Gaertner and Owen Grind to Victory at MFG Series #5 – UPDATED: Photo Gallery, Video
by Kenton Berg
Burien, WA – In what has become the norm for this fall for Seattle area cyclocross, another cool and rainy day was on tap again as racers descended on Lakewood park in Burien, WA, for the MFG Cyclocross Series race #5. Master course designer Rich McLung put riders to the test today by utilizing the multiple available off-camber opportunities combined with some short but grinding climbs, and a piece of teaser pavement or two. Throw in some moisture and you can imagine what ensued: suffering, mud in the teeth and some slip-sliding around.
The Elite women took to the course in the late morning, and a pack of three ladies quickly established themselves as the ones to beat. Jenni Gaertner (Riverstone Cycling), Jessica Cutler (Cucina Fresca) and Kristi Berg (CycleU) proved themselves to be the cream of the crop and would march onwards through the ever-slickening course to take top honors. Gaertner would prove to be the strongest on the day and would take her first MFG series win over Cutler by nearly a minute. Series leader Berg rounded out the podium, on a seemingly off day for her, coming in over two minutes down. With just one race left in the series, the final race should provide some fireworks as the ladies battle for bragging rights and first choice from the prize table.
The early afternoon brought out the Elite men and it was game on from the start with Logan Owen (Redline), Ryan Iddings (Redline) and Logan Wetzel (Cycling NW) quick to distance themselves from the pack. The Redline duo would battle it out all race long as Owen put nearly 10 seconds into Iddings at the halfway mark and would hold onto that for another two laps. As the race neared the final lap, Iddings clawed back to within just a few seconds and would make contact on the short climbs as they neared the half-a-lap to go point. As they rode the upper portion of the course, the two teammates seemed to be discussing how the ending would play out, and they rounded the final corner nearly even up. No sprint was contested and in a great show of sportsmanship the two worked to cross the line together. While Owen tried to grab Iddings hand and drag him along, his momentum carried him over the line first for the win. Wetzel, fresh off a European trip, rode his first race of the season and put in a great performance to take third coming in about 90 seconds behind the Redline duo.
Fresh off a raucous weekend last week with the SSCXWC in town, the Singlespeed bunch took to the course last and promptly set it on fire. With the grindy climbs and slick corners in play, gearing was the discusssion prior to the race, but none of that mattered to Craig Etheridge (333 Fab), who lit it up early and never let off the gas. Jason Williams (Team Stanley) would put on his best chase face and tried in vain to catch Etheridge all day long. Sporting the sweet facial chops, Hodala racer Bryan Meyers hammered around the course chasing Williams and working to put distance between himself and a charging Max Kullaway (333 Fab). As most racers were still out on the last lap, Etheridge crossed the line for a well-deserved win, with Williams trailing in for second and “chops” Meyers taking third.
The MFG Cyclocross series concludes with race # 6 at Woodland Park on November 14th. If the weather continues like it has we’ll have a repeat of last year where the rains came, the mud was thick, and racers flogged themselves around a course that tests all the skills of a cyclocross racer.
Singlespeed First Lap Video:
As always, look for the race report, pictures and video here on Cyclocross Magazine.
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