Ellen Noble will be on the start line with the best elite cyclocross racers in the world for the first-ever UCI World Cup in the United States on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Cross Vegas is the official kickoff to the international cross race calendar. Of the 50 women who are listed to start, 17 are from the U.S., and the rest are from overseas. Riders must be ranked in the UCI top 50 in order to qualify for the World Cup. Noble says she is a bit nervous but mostly excited.
"The energy is like no other," she said from Vegas on Tuesday. "I'm so honored to represent the U.S. and the JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria at the inaugural Cross Vegas World Cup."
While Noble is in Sin City, she is getting additional support from Aspire Racing, the pro team run by three-time U.S. National Cyclocross Champion Jeremy Powers, who will be racing with the men at 9 p.m. PT, immediately after the women's race at 8.
"This is such an amazing opportunity," Noble said. "I haven't wrapped my head around it yet."
While Noble's transcontinental flight from New England is shorter than the trips of the European racers, she has been busy juggling training and school.
"Homework this week, oh gosh! I am trying not to think about that until I get back," she said. "But I did an essay in the hotel this morning before I went to ride the course."
Noble is a junior at UMass/Amherst studying public health.
She is riding strong, finishing fourth at Nittany Lion in Eastern Pennsylvania on Saturday. She says she's ready for tomorrow's race on the demanding soft grass at the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex.
"The course is super challenging, but I feel really prepared," she said.
Noble won the U23 U.S. National Cyclocross Championships in Austin, Texas earlier this year. She hopes to defend that title at National Championships in Asheville, N.C. in January and then compete at the World Championships in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium later the same month.
Watch Noble race live on Wednesday on the Universal Sports stream starting at 8 PT.
Story by Vicky Sama, JAM Fund Media Relations. For more information, email Vicky at jamcycling at gmail.com.