McFadden and Fisher Solo to Wins at Sprinker in SCX Series
Steve Fisher solos to another win © Janet Hill
by Kenton Berg
Sprinker post-race – The back bowl area after the tape came down shows the twists and turns. © Old Town Bicycle
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 Men, featuring a near ditto of the line up from Saturday’s mud fest, hit out at noon on what was becoming a balmy spring-like day. The Revel Consulting/Rad Racing duo of Nolan Brady and David O’Brien jumped out hard to lead the race into the first set of turns before heading out to the back section. By the time the field emerged to complete the first lap things had changed markedly. Steve Fisher (Hagens Berman p/b Raleigh) was now leading with a racer sandwiched between him and his teammate Newt McGrath. Following 10 seconds back was the chase group with Spencer Paxson (Kona), Logan Wetzel (Second Ascent), Gian Dalle (Don Walker), Toby Swanson (Eatonville Outdoor) and Nolan Brady (Revel/Rad). The next two laps would see further break up of the lead group as well as the chase group as everyone settled into their rhythm and pushed to gain ground. Fisher would slowly ride away from his lead group companions as Paxson began to make his move from the chase group to try an catch Fisher. He would get within 12 seconds with three to go but Fisher wouldn’t take his foot off the gas nor did he make any mistakes as he had time to sit up and enjoy his win. Paxson came home five seconds behind and Logan Wetzel, having ridden away from his chase group, finished up only 40 seconds in arrears to Paxson.
Courtenay McFadden rolling to another win. © Janet Hill
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.
Seattle Cyclocross Series race #5 will be heading to Enumclaw, WA next weekend for some great racing at a usually wet and muddy King County Fairgrounds.
Halloween and cycling come together © Janet Hill