so fast I really thought he might catch me on the finish.”
Like the elite women, the elite men also started with a left-hander into barriers and a moat of muck. The moat had widened since morning and by the afternoon there was no leaping over it. Unless your name was Tim Allen.
As Spencer Powlison (Evol Foods) hoisted his bike to shoulder height and jumped in first Allen unleashed his trademark barrier bunny-hop and crossed the moat without putting a foot down. The field ascended the “Bowl of Death,” passed the pit, and quickly descended back to the bottom of the reservoir.
A lead group of six quickly materialized halfway into the first lap with Allen at the front followed by Powlison, W. Grant Ellwood (Boulder Cycle Sport/Junior Cycling), Summerhill, Ken Benesh (Evol Foods) and Chris Case (Boulder Cycle Sport).
Summerhill led by the end of lap one until Allen again bunny-hopped the barriers near the pit, passing him as well as Powlison in the beginning of lap two. They became a front group of three.
“He was definitely just killing me on the one bunny-hop barriers section where I was running it and he was riding,” Summerhill said after the race, speaking about Allen, “and anytime that I would have any time on him he’d just take it right back on that section.”
Benesh now trailed the three men as they headed into the wind to the corners and dips and rises on the far west side of the course. Case fell back to the next chase group which included Ellwood, Bryan Alders (Marin Bikes Factory Team), and Robin Eckmann (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized). Boulder Cycle Sport’s Pete Webber and Brandon Dwight shadowed that group.
Summerhill emerged first from that section with Allen sniffing the dust tossed up by his wheel on the gravelly path. Powlison had dropped back. Eckmann and Alders swung out as a pair after Benesh.
The two leaders had outpaced the chasers by over ten seconds as they worked on lap three. That’s about the time Allen touched Summerhill’s wheel and lost contact. But Allen kept him in sight.
Over the next few laps Eckmann progressed into third and briefly stole Allen’s second place on course.
Alders, a mountain biker, seemed to find his cyclocross home in Louisville. He churned out consistently fast laps that eclipsed Eckmann’s in the second half of the race.
Going into the last two laps over thirty seconds separated Allen from Summerhill. Maybe that was when Summerhill decided to let up that little bit. Or maybe something clicked in Allen?
“The afterburners kicked in. I don’t know,” the Feedback Sports rider said, trying to explain what fueled his late race surge. “I wanted to catch Danny really bad. That’s what I was working for.” And Summerhill knew it.
“We were going hard Tim and I – very, very, hard – and I really thought that Tim once he got any sort of gap would be able to hold it and win like he did the last time him and I raced in Golden,” Summerhill said.
But the powerful Summerhill, who at times acted as a windshield for the slighter Allen in the extreme wind that frequently bent tall grass sideways on the open course, crossed the line with 13 seconds over his adversary. Alders rode into third. Eckmann finished fourth. Benesh stayed steady on course for fifth, while Webber outpaced the rest to get sixth.
Allen’s result had personal profits. “It was nice to be thinking about the front of the race and not worried about [what’s] behind me,” he said. “That’s a new sensation this year that I’ve never really had before.”
Eckmann leads the Cyclo-X points series. The next race takes place this coming Saturday in Westminster. Look for Summerhill in Los Angeles at Cross After Dark later this month.
For full results from Cyclo-X Louisville see the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado’s website.
Sport is full of expected and unexpected peaks and valleys.
Saturday’s Cyclo-X Louisville delivered both every lap on a course built around the infamous “Bowl of Death,” a dry grassy reservoir with soggy borders at the bottom.
Three times per lap riders dropped into the bowl; three times they climbed out. Multiply times five for the women’s open race which Judy Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club) won by a small margin over Ann Trombley (Tokyo Joe’s).
Freeman is riding a rising peak of consecutive top podium steps that’s perhaps unexpected for a mountain bike specialist on a cyclocross learning curve.
Trombley’s second placed her on the podium twice in as many weeks. Another peak. And unexpected. Trombley, who coaches several of the ladies who pinned on numbers Saturday, said she never knows how well she’s going to race.
Around them riders who planned to peak a month ago and then peak again for ‘cross nationals in January found themselves in a planned valley. Others like Kristal Boni (Rapid Racing) dipped into unexpected valleys; barely into the first lap and just after the pit area, course tape temporarily disabled her bike’s gears.
