Carey, an accomplished endurance mountain biker and cyclocrosser, would push the pace on the downhills and technical sections, but Mani was content for four laps to follow Carey. “I really needed to use my brain and keep what I had,” Mani told Cyclocross Magazine. “On the last lap, I thought maybe I should try something. There was a two-corner climb, and I was at really high cadence, and thought maybe I should attack here. I had a gap, and I had to keep going.”

Caroline Mani (Raleigh Clement) pushing on the downhill to keep her last-lap lead. © Cathy Fegan-Kim

Caroline Mani (Raleigh Clement) pushing on the downhill to keep her last-lap lead. © Cathy Fegan-Kim

Behind her, Carey, riding Kenda Kommando tires tubeless on NoTubes Iron Cross wheels, would roll in for second, while Zaveta rode in solo for third place, her first podium in her first race for Redline.

Mani was certainly motivated to take the victory in front of her sponsors, and to put a disappointing 2012/2013 season behind her. “I really wanted to win this race, because Raleigh sponsors [it], everyone is here, and it’s almost the beginning of the season… One month, and we’ll be in cyclocross season. I won Sea Otter, I won here, and if I continue like that, I’ll be happy.”

When asked about the course and her unhappiness before the race, Mani explained, “I was a little grumpy because I crashed, and I don’t like to crash. I feel like I made a mistake, and I really don’t like that.” Mani raced MXP tubulars at 23 psi.

Rebecca Gross drove from Colorado to try to win the Raleigh prize, and she met her goal. © Cyclocross Magazine

Rebecca Gross drove from Colorado to try to win the Raleigh prize, and she met her goal. © Cyclocross Magazine

In the race for fourth, former Masters World Champion Rebecca Gross (Tough Girl), outkicked Beth Ann Orton (Team S&M) to win the Raleigh prize for the first racer without a professional contract.  The Colorado-based Gross was motivated to win the Raleigh prize and made the drive from Colorado for her chance at the bikes and travel money. So motivated that on her way, she landed a $250 speeding ticket.

Full results below the photo gallery.