Fall conditions greeted riders at Steilacoom. © Janet Hill

Fall conditions greeted riders at Steilacoom. © Janet Hill

by LeRoi Smith

2008 Junior National Champ Zack McDonald (Classic Cycles) got his second win of the SCX series and Kristi Berg (Redline Bicycles) continued her domination at a chilly but mostly dry Ft. Steilacoom.

The weather was noticeably cooler this week as winter inches closer to the Pacific Northwest. Stop #4 for the SCX was the familiar grounds of Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, WA. As opposed to last week’s technical trials, this week required some climbing power, a lot of acceleration power and mostly the ability to make the most of very short opportunities for recovery. Everywhere else it was fast and furious.

The course involved lots of twists and turns in the flat fields (with one set of double New Belgium Brewing Barriers) and then a three-stage climb up the hill. The first stage paved, then a short traverse over to a short, steep section of trail, followed by a decent into a S-bend through mature trees and finally up the long, straight road that gradually increases in pitch and pain. Following the climb is the signature decent at Steilacoom, marked by two hairpin turns and followed by a high-speed run down a buffed out trail and a dive into the grass for the twisty section before popping out onto a road for shorter than usual finish straight. As the racers began churning up the wet grass the mud just below the surface greased up many of the corners making for some gingerly turns and one corner in particular the sight of several spills.


The Elite men chase McDonald. © Janet Hill

Eilte Men
Off the start the Elite Men’s field seemed content to remain together for the most part. On the 3rd lap, Ryan Iddings (Lapierre) attacked the herd on the paved portion of a 3 step climb to the course’s highpoint. The effort gained him a 30 second gap. This caused some reaction from the group as they did organize a methodical chase. A few laps later, Iddings did the math and figured he’d be swept up in the last lap or two. Rather than risk being caught after having burned all his matches, he eased up and drifted back into the fold. Unfortunately this did not work out as on the last lap he got caught up in a situation where too many riders converged on a small space. Iddings was bucked from his steed and out of the running for the day. Meanwhile, Zack McDonald decided to have a go and see who reacted. Fortunately for him, no one was able to make the connection in time and McDonald came away with a win. Steve Fisher (Rad Racing/Hagens Berman) came in best of the pack and Toby Swanson (Benaroya Research Institute) rounded out the days podium.

With 4 of 8 races complete, the men’s field is still up for grabs. Before the drop race is figured, Logan Wetzel (Benaroya Research Institute) leads his team mate Toby Swanson. McDonald rounds out the podium currently; but has one fewer race in his score.

Kristi Berg leads the women.

Kristi Berg leads the women. photo: courtesy

Elite Women
For the Elite Women, Berg was off like a shot from the gun. Unfortunately just a few turns in, the deceptively tricky 180 claimed another victim, placing Berg at the back of her pack from the get-go. Berg’s bobble left Knapp in charge with Jadine Riley (Team Group Health), Lea Stralka (Byrne Invent) and Elizabeth Marzoff (Hagens Berman) on her wheel. Charging hard, Berg made up ground quickly. A couple laps later Berg reconnected and the lead pack morphed into Berg, Knapp, Stralka and Riley. Soon after that, the pressure from Berg split the group entirely and all riders were on their own for the remainder of the race as they worked through the Master Cat 3 men. Berg powered her way to the win; Knapp continued her comeback with a 2nd place in the largest Elite Women’s field of the series so far; and Stralka put in a strong ride to round out the podium.

Midway through the series, Berg leads Lee Smith (Team Group Health) and Anne Love (uBRDO Team Project) complete the podium. Knapp, Riley and Stralka are making a strong run, particularly when the worst score is dropped.

Next week, the series moves on to a new venue, Maris Farms. The farm is known for its halloween/harvest festivities and rumors are the corn maze will be part of the pumpkin-lined race course. SCX is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing, FSA, Redline Bicycles, Thule, Northwave and Bob’s Red Mill. Full results and detailed information can be found at www.seattlecyclocross.com

Photo Gallery:

Full Results:

Elite Women:

Todays PlaceBibWomen1/2NameTeamTime
14Women1/2Kristi BergRedline Bicycles0:46:47.9
29Women1/2Ann KnappKona0:47:08.2
311Women1/2Lea StralkaByrne Invent0:48:05.7
42Women1/2Jadine RileyTeam Group Health0:48:27.5
55Women1/2Lee SmithTeam Group Health0:48:40.3
615Women1/2Elizabeth MarzolfHagens Berman0:49:09.8
78Women1/2Anne LoveuBRDO Team Project0:49:47.9
83Women1/2Jodi Connollyblue rooster/sports medicine clinic0:50:05.9
914Women1/2Angela SulichRecyled / Voodoo0:50:59.3
1013Women1/2Kele MurdinGarage0:43:56.9
117Women1/2Hope ChamberlineEscapados0:46:03.1

Elite Men:

Todays PlaceBibMen 1/2NameTime
117Men 1/2Zack McDonaldClassic Cycle0:54:52.2
212Men 1/2Steve FisherRad Racing NW / Hagens Berman0:54:53.0
321Men 1/2Toby SwansonBenaroya Research Institute0:54:57.3
446Men 1/2Eric EmskyRad Racing NW/Hagens Berman0:54:58.3
59Men 1/2Logan WetzelBeneroya Research Institute0:55:05.1
634Men 1/2Ian TerryRad Racing0:55:05.6
728Men 1/2Ryan IddingsLapiere0:55:11.4
836Men 1/2Spencer PaxsonTeam S&M0:55:17.5
98Men 1/2Logan OwenRedline Bicycles0:55:38.4
1011Men 1/2Richard McClungHagens-Berman LLP Cycling0:56:37.5
112Men 1/2Carl HulitRecycled Cycles0:56:52.2
1213Men 1/2Steven WilliamsRecycled Cycles0:56:52.7
1337Men 1/2Ian TubbsLenovo0:56:53.4
1451Men 1/2Doug ReidSecond Ascent0:56:56.8
1548Men 1/2Loren HansonBRI0:56:57.7
1616Men 1/2Kyle McGilvrayOld Town Bicycles0:57:36.3
176Men 1/2Joe BrennanHagens Berman LLP0:57:50.4
18686Men 1/2Cameron CharlesRocky Mountain Cycling0:58:05.7
1932Men 1/2John-Christian FlackValley Athletic Club0:58:47.5
205Men 1/2Jiri SenkirikBeneroya Research Institute0:59:19.3
2140Men 1/2Mark HansonBRI0:59:23.9
2247Men 1/2Galen EricksonStranamanti Cycling0:59:52.1
2325Men 1/2Craig FowleruBrdo.com1:00:22.6
243Men 1/2Christopher HillCucina Fresca1:00:23.4
2531Men 1/2Jeff AndersonCucina Fresca1:00:34.6
2639Men 1/2Randy BottCucina Fresca1:02:45.6