by Kenton Berg and Evan Schmitt
ARLINGTON, WASHINGTON — A frigid and frosty morning had the early day racers covering ears, toes and even donning lobster mitts as the Washington State Cyclocross Championships went down on the airport grounds in Arlington. Locals Chad and Kristi Berg of CycleU-PopCap Racing designed a course that was flat, fast and threw in variables like a sand section, flowing grass turns, fork-jamming ditches and some mid-turn roots in the wooded sections that had racers use all of their cyclocross skills to negotiate.
As the noon hour came and went, the temps had risen and so had the level of the racing. The Elite men stepped up to the plate with a host of local favorites vying for the state title. Logan Owen (Redline) wasted no time in taking the bunch to the “red line” as he pushed the pace from the gun and kept the pressure on. He was followed by Kevin Bradford-Parrish (Cyclocrossracing.com), Carson Miller (HSP), Nathan Bannerman (Cyclocrossracing.com), and David Richter (HSP). After gapping the chasing group, Owen would put it on autopilot while Bradford-Parrish and Miller would go at it for the two other spots on the podium. Bannerman and Richter would fall off the pace as well. Ultimately, Owen would come home with a 35 second gap, giving him time to roll across with a salute and another state championship in the books. Bradford-Parrish would outfox Miller in the sprint to take second.
The Elite ladies would follow the men on the course and as was the case all year, another close race would ensue. Course designer and local favorite Kristi Berg (CycleU/PopCap) would take the hole shot and pushed the pace from there. She was tailed by Kari Studley (Redline), Melanie Lewis (CycleU/PopCap), Jessica Cutler (Cucina Fresca) and Emily Eggers (Blue Rooster). After a back-and-forth first lap, Studley, racing in her second race of the day after winning the ladies single speed race, would take the lead and never relinquish it. Berg would continue to chase hard and keep things close while teammate Lewis sat on Cutler just a bit back and waited for her chance to pounce. By the last lap, Studley was on cruise control and Berg was sitting in a solid second which gave Lewis the opportunity to attack and get by Cutler to round out the podium.