It feels very wonderful to have a great weekend in Iowa. It’s really special to have the opportunity to race in front of my friends and family so I wanted to make the most of the opportunity. This was a big weekend for me as I’ve been working really hard to be able to put myself in the position to be able to ride in the front group of a World Cup like that with all the best women in the world. It’s fun for me to see how my body is maturing and adapting to my training. I’ve been second at the Valkenburg World Cup in 2015 and third here at Jingle Cross World Cup last year so adding another second to the list feels really great.
I focused on my process goals and was eager to try and ride the race I knew I was capable of. I don’t approach a World Cup weekend any differently than I would approach a standard UCI weekend.
In years past I’ve never been able to keep pace and ride in the front group with the best in the world for the entire race so that was a big first for me on Sunday. I learned a bit on what to do and when while riding in a group and when to spend energy versus when not to. The field was deeper and bigger but no one was an unknown to me. Of course there was the current World Champion, Sanne Cant, Katerina Nash, Sophie De Boer, Katie Compton, etc. My mindset wasn’t different but I was a bit more nervous for Sunday.
It was definitely had a different lead-in logistic wise. Flying on a Friday night after class, and racing only once on Sunday gave me the opportunity to spend a whole day preparing. I rode the course on Saturday and went to sleep Saturday night with a confidence and familiarity with the course that I don’t always have the chance to feel.
I’ve raced against these faces before in Europe, so I knew to expect an aggressive and fast race. Having the World Champion, and others at that level, in the field here in America is not only great for the sport of cyclocross, but also a helpful battle for me leading into the season. They are undoubtedly some of the best cyclists in the world, so it’s fun to be tangled up with them in these races. It’s truly a fight until the finish line! Having a bigger field, things are always changing out there and it’s important to fight for each position. I think I need to be a bit more aggressive in taking spots whenever I can going into next weekend.
I’m so proud to be teammates with Kaitie and so incredibly happy for the way she’s opened up her season. It’ll be a big one for the newlywed and sharing it with her is an honor. She’s always been an inspiration and she continues to be.
Starting the World Cups in the U23 leader’s jersey is very special. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it to all World Cups this year so it’s not one of my big goals for the season, but I’ll treasure it for as long as it’s mine!
My real goal was to be able to ride into the top five or at least the top ten again. My prep going into it was pretty good and on track, but the conditions and heat forced me off track, for sure. One has to come to these World Cup races prepared to double your efforts and really suffer. Some how these guys go faster and faster at the World Cup level. Obviously anyone from Belgium or the Netherlands has a target on their back from me. I look for the good Euro teams and hang on for dear life.
My mindset is pretty steady. I am here to perform but I never let that get in the way of me having fun. I am pretty positive and look for ways to be better in every aspect. So this was another training day for that. I learned that I need another 50 watts at threshold to hold some wheels.
The biggest positive for me was watching my teammates absolutely crush it. To see Kaitie and Emma really pull the weight is impressive. I have so much admiration for their level of professionalism and strength. I cant wait to see what they do in the future!