Freeman’s win was her third in the Cyclo-X eight-race series. That makes six wins total so far this season in local Colorado cyclocross races, the most of any woman in the open category.
“I’m stoked about that. It’s pretty cool,” Freeman said post-race as she talked skewer quality with a mechanic under a tent battered by the wind. “And I never feel like it’s guaranteed. Anything can happen. It’s such a short race. I’m excited…”
The course designer obviously wanted the venue’s “Bowl of Death” nickname to live up to its promise. Not much longer than five seconds after the start, a set of barriers at the far side of the first turn forced riders to slow and leap into a moat of muck on the other side before climbing to the top of the bowl.
Kristin Weber of Boulder Cycle Sport reached that initial challenge first. Trombley jumped over at the opposite end of the barriers. Junior Ashley Zoerner (Groove Subaru-Alpha Bicycle Co) joined them up the hillside and they carried a small gap into lap one.
Meanwhile Freeman, who got a slow start because she had trouble clipping into her pedal on the uneven turf, began a march to the front from eighth in the field.
By lap two Freeman rode third on course in a front group of five led by Trombley with Weber, Melissa Barker (GS Boulder / Studio 1 Dental), and Karen Hogan (Team Kappius.) Jess D’Amato and Kristen Peterson of Evol Foods pursued not far behind. Later in the race Tough Girl’s Margell Abel, Ksenia Lepikhina, and Heather Szabo (Tokyo Joe’s) formed a mid-field chase group.
Freeman and Trombley pulled away in that order and gained a ten second gap into lap three on Weber and Hogan who rode together ahead of Barker. In the fourth lap Freeman surged into a lead that became a solo win with seven seconds to spare over Trombley.
Given the open nature of the course, Trombley, a former coach of Freeman, could observe the leader for most if not all of the last two laps. What did she see?
“…Judy was railing the corners and I was trying to stay with her,” the coach and former Olympian said. “She’s just strong…And she is smooth on the technical – she’s very good. So she doesn’t lose any energy on that stuff so then she can power on the climbs and on the straightaways. She looks great.”
Hogan also looked great on Saturday. She gained a gap on Weber, riding a fast third lap, and held it for third place at the finish. Weber got fourth. The effort seemed to deplete nearly ever rider’s reserves; each of the top ten claimed their places on the finish line alone.
“The course was pretty rad,” Freeman said. “It’s funny, it was kind of like a two hour course condensed into 45 minutes. It was really bumpy. Some really long stretches into the wind. For whatever reason it was a little more, I don’t know, I guess I’m going to say a little more taxing…But it was a great course. It had a little bit of everything. It was fun.”
Freeman said she’s been enjoying the different types of courses in the Cyclo-X series and the skills each has tested. “I’m stoked because I think it’s really preparing everybody for [cyclocross] nationals coming up…” In October the Crankbrothers rider indicated she’s eager to take part in what she anticipates will be a great “vibe” when nationals comes to Boulder.
Weber leads the Cyclo-X points series. The next race takes place this coming Saturday in Westminster.
For full results from Cyclo-X Louisville see the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado’s website.
How important is “home field advantage” in cyclocross? With so many Boulder-based athletes competing at cyclocross nationals this January in the city’s Valmont Bike Park, it’s an interesting question.
Sunday’s Feedback Cup in Golden, Colorado provided the ideal location to explore that question.
The Golden track is home course to Tim Allen (Feedback Sports) who won the Feedback Cup men’s open race. Work days, he rides there during his lunch break. In this season’s Back-to-Basics series there, Allen won three of the four times he competed.
Jesse Swift (Gates Carbon Drive) earned the victory in Sunday’s single speed race. He would call the Golden location his home course too. He won and placed second twice at the Back-to-Basics races (on a single speed set-up).
The topic of home field advantage attracts intense scrutiny in the ball and puck sports. The numbers say home field advantage is highest in soccer. What causes this phenomenon? According to one source the reason is not due to the athlete or the field, but the refs.
We know home course advantage doesn’t always net a win in cyclocross. Riders win on courses they’ve never seen prior to race day. Like Chris Baddick, for example. In addition, locations with diverse features allow for varied course designs that test different skills and strengths.
