Pacific Northwest Athletes Shine on Opening Day of USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships
Lakewood, Wash. — The 2019 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships began today with seven Non-Championship events and two Masters races to present the first Stars-and-Stripes jerseys of week. The national championships are expected to attract nearly 2,000 top professional and amateur cyclists representing more than 45 states. A total of 37 events will be contested from Dec. 10-15 to crown national champions.
All competitions are held at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, Wash. The last time the Cyclocross Nationals were held in this region of the Pacific Northwest was in 1996 in Seattle. At 340 acres, Fort Steilacoom Park is the largest park in Lakewood, which includes a paved trail around Waughop Lake, Pavilion in the Park event venue and a 25-acre off-leash dog park. The park has become a regional draw boasting more than one million visitors annually. Rich in history, the park and surrounding land was used by the Nisqually and Steilacoom Indian tribes as a food source and gathering place before settlers and fur traders moved into the region.
Lakewood is located south of the Puget Sound and west of Mount Rainier, a 14,410-foot glacial volcano. The snow-capped mountain never came into view as cloudy conditions gave way to rain for the championship events in the afternoon. Starting with a short and steep run up, the demanding course raced through Douglas firs and also included two flyovers, a sand pit and more run ups.
The Masters 60+ event for women saw winners in four divisions. Taking the top step of the podium in the Masters Women 60-64 race was Laura Howat (Salt Lake City, Utah; Kuhl Cycling Team) in 34:16. Howat finished third in 2018. The Masters Women 65-69 title was captured by Sheryl Johnson (Silverdale, Wash.; Egencia) in 41:35.
“The course was amazing, it was just wonderful,” said Johnson, who lives 30 miles northwest of Lakewood. “You had to be ‘on’ the whole time, there was no rest and the descents were getting pretty slick and muddy, but it was an amazing course. I loved it.”
The 70-74 title went to Maurine Sweeney (Highlands Ranch, Colo.; Racer X Cycling/ ColoBikeLaw), winner of the 65-69 title in 2018, in a time of 41:09. Frances Marquart (Lakewood, Wash.) raced to victory in the Masters Women 75-79 division in a time of 41:26. She recaptured the title from two seasons ago, when she won in Reno, Nev.
“In front of a hometown crowd, it’s great. Everybody is cheering for you and it feels good,” said Marquart, who lives just one half a mile away from the race venue in Lakewood. “I’ve been training here. It’s a very tough course, very tough and very bumpy.”
Tuesday concluded with the Masters Men 70+ divisions. John Elgart (Sacramento, Calif.; Sacramento Golden Wheelmen) bested the group of men’s 70-74 riders with a 35:34 victory. James Wagner (Auburn, Wash.; Indigenous Wheel Dirt Team) took top honors in the men’s 75-79 event in a time of 37:57. Both Elgart and Wagner previously won the same title in January 2018 for the 2017-18 season. Multiple-time and defending champion Fred Schmid (Waco, Texas; GeriAtrix) rode solo to victory in the Masters Men 85-89 division, finishing in 41:07.
The day’s action started with the Men’s and Women’s Singlespeed Non-Championship events, won by Garrett Sczechowski (Bellevue, Wash.; Project 529 Legion) and Kristal Boni (Erie, Colo.), respectively.
The Women’s 23-39 and 40+ Non-Championship events were won by Laura Matsen Ko (Seattle, Wash.; Audi) and Jessica Cutler (Seattle, Wash.; NWCX Project), respectively.
The Men’s 23-39 Non-Championship event was taken by Mark Severy (Mckinleyville, Calif.; Aventure’s Edge). The men’s 40-49 and 50+ non-championship events were won by Ian Tubbs (Bellevue, Wash.; Audi) , and Paul Bourcier (Eugene, Ore.; TCNF Legal p/b West End Bikes), respectively.
Day Two of the Championships continues Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 8:30 a.m. PT and features Masters events for men and women.
The USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships will conclude on Sunday, Dec. 16. Live streaming will be available on USA Cycling’s YouTube channel for the Junior Men’s, youth Women’s (ages 17-22), U23 men’s, Elite Women’s, and Elite Men’s races. Racing will begin at 8:15 a.m. PT with commentary by Tim Johnson, Meredith Miller and Brad Sohner.
The official hashtag for the event is #CXNats. Championship and Non-championship races will be covered all week on Twitter via @USACyclingLIVE, with behind the scenes content posted to the USA Cycling Instagram Stories. Galleries will be posted nightly on USA Cycling’s Facebook Page and on Instagram. Follow your favorite athletes this week at www.livelynxresults.com. One2Go Results will provide live lap splits for every athlete every time they cross the line for all events.
Day One results can be found here.
Day Two start lists and call ups can be found here.
Details about the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships is available on the event webpage.