Nothing like having the Cyclocross World Championships being held close enough that it’s an easy day trip. Even better when there are Americans vying for top honors, most notably in the women’s race.
What a race! And to think that we actually got a front row seat. OK, we weren’t sitting, but we were up against the fencing. So close, in fact, that I had to back up a few times when the viewfinder filled with nothing but helmet.
Looking through a wide-angle lens.
No attack by attack race report here. We couldn’t see much from where we were, which was just after the top of a steep section. Steep enough that all momentum was lost by the top and the strain was obvious on the racer’s faces. Of those that rode through. It was steep enough that many lost the fight and fell back down the slope.
Steep enough that some just dismounted at the bottom and ran up the blasted thing.
Which all made for some great spectating.
The course was a mess for the riders. It had been all weekend. Plenty of riding would soften the soil up, not to mention the muddy spots. Then a hard freeze overnight would turn everything rock hard. So the ruts were brutal and wet tires on frozen ground would make for some very slippery conditions.
Amy Dombroski recovers from a bobble at the top of the hill.
You can get a feel for how steep it is by looking at the rider in the background. She’s down there a ways, but not very far back.
Meredith Miller (USA) grinding over the top.
Kaitie Antonneau (USA) inadvertently blocks Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (ESP) as they both quickly lose momentum and have to fight to find a line that will keep them pedaling over the top. They both made it.
Unfortunately, no shots of Sue Butler. She got caught up in a mass crash over an ugly off-camber muddy run-up on the first lap. She’s in the hospital now.