Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lloyd 3rd at US Cyclo-cross Championships

That's right, our sponsored athlete Rachael Lloyd placed third at Cross Nats. Now, off to Belgium for some World Cups and the World Championships.

Her Race Summary:

Hi everyone,

I am writing this a bit late from Belgium. I spent Monday and much of
Tuesday flying over here and getting settled. So here`s a quick report of
the National Championship weekend, December 13 and 14:
Sam and I flew to Kansas City Friday. We built our bikes up and headed out
to the race course Saturday around 11am to warm up (for Sam`s race at 1) and
to check out the course. We kept hearing how muddy it had been the two days
before, but by the time we got on the course the track was fast and tacky!
The course started with a 300meter long paved stretch and then made a right
turn onto the grass. It basically then started climbing and winding its way
up the long hill to the top of the course where we encountered the first of
two stair sections, then back down the hill through fun fast turns and quick
chicanes. Back down at the bottom of the course we rode past the circus
tent and switched back at a double barrier section, climbed the hill a short
way and doubled back hitting the second short stair section. A couple more
turns and we hit the pavement for the drag race to the finish line. The
person who won this race would be the strongest competitor of the day, there
was no place to `fake it`out there! Much to my dismay, I had caught a cold
the day after returning home from Portland. I had not gotten better by race
day, so I was happy to be able to finish as high as I did. Katie Compton
showed us all why she won a World Cup two weekends ago winning this race in
a convincing fashion. Georgia and I hung on her wheel for one half of a
lap, and then she rode away from us. Georgia got about a 10 second gap on
me the first lap and basically held it for the race. I warmed up a bit
halfway into the race and started to catch her, but I just did not have the
power I needed in my legs to catch her.

The weather was kind of crazy, which I guess we should expect from Kansas,
the morning of our race it was 60° out and by 11am the temps had dropped
30°. By the start of our race I think it was 21° out with the winds a
blowin´ I do not remember what the wind chill was, but it was very cold. We
all were wearing full leg warmers, hats and long fingered gloves. I think
every ones fingers froze in the beginning of the race, one of the hardest
things to do was to shift and brake. So Katie Compton won for the 5th time
in a row, Georgia Gould took 2nd, and I placed 3rd.

Now off to Belgium!

I arrived here in Herentals Tuesday afternoon... well by the time that Gert
(my host) and his Dad Jo (sounds like Yo) had finished showing me around
town it was about 3:30pm (local time.) So of course the first thing I want
to do is build up my bike and go for a ride. Gert had made sure that I knew
how to get to a canal close by that was flat and straight and I wouldn`t be
able to get lost on. I built up one of my sweet Specialized cross bikes and
headed out... in the dark (well almost dark, it gets dark here at about
4:30pm.) I just rode for an hour to get my legs going and make myself feel
normal. Wednesday Gert offered to ride with me for a couple of hours and
show me some trails in the woods. We found much more than I expected!! We
found a dedicated cyclocross course!! Then we rode around, stopped by Jo´s
house, met Gert´s super cute nieces, and rode home. That was enough for
Gert, but I needed to get in some cross training. I headed back to the
course to do some hot laps and I found about 25 13-16 year old boys (and 2
girls) practicing on the course with their parents and coaches standing
around watching. I jumped in and did about 5laps (feeling great by the way)
and then rode home. Then I met up with Gert again and we drove to Brussels
to get Sam from the airport. After we got Sam we all headed to Gert´s
parents for some home cooked Belgian fare. Then finally back home to our
house in Herentals (Gert`s sisters house.) Today Sam and I finally went
grocery shopping, and did more exploring on our bikes. The days seem to
pass by so quickly here since it get´s dark so early. My cold seems like it
is on it´s way out, which is amazing considering how cold it is here and how
much time outside I have been spending. Tomorrow is a rest day, and then
Sam and I will drive to Nommay France on Saturday to prepare for the World
Cup race on Sunday.

Stay tuned for the next update after my first World Cup race of the season!

Thanks for reading,

-Rachel Lloyd