After her Matrix/RBM teammate Kimberly Chance took the 55-59 title earlier in the morning and fellow Dentonite Catherine Moore took the 45-49 title, Christina Gokey-Smith (Matrix/RBM) faced the Texas-sized task of winning her own “Lone” Stars-and-Stripes jersey in the Masters 40-44 race. Gokey-Smith was up to the task, overcoming a shaky first two minutes to take home the National Championship and complete an impressive day for the Texan women.
Gokey-Smith’s race did not start how she hoped. She had trouble clipping in at the start and took an early-race spill:
“I got bumped on the start. Usually getting clipped in and going is my strong suit. I didn’t panic, got back on, and I took the lead early, right after this corner. However, I crashed in that first turn, just wiped out. So I was in third going up the run and I tried to stay strong with them. They were running down the descent and I decided I was going to ride it and flew right past them. That’s where I got the lead.”
After ripping the descent, Gokey-Smith would not look back for the rest of the race. She held a 15 second lead after the first lap and extended it each lap after that. After the race, Gokey-Smith said she’s had her Nationals hopes dashed by mechanicals in the past, so staying mechanical-free after the early crash was big for her.
The Texan has a diverse cycling background that helped her stay strong throughout the course, “I naturally have a great sprint in those fast twitch muscles, so I think that suits me. Plus I’m a mountain biker by heart, so the technicality of the course really suited me well. I just focused on my lines and tried to stay smooth.”
Behind Gokey-Smith, a great battle for second broke out. Kristin Weber (Boulder Cycle-Sport / Yogaglo) and Melissa Barker (EVOL DevoElite Racing) locked horns for a battle of Colorado racers. The duo races against one another every weekend, and Weber said the experience was a special Nationals challenge for her, “We’ve battled it out for the last three years. I won Nationals in Austin, she won last year [in Asheville], so with very different days on the bike. We know each other’s psychology.”
The two Coloradans battled to a standstill through the second lap and sat wheel-to-wheel after climbing the embankment during the penultimate lap. After descending off the embankment, Weber made her move through the woods and opened up a lead on Barker. When she passed through the start/finish heading into the bell lap, Weber held a 12 second advantage on Barker.
Weber stayed strong in the last lap to take second, and Barker took third.
Weber said knowing Barker so well inspired her to make a go of it through the woods, “I was definitely riding the slick, kind of hard, muddy stuff pretty smoothly. And I was making some gains in there. Melissa and I battled it out all year long in Colorado, so we know how each other rides, like intimately. I tend to be a little bit of a faster runner, but she was right there with me on the run today. I was just putting in some time here. We traded positions a few times and I was like ‘I gotta be in front in that section.’ From that point, from the bottom of the hill almost to the finish line is pretty technical the whole way so it was not some place I wanted to be behind her.”
Jauron Vetter (Mad Alchemy | Zanconato) and Corey Coogan Cisek (Power Fix CX) rounded out the top five.
2017 CX National Championships Hartford Day 3 Results Masters Women 40-44
|2||139||WEBER||Kristin||Boulder Cycle Sport/ YogaGlo||38:57:00||57|
|3||121||BARKER||Melissa||EVOL DevoElite Racing||39:20:00||1:20|
|4||137||VETTER||Jauron||Mad Alchemy | Zanconato||39:34:00||1:34|
|5||123||COOGAN CISEK||Corey||Power Fix CX||39:56:00||1:56|
|6||132||NOWLIN||Jennifer||Power Fix CX||40:10:00||2:10|
|7||128||IRELAND||Rebecca||Power Fix CX||40:56:00||2:56|
|8||133||ROBINSON||Leslie||Sunapee Racing Team||41:06:00||3:06|
|10||127||HUDSON||Lisa||Feedback Sports Racing||42:04:00||4:04|
|11||122||BLANCHARD||Bryna||East Greenbush NY||42:58:00||4:58|
|12||131||MONAHAN||Vickie||Greater Hartford Cycling Club||44:24:00||6:24|
|14||129||LITKA||Kerry||The Velo Resource||46:54:00||8:54|
|16||130||MACARELLI||Katie||Feedback Sports Racing||48:52:00||10:52|
|17||134||SLOAN||Sharon||Back Bay Cycling Club||38:18:00||@1Lap|
|DNS||135||SMITH||Michele M||Hup United|