The Big Picture: CycleSmart International Day 1 (Elite Women)

Ellen Noble (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) took Day 1 in the Elite Women’s field of CycleSmart International, ahead of Emma White (CyclocrossWorld Development Team, 2nd) and Kathleen Lysakowski (Joe’s Garage CX p/b BikeReg, 3rd).

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Despite recent unseasonably warm weather, cloudy skies kept the day cool, and a sprinkling of rain the night before gave course sections an appropriate amount of tack. While the northeast has yet to experience true “cross weather,” it was by no means an unpleasant day to pedal a bike.

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Ellen Noble, front and center on the start line.  © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Front row, 30 seconds until start. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Front row, 30 seconds until start. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

After the start whistle, Noble technically took the holeshot, but White countered immediately on the next straight to lead the first portion of lap 1.

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
White, Noble, Greaser, Maximenko, and Lysakowski early on the flat grass sections of course. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
White, Noble, Greaser, Maximenko, and Lysakowski early on the flat grass sections of course. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Noble allowed White to remain at the front early in the race and soon, the two of them had opened a small gap on the closest chasers, with Greaser fighting to remain in contact.

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

The course featured a pro-only downhill switchback section which turned out to be quite the feature, drawing a large crowd to spectate. All racers approached the section gingerly, with some having more success than others:

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Brittlee Bowman (House Ind./Withings/SimpleHuman) rode a great race (finishing 10th), but did not have a particularly easy time with the switchbacks. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Brittlee Bowman (House Ind./Withings/SimpleHuman) rode a great race (finishing 10th), but did not have a particularly easy time with the switchbacks. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Many of her race-mates equally struggled with the challenging feature: Kate Northcott (West Hill Shop), Jenny Ives (Verge Test Pilot/Jamis), and Carol Jane Sansome (Foundry Cycles) all ran at least a portion of the same section with Bowman. Riders like Megan Chinburg (Team S&M) who did manage to ride it were rewarded with ‘free’ time on their rivals and abundant cheers from the crowd.

Back at the front, White and Noble would ride together for about two laps. Meanwhile, Greaser was unable to match the pace set by the two leaders, drifting into no-mans-land between leaders and a chasing Lysakowski and Maximenko.

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

While Noble and White would continue to work together, Lysakowski and Maximenko would slowly reel in Greaser. By the time chasers reached the stair set/run up heading into the woods, Greaser would be caught.

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Moments later, exiting the woods, Noble and White would drop back down to the grass sections of course with just under a 20 second gap amassed on their pursuers.

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

After a hard chase, Lysakowski still had gas in the tank to turn screws against Greaser, with Maximenko sitting a second or two behind in 5th place.

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Noble and White wouldn’t stay together long, though: by the time Noble had reached the other, steeper, rooty run-up back into the woods, she had established a 12 second gap on White.

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Steep. Rooty. I’ll admit, the picture does not do it adequate justice: ignore what might look like a line on the left. It’s not. The only way up it involves a dismount.

Noble crests the run-up with White nowhere in sight. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Noble crests the run-up with White nowhere in sight. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

With two laps to go, Greaser, Lysakowski, and Maximenko were still battling one-another at the run-up for the final podium spot.

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© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Noble would ecstatically cruise in for the well-deserved 1st place, followed a few seconds later by White. However, 3rd place was still up for grabs.

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Over the final lap, Greaser and Lysakowski would open a small gap on Maximenko, who would go on to finish 5th. At the final turn, Greaser and Lysakowski were still together, and wound up for a long two-up sprint!

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Closing in toward the finish and it was still a drag race.

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Even with ~10 meters to the line, a clear winner had yet to emerge…

© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

At the last moment, Greaser was maxed-out and Lysakowski found the extra watts to take 3rd place by less than a bike length and round out the podium.

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© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Up next, the Elite Men.

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One thought on “The Big Picture: CycleSmart International Day 1 (Elite Women)

  1. Great storytelling in pictures and words. That “run”-up was gnarly and steep. I like the different styles on that final sprint for 3rd, with Greaser standing on her pedals and Lysakowski choosing to stay in the saddle.

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