Sunday, September 27, 2009

Seattle Series #1 Evergreen High School

Seattle Series #1 Evergreen High School

The Weather was perfect for Sunday’s race. It was a bit chilly in the early am but the sun was out and overall dry and perfect temps for cross. I raced at 11am, the course was in great shape, very dry but very fast. I was very happy to see that there was a technical element with the downhill section and all the turns on the back side. Finally after last weekend with the UCI races where there really wasn’t any technical element I was back in my comfort zone at Evergreen. With all my experience really coming from years of downhill mountain bike racing and cross country mountain bike racing I really need some sort of technical element to give me the edge over everyone else. And Evergreen had that for sure.

We had a great turn out for the Cat ½ women. I was so excited to see Ann Knapp back out racing. She is a huge idol to me as I have followed her for so many years learning so much from racing with her and she really has been the one that has pushed me to be where I am at today. So I was very happy to see her back out there racing again! We also had Jenni Gaertner from Idaho over here. She is a very strong racer and I was a little nervous when I saw her on the line that it was going to be a tough day. There were about 10-12 women in our field, all very fast and very well respected. So I knew this was going to be tough. They blew the gun and we were off. I shot for the whole shot because my starts have been a bit slow so far this year. And I got it. I tried to go at a good pace but not too hard because we hit the run up pretty fast after the start and I didn’t want to blow up there. I started to make a tiny gap by the run up but Jadine Rolcik flew by me on the run up and moved into first. I got back on my bike and tried to stay with her and managed to pass her on the downhill at the bottom when she had a crash. I made sure she was ok, and then hit it. I was back in first with about 10 secs on 2nd place, Jenni. I knew I was making a little bit of time on her in the turns and the downhill so I tried every lap to attack those sections to make some ground.

We caught into the Cat 3 45 and 55+ guys pretty quickly and spent the first couple laps getting through them and trying to hold onto our positions. I always feel bad passing the guys, I always want to make sure I pass them so it doesn’t affect their race, so hopefully I was successful in that. They are racing also so I hate interfering in their race. But they are always gentleman and let me pass.

So after the 3rd lap everything spread out a bit and I still was in first with about 20sec to 2nd place. I knew I had to hold that gap and with 2 laps to go I tried to hit it hard and give it all I had to increase my lead. I managed to pull the lead to about 26 secs and hold on to first for the win. It really was a great race. Jenni really pushed me and with the level of all the girls in our series you can never make a mistake because there is always someone there. Thank you to everyone who helped me out. I really love our Northwest racers!!

Kristi Berg

Sunday, September 20, 2009

StarCrossed and Rad GP race reports

Starcrossed and Rad GP

Two more races now under my belt. This weekend was a big weekend of racing with some very fast girls from all over the country and world to pick up UCI points the pace at make some of the fastest racing I have ever done in cross!

Saturday started out with pouring rain while I was getting all my gear organized in the morning and I was actually really excited that it might be muddy for Starcrossed as that would give it a technical edge that would favor my technical skills. But as the day progressed the ski’s opened up and the sun came out and it dried up and was very fast for our race. I had a second row starting position so that was good, but once the gun went off I realized very quickly that I need to work on my starts. I was a little slow off the gun and fell into around 15th place, which I wasn’t too happy with. But I started pushing and got a good rhythm and passed a couple girls. With one lap to go I was with a group of two other girls and I decided I had to attack if I wanted to get ahead of them so I did on the back stretch. I got as much speed as I could and took off and managed to drop the two girls and hold on for a 10th place finish. Overall I was very happy with my race, I felt strong just need to improve my starts so I can get better placement off the gun. As soon as we finished the ski’s decided to dump the rain and the guy’s race was wet and slippery. We really lucked out to not get the rain till the very last lap of our race.

So I didn’t get home and in bed till around midnight on Saturday and having raced at 7pm I was still wired on endorphins so I was restless all night. My family and I awoke at 7am to get ready to head back down south for the Rad Racing GP in Steilacoom. Luckily my husband drove so I took a little nap on the way but was pretty darn tired all day. I managed to get some energy and get out on the course for a warm up before the race. I felt good, tired but the legs were ok from the racing the day before. I knew the run up was going to kill my legs after racing so hard at Starcrossed so I knew I had to make up time everywhere else I could. On the downhills were my best bet since there was a long descent. So I got warmed up and again got a second row start and again was a bit slow on my start and was again back around 17th place. I again was starting to get my rhythm and then I ran off the course on lap two and got caught in some ivy and course tape. Just took the slight corner to fast and started washing out a bit so I had to go off course. I got passed by three or four girls and fell back to the back of the pack again. I got back going and decided I had to try to make up as much time as I could so I gave it all I had and managed to move up to 13th place and tried so hard to get the two girls in front on me on the last lap but they pulled away at the top of the run up and I couldn’t bring it back. So I ended up 13th, which I think is pretty good considering I was at the back of the pack on the second lap.
So it’s time to work on the starts and get my whole shot skills back up and strong so I can get better placement. Another great race weekend in the Northwest. Thank you to Tim and Joe for all the help in the pits, thankfully I didn’t need any help this weekend!!

Kristi Berg

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day and MFG #1 Race reports

Labor Day Cross race and the first MFG Series race are now under my belt. Two races down and so far a bit of bad luck at both races.

At the Labor Day race I was really excited to be back racing cross again after a long summer. I have been teaching Cross Bootcamp at Cycle U and really was feeling nice and strong and ready for a great race. I lined up on the line and was a bit nervous because it was the first cross race of the season, needed to work all the bugs out with my body and my bike. The gun went off and I got a great start, right into my pedal and off I went. Unfortunately about 100 yards into the start I hit a rock very hard and flatted my front tire. Luckily I was able to still ride, a bit slower, and I got to the pits for a fast bike exchange, thank you Gino! I had fallen back to about the middle of the field and started to kick it in to make a comeback. I got a little too confident and had a little crash in a turn so I told myself to relax a bit and regain control of my bike. So I did and everything started going great. I managed to come back and finish in the 4th spot with 3rd only 10 sec ahead of me. So overall a good day. It was fun just trying to see how far I could get back up into the field.

MFG Series #1 Finn Hill Park. This race was a lot better. Still some bad luck overall better. I started on the line with a huge Cat 1-2 Women’s field, great to see, and again I got my pedal right away and was off. I fell into 2nd off the start and stayed there for the first lap. The girl in 1st had a mechanical so I passed her and went into 1st. Another girl passed me on the 2nd lap and I went back into 2nd, but hung on. That girl got a flat tire so again I was in 1st. I started to really get a good gap on the 2nd place girl but with 2 laps to go I hit a big rock in this dip into single track section and got a rear flat tire. Again I was able to keep riding, a lot slower, and I made it back to the pits. Unfortunately I got passed again while I was entering the pits, I had a fast wheel change, thank you Gino again, and was back on the course. Unfortunately I couldn’t make the gap back up and held onto 2nd place. So the moral of all of this is to never give up. No matter what always keep on trying and do everything you can to finish, because you never know what can happen!!

Kristi Berg