• Sunny Gilbert

It seemed like a good idea at the time - Race Report for Colorado State Championships


I’ve been working in Boulder, CO off and on for the last month. This has presented something of a nightmare scenario for my coach, Isaiah Newkirk, who is trying to put together an end-of-the-season peak (“Who decides to train at altitude when they are supposed to be peaking?”). But, it’s sort of working, while I’m working. For one thing, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be taken in by longtime friends Shelby (@BoulderUnicorn) and Brian. They’ve let me ship and store at their house, an Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie with clincher gravel tires. I also get to live there, hah! And, after borrowing an adaptor from Cam of Rage Cycling fame, they generously offered to share their Wahoo Kickr. Shelby also bakes. Quite, well.


Last week-end, I had been planning all season long to make my annual trek to Dallas, TX for one last short-sleeved race at the Resolution Cross Cup, and to hang with @obsoleteforms. Life and adulting forced a change of plans. Instead, I hatched an alternative plan to get some much needed race pace practice. Upon my return trip to Boulder, I thus “threw” a pair of last years Zipp 303 tubulars into my luggage, just in case this plan came to fruition.


The Plan: race the Colorado State CX Championships, as a non-resident, of course. This race has a reputation for being as competitive as a UCI race, and I knew a number of current and former top racers would be taking the start. DougEFreshCX was also in Colorado for the weekend. When we thankfully concluded our important business on Saturday, the stage was set! After a quick run in the foothills on Sunday morning (all bike and no run makes a Doug grumpy, stubbly, and no fun?), we loaded up on Spruce Confections coffee, and headed to the races in Parker, CO.


To everything turn, turn, turn at the Colorado State Champs

The weather was a light-wind-whipping, brisk, 34 degrees. Dry and sunny. I hopped onto the course and rolled an easy lap. The plan was to take a lap at “speed” and then go get a really, really good warm-up. The plethora of corners were loose, and the straightaways were extremely bumpy. On my PDX, I was having loads of fun with these features. On the first off-camber of my speed lap, I -ahem-“punctured”, and went down, tearing a whole in my leg warmer (this is code for “don’t ride on old-glue tubulars”; how many times have we heard that story this season??). The only thing for it, if I still wanted to race? Switch back to the clincher gravel tires and wheels. Doug had thankfully put these in the car at the last minute. Though, you heard me right. Clincher. File tread. Heavy. Wide. This was not a UCI event; no requirement for 33 mm. But, still.


Always a pleasure to race with some fast ladies, and right at the whistle, one was off the front. I was in hot pursuit around the first few 90 degree turns. But it was not to be. I held 3rd, then 2rd, then traded spots into 4th and 5th, as we encountered run-ups, barriers, and the occasional mechanical (not mine). I was on my low-altitude limit for the few straightaways, but cornering was like riding on ice. And, I’m embarrassed to say that I pushed those wheels too far more than once, resulting in a slide out and a foot down. At one point, my blood boiled a little when a spectator yelled to one of my competitors, “don’t let her hold you back”. I felt like throwing down at that point, and MAY have jammed her in a few corners. But, in the end there was nothing to throw down. Finishing 6th in that field, under those conditions, was respectable. Also, I think I’ll get another chance to redeem myself, cough, cough, nudge, nudge.

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