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Race Report: USGP Rounds 5 & 6: New Belgium Cup- Fort Collins, CO

by Maureen Bruno Roy in Cycling, Cyclocross, Featured Articles, Train With Grain

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  We took last weekend off of racing and we still have to catch you up on our trip to Fort Collins two weeks ago.  Tomorrow we are off to Sterling, MA for back-to-back days of racing… possibly our last races in New England for 2010!  Then, it’s off to Portland, OR for the last two races on the USGP calendar and then the National Championships in Bend, OR.  We are also in the midst of planning our European campaign to finish out the 2010-2011 season.  Wow, the season has gone by quickly!

Following the lightning fast races in Northampton, MA, we returned to Colorado two weeks after the Boulder Cup for rounds 5 & 6 of USGP in Fort Collins. The venue at Fort Collins was new for 2010 and claimed to be one of the toughest races of the season. After arriving midday on Friday, we headed to Steve’s place where the cats welcomed us back after a few weeks away. I went for a bike ride while Matt assembled my second bike and explored the neighborhood on foot.

Later that evening, Steve arrived home and we all headed to Pearl Street to explore the pedestrian mall and then to dinner at Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant before heading to sleep to rest up for the next days’ race.

New Belgium Cup – Day 1

The weather was cold that night and I awoke to a light coating of snow.  Matt headed to the course early that morning to help the guys at the Cannondale truck.  He had a chance to preview the course and sent me a brief text: “gonna be muddy!”  Nick Legan from Velonews came by the truck to chat with Matt.  He grabbed one of my bikes and got some pictures for an article he posted later that day on Velonews. Check it out in the Bike Tech column at Velonews here . Thanks, Nick! Our friends at Seven Cycles have also added links to the recent articles on my bikes on their home page.

The weather warmed up steadily throughout the day creating some slick and boggy sections of mud on the hilly, challenging course.  I was looking forward to racing and hoped that I could find my technical skills to ride the slick corners well.

I had a strong start and stayed clear of a big crash on the first turn onto the dirt and held on to top 5 for a while but seemed to struggle as the mud built up on my tires. I swapped bikes a few times throughout the five-lap race.  Each time I swapped bikes for clean wheels I did my best to punch the pace, still learning the ins and outs of how my tires would perform in the mud.  I ended up holding on to 9th place, hoping for a stronger race the following day.

Race reports and photos from Cyclingnews and Cyclocross Magazine here and here. Lyne Lamoureux from Podium Insight was also on hand providing excellent coverage as usual. Check out coverage of Day 1 and more great photos here. Colt from Cyclingdirt was also on hand providing live video coverage. Check out the highlights here and video of the stack-up at the start here.

New Belgium Cup – Day 2

As I warmed up on the course in the early part of the day, it was even slicker than the day before, but by the time the afternoon races began the course was tacky and fast. I gave myself plenty of time to pre-ride the course, making some changes to my tires and pressure. I set off for another tough course with a longer climb in the middle and one run up.

After yesterday’s carnage at the start, I wanted to be aggressive right of the line.  I managed the hole-shot at the start into the dirt and held the lead through the run up before getting to the climb. That’s where I was beginning to feel the slightest twinge of the altitude sneaking up on me. I was breathing harder than my effort required.  I needed to reel myself in a bit after I was passed by several riders that I knew I would need to chase back. Each lap I began to gain a better feel for the course and slowly picked off a few riders and held off a few more behind me to take 7th for the day.

Race reports and photos from Cyclingnews as well as Cyclocross Magazine can be found here and here.  The Podium Insight race report can be found here and another great photo gallery here .  For video highlights of the race, check out CyclingDirt here.

Lastly, Colt caught me for a quick interview after the finish. Check it out here.

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Maureen Bruno Roy Google: Maureen Bruno Roy
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