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Koksijde feminine on the reservoir for final Boulder Cyclocross Series race

December 10, 2012
Karen Hogan on a sandy run-up

Karen Hogan on a sandy run-up

Speed and steadiness both won along the sandy shores of Boulder Reservoir at the fifth and last women’s open race in the 2012 Boulder Cyclocross Series on Saturday.

Kate Powlison of Panache Cyclewear – Horizon Organic needed just another consistently strong performance to hold onto the series lead, while a win for Karen Hogan (Team Kappius) would confirm the former masters national champion’s ability to outpace top riders in an open race.

Kate Powlison after a U-turn at Boulder Reservoir

Kate Powlison after a U-turn at Boulder Reservoir

Riders hopped up and down at the start line to stay warm. Powlison felt nervous as she prepared to defend the series lead. Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport) ranked second in the series, just ten points behind her, and race five would deliver double points.

But Powlison came with a plan that she described after the race. “I knew I couldn’t finish more than three spots behind her [Weber], so today I was just not wanting to make mistakes…”

Race action

Weber raised the ante immediately by winning the holeshot. The course quickly took the women onto the reservoir shore and around two of the several dicey, sandy corners that took many riders down and challenged even the best during the day’s racing.

A corner claimed Rebecca Gross (Tough Girl Cycling), last week’s dominant Castle Cross winner. “I was going to try to go hard on the first lap,” she said later, “but I kind of got a little ahead of myself and went into a corner and didn’t get on my brakes in time.” She called the ensuing tumble a mistake, one she might have avoided with more pre-riding.

Next the leaders dug into a long, sandy run-up to the concession building’s stairs. Lara Kroepsch of Boo Bicycles led, followed by Weber, Hogan, Gross, Kristal Boni of Rapid Racing, and Powlison. After crossing one of the building’s decks the riders negotiated the sandy downhill portion adjacent to the run-up before turning back along the reservoir shore and out to the eastern portion of the circuit.

Hogan passed Weber. Weber passed Hogan. That’s when another corner became decisive.

Hogan later explained that after she and Weber swapped places, “…then I made a break right in kind of a sandy corner and it seemed to open up a little bit of a gap so I just went with it.” She doesn’t consider herself a fast starter, she said, “so I have to be patient with myself and hope that that break happens and then try to gain on any time that I do get, and that seems to be working out this season.”

The course turned back on itself by rising up a hill and continued on alternating pavement, dirt, and sand to the finish area.

As the leaders crossed the finish line after lap one, Hogan rode in first position with Weber close behind and then a small gap to Gross. Powlison, Boni, and Kroepsch chased into the steady wind out of the west that continued for most of the afternoon. The wind drove waves onto the shoreline and in places loosened the track earlier racers had established at the water’s edge.

Hogan sped over the finish line to close out lap two with a lead of just under twenty seconds over Gross. By now the strongest riders found separation between them. Weber arrived ten seconds later in third position. Boni passed the line next, with Powlison in fifth. Powlison rode in fourth or fifth position for nearly the entire race, her eyes trained on Weber’s black and orange kit.

The next time they crossed the line the leaders maintained their positions but the gaps between them had stretched out. In the fourth and last lap Powlison moved up into fourth place ahead of Boni.

The contest ended with Hogan winning by thirty-two seconds over Gross. Weber arrived twenty-eight seconds later. Powlison landed fourth, just one place behind Weber.

Powlison’s joy at clinching the series title was unmistakable. She had been nervous at the start line, she said, “Because I think there is a decent amount of money – I don’t race for money but I want to go Christmas shopping.” The overall series prizes for the women’s open totaled $600 for the top seven riders.

2012 Boulder Cross Series womens open series winners (l - r) Kristin Weber 2nd, Kate Powlison 1st, Kristal Boni 3rd, Melissa Barker 4th, Breeze Brown 5th

2012 Boulder Cross Series women’s open series winners (l – r) Kristin Weber 2nd, Kate Powlison 1st, Kristal Boni 3rd, Melissa Barker 4th, Breeze Brown 5th

Hogan shows her open race strength

After the race Hogan shared how she felt about the day’s results. “Great. I haven’t been winning since…I don’t know, last week may have been the first or second time I’ve won an open race so this is all pretty new. It’s fun, I love it.” She began to laugh as she continued, “I’m actually asking my legs to do something and they’re actually responding.” Her cyclocross racing age is 48.

Double winners: Karen Hogan congratulates son Ben

Double winners: Karen Hogan congratulates son Ben

Hogan, who is a former national champion in mountain biking and cyclocross, won the women’s open race the previous week at CycloX-Louisville and in November at CycloX-Sienna Lake. She elevated her open race win count to four on Sunday at the Green Mountain Sports CX at Lookout in twenty degree cold.

It’s hard to say what stoked Hogan more on Sunday. It could have been confidence from Saturday’s win or joy over her son Ben’s category 4 victory just hours after she raised her arms on the top step of the podium at Boulder Reservoir.

Boulder Cyclocross Series Race #5, Women’s open race top ten

1 Karen Hogan, Team Kappius 38:07
2 Rebecca Gross, Tough Girl Cycling 38:39
3 Kristin Weber, Boulder Cycle Sport 39:07
4 Kate Powlison, Panache Cyclewear 39:23
5 Kristal Boni, Rapid Racing 39:41
6 Melissa Barker, GS Boulder / The Trek Store 40:38
7 Lara Kroepsch, Boo Bicycles 40:45
8 Ksenia Lepikhina, Boulder Jr. Cycling 40:57
9 Jessica D’Amato, Evol Elite p/b Pharmaca 42:00
10 Tara Vesella 42:31

xxx

Boulder Cyclocross Series race 5 womens open podium (l - r) Rebecca Gross 2nd, Karen Hogan 1st, Kristin Weber 3rd

2012 Boulder Cyclocross Series race 5 women’s open podium (l – r) Rebecca Gross 2nd, Karen Hogan 1st, Kristin Weber 3rd

xxx

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