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by David Mable

Friday’s first afternoon race was contested by the Masters Women ages 50 to 54.

Stacey Barbossa was tired of being a bridesmaid and was eager to reach the top step of the podium after finishing on the podium four times at Nationals.

The defending champion Laura van Gilder did not take the start. But would her absence present an opportunity for Barbossa to finally climb up to the top after years of heartbreak, including ripping off her rear derailleur while in the lead in 2016 in Asheville?

Even though Van Gilder stayed home, current Masters World Champion Libby Sheldon was primed and ready to add to her current wardrobe.

Tracy Yates sprints off the line. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Tracy Yates sprints off the line. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

From the gun, Tracy Yates blasted to the front, leading the field up the starting straight, with Sheldon right on her wheel. Barbossa found herself caught in traffic as the race wound up toward the first set of stairs.

“I had a typical terrible start,” said Barbossa. “I was in about fourth, and I just got to the front before the first set of stairs and I just tried to ride away.”

Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Barbossa, who’s had two silver and two bronze medals in in her previous five tries, rode clean lines and was able to stay away, but not without facing the challenges presented by a dry course that’s been heavily used for the past several days.

“It was hard. It was really, really dry today,” said Barbossa. “It made it ‘skiddy’ trying to go up that steep hill. I just tried to keep the rubber side down coming down the other side and I was just skidding all over, but thankfully I kept it together.”

Sheldon put her head down to chase, but could not match her speed.

Elizabeth Sheldon is the current Masters World Champ, and won't have to deal with a wardrobe dilemna after her silver medal ride. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Elizabeth Sheldon is the current Masters World Champ, and won’t have to deal with a wardrobe dilemma after her silver medal ride. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

“She’s a fast one,” said Sheldon of Barbossa, “I knew I wasn’t going to keep up with her. Third was right there. It was tough. Laura (Fisher) is awesome, I knew she was going to come up on me. She would catch me on the backside, on the hill, and then I would make a little gap going up the straightaway, which I didn’t think I would be able to do. I knew I had to go really hard on the straightaway. Probably another lap she would have caught me.”

Lara Fisher searches for oxygen among the dinosaurs. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Lara Fisher searches for oxygen among the dinosaurs. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Sheldon was able to stay clear to take home the silver and put nearly 20 seconds into Fisher at the line. Fisher kept a chasing Christina Probert and Nina Donahue off, and finished third.

Barbossa was thrilled to finally land on the top step of the podium after being so close so many times before. In Ashville, she lost a lead due to a mechanical.

Stacey Barbossa finally gets her gold medal after two silvers and two bronze finishes at Cyclocross Nationals. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Stacey Barbossa finally gets her gold medal after two silvers and two bronze finishes at Cyclocross Nationals. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

“It feels really, really good,” said Barbossa. “I have two silvers, two bronze, but now I have a gold and that’s why I’m here. I have a table setting of bronze and silver for friends who come over, I needed the gold. I’m enjoying this very much.”

Stacey Barbossa finally gets her gold medal after two silvers and two bronze finishes at Cyclocross Nationals. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Stacey Barbossa finally gets her gold medal after two silvers and two bronze finishes at Cyclocross Nationals. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Full photo gallery below the results.

Women Masters 50-54 Results: 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals

PlaceBibLASTFirstTeamCity STTimeGap
172BARBOSSAStaceyColavita Midatlantic Women's TeMountainside NJ35:50
268SHELDONElizabethCrosshairs CyclingWashington DC36:1929
364FISHERLaraKUHL Cycling TeamSandy UT36:3848
4825PROBERTChristinaMurrieta CA37:481:58
562DONOHUENinaALP Cycles RacingBoulder CO37:491:59
674YATESTracyArvada CO38:202:30
761MOFFATMicheleALP Cycles RacingBoulder CO39:103:20
869KENNEDYAnnPortland OR40:535:03
971DAUBENYCarolynDeschutes BreweryBend OR42:496:59
1075BJORNSENTrudyDavis Bike ClubVacaville CA44:128:22
1163RAINFORTHTinaEgenciaMukilteo WA33:39@1Lap
1267LAMBTamaraWestlake Village CA34:21@1Lap
1373THOMPSONIsabelleMontrose Bike ShopLa Canada Flintridge CA34:26@1Lap
1477MARTINSarahOlympia Orthopaedic AssociatesOlympia WA36:07@1Lap
1570ROSSSoniaSanta Barbara Bicycle Club/SBBCSanta Barbara CA36:16@1Lap
1666ORENLucieBike Like a GirlReno NV38:43@1Lap

2018 Cyclocross National Championships – Masters Women 50-54 Photo Gallery:

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Stacey Barbossa finally gets her gold medal after two silvers and two bronze finishes at Cyclocross Nationals. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Stacey Barbossa finally gets her gold medal after two silvers and two bronze finishes at Cyclocross Nationals. Masters Women 50-54. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

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