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Kristin Weber wins Primalpalooza; women’s open field pays tribute to Amy Dombroski

October 10, 2013
Women's open lineup at Primalpalooza. Eighteen in the field. Many wore a blue armband remembering Amy Dombroski.

Women’s open lineup at Primalpalooza. Eighteen in the field. Many wore a blue armband remembering Amy Dombroski.

Boulder Cycle Sport’s Kristin Weber won Sunday’s hotly contested Primalpalooza women’s open race which began with a silent lap around the course in honor of recently deceased rider Amy Dombroski.

Larry Grossman

Larry Grossman

Race announcer Larry Grossman had heard about a similar pre-race memorial lap at Providence Cyclocross Festival the day before.

He proposed the idea to race referee Tim Madden who presented it to the women.

Rebecca Gross (Raleigh-Clement) took the holeshot with aggressive group including Ksenia Lepikhina, Kristen Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport), and Margell Abel (Tough Girl)

Rebecca Gross (Raleigh-Clement) took the holeshot with an aggressive group including Ksenia Lepikhina (BMC XC Racing Team), Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport), and Margell Abel (Tough Girl)

Rebecca Gross (Raleigh-Clement) hit it hard from the whistle. Weber led over the barriers at the start of lap two.

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Kristal Boni (Rapid Racing) in the twisty section before heading into the muddy chute on the back side of the course in lap two

Kristal Boni (Rapid Racing) in the twisty section before heading into the muddy chute on the back side of the course in lap two

Kristal Boni (Rapid Racing) rode near the back of the field 25 seconds behind Gross and Weber in lap two. She described the first two laps as “just awful. I think I felt kind of dead after yesterday.” She took second place in Frisco Cross the day before where temperatures hovered in the low 20’s Fahrenheit.

“But I felt better as the race went on,” she added. “I had one good race now my next step is to put two good races back-to-back in a weekend. It’s still a good day out there.” The Rapid Racer came in tenth.

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Rebecca Gross (Raleigh-Clement) led on the moderate uphill out of the finishing straight in the beginning of lap three

Rebecca Gross (Raleigh-Clement) led on the moderate uphill out of the finishing straight in the beginning of lap three

As lap three began Gross charged at the front of the leaders again; she wanted this race.

Jess D'Amato (Evol Foods) carried a handup prize

Jess D’Amato (Evol Foods) carried a handup prize

The fast group included Rebecca Blatt (Van Dessel Sports), Weber, junior Ksenia Lepikhina (BMC XC Racing Team), and Caitlyn Vestal (Feedback Sports).

“I had high hopes for today,” Gross said after finishing fourth. “I’ve been doing a lot of fourth places this year. It’s time to get on the program.”

Evol Foods’ Jess D’Amato chased alone about ten seconds behind them.

Kate Powlison (Evol Foods), Margell Abel (Tough Girl), Melissa Barker (GS Boulder/Studio 1 Dental/Organic India), and Laurel Rathbun (ExergyTWENTY16) race for the top ten

Race for the women’s open top ten in lap three at Primalpalooza

Kate Powlison (Evol Foods), Margell Abel (Tough Girls), Melissa Barker (GS Boulder/Studio 1 Dental/Organic India) and Laurel Rathbun (ExergyTWENTY16) raced for the top ten, each separated by a bike length or two, twenty seconds after D’Amato.

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Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport) passed Rebecca Gross (Raleigh-Clement) on the long hill before the descent down to the bottom of the course

In lap three Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport) passed Rebecca Gross (Raleigh-Clement) on the long hill before the descent down to the bottom of the course

What Weber called a “battle royale” took a turn in lap three. Gross said she double-flatted when she cut a corner aggressively going up the hill on the back side. Weber passed her there. “I went up flat and then I had to chill out on the downhill so I didn’t wreck a wheel, and then I couldn’t find the door to the pit,” Gross said post-race.

Another shake-up occurred in lap four. Lepikhina crashed out of the race, injuring her ankle. According to Gross, she hit a fence post near the pit.

Coming down from the pit onto the lower section of the course Weber held a slight gap to Blatt. Vestal had moved up to third with about a ten second gap to fourth on course D’Amato. Gross followed in fifth with the Powlison group next.

“Weber, Blatt, Vestal – these three women are absolutely burying it with a little extra motivation today,” Grossman shouted as he called the race. Referring to the blue armband in memory of Dombroski, he continued, “You see that patch on the shoulder of some of these riders? If you don’t think that’s a little extra motivation out here today you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

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Boulder Cycle Sport's Kristin Weber wins Primalpalooza

Boulder Cycle Sport’s Kristin Weber wins Primalpalooza

After Weber won the ladies commented on the last 37 minutes-plus of racing. “That,” second place finisher Blatt said, “was a cross race.”

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Primalpalooza women's open podium (l-r) Rebecca Gross (Raleigh-Clement) 5th, Caitlyn Vestal (Feedback Sports) 3rd, Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport) 1st, Rebecca Blatt (Van Dessel Sports) 2nd, Jess D'Amato (Evol Foods) 4th

Primalpalooza women’s open podium (l-r) Rebecca Gross (Raleigh-Clement) 5th, Caitlyn Vestal (Feedback Sports) 3rd, Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport) 1st, Rebecca Blatt (Van Dessel Sports) 2nd, Jess D’Amato (Evol Foods) 4th, Kate Powlison (Evol Foods) 6th

“It could have been anyone’s game,” Weber later said. For full results see the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado’s website.

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Rebecca Blatt (Van Dessel) third on course in lap two, followed by Ksenia Lepikhina, Caitlyn Vestal (Feedback Sports), and Jess D'Amato (Evol Foods)

Rebecca Blatt (Van Dessel Sports) third on course in lap two, followed by Ksenia Lepikhina (BMC XC Racing Team), Caitlyn Vestal (Feedback Sports), and Jess D’Amato (Evol Foods)

While waiting for the Primalpalooza podium ceremonies Blatt said the ladies maintained silence in the pre-race turn around the course to honor Dombroski. Tears ended her sentence when she said, “In fact a lot of the girls were crying and couldn’t really ride very well because…She’s very special to all of us.”

Blatt was sideswiped by a car while commuting to work in the morning last week, a day before Dombroski died in a training accident on the road.

“I think he just couldn’t see me with the sun being out,” she said. “But he stopped, gave me his information. I was OK, just a little scraped up and my bike for the most part was OK. So I was really really lucky.

“And after hearing about Amy this past week it just hits home so much harder because I was just there. And I was so lucky.”

Rebecca Blatt (Van Dessel Sports) post-race at Primalpalooza. She rode a carbon frame Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie.

Rebecca Blatt (Van Dessel Sports) post-race at Primalpalooza. She rode a carbon frame Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie.

This is Blatt’s second year racing for Van Dessel Sports, a New Jersey-based bike manufacturer run by Belgian Edwin Bull. Van Dessel’s line includes ‘cross, mountain and road bikes and the recently released Aloominator cyclocross frame. Laura Van Gilder also races ‘cross for the Van Dessel women’s team.

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