“It takes a village” and other end of season thoughts…

Shannon finishing the season in the best way possible!

First time UCI Cyclocross Masters World Champs have been held outside of Europe, and Stan’s NoTubes gets a win! This is great prep for next year, when Louisville will host Masters AND Elite Worlds for the first time outside of Europe.

A World Champion jersey!

World Champion jerseys were awarded to the winner of each 5 year age group from 30 years old to 75+. I won the jersey for 45-49 year old women. We had a proper UCI podium ceremony, with champagne, kisses and the Star Spangled Banner.

As the team out there with the best professional support from Kenny and Rich in the pits, I’m really glad it all came together on the day for the win. Pitting was key as the bike would clog up with peanut butter mud every half lap and need a wash just to stay in the race. I’ve never ridden in such tenacious mud. Keeping the bicycle moving forward was dependent on finding the line with the loosest, shiniest mud and never entering a dead end line or crossing through the 4 inches of goop in between lines. Concentration was key, and high torque low rpm grinding was sometimes the only way through. I left some knuckle skin on the wooden course stakes trying to find clean grass to ride as far to the side as possible. On the last lap with course conditions deteriorating, my bike ground to a halt as the wheels could no longer pass through the fork and frame. I picked up the bike and started running, knowing I could lose the race if I couldn’t get my bike working. I was 200-300 meters from the pit and a clean bike. Bouncing the bike on the ground and poking at the mud while running didn’t seem to help. I realized my only choice was to unhook the brakes and try to work the wheels loose. I put the bike down, unhooked the brakes, picked it back up and started running again while working the wheels back and forth through the frame. I talked to the mud silently, asking it to please let go of my bike. Miraculously I put the bike down and it rolled! I resumed pedaling and was able to ride into the pit (I’m told no one else entered the pit riding last lap)! I yelled to the guys “brakes” and then I heard someone yell “half lap to go, just keep it smooth”. At that point I had no idea what kind of gap I had on the rest of the field, and other than hearing Dave Towle say I was riding myself to the win, no one was telling me. The day before however, Kenny and I watched Chris Case from the Feedback Sports team ride his whole race off the front and lose the win on the last muddy chicane when his bike stopped working. I knew the key was to keep the bike working. My Ridley XFires really showed their heritage and were a joy to pilot in real, true cyclocross conditions. Kenda Kwicker tires on Stan’s Alpha Pro wheels had me riding comfortably with great traction at 20 psi. TRP mini V 8.4 and 9.0 brakes on the Alpha Pro aluminum braking surface are the best improvement in braking power I’ve experienced since I started racing ‘cross. No more high maintenance carbon tubular wheels with poor stopping power- they are obsolete with Stan’s new wheel system. For the price of 1 carbon tubular wheel set with sketchy braking, you can have 2 much lighter sets of Stan’s wheels AND change your clincher tires out right before the race as conditions change, not to mention the added protection of Stan’s sealant and the better braking surface.

Elsewhere on the bikes, my Rotor QRings let me grind away, K-Edge chain catcher kept the SRAM drivetrain running on track, Crank Brothers pedals work even when completely obscured by mud, adidas eyewear kept my eyes clear, Lazer kept my head cool and protected, my Verge fuzzy skin suit kept me comfy and looking good. Showers Pass rain gear kept the guys in the pits dry even while waving the power washer wand and running through muddy pits. ProGold kept the drivetrain lubed and Glacier Gloves kept the guys hands from freezing while washing. Shout out to Jose Alcala and his SRAM neutral support crew for being the best in the business, and to Joan Hanscom for making Louisville, KY a cyclocross World Championship destination!

With a list of support and sponsors like that, I feel so lucky AND proud to bring home a Masters World Championship for the team. As they say in show business, that’s a wrap! Season 1 of Stan’s NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team finishes on a high note. Thanks to all who participated, followed, cheered and heckled!

Richie RIch with his affable charm keeps things light.

Kenny rides really fast and keeps us all super organized.

 

 

 

 

 

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