Sunday, January 8, 2012


How to describe course conditions and my race at the cyclocross national championships yesterday? Friend and fellow racer Rheudabaga called it riding in a Tom and Jerry cartoon. I think that sums it up perfectly.

They don't call it Badger Prairie for nothing... All photos: Ellen
My last trip to Nationals was two years ago in Bend.  There, I started in the second row and managed to be in third position when we turned off the paved start/finish straight and on to the dirt. This year, I had a front-row start and may have actually led the first 10 feet of the race, but try as I might, I was back to about 15th when we left the long pavement section. When we made our first right turn on to the worst section of frozen ruts covered with a thin layer of slippery mud, the race exploded. Have you ever seen a Pachinko machine in action? Suddenly each of us was like one of the little steel balls in a Pachinko machine, bouncing randomly left and right, smashing into each other and onto the ground. Ninety seconds into the race I was already running to the pits with a mangled bike. My father-son pit crew of Paul and Jake Schilling (thanks guys!!) got me sorted out, and I was back on course in 27th place.

Negotiating traffic

Applying a little 'body English' before my back locked up

Kevin of the Pony Shop digging deep.
I moved up slowly, dodging out-of-control riders as I went. All the frozen ruts made the already-bumpy course murder on my back, and with one lap to go I started falling apart. I could no longer use 'body English' to keep my bike under me, so my forward progress came to an end, and I even gave up one spot after crashing a few more times. I finished ninth, a respectable result but one that leaves me hungry for more next year!

1st and 2nd place  - teammates Brandon and Peter of Boulder Cycle Sport. Unbeatable?

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