Race Report: Cyclocross National Championships, Kansas City, MO

With my relatively strong performance in my first season of cyclocross racing, the MIT Cycling Team decided that it would be a reasonable idea to not just field a team for nationals, but to send me as well! I was pleased to get the news, and promptly bought a plane ticket to Kansas City (which the team would reimburse).

Getting to an away race like this is quite a work of logistics. The five of us MIT riders had to buy plane tickets, pack our bicycles, and work out rental cars. We, fortunately, had housing in Lawrence, KS, courtesy of a teammate's family. We arrived Friday evening, and had plenty of food.

On Saturday, we explored the race course. There was some time in the afternoon between races when the course was open for pre-riding. It was one heck of a course. It was long, quite long, though perhaps not as long as Warwick's course. The entire race was situated on a hillside, which meant a long climb (which worked to my benefit) and a long, technical downhill (which worked against me). With fans everywhere and lots of racing, it was a good time for all.

I competed in the men's collegiate division II race on Sunday morning, with the other MIT riders. (A school is Division I or II based on its size.) I was seeded about two-thirds of the way back in the starting group of about 50 riders. There were some very strong riders there. With the temperatures in the high 50s, I was able to finish the entire race in my skinsuit. I had a mediocre start, and worked my way through the field, finding my place in the competition. I lost lots of time on the runup and the off-camber S turns on the descent. Wet conditions left the dirt with a velcro-like texture, and there were lots of ruts in all of the turns. When all was said and done, I finished a respectable 21st place. This is not as well as I would have liked to do, of course, but it's respectable, and at least I finished the race!

In a freakish bout of midwest weather, the temperatures dropped about 30 degrees Fahrenheit immediately after the end of our race. Poor Kate!

Nick Loomis took a number of photos at this race; I'll post a few here that have me in them. Click for larger versions.