2014 Ontario Criterium #1 Race Reports – Juniors

Ontario Criterium #1
Ontario, CA
January 12, 2014
Who Raced – Lenny Malamed, Dexter Koester, Daniele Rivelo, Ivy Koester, Trevor Goodman, Sam Melamed, Noah Schlosser

Today was the first race of the year and as usual the juniors race was in the wee hours of the morning at 7:30am. Only the poor Cat 5 men had it worse with a start time of 7am. Last year this race was 25 degrees so todays temp of 48 was down right balmy. Flight school had a pretty good turnout with Dexter Koester and Lenny Melamed racing in Mens 10-12. Daniele Rivelo racing in Men 13-14. Ivy Koester racing in Womens 10-14. Trevor Goodman, Sam Melamed and Noah Schlosser racing in Mens 15-16. The Mens 15-16 got a head start and then they launched the women and younger men’s groups. The Mens 13-14 raced later in the morning.

Men 15-16 as told by Noah Schlosser:
Ontario #1, the first race of the season, and new season means new age category (15-16). Everyone’s nervous with anticipation. My goals are to stay with the group and just see how I can do out of the other 19 competitors, two of which are teammates, Sam Melamed and Trevor Goodman. The whistle blows and the race takes off. A couple of wheels I remember, and there are a couple of new ones. I have a couple of marked wheels, so I sit in their draft. As we approach the 5th corner, Nick Robertson (a highly ranked junior racing for Monster Media) attacks, so I chase only to realize it was a trap. His teammate Daniel Willet (another highly ranked junior) launches from the back of the pack and establishes a solid breakaway from the group. I try chasing and just end up by myself trying to chase a breakaway that I won’t catch. As I ease back into the pack, I find myself boxed between 4 other juniors. Now that I’m out of contention, Bo Knickman (son of ex-pro Roy Knickman, racing for LUX) attacks out of one of the turns. He was gone in no time and 4 others broke away to chase. I chased them for almost a half lap, but couldn’t quite get them, I eased up and decided to just stay with the other 13 riders who were chasing the other chase group. With some attacks by others here and there, the last lap came around. There was team strategy all over, but nothing came through for the other teams. Sam comes up to the front with Trevor behind him on the last turn, so I hop on. Sam jumps, then Trevor, then me. I find myself next to 2 other kids all out sprinting. I still have a lot left so I put the hammer down and pass them before the line, putting me in 7th place. Considering I was at the lower end of my age category, I think I did well. There’s still a lot more I have to learn and I hope to improve a lot as the year goes on.

Men 15-16 as told by Trevor Goodman:
“Wow I’m 15-16! These guys are fast,” I thought to myself after 6 guys went off on a breakaway. I was in the main field chasing the breakaway and it was really disorganized. Everybody was working on their own. I got tired of it and started a paceline. People were trying to attack and breakaway to catch the lead group but nothing went through. With 2 laps to go, I slowed the pace down a lot. I wanted to go off the front for 1 lap to go and win the field. Sean Quinn, from Rokform Cycling, went off and I took his wheel, but then he let me go alone because he had a teammate up ahead. With about 250 meters to go I got sucked in. My legs were yelling! I was in the front of the sprint, and then boom, they all come by me. I learned that I really need to work on my sprinting! In the end, I did my best and my teammate Noah did awesome! Now he is a sprinter! It’s going to be a fun season!
Field: 20 racers
Noah: 7th (first place in field)
Trevor: 13th
Sam: 16th

Women 10-14, Men 10-12 as told by Brian Koester:
They stayed together the whole race and only lost about 6 riders off the back. The pace was hard then slowed until they started the last lap. Ivy had been tailing Sarah Swan who she thought was going to win, but Cheyenne Comer took the lead into the first corner and Ivy grabbed her wheel. As they came around the last turn on the long 500m finishing straight, a 10-12 boy cut Ivy off and disrupted her sprint. Cheyenne got a good jump. Ivy regained her sprint and closed the gap back down and was poised to win but just ran out of real estate as Cheyenne was able to cross first with Ivy right behind. Dexter had been taking turns at the front pulling and when it came down to the final sprint he just didn’t have the turbo today. Lenny finished in the second pack.
Women’s Field: 7
Ivy: 2nd
Men’s Field: 19
Dexter: 9th
Lenny: 13th

Men 13-14 as told by Larry Goodman
Weston drove it hard from the beginning and blew apart the field almost immediately. As a consequence half the field was left decimated including Daniele. He finished with the second pack.

