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A lesson in great results from the cyclocross Feedback Cup

November 6, 2013
Judy Freeman looks back for Kristin Weber in the final lap of the Feedback Cup

Judy Freeman looks back for Kristin Weber in the final lap of the Feedback Cup

It’s tempting to use “the old one-two” expression to describe Sunday’s women’s open race at the Feedback Cup. It would go like this: Judy Freeman threw the first punch when she passed Kristin Weber with one lap to go then followed that with punch number two by taking the win.

It’s even more tempting to put the expression into play when additional one-two combinations emerge upon further reflection.

Weber’s first place on Saturday followed by second on Sunday.

Weber’s number one spot with the most wins this season in Colorado’s women’s open category and Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club) second with three. Yes, Weber’s delivered one-twos herself, five times.

But “the old one-two” analogy just doesn’t seem to work when discussing the concept of competition in this cyclocross women’s open field.

Make no mistake: this is sport and winning matters. But winning’s not about doing something to another rider, like pulverizing an opponent into dust and then gloating over that success. It’s more about each woman testing her limits and racing as well as she can. Let’s call it “self versus self.”

Kristin Weber takes the women's open holeshot at the Feedback Cup

Kristin Weber takes the women’s open holeshot at the Feedback Cup

That expression describes Sunday’s Feedback Cup, which took place on a course that demanded repeated slowing and accelerating.

After crossing the finish line Weber (Boulder Cycle Sport) and others who finished near her time lowered their backs over top tubes and heads over handlebars. They breathed rapidly, firm bellies inflating with each gulp of air.

“It was so twisty,” Weber said about the course. “There’s only like two flat parts…and the rest of it is just stepping up out of every corner and doing a 15 – 30 second sprint every time.”

Race action

With her body reaching forward around the curve Weber gapped the field and captured the holeshot. Evol Food’s Kate Powlison and Jess D’Amato led the pursuit along with Karen Hogan (Team Kappius). Freeman came away about mid-field in eighth position as the riders headed out on course.

“I had a horrible start…I definitely picked too hard a gear to start in,” Freeman later said, “and then when we got rolling everyone accelerated and I was in choppy grass. I just planned that wrong.”

Caitlyn Vestal (left) on the stairs in lap 1

Caitlyn Vestal (left) on the stairs in lap 1

While Weber worked on staying out front with a five to ten second gap Freeman worked on moving up. By lap two she rode in fourth place on course in chase group 1 that also included Hogan, Margell Abel (Tough Girls), and Caitlyn Vestal (Feedback Sports). Chase group 2 consisting of Powlison, fifteen year-old Mina Anderberg (Team FUJI), and another rider cornered around the twisty course less than ten seconds behind.

Freeman reached the run-up early in lap three with Weber in view at the top. Hogan trailed Freeman by a few bike lengths and had inserted a few seconds between herself and Abel and Vestal. Powlison, Anderberg, Ashley Zoerner (Groove Subaru-Alpha Bicycle Company), and Kristal Boni (Rapid Racing) raced on behind the lead five women followed by the rest of the field.

Weber’s gap dissolved at the start of the final lap. Freeman passed her, gaining seven seconds by the end of the event. Weber finished second.

Judy Freeman moved from eighth to second on course in three laps

Judy Freeman moved from eighth to second on course in three laps

“I felt her coming,” Weber said after the race, acknowledging Freeman’s strength. “I just had to keep going, and I was like mentally losing my kick three-quarters of the way through the race…so she just did a slow gain and then she passed me and I was like ‘Aaaiie!’”

The Boulder Cycle Sport rider aimed to make the exit from every corner count; accelerating quickly out of corner after corner required lots of concentration and effort which took its toll. “It’s hard when you are anaerobic that long to keep the focus, to keep doing that, and especially if you’re not battling it out with somebody. I sort of lost my focus a little bit.”

Vestal and Hogan came to the line competing for third, which went to Vestal by less than half a second. Abel arrived twenty seconds later to round out the top five.

As the medical crew cleaned up a gash on her left leg – the result of a crash while riding alone late in the race, Freeman spoke about her win. “It feels good. I’m excited – I haven’t raced much ‘cross so I’m learning a lot, definitely it feels good to race well…and I’m having a lot of fun.”

Kristin Weber in flight at the Feedback Cup

Kristin Weber in flight at the Feedback Cup

After reflecting on the weekend, Weber described what she’s been learning in her third women’s open season, spending more time on that topic than discussing her two podium results.

“I’m amazed by how hard I can push myself now and then keep pushing myself. Before there was this fear factor of going into that upper echelon and then worrying that you were going to explode,” she said. “I’m learning how to go into that hurt zone and then keep re-entering it and coming back and re-entering.”

In short, she’s finding out just how much her body and mind can suffer – while loving every minute.

With so many strong women aiming for their best races on the Colorado cyclocross scene, including Judy Freeman as well as the persistent nemesis called “Luck,” Weber is likely to test her limits again and again this season.

Find full results on the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado website.

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2 Comments
  1. Shawn permalink

    Great write up! Thank you.

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