• Sunny Gilbert

Race Report: UCI Deschutes Go Cross - the first race out of the gates


Day One

The Wrong PSI

Coming in hot! What are the chances that everything goes perfectly for the first race of the season? It seemed like that as I danced off of the starting line, found my pedal immediately, and surged into second place ahead of the pack. My legs encountered zero resistance from the pedals on those first few laps. But it was not to be, as we rounded more corners, I realized I was probably a few PSI under where I needed to be. That's always the question in the tents - "what PSI do you want? I don't know. What PSI do you think I should use? (Caroline Mani - "What's PSI?" - sigh - Europeans).


Riding "Blue" (Van Dessel #FullyTiltBoogie) on PDX and Zipp 202 Tubulars. 📸 Bruce Buckley

It would cause a problem on the penultimate lap. Wet pavement and squishy tires don't mix. I pushed the bike through the only paved corner on the entire freakin' course, and slid out, bending the derailleur into the spokes. Manually pulling it out (the limit of my bike mechanic skills), I quickly made sure the chain was still on and turning. A half-lap later, I was one my B-bike, Blue. And still in second, where I would remain.


Day Two

Don’t go out too hard.

It was hot as H-E-double-hockey-sticks out here.  A knee-high panty-hose, filled with ice, was tucked into the back of my speed suit. Two laps in, I hear “Susan Gilbert sitting in second” and under my breath, I mutter with chagrin, "the name is Sunny, but I’ll answer to anything"… which I don’t think was really under my breath so much as all my breath, because I heard Crystal chuckle in front of me as we rounded the descending angle corner past the finish line on the approach to the pits.


A tactical error.

The sand, wet and rideable on Day 1, became a race decider on Day 2. Made of crushed limestone, and grey. And fluffy. Gosh, was it fluffy. Before the UCI Men’s race, we saw the organizers out there with a machine, a snowblower(?), churning up the sand. On pre-ride, it rode like marshmallow fluff (that is to say, not at all).

My only hope was that the UCI men, who unusually raced before us, would ride a track into it.  Who would manage to #PlowTheFluff (can I hashtag that) in the early laps? On the first lap, no-one would. On lap two, Caroline Nolan would move up to the front pack by riding it when the rest of us ran. And I would watch Crystal and then Caroline ride away on lap 3 with my tactical error to run it. Houston, we have a itty, bitty, teeny problem.


Feeling hot, hot, hot

It's racing, and there were still several laps to go. Even with the heat and a day of racing in my legs, I managed to stay near the front of the race, stick Frenchy's wheel for a bit, as we battled with two other riders for 2nd and 3rd on the podium. During my ker-fluff-fle Crystal hat build up a gap in the lead. And that would be how we finished!


Two days, four podiums, and ice cream. Super successful Van Dessel week-end! I (SunnyG) will be racing next at the Trek CX Cup in Waterloo, WI. Good luck with the start of your season, wherever you're racing! #CXisHere #FullTiltBoogie.


#PlowTheFluff 📸 Bruce Buckley

@run4funner

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