Thank you for reading,
La Grange Flight School

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2013 SCNCA Cyclocross Championship Race Report

SCNCA Cyclocross Championship 2013
December 28-29, 2013
Irvine Lake, CA
Who Raced – Nicole Brandt

December 28
“Cross Into 2014” – presented by the SoCalCross Prestige Series team

Saturday’s race was the non-championship race, but that didn’t mean we weren’t going hard! I had my sights set on Nationals the first week of January 2014, so I wanted to race hard both days and just do my best. The course was mostly dirt, with a couple of power climbs, three sand pits, and two barrier sections. Soon after the race started and within the first lap, I knew my legs were feeling the best they’ve felt all season (and since I’ve been back from having a baby). I took the lead, as Hannah Rae-Finchamp was close behind, but by the second lap, I took control of the race and continually increased my lead over 2nd place. By the final lap, I was able to ease up my pace and enjoy the feeling of victory for the 3rd time this season!

1. Nicole Brandt (Michelob Ultra Velo Club La Grange)
2. Hannah Rae-Finchamp
3. Solana Kline (Portland, OR)

December 29
The Southern California/Nevada State District Cyclocross Championships

Sunday’s race course was altered sightly, with only one small climbing section, and riding in reverse from Saturday. However, the greatest change on the day was definitely the wind, with gusts that almost blew you off the bike, and some people were even wearing goggles while racing! Having grown up in Palm Springs and having ridden in the unrelenting winds there, I was actually hoping for the scary-fast winds, but by the time my race went off, the winds weren’t quite as daunting but still a factor.
The race started off with Hannah Rae-Finchamp, Amanda Nauman, and myself quickly establishing ourselves out front. By the end of the first lap, Hannah and I were able to break away from Amanda, however, Amanda has a way of coming back with a vengeance. Today, the sand pit sections got the best of me, and I made some errors which caused me to lose contact with the leader. Having lost contact with Hannah, and my legs feeling the effort from yesterday, I went as hard as I could to try and maintain 2nd. Unfortunately, with about a lap-and-a-half to go, Amanda caught and passed me and was able to maintain her lead over me.
With all said and done, I had a successful and fun weekend of racing. I want to also point out that the women who I competed against this weekend were tough competitors – Hannah Rae-Finchamp is the current under-18 world Xterra champion, and Amanda Nauman is ranked 17th CX racer in the nation.

1. Hannah Rae-Finchamp
2. Amanda Nauman
3. Nicole Brandt (Michelob Ultra Velo Club LaGrange)

And a shout-out to Matias, who WON on Saturday, and got 2nd on Sunday!

Thanks for reading,

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2013 Dead of Winter Double Century Report

The Dead of Winter Double Century
Malibu, CA
December 1, 2013
Report by – Edgar Burcksen

This Double Century had its debut this year on December 1st. It was announced as a minimally supported ride with only water and Hammer Heed at the rest stops; you had to provide your own bagged lunch that would be transported to the lunch stop. For weeks I had scrutinized the weather forecast because it can be very wet or cold around that time of the year in Southern California. I would not ride in the rain but I was prepared to weather the cold if needed. But when I arrived at 4.30 AM in Malibu at the start, the Dead of Winter Double welcomed us with a balmy but windy 65 degrees; you just got to love living in this area! I decided to keep my arm and knee warmers on and also my thermal vest, not because of the temperature, but more because of the extra pockets to carry stuff. I was in great spirits because this was going to be an easy one: great weather and a course that had only 6600 feet of climbing. The LA Wheelmen who had designed this ride called it a combination of their famed Grand Tour Low Land and High Land routes. The first 100 miles was going to be the Low Land flat ride and the last 100 miles the High Land route with some significant climbs. The elevation difference between the Low Land (5200 feet) and High Land (8500 feet) is significant so a published 6600 feet seemed pretty easy.

