Driscoll victorious at Resolution Cross Cup; Rathbun continues her comeback at NCGP
To open the weekend at the UCI C2 Resolution Cross Cup in Garland, TX Jamey Driscoll finally scored the elusive win he’s been waiting for all season. A well-timed attack with two laps to go proved to be the decisive moment for the 30-year old who was able to cross the line with a fine victory salute. Driscoll was hoping to secure his second win of the season on day two, but the three front runners caught the Utah resident off guard from the start leaving him one step off the podium in fourth.
In its fifth year at the Winters Park Amphitheater, race organizers re-designed the course to add more twists and turns in the wooded section. Out of the woods, the course was an open field with gradual climbing on heavy grass. The layout was ideal for high speed racing, which enticed many riders to take it too far over the edge in the technical wooded section. Indeed, it was his competitors’ mistakes which opened the door for Driscoll to take over the lead and clinch the win.
“I’ve acquired some patience over the years to keep my nose out of the wind,” said Driscoll. “But in the group I was thinking ‘where am I going to make my move here’ because there wasn’t a good place where you could open a gap. You had to take the corners exceedingly risky to keep a gap.”
And then two mistakes opened the magical door.
“First Michael [Van Den Ham] (Garneau-Easton Cycling) made a bobble and Todd [Wells] (SRAM/TLD/Scott) and I came around him,” said Driscoll. “Going into the next technical section, I led into it and I realized Todd bobbled behind me. That was with two laps to go so I gave it 110% from there to keep the gap.”
Wells and Van Den Ham joined forces to bring the Raleigh-Clement rider back, but the gap Driscoll was able to create was too much for the duo to reclaim.
“I was able to get my gap up to about 10 seconds,” Driscoll said. “They were able to bring it back down to three at the line. It was tight, but the speed was so high that the gaps were relatively big between people. If I had taken the corners too easy, the gap would have evaporated. I was pinned.”
Although Driscoll outpaced the competition on a blazing fast course, he knows where his weaknesses lie ahead of nationals, which are just four weeks away.
“I’m definitely going to be working on some speed,” said Driscoll. “I’ll be doing plenty of fine tuning leading up to nationals. I would rather have slower and more challenging conditions, but today I was able to race a flawless race which gave me that much more energy. That was the secret to my success.”
Racing on day two got off to a blazing fast start in the warm and humid conditions, but this time Driscoll was caught too far back when the lead trio made their move off the front.
“Yesterday I was able to stick on the wheels, but today I was back in 10th when we hit the dirt,” Driscoll said. “I could tell the legs were pretty tender after yesterday. Todd and Michael made their way to the front pretty quickly. [Justin] Lindine (Apex/NBX/Trek) was there and those three got a gap.”
Driscoll eventually made his way clear of the rest of the field and went into time trail mode to catch the leaders, but the high winds took their toll on the solo rider while the leading trio were able to take advantage of drafting opportunities.
“I brought the gap back to five or six seconds, but that was all I could do,” Driscoll said. “Those guys were smart and worked together to not let me catch back on. The gap opened up while I rode by myself all day through open, exposed sections into a headwind that required all power.”
Despite not doubling up, the proud, new father is confident ahead of nationals.
“Overall I’m happy with the weekend,” Driscoll said. “I wish it had ended better than it did, but it’s mostly a bruised ego more than anything.”
Over on the East Coast, Laurel Rathbun was the other half of the Raleigh-Clement twosome to line up for racing this past weekend. At the UCI C2 North Carolina Grand Prix, Rathbun raced to 12th place on day one and was able to step inside the top 10 on day two with an eighth place.
In dry, fast conditions on day one, the high speed proved too fast for Rathbun who is making her comeback after just two weeks back on the racing scene. Keeping it in perspective, the young Marian University student was still thrilled to even step onto the race track again this season.
“Today was bad,” said Rathbun, “I’m not sure why. It was just a straight power, grassy, flat course. My legs didn’t have it. But it’s pretty crazy to be back racing. I didn’t think it would happen!”
Colder conditions and a more technical course greeted racers on day two in Hendersonville. Rathbun, still finding her race legs while everyone else has been raced a full season, was excited to finish inside the top 10.
“It went much better today,” said Rathbun. “After the first two laps I was second chasing down Crystal Anthony (Maxxis Shimano) but that used a lot of energy. I ended up in a group of four with Becca [Fahringer] (Amy D. Foundation), Emma Swartz (Trek Cyclocross Collective) and Courney Patton (Freddy Fu) for fourth through eighth. On the last lap I messed up on the muddy run up and slipped. I lost the group and was about 10 seconds back.”
“I was expecting a little more, but it’s hard to have super high expectations after my second week back racing,” added Rathbun. “But I see the improvement and I like where I am headed. It’s always good to get that race effort in your legs and lungs because it’s hard to simulate that, at least for me it is. Hopefully another couple weeks of solid training will lead to a successful race in Hartford.”
Images provided by: Dejan Smaic