Karen Tripp Wins Cyclocross National Championship (55-59)

Here is a little story Karen Tripp wrote about her win in the 55-59 race at cyclocross nationals. – Roger


Tick tock, tick tock…….

It’s Monday morning and three days to my championship race, bikes are on the car and ready for the one hour ride over to the venue. It has been so warm here in NC until today, cold and windy, figures, all my past championship races have been sub 20 degrees. The course was not what I expected, they have held a race here for the past two years just to shake out the course and venue. When I did my first lap I thought to myself, whoa, this is totally different than the past two years.

I had planned on spending the day getting comfortable with the course and returning on Wednesday for my husband Jeff and Roger’s race. Uh oh, change of plans, course trickier than I thought it would be so I decided I needed to head back over Tuesday to spend even more time checking out the course and tackling some of the more technical sections. There was a section after Bonk Breaker hill that I was planning on running because it was quite sketchy and Roger and I talked about it and thought that it would be safest to run it. So that was the plan. Left Tuesday not yet having ridden that section.

Wednesday morning headed back over to watch Jeff and Roger race. Weather was starting to warm up, conditions were going to make the course fast. Jeff had his best race of his year, so proud! Roger had an awesome race in probably the toughest age group, so happy for him!

Had to wait until the end of the day when all the races had finished for the course to open for riding. That upper section after Bonk Breaker Hill had changed a lot and it looked like there were some lines that had developed through the day from the previous races. Got on my bike at 5:00 and headed to that particular section and decided I needed to find the right line and ride it. Took a few tries, rode it a couple of times and laid it to rest. I had to ride this section for my race.

Morning of my race, Roger asks, did I sleep well? Yeah right. Once the course opened after the early morning races we went to check it out. Conditions were pretty dry, I checked out the lines and reconfirmed that I needed to ride the section that we thought I would be running. We did two laps and no problem, rode everything and was feeling confident.

The time has finally arrived, changed into my kit, did my pre-race warm up and headed over to the start line. I must say that my field of competitors are fantastic, what a great group of racers! Call ups are starting, I am third to be called up. Didn’t have the best start so I had to put in a big effort and managed to get to the run up in first.

Halfway into the first lap my lead was around 15 seconds, but the second place girl was not going to make it easy for me. By the time we got to Bonk Breaker hill she had cut it in half. I knew now I had to nail this section that I had been concerned about. Everything went as planned and I was able to reestablish my 15 second advantage. From that point on I knew I needed to stay focused and ride a clean race and the Jersey would be mine.

The rest of the race I continued to increase the gap with the help of the Flying Fin’s encouragement. He was all over the course!

When I crossed the line as a National Champion, it took me a moment to realize, oh my gosh, I did it…….!!!!!!