LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – In a tightly contested battle with My Wife Inc. racer Patricia Kauffman, Kathy Sarvary of Blue Steele Cyclery took another World Championship title in a race that combined all of the over 55 fields for the women.
While an early mechanical (a flat at the start line) left Sarvary with an already elevated heart rate as she snagged her pit bike with less than a minute to the start. “I was freaking out. I knew that the officials could have started the race without me. The whole day was about me trying not to panic,” she said.
Despite the hiccup, she was still able to snag the holeshot and open a gap on the rest of the field. But a crash in lap two slowed her down enough that Kauffman and Rebecca Williams were able to close the gap. Kauffman took over the lead, and Sarvary began to chase in earnest.
“My start wasn’t great,” said Kauffman. “My first lap was just getting used it. I didn’t pre-ride the course at all—I just didn’t think it was worth it given the changing conditions. The second lap was much better, and Kathy had a problem with her chain at the bottom of the hill coming into the finish. I thought, maybe that’s the finish, because other groups only had two laps! So when they said there was another lap to go, I thought, oh no! She’s a really tough competitor. She’s world class.”
With one to go on the frozen course, Sarvary launched an attack past Kauffman. “I realized if I sat on her, she’d get a second wind, but if I went by her, I had to do it in one shot and give it my all, so I went,” said Sarvary. Kauffman did her best to stay with Sarvary, but the national champion had the bit in her teeth and powered in for a solo win.
“I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” Sarvary said. “I crashed hard at the bottom of that ice hill and dropped the chain and couldn’t get it on. I had friends and teammates on the sidelines that had more faith in me than I did, and I couldn’t give up, for them.”
With such a small field of women competing in the categories above 55, all were grouped together in the same race. This meant that some women, such as 70+ National Champion Julie Lockhart, were competing with women nearly two decades younger than her. Lockhart was pulled after one lap, and was quite happy with her race.
“I had a terrific start with this group,” she said afterword. “I had a few sloppy falls, but all in all it was a wonderful course. It was a little scary on some of the downhills. The 80% rule got me right between the eyes. But you know what, it was the start, getting bogged down in the mud. But it happens. I keep telling my friends to come out and try cyclocross!”