Race Team Report - January 2011

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Junior Karch Miller, 2nd at Cyclo-cross National Championships; Masters 30-34 Women writeup

DBCRT 2010 at Cyclo-cross National Championships

Junior Karch Miller, 2nd at Cyclo-cross National Championships

On December 10, 2010 Karch Miller earned the silver medal at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Chamionships in Bend, Oregon. Karch competed against 40 other 13-14 year olds on the 1.8 mile hilly, muddy, and icy course. Karch broke away on the first lap of the 20 minute race. Another rider from Parker, Colorado was the only one who could meet Karch’s pace.

Karch Miller on the podium with his silver medal
Karch Miller on the podium with his silver medal

They exchanged leads six times. With about half a mile to go, Hecht attacked and opened up a gap of 6 seconds. However, a fall on a mud-slick corner allowed Karch to catch up and the two riders rode side by side switching leads until for the last two minutes of the race. “I expected the course to be more like last year’s, when it was frozen and rutted instead of muddy,” said Miller, who’s more accustomed to the dry conditions around Davis. Congrats on Karch for his hard-fought race!






Masters 30-34 Women
by Ellen Sherrill, 2010 Cyclocross Newbie

Ellen on the snowy muddy course
Ellen on the snowy muddy course

I traveled to Bend, Oregon the second week in December to compete in my first National Championship event. It seemed a little odd to be headed to Nationals in a sport that I just started this year, but the opportunity was there once my cat 3 upgrade was granted, so I seized the bull by the horns. It was pretty exciting for me to attend a four-day cross festival and watch a lot of highly skilled riders show their stuff and try to learn by watching.

We were seeded for race starting position via a short time trial. The course was in the Northwest Crossing area of town with a nice combination of dirt road and single-track through a rolling sagebrush landscape dotted with pines. Unfortunately, it was fairly impossible to appreciate the terrain underneath its thick coating of frozen water! When I showed up to preview the course earlier on the morning of my TT, it was an absolute ice rink, mostly a rutted, bumpy ice rink. I didn't want to crash and injure myself before my event, so I ended up walking several sections. Slow going! By my 11:30 start, some of the snow/ice had melted, but it was still tough to navigate, and I fell on a snow-covered descent. The good thing about the terrain challenges was that it created a few enforced aerobic breaks from my all-out effort - it was only a 7-9 minute circuit, basically an all-out sprint, ouch.

After my TT seed finish, I ended up 3 rows back on the race start line. At the start, I missed my clip-in on the first time and had to re-try. I dropped back off the wheel that was sprinting in front of me, but ultimately this may have saved me - that woman and the two on our right went down. The space my mis-clip had created was not much, certainly not enough to avoid the downed bodies and bikes, but at least my wheel had not been snagged. As a split-second passed before I hit the mess, I thought to myself "This might be the end of my race; only 3 seconds off the start line - bummer." I hit the pile, ran over the bike, over the rider, off the other side, and miraculously landed on both wheels! As the carnage mounted behind me, I took off. The first two lines had totally avoid the mess, so I had plenty of riders in front of me. I just felt lucky not to be hurt.

Ellen Sherrill descending the Oatmeal Mill Bowl
Ellen Sherrill descending the Oatmeal Mill Bowl

It was cold, windy, muddy, and hard. I don't think I have ever been so thoroughly punished by terrain - usually it is other riders who push me. Just maintaining forward motion through some of the thick, sloppy, quicksandy, headwindy sections was maximal effort. My hands were frozen and I was having trouble shifting because the nerves in my fingers were not functioning. The physical effort of racing created enough body heat by right around....oh, 45 minutes in, right as I was finishing, to thaw out. This was EXTREMELY painful. I was dragged off to the medical tent. Once 10 excruciating minutes had passed, I was okay. I went back to my hotel and took one of the loveliest showers of my life. I got in with my full kit on and took it off slowly as I warmed up. The water ran brown for 20 minutes, I was so muddy.

I was 27th in my race, which was just fine with me considering the high level of completion, and I was 4th among category 3 riders in the field. I had such a great time that I was inspired to get up early the next morning and ride through a snow storm to train on the time trial course for the snowy conditions that will be encountered next year at Nationals in Madison, Wisconsin. I plan to represent Davis Bike Club there in a year, the first week in January. I’d better get some thicker gloves for that one!

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