Swift and Allen’s Feedback Cup results support the notion of home field advantage in ‘cross. What creates that leg-up? It seems to be the underlying or predominant characteristics of a location. In the case of the Golden space it’s the quality of the dirt sections.
Spencer Powlison (Evol Foods), who finished third in the men’s open race, said this about the Feedback Cup course: “…all these corners have loose stuff on the outside of the lines. So you have to be really precise with your lines…”
Guys like Allen and Swift who know those slippery corners had to have an advantage.
“I know there was one corner where another racer was trying to pass me, but from all the Back-to-Basics races and weekly training, I knew how fast to take the corner, so he blew the corner and I rode the right line and kept my lead,” Swift wrote yesterday.
“On the other hand, there were at least 4-5 sections that were new to everyone. So, yeah, home field gave me a bit of an advantage but not huge.”
As Swift points out, home course advantage isn’t sufficient to achieve top three results. The Feedback Cup’s particular course design by Lee Waldman also demanded the strength to sprint like hell over and over out of the slippery corners.
Allen sped away from the start line for the holeshot. Brady Kappius (Clif Bar) and Powlison followed. Junior Gage Hecht (Specialized Racing Team) moved up as the pack swung onto grass, through the finish line area, and over the first barrier. Danny Summerhill (K-Edge/Felt) leapt over that barrier in fifth position.
The flotilla streamed into the northwest portion of the course which dipped down and back up a steep bump and then continued into turns and corners through the brushy fields.
According to Powlison, Kappius dropped his chain on a corner before the double barriers about halfway into the initial lap. That slowed everyone except for the frontrunner Allen. He hurried away to bunny-hop the double barriers with a gap he maintained for the remaining fifty-five minutes of racing.
The course wound into a lower area with off-camber S-turns and stairs. Riders climbed out of that section to return to the finish line area and that’s where Summerhill powered by Powlison and Hecht to move into second place on course.
As Kappius, Chris Case (Boulder Cycle Sport) and Mitch Hoke (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) shadowed Hecht, Powlison latched onto Summerhill and they rode together. Going into lap three Summerhill “was riding super-fast obviously and gapped me,” Powlison said.
The next incident that shaped the outcome transpired half-way into the third lap.
Summerhill was threatening Allen’s fifteen second lead when he slid out in a corner bordered by loose gravel. Within a split-second he crashed hard onto the dirt, a surface Allen later described as similar to cement. Powlison and the other chasers slid by Summerhill and his bike while he took a good ten seconds or more to recover.
“I rode by myself for like forever which is hard to keep a steady pace and keep the gap from going out,” Powlison said. “And then eventually Danny caught on with Mitch and Brady and really got on the gas and they pulled me back.”
Now third on course Summerhill next sliced by Powlison who tried to hang onto the K-Edge/Felt rider. “Coming up the hill to the final lap I took off my sunglasses and kind of got a little off-line,” Powlison recalled while waiting for the podium ceremonies, “and that was all it took for him [Summerhill] to get a little gap on me.”
Hoke, Kappius and Hecht traced the circuit as a group behind Allen, Summerhill, and Powlison. Next on course Case rode alone. Brian Alders (Marin Bikes Factory Team) followed with Taylor Carrington (Feedback Sports) and Michael Burleigh (Primal Wear/McDonald Audi) trailing him.
The contest for the top ten continued behind the three who had nailed their podium spots by the sound of the bell.
Kappius came in for fourth; Hoke, fifth. Hecht lost a position, Carrington drifted back, and Case and Burleigh made up time. Alders and J.J. Clarke completed the top ten. Carrington came in twelth.
By the end Allen finished 31 seconds in front of Summerhill. It wasn’t a comfortable lead.
Allen said he wondered out on course if he could claim his second victory in as many weeks. “I knew Danny Summerhill was behind me so the whole race I was pretty much scared shitless. But it felt good to just ride out front.”
Yes, he thought a home course advantage helped carry him to the win. So did his Feedback Sports team and bike sponsors Foundry Cycles and Shimano Di2.
Swift offered his conclusion regarding the home field advantage question.
