Collegiate Athletes and Masters Men Tackle Wind, Mud on Day 3 of Cyclocross Nationals
Lakewood, Wash. -- Rain, wind and muddy conditions challenged the athletes on the third day of racing at the 2019 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Lakewood, Wash. Three Collegiate titles and four Masters titles were decided on Thursday, as well as one Non-Championship contest. Intermittent morning showers were followed by afternoon rain and gusty winds, turning the course at Fort Steilacoom Park into a slick track with tricky descents and a heavy sand pit.
The first collegiate Stars-and-Stripes championship jersey was awarded to Eric Brunner (Boulder, Colo.) of University of Colorado-Boulder in the Men’s Club category. A dominant Brunner, a repeat winner from Reno in January 2018, led from start to finish. He crossed the finish line solo in a time of 42:54. Brunner is also the reigning Collegiate Criterium National Champion.
After starting on the third row, Calder Wood (Anacortes, Wash.) of California Polytechnic-San Luis Obispo crossed the line 2:04 behind Brunner for second place. Jack Tanner (Boulder, Colo.) of University of Colorado-Boulder finished third.
"I've raced (at Fort Steilacoom Park) multiple years in a row, but I have been off at college and I haven't raced it since they've made a lot of modifications. I'm obviously biased," said Wood, who grew up two hours north of Lakewood. "It's really cool to get to see a lot of people who don't travel as much for racing and who race local, I get to see them and they're out cheering. It's just amazing to be racing so close to home."
Caleb Swartz (Madison, Wisc.) of Marian University pulled away with three laps to go in the Collegiate Men Varsity event to win back-to-back titles. Tyler Orschel (Brevard, N.C.) representing Brevard College was second, 22 seconds back. Scott Funston (Maple Valley, Wash.) of Colorado Mesa University was third, 37 seconds down.
“It's so amazing to race in Washington. I have my family out here and friends. It's just crazy to walk around and talk to people and know everyone,” said Funston, who participated in the course build in June. “We were out there, whacking bushes with machetes and it's cool to see (the course) with all the tape up and everyone riding it now. It's been a cool process, definitely.”
In her first season racing cyclocross, Emily Cameron (Athens, Ga.) representing University of Georgia took advantage of the terrain to go from fourth after the hole shot into the lead of the Collegiate Women Club contest. Cameron held on to win her first Stars-and-Stripes jersey in a time of 53:03.
“I like the run ups a lot, I think they're awesome. I think they take a lot of effort. I used that to my advantage I think,” Cameron said. “I just got into riding 'cross, this is my 10th race I think. I just wanted to come out here for the experience and it was freakin' awesome.”
Cara O'Neill (Tucson, Ariz.) of University of Arizona and Abby Hobbs (Athens, Ga.) of University of Georgia battled it out for the silver medal, which was taken by O'Neill five seconds ahead of Hobbs.
The sun peaked out briefly for the Master Men 40-44 contest, where defending champion Jake Wells (Avon, Colo.; FORM p/b IRC tires) pulled away with a slight gap early in the five-lap race to claim another title in a time of 43:29.
After competing in 20 National Championships, Todd Cassan (Boulder, Colo.; Rally Sport) claimed his first Stars-and-Stripes jersey in the Masters Men 55-59 event. Cassan and Andy August (Pittsford, N.Y.; Park Ave Bike p/b Borah Teamwear) pulled away from the 69-rider field to battle it out for gold. On the fourth and final lap, Cassan made his move and dropped August.
“I just went hard from the beginning,” Cassan said of his racing strategy. "He was with me and we swapped turns and it worked out well. He was good on the flats, and then on the other parts I was pulling. I think he bobbled with three quarters of a lap to go and I took off.”
Impacting the last three races of the day were heavier rain and winds gusting to 15 miles per hour. This made the course “epic,” according to Cassan.
In the largest field of the day, multi-time national champion Donald Myrah (San Jose, Calif.; Ibis / Buy-Cell) outdistanced 93 riders to claim the Masters Men 50-54 title. The final event of the day saw Jonathan Baker (Nevada City, Calif.; Touchstone Racing) pulled away mid-way through the Masters Men 45-49 contest for his victory. Baker also won the Masters Men 45-49 road race at the 2019 USA Cycling Masters Road Nationals in Colorado Springs in August.
The Non-Championship Men 11-22 event was won by Adrian Magun (Mercer Island, Wash.; Apex Racing).
Day Four of the Championships continue Friday, Dec. 13 with Collegiate and Masters events for women beginning at 8:10 a.m. PT, as well as Collegiate 4x4 Lap Team Relay. Morning events will also include the Women 11-22 Non-Championship.
Live streaming will be available for two days, Saturday, Dec 15. and Sunday, Dec 16. on USA Cycling’s YouTube channel. Commentary will be provided by Tim Johnson, Meredith Miller and Brad Sohner. 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. You can view the live stream at https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/information/news/2019-usa-cycling-cyclocross-nationals-live-stream.html.
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.