2014-2015 Cross Season Part I Recap
O.P.T.U.M. P.R.O. C.Y.C.L.I.N.G.
O is for Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies. This is my second year riding for the Orange & Black, and again it's been such a treat. They do so much to make my life easier at the races, taking care of travel, putting a roof (tent) over our heads, and keeping our Diamondback Steilacooms in top shape.
P is for Posse. This year Kerry Werner joined the team to represent in the Elite Men's race, so it's just a posse of two for the season!
T is for @UncleTBag04 Taylor Mathiason (left), the new mechanic for the season. Taylor is always good for a funny story, leg warmers when Boulder weather turns out to be 33 degrees, and good chit chat in español.
U is for Under the lights at ClifBar CrossVegas. It was the first official team race for the year, with a huge showing of the best cyclo-cross riders in the world and an electric atmosphere. Between the caliber of participants and the thick, velcro-like grass, it's a baptism-by-fire way to kick off the season.
M is for Molecule, that is, "Bliss Molecule." When Taylor was up for Gloucester, he went out for a ride and bumped into an elderly Harvard professor at a café; said professor recited Emily Dickenson and proceeded to explain that deep inside the brain is something called a bliss molecule. This and many other anecdotes were the subject of the team dinner I hosted the night before Gloucester.
P is for the KMC Providence Cyclocross Festival, one of the most fun courses to race with numerous tricky flyovers and off camber sections. I had a great battle with Gabby Durrin and Erica Zaveta on Day 2 that came down to tactics on the final lap, and I finished 8th that day.
R is for Rochester, one of my favorite courses of the year. It's not a huge race in terms of turnout, but it should be! Between the demanding climbs and European-style features, it requires both fitness and technique, and the venue is beautiful as well. I had my best finish at a C1 this year on Saturday, coming in 5th.
O is for Owl House, our most recent restaurant find in Rochester. But it also stands for all the sweet little places we've found in our travels... including Fuego coffee shop, the little Jamaican place in Rochester, the Grange in Providence, and Bean and Cream out in Wisconsin.
C is for Chris Kreidl (to the right of Taylor, above), the other new mechanic this year. He's great about making sure the tent is set up bright and early and all the ducks are in a row for each race, and is always good for a solid pun.
Y is for Yelling. By far the best hecklers of the season so far were out at the Trek CXC Cup in Wisconsin: "Crystal, think about the children, they're suffering! How long is your sabbatical going to last?" they prodded every lap.
C is for Chipotle, our most frequented meal venue as a team.
L is for Left knee. I've crashed on it in the same spot at 5 races thus far. The most unfortunate incident was Day 1 at Gloucester, in the last lap, I was in the lead group of 5 plotting final tactics when I slipped out on some gravel and went down hard with Meredith Miller. It's the first time I've DNF'd a cross race, and the first time I've administered first aid on a course.
I is for Impressive women's fields this year. New riders are coming to the front, like Ellen Noble, Emma White, and Erica Zaveta. Other riders are having spectacular seasons like my good friend Caroline Mani and the super strong Courtenay McFadden. All of this is so good for our sport, and makes me work harder!
N is for New bikes. This year, we're outfitted with stylish and comfortable Diamondback Steilacooms. It's full circle for me, as one of my first bikes ever was a Diamondback and now I'm racing on their pro deisgn bikes. It fits really well, which makes all 5'3.5" of me incredibly happy. We're also riding the CX1 set-up from SRAM, which is efficient and simple. After trying some different combos, I've settled on the 40 chainring and 11-32 cassette. We're back with Challenge tires, but this year have added the Chicanes to our repertoire, which are great for speed on fast sections with grip in the corners.
G is for Gloucester. "GLAW-ster." My favorite race of the year because it's the closest to a home-town race. The family, friends and fans cheering are incredible.
CrossVegas C1 - 18
US Open of Cross C2 - 6
Boulder Cup C1 - 7
Trek CXC Cup C1 & C2 - 6 & 11
Gloucester C2 - 7
Providence C1 & C2 - 9 & 8
Rochester C1 & C2 - 5 & 6
It's been a disappointing year for results thus far, but that just motivates me more for the next part of the season.
Coming up soon:
Cincy 3 - Oct 31-Nov 2
Louisville, KY Nov 8-9
Iowa Nov 14-16