VERONA, WISCONSIN— Sally Annis (cyclocrossresults.com), the top seed in the Women’s 35-39 National Championship race today, used a quick start to grab the hole shot, and halfway through the first lap she had put nearly 30 seconds on her closest competitors. Despite no serious pressure from behind, Annis had the gas on full throttle the entire race “On this course, a couple of mistakes and your lead is gone,” said Annis about her decision to ride hard the entire race.
The course’s main hill had become unrideable, and the 35-39 women opted to carry their bikes every turn. ”It was sloppy out there; there were times I felt like I was going backwards,” said Annis. “But man it was tough getting traction, and keeping forward momentum at times.”
Annis continued her domination through the race, pitting every lap early on in order to get her tire pressure dialed in, and then twice on the last lap. Heavy, drying mud had replaced the grass and ice of earlier races, and that mud clotted bikes, turning them into immobile tanks.
The race for second was a heated battle between Corey Coogan Cisek (Minneapolis, MN), Kristal Boni (Rapid Racing), and Nicole Borem (Men of Steel Racing LLC). Cisek held the spot the entire race, but with one lap to go she ran into trouble and Boni took the place briefly before Borem passed her as the duo entered the soccer field.
Borem’s advantage was short lived as Boni was able to reel her back on the hill and then take a a few second lead going up the stairs. It was just enough time for Boni to grab a clean bike for the last half lap and stay in front of Borem for the remainder of the race and hold onto second place.
For Borem it was a true Hoosier comeback story. A registered nurse, Borem found herself in the ICU seven months ago with a coronary embolism. The last several months have been a strict regimen to get her back into racing shape just in time for 2012 Nationals and Worlds. While Borem didn’t walk away the winner in Madison, she demonstrated the grit and fire that makes cyclocross one of the fastest growing sports in the US.