VERONA, WISCONSIN – On a course that again began to turn treacherous with the cooling weather, Corey Coogen Cisek (Cyclocrossracing.com) and Amanda Carey found themselves in a two-up battle against each other and a course rife with hidden hazards.
The two established an early lead together after Jennifer Nowlin (Peace Coffee Racing) took the holeshot and spent much of the first two laps wheel-to-wheel before Coogen Cisek flatted with two laps to go, leaving Carey alone to, by all appearances, ride away with the race.
“It was crazy out there,” said Coogen Cisek. “I flatted when I hit a rock on the very top. I rode it down the hill, but Carey had a huge gap. I every time I tried to push it, I fell over.”
But this is cyclocross, after all, and as Coogen Cisek refused to give up and powered along in second, Carey’s 30-second lead suddenly cut in half when she too flatted, this time on the final lap just before the stairs.
“I’m heartbroken, I’m not gonna lie,” said Carey. “I had a really comfortable gap, at least thirty seconds. It started getting hard out there, I don’t know if it was freezing or what, and on one of those downhill sections you can’t see what’s under there. I was flying pretty fast, and bottomed out. That was that.”
Carey entered the pit with just over ten seconds to Coogen Cisek, but found no bike waiting for her and was forced to ride the rest of the lap on her flat.
“My pit guys were yelling at me: you don’t have a bike! You don’t have a bike! At that point I still had a gap. I did a full lap on a flat. That’s racing.”
Coogen Cisek caught Carey on the final hill, and Cary had no response as Coogen Cisek rode on for the win. A clearly disappointed Carey crossed in second, followed by Katie Melena in third.
“I heard she flatted as well,” Coogen Cisek continued. “So I just stayed in it and the timing was right. I caught her on the hill and we ran it together, but she didn’t really fight for it after that.”
Melena’s battle for third was hard fought, as well, as a battle with Motofish Racing’s Jennifer Gaertner occupied her for much of the race. Cynthia Bannink followed close behind. With two to go, Melena looked to have third sealed up, with a decent gap, but Bannink then managed to bridge up to the Rock Lobster racer, and momentarily pulled herself into third position. Melena wasn’t letting go of that third podium spot, however, and fought back to take the bronze across the line.
Interview with Corey Coogan Cisek:
Interview with Amanda Carey:
Masters Women 35-39 Cyclocross National Championships Photo Gallery: