by Molly Hurford
With a first place in the collegiate race and a silver medal in the elite women’s race at US Cyclocross Nationals, Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld.com) has had a terrific season. While Marianne Vos ran away with the race at Worlds, the women behind her were furiously chasing through the loose sand to secure their positions. 19-year-old Kaitie Antonneau scored a 26th place finish, before heading back to the US to … you guess it, start her Spring semester at college. Before she had to rush off to take a test, this student/elite race answered a few questions for us about Worlds and what’s to come.
Cyclocross Magazine: What did you think of the course?
Kaitlin Antonneau: I am really drawn to that course because it is unlike any other cyclocross course out there. There is absolutely no faking it on that course and it’s so hard!
CXM: How did you feel on race day?
KA: I’ve had days with better legs.
CXM: What was it like, racing with that kind of huge crowd?
KA: The number of people in the crowd was jaw-dropping. It was a solid wall of people and noise around the whole course. I kind of laughed during the men’s race because I thought Worlds in St. Wendel was a lot of people. That was nothing compared to Koksijde!
CXM: How did the race go for you?
KA: The race was alright. I tried my best with what I had that day. I was a little bummed with the way I rode but one thing I’ve learned is that not all races are going to be great ones so I just take from it and learn. The whole race from start to finish was hard.
CXM: How did you feel post-race?
KA: I felt a lot of things after the race. I was sad that the season was over, but happy that I had the season that I had.
CXM: Plans for the off-season?
KA: Nothing too exciting going on for the off-season. I’m catching up with school and hanging out with my friends on the cycling team at school. I also do a lot of core and yoga with my Marian Cycling teammates, which is fun. I really enjoy it.
CXM: Did you talk to any Euro racers about how it’ll be next year, with Worlds in the US?
KA: I didn’t get the chance to talk to any other Euro racers about Worlds in the US next year, but I wish I would have gotten the chance!
CXM: Do you think that Worlds should have a women’s U23 and/or junior race?
KA: I definitely think there should be a junior women category for sure! It’s the only discipline that doesn’t have one. I think the first Cyclocross World Championships for Women was in 2000? Not really that long ago but it seems like women’s cyclocross has made a lot of progress since then, so hopefully some day there will be one. It would be neat if there was one for U23 too, but I like racing with the older women. Racing with them pushes me to be better.
CXM: Thoughts on your season overall?
KA: I’m really proud of my accomplishments this season. Looking back at my goals from the beginning of the season, I totally exceeded my expectations for myself. I went from having one World Cup race on my schedule to five World Cup races and I think that was key. I really learned a lot and grew as a rider from doing more races in Europe and I gained a lot of experience this year. In my mind, I couldn’t have asked for a better season.
CXM: How did college work with leaving for Worlds, anyway? What’s the semester look like for you?
KA: Do you want the long answer or the short answer? I had to meet with the Dean of the school before the fall semester ended and get his approval on missing the first three weeks of this semester. My books were brought to Nationals for me and I took them to Europe with me. I communicated with my professors through email while I was in Europe and read a lot while I was there. I got back yesterday and I’m still behind but I’m working hard to catch up. My professors are really great. They care and are willing to help me out as much as possible. I’m only taking thirteen credits this semester. Normally I take around seventeen but that wasn’t possible this semester due to my absence in the beginning.