Rider Reactions: Charm City Cross

Photo by Jake Orness / @pinnedgrit

Kaitlin Keough – Saturday: 1st; Sunday: 1st

I’m very happy with my weekend. Each race weekend is different so I don’t really like to rate them; I just wanted to try really hard to finish this first block of the season on a good note. All I was really focused on was going out there and riding as hard as I could but also wanted to ride smart. I wasn’t focused on outcomes.

The courses this weekend in Charm City were hard! They had a lot of great features with parts of the course that catered to everyone. It was hard! I think the courses this weekend were definitely up there with some of the better ones we’ve seen so far this season. The heat definitely took its toll, but it’s hot for everyone. Everyone is in the same situation with trying to deal with the hot weather, so I just try my best to do everything I can to prepare for the hard effort in the heat before we even get to the start line. I’m really looking forward to getting some bad weather but I also can manage the heat well. Cyclocross is about being able to adapt to all conditions!

I was always planning to do these USCUP race weekends and of course I would have wanted to do well at them whether there was a USCUP or not. I’m stoked to be leading the USCUP now but I have a few other big targets that I would really be happy to achieve this season. Finishing well in the World Cup overall is one of them and I’m focused on that for sure.

I have a weekend off and then I head over in about a week and a half to race the Koksijde World Cup. I’m really looking forward to it! I haven’t raced at that venue for a couple years, so I’m eager to get back! If I recover well from this big block and focus on doing every little thing right during my time at home, I think I can gain a lot from these past five weeks.

Photo by Jake Orness / @pinnedgrit

Emma White – Saturday: 2nd; Sunday: 3rd

I’m definitely really happy with how the season is going so far. It’s still so early, so there’s a lot of work to be done, but I see myself progressing – and I’m proud of that. I can’t say that it’s past my expectations because I naturally set my goals pretty high. I’m always looking to do better, but I’d say I’m right on track with where I should be right now.

I think the teamwork executed this weekend was a result of how compatible Kaitie and I are off the bike. We don’t go into the race with a plan, and in the end we are both looking for our own results. But we support each other and do what we can to help each other out on course. It’s so much fun racing with people that you have fun with off the bike – there’s no hard feelings or poor intentions.

Often times in cross it’s difficult to race as a team because it’s such an individual effort. There are no team tactics. The USCUP series is designed so the most deserving wins, and Kaitie and I are both undoubtedly going to go for it. Either way, we have a common goal to keep it in the Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com family. Cross is unpredictable and anything can happen on any given day so the fight isn’t over until the last race.

This was the fifth weekend in a row of dry and very hot conditions. I would categorize this as the “bad weather” for cross! The heat really took a toll on everyone, although you’d think we are adjusted by now! Even with a bit of rain on Sunday, it didn’t change the course much. I think any true cross racer looks forward to the dropping temperatures and a bit of mud!

I’m super excited for Gloucester next weekend! It’s always been such a fun, no-pressure race. We have a lot of family and friends coming to cheer too. The last five weeks has been one big race after another, so although we will take this one just as seriously, it’ll definitely be a breath of fresh air.

Photo by Jake Orness / @pinnedgrit

Stephen Hyde – Saturday: 3rd; Sunday: 1st

Man, it feels great to be back on top of the podium. This weekend proved a lot about where the US racing scene is. There are four or five guys that could win in every race; it’s pretty wild. So, I’m pretty freaking happy to be able to get back to winning since day one of Rochester. I’m 100% focusing on winning the USCUP. Tobin [Ortenblad] has really taken the last two weekends by storm, and I’m fifteen points out from first. There’s just two weekends left, so it’s really go time!

I’ve had to really widen my perspective on how these races are going to play out day-to-day. The dynamic has certainly changed, and we keep unearthing more and more talent. My preparations haven’t really changed much. I’m still rolling on my World Cup block fitness. So, now it’s time for a little break.

The Charm City crew put on a truly great event. The race is in one of the coolest parks in the country and has so much support. It was great to see so many people out at the races and having fun. The course has certainly evolved as well. There’s a lot to work with, with all the elevation and the park’s natural bowl shape. It makes for a really challenging and spectator friendly course. This course has always suited me – I think I’ve one at least one day out of each year I’ve been.

I had a bit of a moment on Sunday near the end of the race. At the top of the hill, before dropping in, I slid out my front wheel. Spencer was right on my back, and he unfortunately rode over my bike and fumbled. I got back onto my bike first and just put the gas pedal down. Luckily I held it together and had enough of a gap to hold on to the win. I was so red-lined at that point I could only go one speed!