Photo by Elisa Haumesser
Ellen Noble is on her way back to Belgium for more World Cup racing during the holiday. She will race at Namur on Sunday, Dec. 20 and at Zolder the day after Christmas. It's her second trip to Europe in as many months.
"Namur is a really tough course that has a huge amount of elevation and running," Coach Alec Donahue said. "It's nothing like we see in the U.S."
Noble will be racing in the elite fields in preparation for the U23 World Championships next month.
"Zolder is the same venue as the world course, so that will give her a trial run at the big event," Donahue said.
Noble had two impressive finishes in her first-ever European cross races in November. She finished 12th in the slippery mud at Flandriencross and 14th in the wet sand of Koksijde a week earlier. Those two top-15 place finishes automatically qualify her for the World Championships on January 30 in Zolder, about a two-hour car drive from Brussels. She will once again wear her red, white and blue USA cycling kit while racing overseas in the coming weeks.
In the time since Noble returned from her first trip to Belgium, she celebrated her 20th birthday and won the New England Cyclocross Series. She is excited to return to the motherland of cross.
"Getting to see my doggy, grandmother and mom before leaving for Europe was the best Christmas present ever," Noble said. "Being away from my family for the holidays is hard, but days like these make it so much easier."