Sarah Kerlin Race Report Kalmthout World Cup Cross;
I started in the very back of the pack, only 3 girls were called up after me! The course was a lot of fun while I warmed up - nice woodsy trails and soil like we ride at UCSC. It was flat and very fast. The start was very narrow and I just couldn't move up much - when I tried to pass a girl she tried to take me into the course fence, but I pushed back into her and stayed up. It was complete mayhem for the first lap, lots of girls running with their bikes and still crashing into each other! I ran a little and never crashed, but I was really
frustrated being stuck behind slow girls on the fun singletrack. I was impatient and tried to pass constantly, but the girls just took me into the fencing every time I tried to come by. When the course finally opened up, it was fast but there was a headwind, so I had a hard time moving up. By the 2nd lap I was riding in a group fighting for 25th - 32nd, but I was in the back and got blocked trying to move up. Matt VanWabbithout was in the pits offering me lots of encouragement, I was glad he stayed positive for me since I was feeling really frustrated not to be riding further up.
I had to fight for position the entire race, feeling like I wasn't making any progress. The muddy cow field races over the previous few days took something out of me, and I just didn't have a snap I would
have needed to jump ahead in my group. Only on the very last lap did I finally break free and get to tackle the fun swoopy singletrack in the woods by myself. I was able to put a good gap on the girls behind me
through the trails, it felt like riding at home and it was really a blast. I was hammered coming toward the finish, but I couldn't let up because there were chasers right behind me. I ended up 29th, which seemed disappointing, but my coach reassured me that he was pleased with my effort; I had moved up 10 places from my call up position on a course where no one was able to make progress forward. It was great experience, much harder than anything I will do in the US. I was so exhausted, I literally collasped into the car and couldn't walk after it was over. I still earned 32 UCI points for my effort, combined with 12 from Saturday's race in Lebbeke I did very well for the weekend as far as collecting points. I came away from it with a head cold, so now I need to rest up for the flight tomorrow, so that I can get well and kick some ass at the USGP in Kentucky! It will be easy compared to Kalmthout.