Day Five of USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships Showcase Juniors and Singlespeed
Lakewood, Wash. — Dark skies and heavy clouds delivered light, steady rain for the penultimate day of the 2019 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Lakewood, Wash. Hundreds of Junior cyclists rocketing around the course brightened the atmosphere at Fort Steilacoom Park. Stars-and-Stripes jerseys were awarded in six juniors divisions. The fan-favorite Singlespeed races on Saturday crowned champions for Men and Women, as well as Industry riders.
“The city of Lakewood is excited to be the host city for the USA Cycling 2019 Cyclocross National Championships and we are proud to showcase our crown jewel – Fort Steilacoom Park – this week for the world to see,” said Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson. “Watching these cyclists navigate their way through this challenging course this week is impressive and is an exciting opportunity to know we have such high-caliber athletes competing in our community. Who knows, we may even have a future world champion in our midst.”
The 2019 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships will hit its crescendo on Sunday with the sixth and final day of racing, featuring Juniors 17-18, U23 and Elite races for Women and Men. The racing and live stream will begin at 8:15 a.m. PT. Viewing is available at https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/information/news/2019-usa-cycling-cyclocross-nationals-live-stream.html.
Cold and wet conditions did not dampen the enthusiastic crowds around the challenging yet balanced course. They packed around the steep run ups to create tunnels of energy for the athletes. A true party atmosphere reigned on the second twisting descent, referred to as “Disco Descent” near one of the Chainline Brewing Company Beer Garden.
Saturday’s racing action started with Non-championship Industry races. David Greif (Tucson, Ariz.; Project Echelon Racing) defended his Industry Men’s title, while Brenna Wrye-Simpson (Portland, Ore.; Team S&M CX) claimed the Industry Women’s crown.
Fierce competition for Junior titles began on a shortened track with Miles Mattern (Rochester, N.Y.; Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) hitting the line in 28:24 for the Junior Men 13-14 division title. George Frazier (Louisville, Ky.; Merlin Metalworks) was second and Nathan Sabol (Edmonds, Wash.; RAD p/b CycleU) was third.
Last year’s silver medalist Vida Lopez de San Roman (Sebastopol, Calif.; Trailworks Dirt Devo) attacked on the steep run up to win the Juniors Women 13-14 title in 26:33. Dahlia Kissell (Erlanger, Ky.; Lionhearts Junior Racing) finished second and Haydn Hludzinski (Boulder, Colo.; 2003) was third.
Rowan Child (Ashland, Mo.; Dogfish Racing) earned the Juniors Men 11-12 championship by completing the course in 23:40. Kian Reid (Wenatchee, Wash.; Gillespie Devo Racing) was second and Bjorn Blankenship (Bend, Ore.; Cascadia Junior Cycling) finished third. Reigning 11-12 Cross Country mountain bike champion Kira Mullins (Littleton, Colo.; Avout Racing) used her technical skills to take gold in the Juniors Women 11-12 event. Keaghlan Robinson (Bellevue, Wash.; NWCX Project) took silver medal and Alexandria Beard (Boise, Idaho; BYRDS) took bronze.
For the development team RAD p/b Cycle U based in Seattle, Wash., the 2019 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships provide a great opportunity to showcase a national caliber race to its riders. The team had 40 riders at the event during the week, and many finished in the Top Five.
“It’s not really about making great racers, it’s about making great people and teaching young people the lessons that cycling has to impart which are numerous, deep, and fantastic,” explained Craig Undem, Coaching Director of RAD p/b Cycle U. “So how to be good people, how to push themselves, how to overcome obstacles, attain goals, stretch themselves and it really is great.”
The afternoon races continued on a muddy full-length course where Jack Spranger (Sammamish, Wash.; Broadmark/Mt Si Racing) took the Junior Men 15-16 national title in 28:13. Spranger took advantage of his competitor’s mechanical on the final lap to claim his first Stars-and-Stripes jersey. Frank O’Reilly Jr. (Pearl River, N.Y.; FinKraft Cycling Team) crossed the line 16 seconds later for second place. After running to the pit for a new bike, Ian Brown (Bend, Ore.; Speedvagen) fought for third place, 22 seconds behind the winner.
“It’s so awesome to do it in front of my home crowd. I’ve been working so hard for this,” said 15-year old Spranger, who lives one hour from Fort Steilacoom Park. “My first cyclocross Nationals was in 2015 in Austin. I’ve been racing here since I’ve been six or seven, so it’s a long time in the making.”
In a tight sprint finish, Mia Aseltine (Littleton, Colo.; Avout Racing Select Juniors) bested Carrie Masters (Morrow, Ohio; Lionhearts Junior Racing) to capture the Juniors Women 15-16 division title in 26:22. Katherine Sarkisov (North Potomac, Md.; CXHairs Devo / TREK BIKES) was third at 16 seconds back.
Saturday concluded with the popular Singlespeed competitions. Defending champion Sarah Sturm (Durango, Colo.; Specialized + Ten Speed Hero) won her back-to-back Women Singlespeed title in a time of 40:40.
“I was really excited once I saw the course. I knew that it was going to be technical and muddy, and fun running. There’s enough of everything and that helps to calm my nerves, because you can know in your mind that you have to suffer, then everything is okay,” said Sturm who raced in cutoff jeans shorts and a denim vest. “Wearing costumes is fun for me because it reminds me that I’m doing all this for fun and that I’m choosing to be here.”
In the Men Singlespeed race, Jake Wells (Avon, Colo.; FORM p/b IRC tires) defended his title and captured his sixth Stars-and-Stripes jersey in a row. He was the best in the largest field of the week, 135 riders, in a time of 44:40. Earlier in the week he won the Masters Men 40-44 crown.
Day Six of the Championships continue Sunday, Dec. 15 with Juniors 17-18, U23 and Elite, events for Women and Men. Racing and live streaming begin at 8:15 a.m. PT. The live streaming is presented by Shimano and will feature commentary by Tim Johnson, Meredith Miller and Brad Sohner.