“I think the more important part to the race and what appeared to be home course advantage is that it is a hard course with lots of difficult loose turns, no flat sections and zero pavement,” Swift wrote. “I think the course favored good bike handlers and mountain bikers, like Tim Allen and myself. A combination of course knowledge AND the love of dirt is what gave some racers a ‘home field advantage’.” [italics added]
It’s tempting to use “the old one-two” expression to describe Sunday’s women’s open race at the Feedback Cup. It would go like this: Judy Freeman threw the first punch when she passed Kristin Weber with one lap to go then followed that with punch number two by taking the win.
It’s even more tempting to put the expression into play when additional one-two combinations emerge upon further reflection.
Weber’s first place on Saturday followed by second on Sunday.
Weber’s number one spot with the most wins this season in Colorado’s women’s open category and Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club) second with three. Yes, Weber’s delivered one-twos herself, five times.
But “the old one-two” analogy just doesn’t seem to work when discussing the concept of competition in this cyclocross women’s open field.
Make no mistake: this is sport and winning matters. But winning’s not about doing something to another rider, like pulverizing an opponent into dust and then gloating over that success. It’s more about each woman testing her limits and racing as well as she can. Let’s call it “self versus self.”
That expression describes Sunday’s Feedback Cup, which took place on a course that demanded repeated slowing and accelerating.
After crossing the finish line Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport) and others who finished near her time lowered their backs over top tubes and heads over handlebars. They breathed rapidly, firm bellies inflating with each gulp of air.
“It was so twisty,” Weber said about the course. “There’s only like two flat parts…and the rest of it is just stepping up out of every corner and doing a 15 – 30 second sprint every time.”
With her body reaching forward around the curve Weber gapped the field and captured the holeshot. Evol Food’s Kate Powlison and Jess D’Amato led the pursuit along with Karen Hogan (Team Kappius). Freeman came away about mid-field in eighth position as the riders headed out on course.
“I had a horrible start…I definitely picked too hard a gear to start in,” Freeman later said, “and then when we got rolling everyone accelerated and I was in choppy grass. I just planned that wrong.”
While Weber worked on staying out front with a five to ten second gap Freeman worked on moving up. By lap two she rode in fourth place on course in chase group 1 that also included Hogan, Margell Abel (Tough Girls), and Caitlyn Vestal (Feedback Sports). Chase group 2 consisting of Powlison, fifteen year-old Mina Anderberg (Team FUJI), and another rider cornered around the twisty course less than ten seconds behind.
Freeman reached the run-up early in lap three with Weber in view at the top. Hogan trailed Freeman by a few bike lengths and had inserted a few seconds between herself and Abel and Vestal. Powlison, Anderberg, Ashley Zoerner (Groove Subaru-Alpha Bicycle Company), and Kristal Boni (Rapid Racing) raced on behind the lead five women followed by the rest of the field.
Weber’s gap dissolved at the start of the final lap. Freeman passed her, gaining seven seconds by the end of the event. Weber finished second.
“I felt her coming,” Weber said after the race, acknowledging Freeman’s strength. “I just had to keep going, and I was like mentally losing my kick three-quarters of the way through the race…so she just did a slow gain and then she passed me and I was like ‘Aaaiie!’”
The Boulder Cycle Sport rider aimed to make the exit from every corner count; accelerating quickly out of corner after corner required lots of concentration and effort which took its toll. “It’s hard when you are anaerobic that long to keep the focus, to keep doing that, and especially if you’re not battling it out with somebody. I sort of lost my focus a little bit.”
Vestal and Hogan came to the line competing for third, which went to Vestal by less than half a second. Abel arrived twenty seconds later to round out the top five.
As the medical crew cleaned up a gash on her left leg – the result of a crash while riding alone late in the race, Freeman spoke about her win. “It feels good. I’m excited – I haven’t raced much ‘cross so I’m learning a lot, definitely it feels good to race well…and I’m having a lot of fun.”
After reflecting on the weekend, Weber described what she’s been learning in her third women’s open season, spending more time on that topic than discussing her two podium results.
“I’m amazed by how hard I can push myself now and then keep pushing myself. Before there was this fear factor of going into that upper echelon and then worrying that you were going to explode,” she said. “I’m learning how to go into that hurt zone and then keep re-entering it and coming back and re-entering.”
In short, she’s finding out just how much her body and mind can suffer – while loving every minute.
With so many strong women aiming for their best races on the Colorado cyclocross scene, including Judy Freeman as well as the persistent nemesis called “Luck,” Weber is likely to test her limits again and again this season.
Find full results on the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado website.