Dombroski representing the US in Europe. © Bart Hazen (file photo)

Amy Dombroski took a few weeks off after Nationals to rest and re-focus for a big 2011 cyclocross campaign, complete with a new sponsor, new bikes, and a new journal. Join her in her adventures right here. Her first race was the GP 5 Sterne Region in Beromunster, Switzerland, on Thursday.

by Amy Dombroski

As many of you have experienced recently, it’s snowy on both sides of the pond. I was lucky to have a flight straight from Denver to Frankfurt and avoid the beast of the east snowstorm. Although delayed in Frankfurt I arrived to Brussels no problem with some quality sleep on both flights. I met my family away from family, Jos and Tim in my Belgium home and was ready and happy to lay my head on my bed away from bed.

Wednesday held a bit of relaxing and a lot of bike sorting as yet again I was completely changing bikes into a different animal under the Crank Brothers flag of my new team. Accented with the Crank Bros Candy 11 pedals, seatpost and stems, Zipp 303s, Service Course bars and SRAM Red, along with Fizik’s Antares and classy bar tape. It was a mad gluing session of Dugasts to makes sure I had two handsome Ridley X-Fires rolling for Friday’s race in Beromunster, Switzerland: GP 5 Sterne Region.

Thursday we drove the eight hours to Gunzwil to meet Jasmin Achermann on the side of the road in the dark to pass the key off for the hotel…closed for the season except for this night prior to the race. An early night because of the ‘lag and the next morning it was another race day after nearly three weeks away from start and finish lines.

Cold, snowy, muddy, slippery, challenging, a shock to the system. There were a couple steep muddy drops, a couple off camber fast and slick descents, lots of leg numbing long “climbs”, one run up, slippy paved corners, peanut butter leg sucking straights, wheel grabbing ruts…cyclocross the way it should be! That being said i wasn’t ready for it. My first recon lap I was stiff as a board and had to pull off and talk myself into relaxing, to be fluid, not rigid. By the third lap I had made progress and was feeling confident and excited for the course and race.

Warm up went according to plan and my legs felt OK, but as it had been a while since a race effort I was unsure how I’d respond to the high-end effort. I blew my front row start position by missing my pedal a number of times and not hitting the gas pedal! Slow responses, then I tumbled down the first muddy dive. I got back on but left my head there to pick up on the second lap. That lap I was everywhere…everywhere off the back. When I found my head again for the second, third and fourth laps, I slowly pedaled my way up inside the top ten, changing bikes once per lap. At the end of lap four, I had two consecutive falls which may have put me down the slippery off-cambers quicker than attempting to flail on my bike down them. (Want a good idea of the course? You can check out this slideshow of the Beromunster course under warmer conditions from last year.)

But I rode into seventh place and held that, even through one final tumble. I finished in a very muddy USA skinsuit, my Lazer helmet cover smeared and not very white. Ya know that black box I sometimes put things in to throw away and forget about? I think Beromunster is en route to a special compartment in that box.

Tomorrow, January 1st is another race in Petange, Luxembourg, where I hope Andy Schleck will be podium boy for me.

Happy new year! Stay tuned for more entries, and please drop me some comments below.

GP 5 Sterne Region – Beromunster, Switzerland Women’s Results

Rank Name Nat. Age* Result Points
1 Sabine SPITZ GER 40 40:36 40
2 Jasmin ACHERMANN SUI 22 41:05 30
3 Elisabeth BRANDAU GER 26 41:13 20
4 Martina ZWICK GER 22 44:29 15
5 Daniela BRESCIANI ITA 29 44:38 10
6 Kathrin STIRNEMANN SUI 22 44:48 8
7 Amy DOMBROSKI USA 24 45:31 6
8 Eva COLIN FRA 18 45:50 4
9 Renata BUCHER SUI 34 45:50 2
10 Alexa HÜNI GER 28 45:50 1
11 Nicoletta BRESCIANI ITA 25 46:11
12 Nicole HANSELMANN SUI 20 46:18
13 Lise MÜLLER SUI 22 48:00
14 Amélie MOREL PETITGIRARD FRA 22 48:32
15 Franziska EBINGER SUI 27 49:44
16 Agnes NAUMANN GER 25 54:24
18 Catherine LOHRI SUI 35