The first afternoon session at Louisville Nationals kicked off with four Women's Masters categories taking the course. The Women's 60-64, 65-69, 70-74 and 75+ races all took the course to tackle the climbs and slick mud at Joe Creason Park.
Tripp Tops in Masters 60-64
The Women's Masters 60-64 race got out to a fast start with Karen Tripp (Finkraft Cycling Team) and Lisa Coyne (Team Thrive p/b Kaiser Permanente) off the front by the time they reached the stairs.
The second trip around the course, Coyne dropped off the pace and Tripp staked out a solo lead off the front. She kept the lead at a comfortable margin the rest of the way to take home the win.
"[Lisa] fell and I kind of took advantage of that," Tripp said. "I thought, now is my time. Then I passed her and I didn't see her. Someone said she had a mechanical. I don't know what happened, maybe she dropped a chain."
From there, Tripp played her cards strategically on the slick, muddy back section of the course.
"I figured out that running was the fastest way on the back section," Tripp said. "I got off my bike and actually was going faster because it was so slick. I didnt want to take the chance of falling. Running is fast."
"I'm celebrating," Tripp said about her post-race plans. "It's been a long year for me. I've done a lot of nationals. I'm just going to relax, I have some family here and my coach and their family. I'm going to have a good time."
Susan Foster (Deschutes Brewery) came powering back after a slow start to take second, and Susan Bernatas rounded out the podium in third.
Full results are below.
Sweeney Scores Stars-and-Stripes
Earlier this year at Reno Nationals, Maureen Sweeney (Racer X / Colorado Bike Law) took home a bit of a bloody nose from Rancho San Rafael Park.
This year at Joe Creason Park in Louisville, things went a bit more smoothly for the Colorado resident. Sweeney started the race with a fast start. "I think one of my fortes is a good, strong start so I really tried to do that," she said about the race.
Although Sweeney has years of cyclocross experience, she was still a bit surprised by how the course changed overnight. "It was very unexpected when I [hit the mud] on the middle section of the park. It was slick yesterday, I thought it had dried out a bit," she said.
Sweeney was able to adjust on the fly and win the Masters 65-69 Stars-and-Stripes by a comfortable margin.
Margaret Thompson (Hammer Nutrition) took second and Tracy Lea (T.E.A.M. Fuji) captured the bronze.
Full results are below.
Iverson Eyes Masters 70-74 Title
Martha Iverson (K4 Racing) had a pretty straightforward goal for Wednesday's race, "I didn't want to finish last," she said. Racing in the Masters 70-74 category, Iverson started with the Masters 65-69 group, so to accomplish her goal, she would have to ride like an athlete a half-decade younger.
When Iverson crossed the line with the Masters 65-69 win, she had accomplished her mission. "I wanted to do well, I think I did finish ahead of some of the 65-year-old women and maybe even one or so of the 60-year-olds."
With the icy mud melting as temperatures neared 50 in the late morning, the course conditions became quite treacherous in spots. If she could do it again, Iverson would have made one important equipment change.
"I didn't have spikes on my shoes and I wished that I did," she said. "I had better traction on my bike if I could ride it, but my shoes were slipping everywhere. I think all the women were having problems."
"It was a lot slicker and muddier than I expected. I ended up having to walk or kind of run quite a bit of it."
Lockhart Locks Up 75+ Win
Julie Lockhart (Northeast Cycling Club) began racing cyclocross when she was introduced through a road racing clinic in 2006. She raced a full season and attended her first National Championship in Providence that year where she was one of the first Senior Champions.
Asked to describe the course in Louisville, Lockhart replied “It was awesome, difficult, had to think, went down twice. Slippery, slidey, slimy, great. Everything a World Championship or a National Championship course should be.”
Lockhart should know something about a Championship course, being fresh off a trip to Masters Worlds in Mol, Belgium.
"The Mol trip was interesting,” she said. “They roto-tilled the entire course for the Masters. Riding it was not an issue because it was eight or nine inches thick dirt. As it got older it became a little more rideable, at least there was a line for the younger riders. It was very very difficult. It was quintessential Mol.”
As reigning World Champion in her age group, we asked Lockhart if she had any advice to those racing later in the week. “Preride!” she told us.
She also cautioned that riders should be prepared to abandon their plans. “Everything changes within five minutes of pre-riding so just be very attentive to the sense of what your bike is feeling.”
Photos and results are below.
Brandon Grant and Zachary Schuster contributed to this report.
Visit our dedicated Louisville Cyclocross Nationals page for all of our 2018 Nationals coverage and enter your Cyclocross Nationals Fantasy team today for a chance to win glory and great stuff from Easton, Feedback Sports, Kenda and PrestaCycle.
You can purchase race photos in our nightly galleries at cyclocross.zenfolio.com and help support our event coverage.