There really wasn’t any doubt as far as the Elite Women’s winner at the Chicago Cyclocross Cup New Year’s Resolution race. New Englander Sally Annis (crossresults.com p/b JRAcycles) simply powered away from her competitor early in the race and then proceeded to ride strongly and almost flawlessly in the muddy conditions for the win at the inaugural race.
“These are all star riders and probably six people could have won today.” said Annis after the race. “I was just focusing on riding clean and riding strong. People could catch me, good for them, they’re riding stronger and cleaner than I am, I was just focusing on my own race, didn’t really pay too much attention to what was going on behind me.”
Annis took the holeshot and the field quickly stretched out behind her as they made their way across the Indian Lake Resort golf course. Gaps quickly happened with multiple crashes and riders getting bogged down. Nicole Thiemann (Team CF) took over the pace making in the lead group with Annis, Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing) in the lead group. The chase behind shuffled between Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), Arley Kemmerer (C3 Athletes) and Crystal Anthony (LadiesFirst Racing).
“It was super fun, I was able to get a good start which helps a lot. It was muddy and slick out there but everybody was fighting through it. At one point, my bike felt like 50 pounds but everyone’s felt like 50 pounds so you just keep pedaling, it worked out.” said Annis.
Then Annis came to the front and that was all she wrote. “Nikki was riding a great ride at the beginning and I was just trying to stick her wheel. She started to seem to slow down a little bit so I’ll pull for a little bit so I just pulled in front just trying to keep it steady the whole race.”
She simply powered away from the other two riders and kept on pushing the pace at the front. “At one point, I wiped out a little bit but just trying to ride clean and ride steady and other than that one crash, I was able to stay upright which really helped because today you could go down in a lot of places.”
Not long after, Smith dropped Thiemann while trying to chase down Annis. The two know each other very well from duking it out on the New England circuit. “She doesn’t die, she doesn’t face, she’s just a very strong rider.” second place Smith said about Annis. “Excellent clean ride today, as you can tell her skinsuit is still pretty white and I just couldn’t stay with her and I couldn’t catch her either.”
Already a power course with its straightaways, the rainy Thursday made it even more so, with muddy and heavy grassy sections. Interestingly, the conditions changed throughout the day, it got colder and the course became wetter.
“I was not expecting this mud. We rode the course earlier this morning and either you have it drying out because people are riding or you have it getting wetter and I guess I assumed because it was a golf course, it would dry up a little bit. But the mud made it a much better race I think.” said Smith.
Behind them, another rider was surging up, from the last spot to middle of the field and then into top 5 with two laps to go. Then Sue Butler (River City Bicycles) caught and rode with Thiemann until the duo came to the pit on the final lap when Thiemann pitted. Butler was able to open a small gap which she maintained to take third behind Annis and Smith.
“In the beginning I got caught behind about three other people on the floor and then I went on the floor myself so it was a rough start. Once I got wound up and got going, I was fine.” said Butler.
Racing continues on Sunday where temperatures are expected to drop to close to freeing point and the wind to pick up. Whatever happens however, it will remain a power course.
Women start at 12:30pm CT, follow all the action on @podium_live
Top 10 Results
1.Sally Annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles)
2.Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing)
3.Susan Butler (River City Bicycles/Ridley)
4.Nicole Thiemann (Team CF-Elite)
5.Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers)
6.Crystal Anthony (LadiesFirst Racing)
7.Arley Kemmerer (C3 Athletes)
8.Emily Shields (SmartStop/Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley)
9.Samantha Schneider (TIBCO/To The Top)
10.Elle Anderson (LadiesFirst Racing)