Ellen Noble’s Road to Victory
2017 Cyclocross Nationals Photo Story
It was cold. The good news was that the snow had stopped falling and the U23 race was about an hour away. Ellen Noble walked into the Rapha Focus tent, she sat near the heater and tried to warm up her toes. Toes and fingers were a big casualty and since you kinda need them to pedal and shift gears, appropriate clothing selection was where the most decision making was being made.
Noble, ranked 12th in the world at the time of her race, was meticulously dialing in the details.
What PSI to ride, which layers and gloves to wear, the length of the warm up, what carb gel choice and hydration type. She was best preparing herself for a calculated attack on the Riverside Cyclocross course. The mud from previous days had frozen into icy ruts. Off camber sections that had claimed many victims that week were not forgiving to frozen ankles. Although she was a seasoned racer, she had never raced in temperatures this cold.
Hopping on her bike to finish up her warmup inside you could see and feel the focus. Layers being exchanged, sounds of gears shifting and the trainer revving up; it was the final countdown.
I stepped aside, allowing her to have the last few minutes on the trainer to herself. Her mechanic, Brandon Davis had everything ready to go once she got off the trainer. After a final shifting of gears, her bike was ready to rock.
She stepped off the trainer, grabbed what she needed and headed to the start.
After her victory came the interviews, cameras and questions. She managed to get through a few before she started to visibly shiver. Once back at the tent, she embraced her mechanic and went right back onto the trainer. With a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in hand, she seemed to collect her throughs for just a moment. “We should bring Dunkin’ on for next year.”