I was on my bike and en route at 4.45 AM when right out the parking lot, the first “challenge” was Pepperdine Hill! And then along the familiar stretch of PCH from Malibu to Las Posas. I regretted my clothing choices because I was getting sweaty in the warm cross winds but after reaching the flat Oxnard valley the temperature dropped into the low forties and now I was shivering. I reached the first rest stop when daylight was just peering over the hills. I turned off my lights and hooked up with my Sacramento buddies who were on a tandem: a great way to burn miles while sucking their wheel against the head winds. On the flats we were going a respectable 18 mph but when we reached the first hills around Moorpark it became clear that going uphill I was much faster. At the top of each hill I waited for them and then had a hard time keeping up with them as they thundered down like a ton of bricks in the descent. Even though according to the organizers the first half was the Low Land route, by the time we reached the lunch stop at Ojai my Garmin already told me that I had climbed more than 7000 feet and we had not even started the big climb of the day: the Lake Casitas Pass.

As we rode the first part of the double century we had picked up some more riders who liked our speed and with a tandem as our locomotive we became a train of riders. We all left the lunch stop around 2 PM and weaved through Ojai on our way to Highway 150, the road to the ocean with two significant climbs. My buddies on the tandem told me to wait for them at the next rest stop under an overpass at the 101 in Carpenteria because they figured that I was going to climb well ahead of them. I had told all the passengers on our train who had only done the Grand Tour Low Land that the Lake Casitas Pass was a hard one but nobody heeded my advice and they all ran away from me including the tandem when they encountered the first mild rollers of 4% before the real climb. I lost sight of all of them and as I went on my steady climbing pace I thought that maybe I was tiring and they were all stronger riders than me. But as the real climb started and the pitch went to 10% and sometimes 12%, the tandem came into sight and as I slowly gained on everybody, I reached the top all by myself and not waiting for anybody, I raced down to the next climb with similar pitches. Even though I’m originally from the very flat country of the Netherlands, I just love to go up hills and even though I might not be the fasted one, I always seem to outlast everyone on long climbs. I reached rest stop #5 a half hour before the tandem arrived and I took time to prepare for the dark. I put on my arm and knee warmers which I had taken off when the sun started to warm the day and checked my lights. When the tandem arrived they just took a short break and we took off without the train who were still struggling to reach the ocean. Behind the tandem and with the wind at our back, we raced along the freeway to Ventura and the last rest stop in Oxnard. At this speed I thought we could reach Malibu at 8 PM but things turned out a little different.

As we rode along PCH past Las Posas and Big Rock the tandem slowed down significantly and started wobbling. When we reached the top of the hill after Leo Carrillo the front man of the tandem got off the bike with severe cramps. He started to throw up and it was clear that we had to wait and let him recover a bit. After a half hour he felt good enough to carry on but it was a struggle. I decided to lead them through our shortcuts of Broad Beach and Malibu Colony to cut out at least two climbs. After stopping a second time for a half hour after the climb from Zuma Beach we finally reached Malibu at 9.30 PM. My Garmin told me I had climbed more than 8500 feet – the equivalent of the Grand Tour High Land! And, had I not taken the short cuts of Broad Beach and Malibu Colony going over Pepperdine Hill, it would have exceeded the High Land route by around 9000 feet. But I finished and that’s the goal in these crazy events.

 Another Triple Crown in the bag!

