Spooky Cross – Race #5
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Who Raced – Nicole Brandt
Krosstoberfest – Race #6
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 :-)