Women Shine on Day 4 of USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships
Lakewood, Wash. — The fourth day of racing at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Lakewood, Wash. featured seven events for women – five races for Masters Women, the Collegiate Women Varsity race, and a Women 11-22 Non-Championship contest. The final contest of the day, the Collegiate 4×4 Lap Team Relay, concluded the Collegiate Omnium competition.
A fusion of sun and clouds cast a rainbow over Fort Steilacoom Park for the Friday morning races. Later in the day, Mount Rainier refused to show its face to the east, with clouds rolling in from the Pacific. Rain stayed away, but tires still found mud on the course.
The spoils of gold in the opening contest fell on Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah) of Colorado Mesa University taking the win in the Collegiate Women Varsity event in a time of 51:31. It was the second Collegiate Stars-and-Stripes jersey for Clouse this year, as she also won the Collegiate Women Varsity short track category at Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals in October.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Clouse, who took the Women Junior 17-18 Cyclocross crown in Louisville in 2018. “I’m really excited about this course, this is by far my favorite course. It’s super fun. It’s really ‘Euro-like’ and I really like that. I like the technical descents, and the power sections.”
Defending champion Samantha Runnels (Austin, Texas) of Savannah College of Art And Design-Atlanta took silver, crossing the line 1:23 behind Clouse. Hannah Arensman (Brevard, N.C.) representing Brevard College was third, 1:40 back.
Clouse, who will race in the Women U23 event on Sunday, noted, “I really like collegiate [cycling]. It makes it more fun to be with all my college teammates. It definitely takes some pressure off of the whole weekend to have a fun first race going into the weekend.”
Live streaming will be available for all races on Sunday, as well as Saturday. The live stream will begin Saturday at 9:10 a.m. PT and will feature Juniors and Singlespeed events for Men and Women. Racing will begin at 8:15 a.m. on Sunday for Juniors 17-18, U23 and Elite events for men and women. Viewing is available at https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/information/news/2019-usa-cycling-cyclocross-nationals-live-stream.html.
The first Master’s race on Friday featured Marit Sheffield (Pittsford, N.Y.; Park Ave Bike p/b Borah Teamwear) taking the Women 55-59 title in 37:26. Julie Robertson Zivin (Seattle, Wash.; Thrive) won the Masters Women 50-54 in a time of 45:42. Robertson Zivin, who finished second in the Women 40+ Non-Championship on Tuesday, dug deep and managed to hold off her closest competitor to claim her first career Stars-and-Stripes jersey.
Defending champion Melissa Barker (Longmont, Colo.; Feedback Sports Racing) sprinted to a repeat victory in the Masters Women 45-49 division, in 43:17. The 40-44 title went to Tricia Fleischer (Seattle, Wash.; Trek Cyclocross Collective), who soloed to the line in a time of 42:38. It was the first national title for Fleischer as well.
“It was so cool to hear my name yelled out by lots of people. Having a second to look out and see faces that I recognized, it felt really good,” said Fleischer, who enjoyed racing in her home state.
Laura Matsen Ko (Seattle, Wash.; Audi) captured the Women’s 35-39 crown in 42:03, a race with multiple lead changes in the four-lap contest. Racing her first cyclocross season, Matsen Ko also won the Women 23-39 Non-Championship event on Tuesday.
“It was wonderful,” Matsen Ko said of the course. “Us locals definitely have a leg up, we got to race this [course] earlier this year. It’s our kind of mud and our kind of season. It was a great course. I love the run ups. The descents always scare me, because I’m pretty new to this. The long power sections help me a lot.”
Starting as the 14th rider called up, Matsen Ko had a clear strategy, “My coach just said ‘burn a match on the first lap to the top of the first run up.’ So I just hammered as hard as I could to make it to the top of that first (climb) and I made it up there first and then went from there.”
The Non-Championship Women 11-22 event was won by Cassidy Hickey (Parker, Colo.) in 23:11.
Friday finished with the Collegiate 4×4 Lap Team Relay for club and varsity teams. Colorado Mesa University took the Varsity title in 32:14, which was 10 seconds faster than second-place Brevard College. Savanah College of Arts and Design -Atlanta finished in third place. Colorado Mesa University also took the Omnium competition for Varsity teams.
The University of Georgia won the Club contest in 36:50. The University of Vermont was second, four seconds back and the University of Arizona was third. The University of Georgia also captured the Omnium for Club teams.
Clouse, who anchored the Collegiate 4×4 Team Relay for Colorado Mesa University, added, “I’m really happy to be here with CMU. I’m really happy to get a result for them, because they’ve done so much for me and our team. I’m really happy that our whole team could be here and we could win the overall omnium.”
Day Five of the Championships continue Saturday, Dec. 14 with Juniors, Singlespeed and Industry events for Women and Men. Racing begins at 8:30 a.m. PT, with live streaming starting at 9:10 a.m. The two days of live streaming will feature commentary by Tim Johnson, Meredith Miller and Brad Sohner.