 Thanks for reading, Edgar

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2013 SoCalCross Race Reports #15 and #16 – Hart Park

Cyclocross Races #15 and #16
Hart Park, Bakersfield, CA
December 7 & 8, 2013
Who Raced – Nicole Brandt
This past weekend’s racing took place at Hart Park, in Bakersfield. The weather was cold and breezy, with highs in the mid 40’s and lows were below freezing – We packed as if we were going snow skiing, not bike racing :-)
Saturday, Dec 7th
The course was a 1.8 mile undulating loop, which consisted of grass, dirt, a steep run-up, and one barrier section. I had a great start in which I got the hole-shot and was able to get a gap on the field through the first grassy, technical section. I got a little too excited when I saw I had opened a 10 second gap after just the 1st 1/2 lap; I then proceeded to take a sandy corner too sharp and wiped out. The time I had gained was gone, and Amanda Nauman caught up to me. I excelled through the technical and twisty sections of the course, and she excelled on the climbs and straight-a-ways. When all was said and done, she out-powered me by 30 seconds.
1) Amanda Nauman
2) Nicole Brandt
3) Christina Probert-Turner
4) Dorothy Wong
Sunday, Dec 8th
Today’s course was similar but much more difficult. With 3 steep run-ups and 1 barrier section, this race was sure to destroy anyone’s legs. The elite women’s race started out fast, however, I was unable to get the hole-shot, and just sat in 2nd, behind Amanda (yesterday’s winner) for as long as I could. Having been able to out-power me yesterday, my goal was to stay with her for as long as I could. With every lap, she was able to gain time on the uphill climbing sections, but I was able to claw my way back during the technical and downhill sections. I had a good race with no major errors or crashes, and it was good enough for 2nd, with Amanda beating me by 15 seconds. In one way, it’s a little frustrating because I want to beat her, and she’s been able to get the best of me each time, with the exception of one race, but on the other hand, it’s great to have good competition and someone to push me to race harder and become stronger.
1) Amanda Nauman
2) Nicole Brandt
3) Christina Probert-Turner
4) Dorothy Wong
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2013 So Cal Cross Race Reports #10 and #11 – Eldorado Park

SoCal Cross Races #10 & #11
Eldorado Regional Park, Long Beach
November 16 and 17, 2013
Who Raced – Nicole Brandt
Saturday’s race started out as they usually do – with every racer trying to get the hole-shot. From the start, there was a slight descent into the first turn, which was marked by a large tree. I was second coming into the sandy right-hander and I tried to take the inside line, nearest the tree. I leaned into the turn too much and tagged the tree hard with my shoulder. The impact took me to a stand-still, but I managed to keep myself upright. As a result, I lost a few places and had to play catch-up, with Christina Probert-Turner and Hannah Rae Finchcamp up ahead.
The course was 1.7 miles and consisted of twisting turns through trees, two stair run-ups, two barrier sections, and one sand pit. A couple of sections of the course were especially bumpy, and I was able to take advantage in those sections and catch up with the leaders. By the third lap, I was able to pass Hannah, who did not make the task easy, and slowly create a gap. For the remainder of the race, I concentrated on staying consistent with my pace, avoiding silly errors which could cost me time, and steadily increasing my lead over 2nd place. It felt amazing to win my second race of the season, and with a 45 second lead.
  1. Nicole Brandt
  2. Hannah Rae Finchamp
  3. Christina Probert-Turner
Sunday’s race was held on the same course, which was altered just slightly. I knew the race would be much different today, now that Hannah (2ndplace yesterday) was in it to win it today!
Soon after the race started, Hannah and I established ourselves out front, with her taking the lead. I was able to stay with her for two laps, but she was stronger and more consistent than I was. She first created a gap by being able to ride the entire sand pit while I had a more difficult time. I tried to limit the time gap, but made some errors when crashing on the log dismount/run-over (which required a bike change), and a couple of other wipe-outs I had trying to take the turns too fast. Hannah was around 25 seconds quicker than me today.
1) Hannah Rae Finchamp Team LUNA Chix
2) Nicole Brandt          Velo Club La Grange
3) Madelaine Melcher   The TEAM SoCal Cross
I will mention also that I still hold the leaders jersey for the SoCal Cross Prestige Series, with a comfortable lead :-)
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LAVRA Upgrade Omnium Race Report 2013

