When the three C3 Athletes Serving Athletes teammates showed up at the start line dressed in White Stormtroopers kits, it was a sure thing that the smackdown was coming in the Elite Women’s race at Beacon Cross. The favorite going into the race was definitely on Champion System MAC Series leader Laura Van Gilder who stands atop the UCI Cross Rankings but it was Deedee Winfield who pulled out the solo win. The third teammate Arley Kemmerer claimed the final step on the podium.
“I got to go now” was the thought that went through Winfield mind when her competitors crashed one after another.
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The trio came out fast and took over the top 3 spots in the field as they hit the dirt with Winfield and Van Gilder trading the lead. All three were together going into the dreaded Amphitheater of pain and it’s high stairs with the field strung out behind when disaster stuck for Van Gilder. In the lead, she clipped her pedal in a root at a turn at the top, went over the bars and once recovered, found that she had to pit to get a new bike. Winfield was able to avoid her but not Kemmerer who also got caught up in the crash. Winfield kept on going with Kristin Gavin (Team CF) who then slipped out in a corner leaving Winfield solo at the front.
It was time to go for Winfield, who put her head down and pushed the pace increasing her gap from 7 to 25 seconds. Over the 80-meter sandpit, the longest allowed by the UCI and climbing the stairs she pushed it, sometimes tiny steps, sometimes bug but pushing it nonetheless, she knew that Van Gilder was coming. And she was, fast!
After getting a new bike, Van Gilder started chasing, using her engine in the long powerful sections and she made up ground moving up to second spot with two laps to go. Behind her Kemmerer solo and then the Team CF duo of Gavin and Nicole Thiemann.
And that’s how it played out until the end. Winfield raised her hands to cross the line with her hsuband, mechanic, and bigest supported Buck letting out a scream of joy. Once minute late Van Gilder came through then Kemmerer. Gavin took the sprint for 4th ahead of Thiemann.
DeeDee Winfield (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes). “I don’t know where I got back in front but Laura clipped her pedal in a root above the amphitheater so that’s where I came around and Arley went down behind her, and so then Kristin and I were together and we were riding through here, she slipped on a corner and I was like ‘I got to go now’, so it was good.”
About the course. “It’s hard. This course is hard because the corners really flow, the amphitheater just crushes me, I do not enjoy that at all, I feel like I’m climbing a tree every time I go up it. Buck was saying ‘little steps, little steps’ so I wouldn’t say that’s my forte for sure. I wouldn’t say that this is my favorite course but the corner were sweeping which is nice. It’s a hard course, it’s fast.”
About taking risks at the front. “It’s 50-50, you either push it and continue to grow your gap and you play it conservative and people will come back to you, you just take the risks. It’s just a bike race.” (laughs)
About Van Gilder chasing. “I knew that she would be coming fast and I knew I didn’t want her anywhere near me on the pavement when we came through so I was like I have to keep this gap big, they were yelling the gap times, it was good. I think you have to take the risk, if you go down, you go down, that’s part of bike racing.”
Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes). “The top of the amphitheater, there’s this one root, I saw it and everything but I clipped my pedal on it. I was not anticipating that so it threw me up and then drove my front wheel, so I immediately went over the bars and then Arley ran into me. I thought more people did but in the meantime my bike was smashing into me. So I got back up and my chain was off, but got back on and continued but I was really, my shin was hurting so I was really taking a couple of minutes to kind of get my act together. I don’t even know if it was a whole lap but my shift lever was loose and I thought ‘oh I can maybe ride this’ and it started to engage my brake a little bit so I pitted. I’m happy coming back for second for sure because I’d lost a bunch of time.”
About taking risks while chasing. “I would say that first lap, or maybe it wasn’t a complete lap, I was a little tentative but there’s a lot of pretty long powerful sections here so I was able to open it up and be conservative on the corners as I needed to be. And then as laps started to come down and I was taking more time out [of the gap], I was railing it more.”
Top 10 Elite Women Results
1. Deidre Winfield (C3 – Athletes Serving Athletes)
2. Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes)
3. Arley Kemmerer (C3 – Athletes Serving Athletes)
4. Kristin Gavin (Team Cystic Fibrosis)
5. Nicole Thiemann (Team Cystic Fibrosis)
6. Jennifer Maxwell (Van Dessel Factory Team p/b Sterke Meiden)
7. Carolyn Popovic (PAValleys.com)
8. Katrina Dowidchuk (Team TBB/Deep Blue)
9. Rebecca Blatt (silverbull centralwheel)
10. Kristine Church (Human Zoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon)