It took me a while to post a 2019 cyclocross season wrap-up, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but instead that I was too sad to accept that the season was actually over. When it was all over, 2019 was my biggest season of racing in over a decade. Over the 104 days that was my season I pinned up a number 23 times and put 5634 miles on my GTI across 8 states plus the District of Columbia. I also destroyed 6 sets of brake pads, 4 tubular tires, 2 long sleeve skinsuits, and at least one wheel.
US Cyclocross National Championships
December 13, 2019 – Fort Steilacoom, Washington
(Photo: Cyclocross Magazine)
On paper the track at Cross Nats was something right in my wheelhouse. There wasn’t a ton of on-the-bike climbing, the descents were tech and rowdy, weather was damp and chilly, and the ground was muddy. I came into the event reasonably well rested and ready to slay, but all of that fell apart about a minute after my 11:55am start when we came to the first run-up and I found myself going from the front group to dangling off the chase group. Getting caught up behind a crash entering the first drop and then crashing myself at the exit to it put me significantly off the podium group.
The final nail in the coffin for my race will be how I will remember this race for years to come; dangling upside down from a wooden fence post on the Disco Drop like a young Luke Skywalker hanging in a Wampa ice cave on Hoth. And to further run this “Empire” analogy into the ground, said post sliced open my skinsuit like Han did to that Tauntaun.
(Photos: Dave Masessa)
I found myself in this predicament after getting cross rutted and jettisoned from my bike while avoiding another racer who was remounting her bike about 2/3 down the descent. This was by far my most spectacular crash of the season and probably one of the biggest crashes of the weekend from any competitor. It certainly earned me some social media buzz and props from the announcers over the following two race days.
After a significant pause to be removed from the fencing by Daryl and Jess Beck I got back on track, shredded the two descents again, and finished only a lap down.
Thank you to Jessica Cutler for the warm-up space and Niels Thogersen for the expert job in the pits. HUGE thanks to my great friend Lydia for allowing me to stay at her home for the week.