LAVRA Upgrade Omnium
LA Velodrome Racing Association Omnium
Carson, CA
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Today was the final race of the year down at the indoor track in Carson.
If you haven’t been down to the VSC for a race day lately- you may not be aware of the Bad Ass army of track specialists your club is fielding.. ok- Army might be a bit of a stretch but we have a big crew of guys! (and a Girl!)
Robert Efthimos and Richard Berentsen were flying the LG colors in what I believe was Robert’s last cat-5 race and Richard’s first… I’ll let Robert fill you in on the details of the race.. but no surprise- Robert’s road skills look to be transitioning nicely to the oval.
The Masters 1/2/3 field was raced by Michelob Ultra Velo Club La Grange’s Joel Bertet, Vance McDonald, Quinn, Chris Reed.. also Ivy Koester got thrown in with what was likely the fastest field of the day, because she was the only woman.. yes.. 5 of the 7 racers in the field were LG.. and John Bergman- who will be flying our kit next season.
At registration i saw a skinny roady type registering- when they asked his category he said cat-1.. I knew to watch this guy.
First up was the 15 lap Tempo (aka point a lap) 1 point each lap for the first rider… these are hard! Fast from the start! I stole the first point from Chris Reed.. then Joel took a flyer for 3-4 points.. Joel detonated and went through the field and out the back… Cat-1 dude took off and stole a bunch of points.. I got myself into the mix on the final lap for 2 points- total of 3…  turned out I had enough for 2nd place..
Next up was the miss-n-out.. I know every report I say how much I hate these.. but I do well in them. Chris Reed pulled his signature move and took the pole and rode hard- I pulled in tight and enjoyed the ride. Once Chris got tired I had to come out into the wind at the pole to take us from 3 to 2. I had Cat-1 guy boxed in like it was my job, right behind Bergman… I could see how it would play.. me and Bergman for the 1-2 sprint.. I thought I had slowed him down enough and he was trapped- next thing I know he comes all the way around me and contests the sprint! I had to jump hard and Bergman was pulled. Covering the move left me smoked and he took the win.
After the race I got a chance to say hello and give him props for an amazing move and some serious jets to go along with it.. he introduced himself- Dan.
The Points race is a nightmare! 32 laps, sprints every 8 laps.. not really my kinda race. Chris Reed took off at the gun and got himself a lap. He was back in the field by the first sprint, which I grabbed for full points.. I got the next points as well.. then things got confusing with guys off the back and guys up the road.. we all pulled back together and I worked really hard to hold Dan off at the last sprint! He just spent the better part of 16 laps by himself in the wind going 30mph, while I sucked wheel and it took everything I had to take the sprint. That got me the win.
Dan took the overall win and I got a hard fought 2nd…
After, the officials were laughing at me because I didn’t know who Dan Vogt was.
This guy is a legend- with a resume as long as my arm and spanning decades.
Not a big surprise- he raced like a champion.
Another great day at the races!
Thanks for reading..
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2013 So Cal Cross Races #7 and 8 – El Charro Regional Park

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Santa Barbara Century 2013 – King of the Mountains Team Competition

Santa Barbara Century – King of the Mountains Team Competition
Santa Barbara, CA
October 19, 2013
Who Rode:
Simon Rubin – 2nd in the 60 plus age group
Peter Sheehy 2nd in the 40-49 age group
Mike Kludjian – 4th in the 50-59 age group
Tom Hill – 5th in the 50-59 age group

