Becca – Rochester has been a staple on the calendar for my entire elite career – through venue changes and team changes, equipment swaps and last minute shipment retrievals, this race has always been good to me. It’s a course that has power sections that cater to my pedaling style, and flowy tech that force me to concentrate on being smooth. Last year I was asked to do a clinic on the Friday beforehand, and was asked to come back with Kerry this year. In addition to being asked to do the clinic, the race director/course designer took into account one of my course suggestions for this year and a pre-ride scheduling suggestion for next year! Combine this with my longest standing host-housing arrangement with local power-family the Augusts and I think Rochester has to be my vote for personal favorite. It feels like they are trying to roll out a red carpet for my personal success. The only thing holding me back from the top step here is my own self, but I feel it may happen one of these years.

Finding Flow

It was a long week between the races in Roanoke and the start line in Rochester. Long only by the feel of my body, like it went through a cement mixer, plagued with soreness and aches. Despite this, I was pedalling to near full potential and ready to tackle the first C1 of the season, and one of only three in the US this year.

Off the line my bike was missing some shifts thanks to some last minute equipment muddling – I drifted deep into the top 10. I charged through as best I could, knowing I should take a new bike in case there was a more serious issue with the bike. Sometimes pitting is only a bit slower than maintaining the race line, and sometimes depending on the conditions it can even be faster. At Rochester, however, it is like getting off of a highway exit and needing to make three left hand turns to get back on instead of just going straight. I lost a spot and a lot of time. I charged back into the race to catch the chase group, as Maghalie Rochette was already leading by an impressive margin. Working so hard to get back to the group, I went straight to the front, afraid of popping off the back. My efforts were not rewarded, as I charged into each technical element like a bull in a china shop. Sometimes it worked out of brute force, but often, the features I was smooth as butter on in pre-ride became places where I was bobbling and losing time and places, often I was going from 2nd to 4th place just because I went headfirst into some fencing. But after that, I would still charge to the front of the group and pull everyone around. Eventually, my own frantic efforts and stupid mistakes chiseled away at my battered body and I drifted to 4th, unable to contend the podium.

Nah, It’s cool, I dropped something here in pre-ride, just gotta grab it.

I was frustrated with how I felt like I threw away this important race, but happy to find I could be up with the front group. My game plan for day two was to ride with the front group and ride those trickier sections even if it meant I had to slow to a snail’s pace. I need to learn the art of calm and patience under pressure. Walk before you can run, but also crawl before you can walk.

Kerry: With the first cross race out of the way you would think the race jitters would be non existent, however, they were very real. While Curtis and I battled last weekend this weekend was going to be stacked with all the rest of the fast US guys as well as five super fast Europeans. So the points were going to be harder to come by but oh so much sweeter once they were obtained.

My bike was dialed in and I was racing the Maxxis Speed Terrane (file tread 28-26psi) again. The course was fast and not quite so dusty as last year. The dirt was actually really good and allowed us to push pretty hard in the corners.

Off the line I had a great start and slotted in to 3rd wheel. Curtis took charge at the front for the first lap and I was happy to be close to the front so I wasn’t bothered by the accordion effect.

Second lap I made a mistake and clipped a root on an off camber in the woods and did some dirt sampling. No big deal in itself but I took myself out of the front and found myself on the back of the group struggling to reassert myself at the pointy end of the race.

This was not ideal. I spent all race clawing my way up to the front but could never make it happen, wasting matches along the way.

On the last lap, Vincent Bastens sent a flier and was 17sec up on the field fo cashers. Curtis dropped his chain on the fast pavement section, a Suisse rider flatted, and I managed to get by Gage after the Belgian stairs to put myself into 4th on the day. But like I said it was hard fought and I was interested to see how my legs felt for tomorrow.

Becca: On day two my start was better, and I was immediately in the front group. I was patient in the first lap, content with sitting in, even though Maghalie was already gapping us. Today, I wasn’t racing Maghalie, I was racing my own mind. (but also like I could keep up with here lolololololol). I tried to follow wheels closely, but a couple of times I spent too much time worrying about those wheels instead of my own and had to dab or pop off and run, but once we finished our first lap I went to the front of the group to throw the hammer down and hopefully chisel the group down a little. It worked. We went from a group of 6 to a group of 3-4. But, Clara Honsinger countered my big pull and I just didn’t have the legs or the mind to keep her wheel. With first and second places up the road, it was just the battle for the final podium position left. I wanted that spot, but I also tried to put it out of my mind and ride my own lines, at my own pace. I was sometimes slow, but knowing Kaitie Keough was on my tail I drilled it when I felt it was safe to go a little cross-eyed. With Kaitie bobbling on the “double trouble” feature, I knew the separation would stick, and I was able to finish out the day in 3rd place.

I picked up that thing on Day 1 so I can ride straight through now

I am a little sad I couldn’t have the same drive and focus on the C1 day, but I am using this mindset and these lessons as we go forward into the World Cups of Jingle Cross and Trek Cup.

The most important thing to note, is our Team Tally.

Running race tally
Total Becca1112
Total Kerry0111
Ahead (B or K or – tie)BB

Kerry: After a great night of sleep in the August’s camper, a few cups of coffee, a stack of cakes, and zipping around the house on the hover board I was ready!

We got to the venue and it was a fall feeling day. Over cast in the morning and tacky dirt from last nights rain. That meant Speed Terranes again and the same pressure.

Off the line I had a great start again, third wheel and after the first three laps I was feeling good. Apparently, the American’s (Curtis, Stephen, and I) were feeling good as we spear headed the charge for the first half of the race. The fans kept saying that we had the Beglies on the ropes, but I should have known better…

I got excited and did a good pull with five laps to go. With four laps to go the Belgies were all warmed up and ready to start racing and my legs started coming apart. I was starting to get gapped out of corners into the long power straights and dabbing feet in the trickier turns.

Curtis got away with three to go after Vincent sat up. He quickly put 20 seconds into us and put his head down trying to fend us off. I took a pull then hung on until two to go when everyone went buck wild to chase Curtis down.

I was feeling those early efforts and coming unhinged. I had a shot at fifth but dabbed a foot before the plunge about half way through the lap and that was all she wrote. I limped it in for sixth place.

As you read above, I lose a point to Beckster in the inter-team competition heading into the world cups, which means I have my work cut out for me. I have goals of 15th for both world cups but especially Jingle, my favorite track on the circuit.

Becca and I both head out to Iowa on Thursday. Until, then I’ll leave you with Vlog 63! Cheers!