2013 So Cal Cross Races #7 and 8 – El Charro Regional Park

SoCal Cross Races #7 and #8

El Charro Regional Park, San Luis Obispo
Saturday and Sunday, November 2 and 3
Who Raced – Nicole Brandt
SoCal cross race #7
Saturday’s race started out perfect, as I was able to get the hole-shot, and therefore take the tight corners in the beginning at my own pace. The course had a mix of sharp, sandy corners and short straight-a-ways throughout the entire lap, with the first half being uphill and the second half being a slight descent to the finish. In addition, there were two barrier sections and two sand pits. As I was in the lead position, I rode hard but conservative, not wanting to make any silly errors. About half way through the first lap, Alicia Hildebrand, who was 5th at Spooky-cross last weekend, surged ahead of me on an extremely bumpy section. I was happy to let her pass and set the pace. The chasers were close behind, including Amanda Nauman, who was 3rd at Spooky-cross and whom I’ve never beaten before.
During the first couple laps, Amanda had some mishaps, including going down once, so Alicia and I were able to benefit from that. Alicia and I battled it out for 2 ½ laps and when we came to the steepest section of the course, I passed her and pushed hard until the top, took some risks on the following twisty, technical turns, and I was gone. I pushed myself hard for another lap, wanting to create distance between myself and the rest of the field, and after doing so, I was able to ride the final two laps more cautiously and at my own pace. Riding past the bike pit for the final time, I high-fived Matias – it was an amazing feeling to win my first cx race!
1) Nicole Brandt
2) Alicia Hildebrand
3) Amanda Nauman
SoCal cross race #8
Sunday’s race took place on the same course, except in reverse. I knew the race would be tougher, as Amanda Nauman was back with a vengence and wanted to win. I did not get the hole-shot today, but was content to sit in the top three and watch how the race unfolded the first lap. Coming into the sand pit for the first time, Amanda had the lead and I was on her wheel. She got caught up ½ way through and went down. I narrowly missed her, but was able to muscle my way past her and stay on my bike. Having had to almost come to a stop, Alicia (2ndyesterday), slipped past me and I quickly got on her wheel. We created a gap and I knew I just had to ride consistently and confidently. I was able to sneak away from Alicia soon thereafter and started building my lead. I knew, however, that Amanda would not go down without a fight. I took the lead after a lap, and held it until two laps to go, when Amanda slowly came back from her first lap mishaps. When I saw that she was closing in quickly, I made sure to save enough energy for the inevitable throwdown that was about to occur. Amanda passed me quickly on a tough uphill section that was extremely bumpy. I could tell she had more power and knew how to handle the excessive bumpiness better than me. With the seconds I lost on the rough uphill sections, I was able to make it up on the more technical sections, and coming into the final lap, only two seconds separated us. Amanda was ahead on the last lap and held it until the end. Only 1.988 seconds was the difference across the line (to be exact), and I just couldn’t close the gap in the final meters. It was an exciting race, to say the least, and a great learning experience this weekend.
1) Amanda Nauman
2) Nicole Brandt
3) Christina Probert-Turner
I forgot to mention also that as of last weekend, I am the current leader of the SoCal Cross Prestige Series, with Amanda Nauman in a very close 2nd, and Hannah Rae-Finchcamp in third.
Thanks for reading,
Nicole
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