Master Women's 50+ World's podium © Marilyn Ruseckas

Master Women's 50+ Worlds podium © Marilyn Ruseckas

Marilyn Ruseckas led the US charge at Masters Cyclocross Worlds in Mol, Belgium. Americans brought home three medals, with Ruseckas claiming the top step and the World Championship rainbow jersey (Kevin Hines took a silver and his teammate Jonny Bold a bronze). Here’s her recap of the experience and the race.  And in case you missed it, find complete coverage, photos, reports and replay our live coverage from Saturday and Sunday in our 2010 Tabor Cyclocross Worlds Coverage Center.

Adam Whitney (Masters 35+) and I traveled to Europe from January 14th-26th, 2010 to race the Masters World Championships in Mol, Belgium. The trip consisted of 1,032 km of travel by camper through the Netherlands and Belgium. For 13 days and 12 nights, the weather was cold and the atmosphere foggy, but the riding was excellent in this world center of cycling.

We stayed in Noordwijkerhout, Holland the first and last days. There we found sweeping singletrack in the dunes and rode a bike path through a National Park from one coastal resort town to the next.

The new World Champ, rolling in style. Photo © Marilyn Ruseckas

The new World Champ, rolling in style. Photo © Marilyn Ruseckas

In Bakel, Netherlands we raced a Dutch National ‘cross race. The course was muddy due to snow and rain and consisted primarily of singletrack. As the only Americans, Adam and I both did well. He placed 28th of 57 Masters and I placed 10th of 26 in the Women’s Open category.

Outside of Brussels, we stayed at Filip Sport in Hoeilaart for 3 days. We went to the Vlaams Wielercentrum Eddy Merckx velodrome in Gent for an exciting evening of indoor track riding. We rented fixed gear bikes and got instruction from Hugo Suy, a Belgian cycling columnist. The wooden track had a 50.5 degree bank, which took some courage to enter.

Filip introduced us to Paul Hoskens, a Belgian pro mountain bike racer, who took us on a trail ride through the forest (Foret de Soignes). We rode for hours passing by an old castle in the fog with ornate sculpture and manicured hedges.

Next, Hugo took us on a road ride, including part of the route of the Tour of Flanders. We rode several famous climbs, including The Muur in Geraardsbergen, a cobbled climb that was also in the Tour de France.

Hitting the velodrome to prep for Masters Worlds © Marilyn Ruseckas

Hitting the velodrome to prep for Masters Worlds © Marilyn Ruseckas

All this riding proved to be good training for the Masters Worlds. The weather was dry for the race, but the short course had its challenges regardless. There were sections of deep sand that were not always rideable. I had a big lead in the first lap of my race. Then in the second lap, Lucia Pizzolotto (ITA) came alongside me. Adam witnessed her drafting me on the paved start/finish stretch as we headed back into the sand. I cleaned a tricky sand section and, looking back, I saw her dismount. I got a gap and finished in first with 7 seconds to spare.

Adam’s race was very competitive. He finished 38th and the winner was the French national champion.

Heading back, we went to Hoogerheide, Netherlands to watch the final World Cup race and to see all our American friends compete. The event was impressive in size and quality of talent. Being there capped off our European experience.

Thanks to Rob Vandermark, Jennifer Miller and the staff at Seven Cycles for all of your help to make this trip a success. Thank you for putting us in touch with Filip Lauwers and thanks to Filip for taking us to the velodrome and for introducing us to Paul and Hugo, making our experience very personable. All of their family’s hospitality was first class as were the rides they took us on.

Thanks to our family and friends for their support. Thanks to Stan’s NoTubes for the tire set up that we also used on our rides.

And thanks for reading!

Marilyn Ruseckas
2010 Masters World Champion, Women 50+