SPANAWAY, WASHINGTON – The Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway played host to the fourth race in the SCX series on Sunday. Coming on the heels of Friday and Saturday’s deluge, the course was remarkably dry with only a few sections, most notably the off camber turn just after the start, giving any of the riders real technical challenges. What the course and its designers did do was give riders an opportunity to show off their technical cornering skills with a significant amount of twists and turns throughout. They also were able of all the features that the venue could deliver including a short, steep run-up, a left-hander turn through a small sand pit with nasty loose sand, and an uphill chicane that forced the majority of riders off of their bikes.
The Elite Women, featuring one the strongest fields of the year, went out after the men and the pace would be upped from the start. Courtenay McFadden (Voler/Bicycle Center) lead the field into the first off camber followed by Jenni Gaertner (Motofish), Kari Studley (Redline), Jessica Cutler (CyclocrossRacing.com) and Kristin Kelsey (CycleU/PopCap). McFadden kept the pace high as the field hit the backside bowl and the twists and turns began to spread the field out. Gaertner, Studley, Kelsey and Cutler would keep McFadden close as the race wore on and the ladies began to work their way through the back end of the masters men’s field. Cutler had moved clear of the chase as the race hit two to go and was solidly in second with Kelsey and Gaertner trailing her locked in battle. Studley’s day would go sideways with a mechanical and she would be passed running to the pits and would fall outside the chase for a podium spot. With one to go McFadden had 45 seconds on Cutler and was continuing to press on for the win closing it out with nearly a minute on second. Cutler would finish out a solid ride in second and Kelsey would use a last lap surge to beat Gaertner by a mere 6 seconds to take the final podium spot.