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Much ado in Durango and Dolores

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My Hudz/Subaru teammate, Lauren Hall, on Hall Corner.

My Hudz/Subaru teammate, Lauren Hall, on Hall Corner. (Image credit: USWCDP)
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Dry, hardpacked and tricky Dolores course.

Dry, hardpacked and tricky Dolores course. (Image credit: USWCDP)
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Making the dust fly.

Making the dust fly. (Image credit: USWCDP)
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Carmen Small gave a great run at the lead but ended up second.

Carmen Small gave a great run at the lead but ended up second. (Image credit: USWCDP)
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I win!!!

I win!!! (Image credit: USWCDP)

Before the next weekend of 'cross racing begins, I figure I'll report in on a stellar past weekend of racing down in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado.

I haven't been back to the Durango/Dolores area in many a moon and was thrilled when I got word from the US Women's Cycling Development Program (USWCDP) and Dolores Cyclo-cross race director Doug LaMunyon about a cyclo-cross race in my old Fort Lewis College stomping grounds.

We hit Schoolyard CX in Lafayette on Saturday before heading south - the race was heaps of fun and run to a 'T' with every aspect of 'cross thrown into one super course. Schoolyard even boasted equal payout to the men’s and women’s field with little Amy D. [Dombroski] out there crushing it.

After the full day of 'cross racing on the Front Range, an unforeseen epic drive was made in traffic, darkness and a missed turn to Durango. We made it just past midnight and were happy to crash in the bear’s living room with two awesome pups to greet us.

The morning called for breakfast at Carver's on Main St. in Durango and man did I forget how much I loved that place. With some Mexican Scramble and plenty of diluted, perfect coffee in my belly, we drove up to Dolores to see what kind of a course Joe Rowell Park had in store.

I've been taking the cyclo-cross season this year pretty relaxed and while giving it a solid effort each race, the pressure has never been on. I've enjoyed enjoying myself in the mud, dirt, loose corners, barriers and run-ups and what not. With the Dolores Cyclo-cross race, however, I felt like I had a little more I wanted to give to such an awesome community.

It was a beautiful day and the course had lots of fast sections, steep ride-ups, crazy turns, run-ups and well-placed barriers. The locals were out in force and the fields were packed. It was cool to see the new generation of Fort Lewis College kids out racing and all the local pros.

My Hudz-Subaru teammate Lauren Hall was out killing it and Carmen Small chased me around the course all race after cracking a tooth on her bars, whoa! It was a stellar race, though, and I was stoked to pull off a 'W'. Post-race we headed over to the Dolores River Brewery, one of the coolest breweries you'll ever see, and picked up a nice chunk of change and a sweet pack from Osprey Packs which is a local company!

Thanks to the USWCDP and the Dolores club, Ciclistas del Rio, for having me down for the race. Thank you to Dave Hagen of the Fort Lewis College Cyclo-cross Race Series. I'm already looking forward to next year!

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Follow the program's young female cyclists as they embark on their journey to the top of the pro ranks

The US Women's Cycling Development program was founded by former pro rider, Michael Engleman, as a way to help promising young women cyclists reach their full potential as athletes.

The dedicated and well spoken women of this program provide thoughtful, compelling and sometimes hilarious anecdotes of their experiences in this diary. For further reading about the program, visit the USWCDP website.