Monday, December 17, 2007

Cyclocross National Championships: Kansas City, KS, December 14-16, 2007

There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home (click, click, click) and there we were, in Kansas City, KS. Lucky for us, KC is the home of Chris & Sonja Butler and family, so we were able to spend some time with family and race. Tim, Wendy and I arrived on Thursday and the fun began in the frozen tundra.

FRIDAY, December 14th: Women's Masters 35-39 Race
Wendy opted out of doing the masters race this year, after winning it last year. I got a flat last year, so I wanted to race it at least once. We showed up and found what we love most: mud! And plenty of it. It was very unexpected to see so much mud, but that would make it more interesting. Especially since it was all of 34 degrees. We pre-rode the course and the ruts were frozen, making it difficult to pick your own line. The lines kind of picked you. But by 2:00, race time, it was softer and slick. Perfect for an Oregonian, except for the dropping temperature and the sun that had gone away. It was cold. Although I had a second row line up, I had no problem getting the hole shot and basically worked my way through the younger field who started a couple of minutes before us. I probably could have worked through the entire field if I hadn't broken my rear derailleur just after the pit. Wendy yelled at me to relax and that I had plenty of time, so I pulled it out of my rear wheel, set it gently back on my rear cog and soft pedaled through the next half of the lap until I could get my new bike. Being it was only a 3 lap race due to the conditions, one bike change did it. Sram fixed my bike and got it ready for the elite race on Sunday, so I was able to win the masters national championship for 35-39, defending Wendy's title for River City Bicycles. It was fun.
A hard 3 laps in the mud. Slow going, for sure.

Check out the flag in the background.

Wendy & Tim were great support on Friday.
Another stars and stripes jersey to add to the collection.

Me with all my winnings. Wine, beer & strawberries.

SATURDAY, December 15: Men's Master 40-45
This was really epic conditions. 22 degrees and blowing wind along with snow. The ground was not going to see a thaw today. Wendy and I were supporting Tim and got him all set up in the warm up tent and then spent the race in the pits. That was the coldest 45 minutes of the weekend. Tim had a great start and started moving up, and then it happened. A guy crashed out and took the tape with him and it found its way into Tim's rear cog. It was wrapping itself into the cog until Patrick apparently yelled at him on course and told him he would have to take it out. There went his top 10. He fell back a lot, but gradually worked his way back up to 24th, falling plenty along the way. Watching from the pits it was like a circus of falling men. Everyone was crashing everywhere. The course was frozen solid and deep ruts along with ice. Lovely racing in KC.
Check out that yellow tape getting wrapped up in Tim's bike while with the leaders.

Conditions were epic to say the least.

SUNDAY, December 16th: Elite Women's Race
The forecast was for 34 and sunny, but when we arrived, it was still in the 20's. The solar radiation felt good, however. Wendy and I opted out of the trainer tent and spun around gradually warming up and trying to keep warm. They opened the course late due to a race being stuck in that was cancelled. I didn't ride a full lap during warm up, but I knew it was going to be a race of finesse and staying light on the bike, trying to avoid the frozen ruts. It was softening up by the minute, so each lap would be different. During staging, they listed off the women that needed to pedal to the announcers stand for call backs to the front row, and although Wendy was definitely front row, the called my name too, so I went up there. Well, they had made a mistake. Someone can't count and I didn't get a call back down, so I rolled down, embarrassed, but still had the crowd cheering me on. Their mistake, however, landed me with a front row start. They had to squeeze me in, but I didn't complain. The gun went off and it was game on. I had a great start and found myself in 3rd, then 4th with Katie and Georgia still in my sights on most of the first lap. I like this picture, b/c I don't think I have ever been that close. This probably lasted 30 seconds or less.Rachel Lloyd made an aggressive pass on a slick, tight corner and eventually I had a few mishaps, landing me in the tape several times or on the ground. I worked my way backwards, with Kerry B. passing as well. During the race, I only became separated from my bike once. But all the mistakes added up. I'm not sure a clean race would have made the difference though. I rode most of the race by myself, and by the last lap, my sole focus was no more crashing and I rode a clean lap. I may have missed the podium, but 6th was a great finish. I cut last years finish in half. I did however, have the MOST AMAZING pit crew (Patrick Wilder, his dad & Tim) and I made 2 bike changes that were flawless. Tomorrow I will find out if I make the worlds team or not. I have my fingers crossed.
Aren't the run ups supposed to warm up your feet???

Wendy, Melissa Thomas and I after it was all over. Don't let the sun fool you. It was cold.

My mom and dad came down for the races as well. 8+ hrs. each way from MN.
Thanks mom & dad!!!

Uncle Tim and his little buddy Grant.And his buddy Charlie.
Payton was too cool for school.Tim subjecting his whole family to the slide shows...

More pictures to follow as I get them from everyone else. I guess I was too busy racing to take pictures this trip.


Kiet said...


erikv said...

Nice riding Sue! Great job.

K-Man said...

Sue- CONGRATS on the nomination!!

Rodney Dangerfield said...

Behind the scence players get no blog glory!!!! What about your pit crew almost going to blows with the Collegiate ding dong who said and I quote, "I don't care if you are pitting for the Elite women, wait your turn like everyone else"

I'll get my respect in Treviso!!!!

Sue said...

kudos to my pit crew. I have added to my post that they were amazing!!!