Saturday, October 19th  was the Santa Barbara Century. I recruited another strong team of ten La Grangers in hopes of defending our undefeated title of winning the Gibraltar Hill Climb for the third year in a row.
Each year the competition becomes more challenging and a few local teams from Santa Barbara put together strong teams in hopes of defeating us this year.
Unlike past years starting in rain and experiencing heavy fog on the mountain ridge, we rode under perfect sunny and warm conditions with some wind.  It actually became a bit too warm reaching the summit of Gibraltar at 88 degrees.
The team was up for the challenge as we started out at a very modest pace conserving our energy for the big climb ahead which began at the 40 mile mark.
Needless to say, climbing Gibraltar which was 6.7 miles long, with an average grade of 7.1% and some spikes of 12 to 13% towards the top became an individual time trial as our pack split up very quickly from the start of the climb.
After a short rest at the summit after crossing the finish line and refilling bottles and having a few snacks we pushed on to the end of the ridge before turning around to make our way back.
The timed climb was over, but we still had over 6,000 feet of climbing ahead of us for a total of 9,000 feet for the day.
Arriving at the finish all of the individual times were posted.  With Simon Rubin finishing 2nd in the 60 plus age division, Peter Sheehy 2nd in the 40-49 age group and Mike Kludjian and Tom Hill finishing 4th and 5th in the 50-59 age division I felt we had a very good chance of winning again this year.
The results are based on an age handicapped system and the top five handicapped times are considered in the final team calculations.
As we waited for the results, the event organizer informed me that this year we had been beat by a strong local team by the closest margin ever.  Our adjusted team time average was 40 minutes and 20 seconds. The winning team average was 40 minutes.
Everyone was happy to have won prizes of local wine for coming in second place and I was proud of the team for giving their best efforts,  but losing by such a short margin was tough.
It was a great event and we will be back next year with the hopes of defending our title.

Tom Hill

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SoCalCross Race Reports #3 and #4 – Vail Lake and Casa Pacifica

So Cal Cross Race #3
Vail Lake, Temecula
October 13, 2013
Who Raced – Nicole Brandt

So Cal Cross Race #4
Casa Pacifica, Camarillo
October 19, 2013
Who Raced – Nicole Brandt

Vail Lake, in Temecula (October 13)
I had my sights set on getting the holeshot, as there was a hard sandpit section about 150 meters after the start/finish, and I wanted to be able to take my own line into it. I got the holeshot, however, I almost went head-over-heels once I entered the deep sand.  Trying to recover from the near-crash, I found myself in fourth position and thinking I would just stay tucked in behind the leaders, as it was quite windy. As a result of the sandpit mishap, I began to think my front brake was possibly rubbing, but it was hard to tell, as the rub was not significant enough for me to feel a substantial difference when pedaling. Come to find out, my brake was indeed rubbing the entire race.
By the end of the second lap, the top three riders had established themselves from the rest of the field. Hannah Rae-Finchcamp was out front, Christina Probert-Turner was second, and I was chasing in third. I kept my pace consistent, slowly reeling in Christina; she was visibly much better than me through the deep sand section and she had more power going up the short climb, which was about 1/3 of the way through the lap. Finally, after a few laps of gaining ground on her, I was able to catch and pass her. During this time, Hannah was putting distance between us.
I knew I needed to create some distance between Christina and I, due to the fact that she was more comfortable in the sections that gave me the hardest time. I was able to slowly increase the seconds between us by concentrating on taking the corners smoothly and consistently, and going hard on the straight-a-ways.
I was unable to catch or make up time on Hannah, who finished with a sizeable lead. I was happy with my result – 2nd Place! Especially since my brake was rubbing. Lesson learned : I will make sure to use my pit bike if I have any doubts about a rubbing brake.

Casa Pacifica, in Camarillo (October 19)
The course was flat, fast and not overly technical, with a mix of dirt, grass, and soft sand. (also 1 barrier section and 1 run-up stair section). I took the lead early on the first lap, with Hannah Rae-Finchcamp (Luna Chix) on my wheel. Coming into a tight and technical bend, my front wheel caught in the soft sand and grinded me to a halt. As a result, Hannah ran into my rear wheel and our bikes became stuck together. In trying to untangle ourselves, five women quickly passed us, and once we were on our bikes again it was time to make up the time/places lost. Just a few minutes later, having caught back up to the lead riders, I wiped out going around a sharp and sandy turn. This sent me backwards again and having to chase. I proceeded to take myself out two more times during the race, in trying to push too fast around sandy corners – the race felt like a constant game of catch-up. Having had four mishaps during the race, I fought hard for third place but couldn’t quite hold onto it. I was only 7 seconds from third, 23 seconds from 2nd place and the leader was 40 seconds ahead.

