Cyclocross season kicked into high gear in September, and the Vic's women shifted onto Boulder County's cross courses with strong results. Heather McWilliams Mierzejewski and Christy Orris started with the first of Boulder Racing's five-race cyclocross series.
Sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s greeted the nearly two dozen 35+ women racers at Valmont Park, and both Heather and Christy started the race hot sticking near the front of the pack. The course was technical, with lots of turns and transitions, two stair run ups and a massive sandpit. Neither Vic's lady brought lavish cyclocross experience to the race -- it was Heather's second cross race and Christy's first -- but both brought fitness and a fighting spirit.
As the race progressed and Heather got a feel for the course, she began picking off higher placed riders at a steady rate. She caught the second place racer in the back portion of the last lap, stayed on her wheel to the tight final turn, but couldn't quite nip her in the sprint. Heather took third place, finishing with the same time and a half a wheel length behind the second place rider.
Christy got her first taste of the technical skills demanded by cyclocross racing. Still her fitness carried her to a finish in the top half of the group. She crossed the line in ninth place and hungry for the next race.
The following weekend found the Vic's women at Boulder Racing's second cross race on the Xilinx campus in Longmont. Heather McWilliams Mierzejewski and Christy Orris were joined by teammate Julia Wieck, who borrowed a bike to join the fun and test her cyclcocross chops for the first time. Several racers from other teams commented on the strong Vic's presence.
The flat course sported an early technical section, a sandy backside and several barriers. When the whistle blew, the large women's field bolted for a good slot into the technical section. Christy hit the head of the pack and led the first lap. Heather hung on to the front group, then began working through higher placed riders, staying with the top five racers to the end. In the final turn, Heather took a tough line and got hung up in loose sand, dashing any chance of taking the sprint. She ended in fifth place for the day. Christy continued to ride hard, ending the race in eighth place.
Julia counted her first cyclocross race a success for the thrill of hitting a trail instead of the road. She embraced the technical aspect, the mounts and dismounts, and trying to nail the timing needed for a smooth ride. She took 15th place for the day, citing team camaraderie in both the race and pre-race practice as a highlight, and that’s something all the Vic’s women can really get behind.
Christy and Heather hadn't had enough after the 35+ race and hit the course again with the SW4 group. Their knowledge of the course served them well. Heather took second place and Christy took fourth, making for a full and succesful day of racing.
The next event on the Boulder Racing calendar is set for October 22 at the Interlocken campus in Broomfield, and the women in blue plan to give it another go.