VERONA, WISCONSIN— With the largest field of the day so far, the Masters 45-49 and 50-54 Women took to the course at 11:30. Jennifer Maxwell (Van Dessel Factory Team) took the holeshot in the 45-49 field, which ran 24 deep. Among the racers, several including Dorothy Wong, Julie Lewis-Sroka, Lauri Webber and Christina Probert had done the Women’s Singlespeed race the day prior.
After one lap, Gina Hall (Cal Giant Cycling) had taken the lead, followed seconds behind by Antonia Leal (Planet Bike). Behind them, a group of three powered through the start/finish together, led by Julie Lewis-Sroka (Lake Effect Cycling Team).
With two to go, the top two stayed the same but New Jersey racer Stacey Barbossa (Elite Endurance Training Systems) came barreling across the line in third spot.
Halfway through, it seemed apparent that racing the day before had only served to help the ladies on course, with Lewis-Sroka and Lauri Webber both sitting in the top ten.
Hall, Leal and Barbossa maintained their lead, and the two races simultaneously on course began to overlap after three laps, rendering it almost impossible, certainly difficult, for the announcers and spectators to tell the races apart.
Masters Women 50-54
In the 50-54 race, Kris Walker (The Contender Club) defended her 2010 title, although the victory was not without drama. After establishing a thirty-second gap, Walker tangled with the field in front of her (at one point she was in fifth place in the 45-49 field). “There was a girl in the next field who kept riding in front of me, and you just can’t do that when Cathy [Walberg] is chasing you.” Walberg (Topeka, Kansas) caught Walker with only half a lap remaining, erasing a twelve second deficit at the bell. “Ironically,” Walker said, “Cathy got tangled up in that same rider, and I was able to get away on the pavement, although I knew she was close because I could hear her supporters telling her to sprint. I just put my head down and charged.”
The Pocatello, Idaho rider is a family doctor and “swim mom” when she’s not winning multiple cyclocross championships. “It helps that the season is so short, so I can do most of my work during the summer months.”