|Jolene Holland (Greenstreet) takes the cat 4 win. Photo: Julie Higgins|
|Cat 3 Podium: l-r Carly Thomsen, Leah Kleager, Allison Hunt Photo: Emily Hosely|
In the cat 4 series, Greenstreet's Jolene Holland took the win and thanks to a sweet 75 point upgrade incentive bonus plus a killer day two hole shot sprint win, SHECLISMO's cx upstart Allison Hunt took the cat 3 jersey. Finally, with three or more riders at each event each weekend, SHECLISMO held on to the $500 they'd put on the barrel for the team competition.
|Allison Hunt (SHECLISMO). photo: Kyle Hansen|
Going into this weekend, it looked like Hunt might secure the cat 3 win unchallenged. However, the SHECLISMO crew likes competitive racing and tossed out four 25 point bonus opportunities with a hole shot sprint and fastest first lap each day.
|Leah Kleager (Midwest Cycling Communmity). photo: Kyle Hansen|
While this may have rendered the podium one place easier to get to, the course seemed tailor-made for strong steady-state riders and it seemed quite possible Kleager might sweep the bonus points and take both days wins to secure the jersey. However, on day one, although Kleager took the hole shot, Thomsen showed surprising strength and held Kleager off long enough to steal the bonus points for the first lap. This meant that to get the series win, Kleager would have to take the hole shot again on day two along with the first lap. But, Hunt knew her lead was at risk and leveraged her natural sprinting ability to hold off all comers and take the hole shot. Likewise, Kleager dominated the first lap, leaving nothing to chance. Unfortunately, one bonus wasn't enough and Kleager missed out on the series jersey. She did, however, enjoy two $100 gift certificates courtesy of SHECLISMO and Trek Stores of Omaha as well as secure the Nebraska State Championship.
|Carly Thomsen (Greestreet Cycles) photo:Kyle Hansen|
Series organizers, Sydney Brown and Elisabeth Reinkordt, discussed their objectives.
"We have three key goals for this beginner's series: first, showing up matters, second, upgrading pays off, and third, racing is fun," Brown said. "Given the small size of our fields and often predictable outcomes of local races, it's difficult to adapt the points system developed on the east coast to meet our needs," Brown added.
Brown said the cat 4's were SHECLISMO's biggest priority and that it was imperative to get a super dominant rider moved to the cat 3's as quickly as possible.
"To get these new riders hooked on racing, they need to experience the thrill of vying for the podium," Brown said, "but how do you get a cat 4 who has the win sewn up to put it all at risk and upgrade mid-series?"
SHECLISMO added an upgrade bonus to the points east coast points structure last year. The bonus is 75 points and bumps the new cat 3 to the top of the standings.
|Elisabeth Reinkordt (SHECLISMO) photo: Kyle Hansen|
"We're hoping that gives her a bit of a thrill and motivates her to ride her very hardest - not give up even though she's been tossed into a pool of stronger, more experienced racers," Reinkordt said.
The Boulevard Cup, which wasn't part of the CX Stitch series this year, gave Hunt her first taste of cat 2 and 3 competition.
"It was frustrating. The course was so technical and even though I knew I was faster, I kept crashing. I saw they had the skills and I had a lot to learn," said Hunt, who placed 6th out of 7 racers that day.
In contrast, the courses used for the Greenstreet Cyclocross Weekend and the CX Stitch finale, weren't terribly technical, rendering speed and power more important than handling skills.
"While harder courses would have definitely made the cat 3 race more interesting, the less technical set-up was great for our first-timers and cat 4's honing their skills," Reinkordt said.
In fact, the cat 4 series winner, Jolene Holland (Greenstreet), earned the final 3 points towards her cat 3 upgrade in today's series finale.
Overall, the two team leaders consider the series and their recruitment efforts this season a success because even though several of the local women who have been racing cyclocross this season were not able to attend, there were still seven local riders in the field of 10. At the 2010 state championship, there were only two local riders and they weren't even in the same field.
"We're optimistic. We're seeing women arranging rides, practice sessions, commuting and just a lot of growth over the last couple of years," Reinkordt said.
"Yeah, it's crazy, it's starting to look self-sustaining," Brown added.
Huge thanks to the following sponsors. Without their support, SHECLISMO would who have not only supported this series but a great many of SHECLISMO's outreach efforts.
- Trek Bicycle Store (Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis)
- Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods
- Luna Bar
- Sheila Moon
- Roger Harrison, Laterne Rouge Kansas
- Elly Blue
- Bikel Art
- Pirate Cycling League
- Ryan Feagan for sharing the mic at our finale
- All the other men and women who help support our efforts at races, practices and rides through word and deed.
|Kansas racers: (l-r) Jennifer Schwartz, Sandy Collins, Julie Higgins Photo: Emily Hosely|
|Sara Nispel and Sandy Collins meet Michael, the man behind the Bikel Art trophies.|
|Sandy Collins, Jolene Holland and Emily Hosely are CX tough with a Zombie Skull Crusher and a couple of Ulu's from Bikel Art. Photo: Emily Hosely|
- Fantastic photos from Tom Winfield Photography: Day 1 (70+ degrees)