(photo credit: Dave McElwaine)
It was another super fast race today in Sun Prairie, WI for the second day of the Planet Bike Cup. Overnight, the course was changed slightly and a lot of the tight, twisty, turning stuff was taken out. This made the laps significantly shorter and the speeds significantly faster. The course remained dry as a bone – it was even a little bit dusty out there today.
Nicole Duke (Rapha Clemente) took the hole shot and rode on the front for nearly the entire first lap. When we hit the steps, Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) powered away from us. She rode the run-up that most of the rest of us ran. Nicole bobbled there, and Katie came around her. She immediately distanced us.
From there, a small group formed behind Katie, and we naturally started to separate. Julie Krasniak (Rapha-Focus) managed to nearly hang with Katie for a little bit. Eventually, she slid back, and reminiscent of yesterday’s race, Julie, Gabby Day (Rapha-Focus) and I came together.
The three of us yo-yo’d back and forth with one another for awhile. Georgia Gould (Luna Chix) came up to us at one point. Rode through us – and kept going. Julie attempted to grab her wheel, and it looked like she might be able to maintain contact until Georgia really put the hammer down and rode away from Julie on the last climb.
That right there was the podium. Katie won. Georgia rode into second. Julie finished third. I couldn’t quite hang with Gabby for fourth place on the last lap, so she soloed in for fourth, and I came across the line in fifth.
I had wanted to get on the podium this weekend, so I’m not 100% satisfied – but I am happy to have have ridden a relatively consistent weekend as opposed to last year when I’d have one good day and one crappy one. Taking Vegas into consideration, too, I’ve strung together three solid races to start my season. Nothing spectacular, but I had good legs and I did everything right. No mishaps. No crashes. It’s just a matter of getting my ‘cross legs under me and working on the areas where I know small improvements can translate into huge gains.
While this weekend was definitely all about the racing, there were two other things going on that I want to mention. Most of my family hails from Rockford, IL or nearby – and whenever I race in the area, I have the biggest, loudest, most supportive cheering squad around. My parents, sister-in-law, nieces, cousins, second cousins and family friends all came out to watch me race. They were joined by my former teammate (from 1998!) turned housing host and her two sons, and two college roommates. I always appreciate cheers and heckles as I ride around in circles. The cheers coming from this crew are extra special.
You’ll notice that my nieces – Sophia (the little one) and Taylor – are wearing Pink is the New Fast tees in the above picture. Although it’s not October yet, I kicked off my Pretty in Pink fundraising a little bit early this year – selling tees and matching socks from the Specialized tent throughout the day on Sunday. I was (once again) blown away by the response. We managed to sell out of all 50 shirts that I pre-ordered by the time the men’s race rolled around.
The on-site fundraising efforts will continue in less than three weeks when I bust out the shirts and socks again in Fort Collins for the second weekend of USGP racing. In addition to selling apparel, I’ll host a raffle with prizes from Light & Motion, lululemon, Modify, Oakley, Mad Alchemy, and Thule. As always, all proceeds will go to Hope Lives! If you weren’t in Madison and won’t be in Fort Collins, you can order shirts online from Breakaway here and matching jerseys from Voler here. I’ll also do another online raffle in late October.
Jumping ahead of myself to talk about Fort Collins already. Up next, I have two weekends of racing in New England. I’ll race GP Gloucester the last weekend of September and Providence Cyclocross Festival the first weekend of October. I’ve won races at each of these weekends in the past, and while the competition is (WAY) tougher than ever, I’m determined to ride myself onto the podium.