Major Taylor Cross Cup, nothing better than racing 45 seconds away from your dorm on your home course!
On Friday and Saturday morning conditions were a little slick but as the sun came out and the temperature warmed up, the course transitioned to being nice and tacky. With the hero dirt and lots of nice ruts in the corners, it was perfect for my Challenge Chicanes.
I had a second-row call up but had a rough start. I opted to take the far-left lane and avoid the mud pit planning to slot in after the first sweeping right-hand corner. Instead, there was some carnage and I was stuck back near 15th. Luckily the next few sections were open, and I was able to move up into 10th after pit one. I maintained my position through the technical upper section of the course and hit the gas again going by pit two and into the finish straight.
Drew Dillman was off the front and Jamey Driscoll was moving up a few seconds ahead of me. I chased after Driscoll and by the third lap we worked through the top group of five. I tried to latch on to Driscoll but just couldn’t close the gap. Luckily, while working to catch up I created a sizable gap between me and the group fighting for 4th. I spent the next five in no man's land to take third place, my first UCI podium!
On Sunday conditions were just as tacky and the course was almost identical. This time I lined up on the far-right side. Things went more according to plan and I was well inside the top ten by the time we hit pit one. On the pavement before the upper hilly section, I hit the gas and moved into fourth wheel.
By midway through the second lap, I was sitting securely in the lead group of four with Driscoll, Dillman and Eric Brunner. We got away cleanly from the field and the other three in our group started launching attacks. For the rest of the race I was on the edge, continuously getting popped off and then catching back on. I was never truly fighting for the win, but I was up at the front of a UCI for the very first time.
In all the weekend was a huge success for me and Emma, who took 2nd and 3rd. We both took our highest UCI finishes yet and had strong, smooth races at our home race. It felt great to regain some confidence after a little bit of a mid-season slump the past few race weekends. Now time for plenty more training and one more race weekend before cyclocross nationals in Louisville, KY!
As always thank you to my team, Linear Sport RT and our sponsors: Trek, Bontrager, Wheel & Sprocket, Styled Aesthetic, Kettle Moraine Preservation and Restoration, and David Hobbs Honda. Thank you as well to Trek Race Shop, Challenge Tires, Englewood Grass Farm, Mike's Mix, and Sram. Thank you all for reading and be sure to follow along on my social media @cswartzz