by Kenton Berg
After an extended hot and dry stint the Seattle area was finally delivered a day of reprieve as the 2012 MFG Cyclocross Series presented by Raleigh got under way at Big Finn Hill park in Kirkland, WA. Temperatures hovered in the low 50’s for the early morning racers and rose to the mid 60’s by the late afternoon providing some perfect cross weather for the kick off to the MFG series and season. Large fields, which have become the norm for Seattle cross races, were present again with at least three categories delivering over 85 racers to the start line including the ever-growing Single Speed category.
The Elite Women stormed out of gate mid way through the day and Courtenay McFadden (Cycling NW) wasted no time in stamping her authority on the race as she took the hole shot and never looked back. While McFadden’s lead grew lap-by-lap, the chase group, lead by Jenni Gaertner (Motofish Racing) and accompanied by Kristin Kelsey and Mel Lewis (CycleU/PopCap), and Lea Stralka (Ragnarok) splintered amongst the other fields and would stay that way for the duration. Gaertner kept her gap to McFadden in check after a few laps and would take second on the day while Kelsey rolled in for the final podium place.
After the future of cyclocross (kids grades 3-9) took the course it was time for the Elite Men to get their game on. Much like the Elite Women’s race, the men’s race would blow apart on the first lap. Spencer Paxson (Kona) took the hole shot into the rutted and dusty left hander first turn and used that advantage to ride away, and stay away, from the field for the entirety of the race. The chase group, consisting of Kevin Noiles (CyclocrossRacing.com), Kyle McGilvray (Old Town Bicycle), Nolan Brady (Old Town Bicycle), Toby Swanson (BRI), and Benji Perrin (Second Ascent), formed but never got close. Within that group, Brady would fall out and Noiles would eventually stretch his lead out over the rest of the group to finish over a minute ahead of the chase pack and in second. Rounding out the podium was McGilvray, who outsprinted both Swanson and Perrin down the final stretch.
The next installment of the MFG Cyclocross series will be on September 23rd at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, WA. A fast and flowy course along the lake front with a long sand run will again test the fitness of the racers and provide a great back drop for some cyclocross racing.
Thanks again to all of our sponsors, the volunteers, and the racers for making this a great race! Full results can be found at www.mfgcyclocross.com