Thanks for reading,

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SoCalCross Race Reports – Spooky Cross and Krosstoberfest 2013

Spooky Cross – Race #5
Pomona Fairgrounds
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Who Raced – Nicole Brandt

Krosstoberfest – Race #6
Pomona Fairgrounds
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Who Raced – Nicole Brandt

This past weekend were socal cross races #5 and #6, aka Spooky-Cross & Krosstoberfest, which were held at the Pomona fairgrounds.

The elite women’s race got started late, and therefore, we were racing in the dark, with the course being lit up by the lights of the stadium. The course was flat, fast, and not too technical, with a mix of grass, sand, tight turns, and a few long straight-a-ways. There was one barrier section, a fly-over, and a steep run-up stair section.
From the gun it was fast and furious. I didn’t get a good start, and therefore had to slowly work my way up, trying to pass one woman at a time in  hopes of fighting my way to the front. Fortunately for me, there was a crash 1/2 way through the first lap and I went from 9th to 5th in a matter of seconds, having had avoided the mayhem. I could see there was a group of 3 which had formed up front and they were slowly creating a gap to the rest of the field. I knew that was the race and I had to do everything I could to get to that group. I sprinted as hard as I could, like it was the end of the race, passing the woman in front of me as I bridged up to the leaders. There were now 4 of us. At this time, I knew the smartest thing I could do was to sit in and try to conserve as much energy as possible.
Our lead group of 4 stayed together throughout the race and continually increased our lead to the chasing riders. With 200 meters to go, there was a fly-over, into a short and steep mound, which then went into a sharp right-handed banked turn. (This may be hard to visualize, so let’s just say it was a very technical section at the very end of the race). During this section, the four of us had to maneuver around racers we were lapping. I was unfortunately sitting in fourth, which made the maneuvering even more difficult. As I was approaching a sharp right-handed banked turn, a lapped rider tumbled over her handlebars right in front of me and I had nowhere to go and no time to react. I ran straight into her, going over my handlebars as well. I got up as quickly as I could, grabbed my bike and hopped back on – I was gonna run to the finish line if I had to! Thankfully my bike was fine and I finished the race in 4th!

The elite women’s race consisted of mostly the same riders, with the exception of Alexis Ryan, the winner of Saturday night’s race who was not there. The course stayed the same as well and the only difference was that we could actually see the entire course since it was daylight :-) The race itself however, was quite different.
From the start it was very fast again, as the beginning consisted of a long straight-a-way. I again got off to a bad start and found myself having to weave through riders, one-by-one. 3/4 of the way through the first lap there was a crash ahead of me. I was able to avoid it and quickly charged on ahead. At this point I was in third place, with Amanda Nauman (3rd place the previous night) just ahead. Once in the technical grassy section of the course, and approaching the end of the first lap, I was able to catch up to her and this made me very happy, as we are of similar strength. The leader, Laura Winberry, had a sizeable gap and it was evident she had the best legs of the day. Amanda and I worked together as much as we could to maintain our positions and limit the gap between us and Laura. Approaching the end of the 2nd lap, Emily Kachorek, who had gone down a lap before, sped by Amanda and me. I saw her coming but was caught off guard with the speed with which she carried. Neither one of us was able to respond and I was hoping that we could slowly reel her back in, having two laps left at this point. With the final two laps, I maintained my position. I fought hard for 3rd, but just didn’t have the power at the end and got 4th.
All in all, it was a fantastic weekend of racing, and I am very happy and somewhat surprised at my  results. There were some fast women who showed up from out of town, and it’s exciting to see that I’m starting to hold my own!
I also want to thank La Grange again for all their support – I’m so happy to be
able to ride for and represent this amazing team :-)

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