10 Nov 2017

Donnelly Cycling Team Race Recap: Derby City + Pan Am Championships

The entire Donnelly team made its way to Louisville, Kentucky this past weekend for two days of big league racing. First up was the Derby City Cup followed by the Pan Am Championships on Sunday. This incredible race venue will be the site for the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships in December 2018.  The physically and technically challenging course received rave reviews from all levels of racers. If you were lucky enough to attend the UCI World Championships a few years ago, you know the fine folks of Louisville know how to put on a great show!
 
This course conditions were muddy, but not what most expected considering how much rain Louisville received the week prior. However, the ground was still very spongy keeping the pace very slow. It was the kind of conditions that make you feel like your pedaling through molasses! Team rider Lance Haidet had this to say about the course," I loved the course at Joe Creason Park, but man was it brutal. It a had a good mix of everything, with multiple wide open sections, lots of tricky off-cambers, two ripping descents, and plenty of climbing. The conditions both days were soft, relatively tacky, but really slow."

With such a physically and technically demanding course, if you did not bring your 'A-game' it makes for a tough day.
"I was a bit anxious and raced hard the first three laps, not fully realizing how challenging the course was," said Lance. "By lap 4, I was quite literally the definition of 'pedaling squares.' Between being absolutely redlined, and having the worst back pain I have had in a long time, I was definitely on the struggle bus." Lance backed off a bit to save some matches for the Pan Am Championships on Sunday. He would roll across the finish line in 31st position.

Sunday was the Pan-Am championships and Lance was really hoping his body would feel a bit better than it had on Saturday.  With his back still a bit fatigued the from the previous day’s racing, he went into the race with a plan to maximize every effort. "Knowing that if I could ride my own pace, I would be able to go hard when I felt good, and ease off a bit to stretch when I could feel things starting to tighten up," said Lance. 

With a solid start Lance found himself in the chase group battling for the final podium spot. "On the last lap, the fireworks really began to go off, and our group quickly blew apart," remarked Lance. "I was able to hold on for fourth on the day, but was really expecting more from myself. It now time to regroup a bit and turn my focus towards the National Championships in January!"

"The Louisville course is very hard and it definitely kicked my butt," said Laurel Rathbun when asked about the future U.S. Nationals track. "It is a true 'cross racers course and we need more like this here in the U.S. so we can all raise our game."

Although this past weekend didn't bring the results Laurel was hoping for she knows what she needs to do to be ready for the rest of the season. Part of her plan includes attending the USA Cycling cyclocross camp next week in Europe. There she will train, rest and race in the motherland of cyclocross. Oh, she'll be keeping up with her school work, too!

It was a weekend of solid results for Jamey Driscoll, but not quite what the veteran was looking for.

"My legs felt pretty flat while opening up Friday, and my start reflected that Saturday," said Jamey. That, combined with a mechanical early on had me in pursuit of the lead group all day." Jamey would finish 5th on the day.

On Sunday, Jamey was looking to race for a Pan Am Championship podium appearance. "In hindsight, since I was not in contention for a US Cup CX overall podium on Saturday I shouldn’t have raced 100% the day before in heavy conditions," said Jamey.  A slow start on Sunday had Jamey powering his my way through the group to 6th place.  "It was not the result I was planning for, but I was consistent and solid both days," added Jamey. "I think it’s time to take a mid season rest and start to build for the big showdown in Reno."

Team Schedule
Rochester Cyclocross – Rochester, NY 
Jingle Cross World Cup – Iowa City, IO
NEXT STOP: CrossVegas – Las Vegas, NV
Trek CXC World Cup – Waterloo, WI
KMC CrossFest – Thompson, CT ( Jamey and Laurel ) 
West Sacramento Grand Prix – Sacramento, CA ( Lance )
Charm City Cross – Baltimore, MD
US Open of Cyclocross – Boulder, CO
Cincy CX Festival - Cincinnati, OH
Derby City Cup – Louisville, KY
Pan Am Championships - Louisville, KY

CXLA – Los Angeles, CA (Nov 18 + 19)
Ruts N Guts CX – Broken Arrow, OK
USA National Championships – Reno, NV
UCI World Championships – Valkenburg-Limburg, NED