race report: US ProXCT #4 Subaru Cup

what a weekend!  It all began Thursday when my teammates Kathy and Stephen arrived in Madison.  They are really amazing people and I had a wonderful time getting to know them!  Once the bikes were built Kathy and I went for a short spin around one of the lakes and Stephen explored Madison a bit by bike.  We met up with Dave and some friends at the Weary Traveler for dinner and were pleased as always.  Everything on the menu is good; definitely hit it up if you are in town!

On Friday we met up with a friend, Monique, who set out not only to ride but race her mountain bike for the first time in years!  We made our way to the Krahl Inn in Wild Rose, changed and headed out for the pre-ride and registration.  Though it had rained a lot and WI was plagued with tornadoes the past few weeks, no one coming off the course looked especially muddy so I switched over to the TUBULARS.  I am running the Geax Barro Race tires, which have a low profile and are incredibly fast.  They are very supple and have surprisingly good grip; however they are definitely better suited for drier courses.  These tires turned out to be great on the course and I felt confident in my decision.  The Reynolds carbon wheels are super light, stiff and just fly up (and down) hills!

Dave met up with us very late on Friday night, got a bit of sleep and raced Open Singlespeed bright and early.  He was kind enough to pit for me and Kathy.  It was nothing too fancy but here is our tech set-up: wheels, tools, pump, bottles…

Fortunately neither of us needed the tech support, but it was nice to have the option for once!  I ditched my beloved hydration pack in favor of some bottle hand-ups for the first time this season:

photo: Amy Dykema

I had a great warm up and a good start in this race.  I stayed in the top 15 for the first half before I started to fade.  I didn’t exactly bonk from starting fast, just let the awful heat and humidity get to me and wasn’t there 100% mentally…it was frustrating that I did not feel exactly like myself.  Having only ridden my mountain bike exclusively in my last two races, my technical skills felt a bit off at first, but they started to come around as I got into a good rhythm.

The spectators were amazing!  I absolutely loved the course and had fun on the drops.  It was incredibly hard, but that’s to be expected at a UCI race!  I am starting to figure out my strengths and weaknesses and hope to gain the confidence to be more aggressive in the future.  I know that none of these ladies just started riding in the past 2 years, so I am trying to be patient as I gain experience.

I finished in 20th place, which was good enough for the last spot in the money:

Kathy was 18th, Danae was 23rd, Tristan was 11th, and Stephen had the race of his season so far, finishing 1st U23 and 13th overall!  Cat 1 riders Andy, Peter and Rich also represented the team well!

It rained pretty hard again on Saturday night, but the sun was out again on Sunday in time for short track.  I felt awful during my warm-up and pre-ride; just could not get my legs ready.  I got my call up and hoped for the best:

and we were off!

photo: Christine Czarniecki

I followed Kelli’s wheel on the outside and after the first turn I was somehow with the lead group of 5!  My legs suddenly felt perfect and I was surprised to see Willow right next to me.  I stayed with them through the first couple of laps and just tried to hold on as long as I could!  Georgia, the STXC national champ, was stuck briefly at the start and here we are riding before she totally kicked my butt:

photo: Amy Dykema

I am really loving the new kits, Sidi Dragons and Rudy Project Sterling helmet.  Notice how they all match!

photo: Amy Dykema

The race was 18min. + 3 laps and I made it through over 18 minutes, which I’m thrilled about!  I lost a place when I slid out on a slick corner descent, but I finished 13th overall.  Katie was on fire and lapped almost the entire field!  Kathy finished 11th, Danae 19th and in the men’s race Stephen was 18th, while Tristan killed it for 6th overall!  Dave put on a great show and won the Open Singlespeed STXC race for the second year in a row!

This weekend was just what I needed and I have renewed focus for the upcoming races.  It’s a dream come true just to line up with these women.  I loved spending time with my teammates and am really proud of the great efforts everyone put forth!  We all had a great time in Madison Sunday night and hung out with the U23 National team before everyone went home on Monday.

Thank you to Don and WORS for putting on a great event, my family and Dave for supporting everyone at the races, Mafia Racing, Felt, PBR, Reynolds, Geax, Magura, CycleOps, Sidi, and everyone who makes racing possible for me!

Next up is WORS #6, followed shortly by Nationals!

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