Laurel Rathbun was across the pond, as they say, with the USA Cycling Team for an extended training and race camp. She lined up for to days of racing in the Netherlands.
As mentioned previously it was a dry and dusty weekend at the CX MoVal UCI race in Moreno Valley, CA. The racing was also incredibly fast. "The heat wasn't as bad as we have dealt with earlier in the season," said Jamey Driscoll. "The night race helped, plus the air is quite dry." Jamey had great form over the weekend and would take the silver medal both days behind a speedy Tobin Ortenblad.
"It was loose, bumpy and dusty, and as much as I'd rather have mud, it was challenging enough that it broke up the race which played to my advantage," said Jamey. "The race organizers did an excellent job and the course was well-designed."
The U23 race on Saturday and Sunday, ended up being a battle between Lance and Chris Blevins. "It was almost crazy how similar the two days were in terms of tactics and how the race played out," stated Lance.
Lance knew how easy it was to make mistakes on this tricky course and wanted to be at the front, hitting the pace hard from the start. "Within the first lap of each race, I was able to get a 5 second gap over Chris, but untimely mistakes would flip the cards and leave me chasing." said Lance. With the course being so loose it was very difficult to close the gap and it came down to the finish Lance had burned all his matches. "I was definitely feeling the early efforts and two, very close, second place finishes were all I could manage."
The team will be together again for the Ruts N Guts UCI race in Broken Arrow, OK. on Dec. 2nd and 3rd.
Laurel Rahtbun has had a nice start to her trip to the Netherlands with the USA Cycling Team. After a few days of loosening up the legs and getting over jet lag, she and her other teammates lined up in Hilversum, NED, for a smaller regional race. “The course was super fast and fun. It had lots of single track through the woods with a few steep hills and a sandy stair run up,” said Laurel. “Clara Honsinger is the other u23 girl on the trip with me and we got the first two call ups, so that was fun!” Laurel would take the holeshot and lead the race for a bit, but after a few botched corners she would fall back to 13th place in a strong field. “I was hoping for a better result, but I still made 10 Euro!” joked Laurel.
Sunday was another regional race in Lieshout, NED. “The start was 16-riders wide in this crazy bumpy field and there were two semi-smooth lines created by tractor tires. I knew I had to be quick off the line to get to the smooth part first, “ said Laurel. “The official had a rope in front of our tires and we went when the rope dropped, but I did not know that was how the start was going to go down.” laughed Laurel. “I was still pretty quick off the line, but not quick enough. Bodies and elbows were flying everywhere. It was the most aggressive start I’ve ever been a part of.” After battling through the technical twisty singletrack course she would finish 12th on the day and take home another whopping 10 Euro.
“I’m very happy with the racing thus far. The races are aggressive and you have to really fight for space,” said Laurel. “Everyone is super friendly and they really like the Americans racing here. I feel really good, just need to work on some technical things to be at the front of these races." Laurel went on to say, "USA Cycling has been so wonderful, making it as easy and painless as possible for us to be here - I am incredibly grateful for their support.”
It is unlikely Laurel will compete in the Zeven World Cup because there is a full elite American women squad, but she will do the Flandriencross in Hamme, Belgium this coming weekend.
Donnelly Professional Cycling Team Sponsors
Rochester Cyclocross – Rochester, NY
Jingle Cross World Cup – Iowa City, IO
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
Los Angeles, CA (Nov 18 + 19)
Ruts N Guts CX – Broken Arrow, OK (Dec 2 + 3)
USA National Championships – Reno, NV
UCI World Championships – Valkenburg-Limburg, NED