VERONA, WISCONSIN—It was one very happy Trek Cyclocross Collective rider from Portland, Maine, who sailed across the finish line, mud-splattered, arms in the air and utterly, completely thrilled to take home her first National Championship win. Ellen Noble, wiping mud off of her face, grinned and simply said, “I’m thrilled.” And she has a lot to be happy about: not only did she take the 17-18 win, she also took home second place in the women’s singlespeed race on Wednesday, and it’s clear that she’s not slowing down anytime soon. And fellow New Englander Emma White (Cyclocrossworld) was equally pleased with her race as she came across the finish line just a couple of minutes later, having made her way through nearly the entire 17-18 field, which started a minute ahead of her. White is no stranger to the top step of the junior podium, having won last year and years prior, but she loved this year in particular because the “weather was very New England.”
A hard-charging and determined Noble took the holeshot, rocketing ahead of her competition, namely, last year’s champion Corrie Osborne (Team Extreme). A crash in the first corner forced Noble to keep pushing the pace to keep her competition at bay, but though Osborne was able to tighten the gap, she never made it onto Noble’s wheel. Behind them, Hannah Finchamp (Team Luna Chix) battled her way through the thin mud, along with Bailey Semian (Pure Energy Cycling). Behind them, there was a gap to the rest of the field.
With only three laps of racing, Noble seemed unstoppable, while Osborne seemed to have second place wrapped up. The fight for third between Semian and Finchamp was brought to a close when a mechanical forced Semian to run to the pits, losing valuable time.
Noble took the win, and as she later told Cyclocross Magazine, she was racing for her dad, who passed away last year. “That’s why I’m so emotional. When he got sick in March, people asked, ‘Are you still going to do this? All pressure is off.’ And I was like, ‘Hell yes, I’m going to do this. I’m going to come back with a vengeance.’”
Interview with Ellen Noble:
Katherine Santos (Red Zone Cycling) was able to snag the holeshot on the pavement, but it was White who led as the group hit the mud. However, she crashed in the same spot that Noble had crashed moments before. However, White’s superior handling skills allowed her to keep her gap established, and she began to cut through not only her field, but the field that had started a minute ahead.
Behind her, Mina Anderberg (Team FUJI), last year’s 13-14 National Champion, was closing with an impressive ride through the 17-18 field as well, but never came near White. Santos stayed steadily in third, battling with Emma Schwartz (Junior Dropouts/Brazen Dropouts), Victoria Gates (JAM Fund) and Hannah Arensman (Fiets Maan Racing).
White moved up so far through the 17-18 field that the only women to finish ahead of her were the top three 17-18 racers.