Race winner Jessica Cutler navigates race traffic. © Robert Grunau

Race winner Jessica Cutler navigates race traffic. © Robert Grunau

by Robert Grunau

REDMOND, Wa. – For the penultimate race, Seattle’s MFG Cyclocross Series returned to the location of September’s Starcrossed, Redmond’s Marymoor Velodrome. Rain during the earlier races created a slick track, which had turned tacky and fast by the start of the Women’s Elite race. The mostly grass course was fast, featuring several off camber sections and plenty turns making the most of the velodrome infield.

Jessica Cutler (Bikesport NW/Jamis) repeated her dominant performance from last week, quickly unhinging from the other women who were soon scattered throughout the course. Jenni Gaertner (Motofish Racing) put on a strong chase that was at time hindered by other racers, but held on for second coming in some twenty seconds behind Cutler.

Zuster Cycling’s Natalie Koncz rounded out the podium. The crux of the race for Cutler seemed to be navigating the lapped traffic on the slick off-camber section after the run up. Series leader Andi Zolton (JL Velo Ambassadors) was absent this week.

Many of the Elite Men elected to ride the railroad ties. © Robert Grunau

Many of the Elite Men elected to ride the railroad ties. © Robert Grunau

The men’s race followed a similar pattern to last week with a big group getting clear and driving the race. There were several attacks to try and break up the group, all of which were quickly pulled back. It wasn’t until the closing laps that Kona’s Spencer Paxson and Raleigh – HIFI rider Steve Fisher snapped the elastic and escaped. The two riders battled, taking turns attacking while Russell Stevenson (Voler Custom CX) chased.

Paxson had the advantage of Fisher’s wheel coming into the final stretch, but in the final corner a dropped chain sent Paxson over the bars, leaving Fisher to take his fourth win. Paxson had to run the final stretch allowing Stevnson to beat him to the line.