Friday, January 17, 2014

Nationals report Boulder, Co.

 The trip to the Nationals this year involved going to yet another cold place-Boulder, Colorado at the foot of the Rockies. The previous weekend saw a record snowfall and cold temperatures to set up some epic CX racing conditions. Races were held over five days, starting on Wednesday with single speed racing-a specialty of this particular team. In the women's event we had only one entrant-Ellen Sherrill. Ellen rode a great race to get the silver medal , keeping the team streak of consecutive years of at least one national medal going for another year. In the men's event Scott Chapin rode to 7th with a showing of determination to get a front row callup for 2015. Alex Work came in at 31st and Kailin Waterman at 47th.
 Thursday saw the elderly masters take the course. We only had entrants in the 55-59 group and Mark Abele overcame a low starting position to ride to 20th while I stayed in the back finishing 49th. The snow had melted and turned the track into a mud-fest , something we rarely see in Calif.
After a day off on Friday, the master's racing continued on Saturday with team members in four events. At 9:00 a.m. we got to see Alex Work ride through at least half the field of 100+ to finish 10th in the 40-44 race-arguably one of the best rides of the week.  Brian Staby had to start in the back but rode up to 78th.
 The next race was the women's 35-39 where we had two entrants. Ellen Sherrill overcame a mechanical and a couple of bike changes to finish 8th and Katie Jay Melina rode to 11th after fighting the flu the previous month. Both would race again on Sunday. The next event was the men's 35-39 race where Kailin Waterman passed many people to finish 36th-another respectable ride. Ariel Brown, our local Colorado team mate had a great start but had to pull out of the race with painful leg cramps that put him on the ground for about 5 agonizing minutes. The final event of the day saw Scott Chapin riding to 11th in the men's 30-34 group as the sun was going down and the temperatures dropped .
The final day was filled by elite racing with some of our riders competing in their third events of the week. In the women's elite race both Ellen and Katie Jay had to start way back in the largest field in the history of the nationals. Both would finish on the lead lap-Ellen in 40th and Katie Jay in 46th with solid riding on the now mostly dry and bumpy course.The standard bearer for the team across the country, Courtenay McFadden had the bad luck of arriving for the race with the flu. Bravely starting the women's elite race , Courtenay could only go a short distance before having to pull out being much too weak to ride at the level that propelled her to many UCI podiums over the season.
 In the men's elite race the starting positions for Scott, Alex and Kailin were far back making for lots of traffic and difficulty with moving up. All the same, the three riders had decent showings with Alex in 51st, Scott 52nd and Kailin in 87th.
This was a great adventure with super exposure for the sponsors and the riders as well. I think that the team represented admirably and showed how a team can race seriously, compete on a national level and have fun at the same time-it is the fun aspect that humanizes the sport and makes it more inclusive to the public at large. That is who we are.....the team that people remember-that is the impact we have.

I would like to thank all of our sponsors for making this trip possible.
I would also like to thank the following people for helping the team: Greg Keller for hooking us up with our rental, Eric Brown, Matt Garcia, Kailin Waterman, Kelly Chang and Ariel Brown for helping in the pits
Chris Bondus and the WD-40 crew for cleaning and lubing our bikes and giving us a place out of the cold when we needed it.
Bill Nicol , Mark Abele and Julie Brothers for helping feed the team .
I would also like to that Shimano neutral support for lending me a tool to fix Ellen's bike.
I would also like to thank all the folks who cheered us on from the definitely makes a difference.
Last but not least I would like to thank the team for the selfless way they helped each other and myself make this trip go as smoothly as possible. Cheers until next season. Be sure and check the rock lobster facebook page for more photos of the event.

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