The first block of U.S. cyclocross races seemed to pass in a flash. In what seems like a moment ago, I was flying to Belgium for 48 hours to pick up my bikes and attend the team presentation. And all of a sudden I’m sitting on my couch in Belgium again, my second home by the sea in Oostende, reflecting on the beginning of the cross season. In between I raced four races in Iowa and Wisconsin.
This is apparently what happens when you share a big rental house with your favorite photography couple - Nathan and Morleigh of SnowyMountain: portraits for all! We had a lot of fun and the whole operation was super professional and dialed 👌
JingleCross in Iowa is a pretty special course. These iconic switchbacks were saved until the final day, the Sunday World Cup. True, it would be a different story with some rain rather than 90-degree dry heat, but even so I love this section the best. Maybe it’s reminiscent of my ski racing days, taking the high line then letting go of the brakes to dive into the precarious turn. There was such a festive and exciting atmosphere at this race - the opening World Cup of the season with a healthy mix of international competition. I’m still so honored that the U.S. gets a chance to host a race this big, and that Europeans travel all the way across the Atlantic to compete. There may not be spectators 10 deep in this photo but the passion was there 10 fold. 📷 by Snowy Mountain Photography
I flatted one of my precious Challenge Dune tubular tires right before the Iowa races. It’s my favorite tire tread for the fast and dry conditions and I had left my spare tires in Belgium so as to pack light. It didn’t take me too long to remember that my tire sponsor was right across the way from team parking at the race 👏 Thank you Challenge Team, Morgan and Alex, for saving the day. Here’s a picture of Oscar gluing on the new one ☝️😁
This guy in the background holding my spare bike? Crazy enough, he was also my mechanic 6 years ago when I just started racing Elite cross out of Boston for LadiesFirst cyclocross team. Friendship runs deep with Oscar of Roti Cycling Services and it was amazing to have him join me for the U.S. racing block. I always joke that I wish there was a pocket-sized version of Oscar that I could pack in my suitcase and bring to Belgium with me 😂 Needless to say my bikes pedaled smooth as butter and the pit exchange was like heat lightning. 📷 Snowy Mountain Photography
In previous versions of the Trek CX Cup, I don’t remember the course as being particularly interesting or challenging. But this year’s Waterloo World Cup course pushed some limits and was impressively technical. There was a dusty and bumpy off-camber descent with this run up pictured following it. The combination of the course and the 90-degree heat could push my heart rate up precipitously. It’s much easier to make mistakes on the technical features when your heart rate is in the red zone. Luckily, I kept it together through all the technical sections but did wash out on an easy corner near the pits on my second lap and had to take my spare bike. 📷 Snowy Mountain Photography
Wisconsin proved to be just as hot as Iowa in daytime temperatures. It was a real challenge to race cyclocross in these conditions. Besides the multiple ice socks down my back, water dumped over my head at any chance, the course offered water sprinklers to ride under each lap 👌👌👌 I did not miss the cooling opportunity. 📷 Snowy Mountain Photography