Seattle Series #1 Evergreen High School

The Weather was perfect for Sunday’s race. It was a bit chilly in the early am but the sun was out and overall dry and perfect temps for cross. I raced at 11am, the course was in great shape, very dry but very fast. I was very happy to see that there was a technical element with the downhill section and all the turns on the back side. Finally after last weekend with the UCI races where there really wasn’t any technical element I was back in my comfort zone at Evergreen. With all my experience really coming from years of downhill mountain bike racing and cross country mountain bike racing I really need some sort of technical element to give me the edge over everyone else. And Evergreen had that for sure.

We had a great turn out for the Cat ½ women. I was so excited to see Ann Knapp back out racing. She is a huge idol to me as I have followed her for so many years learning so much from racing with her and she really has been the one that has pushed me to be where I am at today. So I was very happy to see her back out there racing again! We also had Jenni Gaertner from Idaho over here. She is a very strong racer and I was a little nervous when I saw her on the line that it was going to be a tough day. There were about 10-12 women in our field, all very fast and very well respected. So I knew this was going to be tough. They blew the gun and we were off. I shot for the whole shot because my starts have been a bit slow so far this year. And I got it. I tried to go at a good pace but not too hard because we hit the run up pretty fast after the start and I didn’t want to blow up there. I started to make a tiny gap by the run up but Jadine Rolcik flew by me on the run up and moved into first. I got back on my bike and tried to stay with her and managed to pass her on the downhill at the bottom when she had a crash. I made sure she was ok, and then hit it. I was back in first with about 10 secs on 2nd place, Jenni. I knew I was making a little bit of time on her in the turns and the downhill so I tried every lap to attack those sections to make some ground.

We caught into the Cat 3 45 and 55+ guys pretty quickly and spent the first couple laps getting through them and trying to hold onto our positions. I always feel bad passing the guys, I always want to make sure I pass them so it doesn’t affect their race, so hopefully I was successful in that. They are racing also so I hate interfering in their race. But they are always gentleman and let me pass.

So after the 3rd lap everything spread out a bit and I still was in first with about 20sec to 2nd place. I knew I had to hold that gap and with 2 laps to go I tried to hit it hard and give it all I had to increase my lead. I managed to pull the lead to about 26 secs and hold on to first for the win. It really was a great race. Jenni really pushed me and with the level of all the girls in our series you can never make a mistake because there is always someone there. Thank you to everyone who helped me out. I really love our Northwest racers!!

Kristi Berg