Sloppy conditions were the feature of SCX 2. © Janet Hill

Sloppy conditions were the feature of SCX 2. © Janet Hill

by LeRoi Smith

To many, flood warnings are cause for worry or, at best, resignation. To the hard core ’cross racer, however, those words are welcome news, of a sort. They portend pain and suffering, the kind of suffering that makes you question why you are there; why did you buy that damn ’cross bike in the first place? You think about how many hours it’s going to take to get the mud out of all the nooks and crannies…and you think about cleaning the bike, too.

Just such a day greeted Seattle area racers at stop number two of the SCX series at Beverly Park Elementary school in Burien, WA. At least the temperature was relatively comfortable, hitting the upper 50s, and Bob’s Red Mill was on hand, offering a warm gluten-free breakfast. There wasn’t much of an issue with cold, the problem was the mud and soggy grass. Post-race, bikes were weighing in 15+ pounds heavier than normal. That, combined with the sticky, muck holes that grew in front of and behind barriers, had many racers looking for ladders. The course consisted of two plateaus separated by a 40-foot bank. The down was a relatively benign ramp leading onto an old cintrex track. The up began the day as a steep grass wall; it ended the day as a treacherous mud slick.

MUD was the flavor of the day © Kenton Berg

MUD was the flavor of the day © Kenton Berg

Those with long spikes, while maybe not loving it, were at least better off than those without. Both upper and lower sections of the course contained twists and turns on soft, spongy grass. Acceleration was key. The upper section added a set of double barriers, the only paved section (a welcome respite for many) and a tricky, slightly off camber transition from the asphalt back to the dirt that claimed a few riders. Another tricky series of off cambers led to a short run, and the majority of team tents offered great spectating near the pits, with a constant debate over which was the best line.

Ryan Iddings creating a gap on lap 1 © Kenton Berg

Ryan Iddings creating a gap on lap 1 © Kenton Berg

By the time the Elite Men took the start at 12:15, the rains had stopped, but all that did was ensure a slow drying and coagulating of the muddiest sections. None of this seemed to phase Randy Iddings (Redline Bicycles) who was simply too powerful and smooth for the rest of the field. He created separation by the top of the run up and by lap two, barring gear failure, the question was how many of the Master Men he could lap and mercifully shorten their suffering. Coming in just over a minute back of Iddings was Kevin Noiles (La Bicicletta Pro Shop) who toiled just under a minute ahead of Carl Hulit (Recycled Cycles).

Mud spattered and fancy free © Janet Hill

Mud spattered and fancy free © Janet Hill

The story was much the same in the Elite Women who raced just after the men. Some of the soupy sections were turning to peanut butter. From the gun it was Kristi Berg (Cycle U), powering away from the field. Second place from race number one, Jo Markam (Olympia Orthopedic Associates) could not stay in touch this week. On a course such as this, one that requires the artful, simultaneous application of heavy power and finesse, it is always going to be tough to stay with Berg. Most of the Cat 3 Master Men and Singlespeeders discovered this as as she worked through most of the field by the end, averaging 20 seconds faster per lap than Kristen Kelsey (Buy Local Cycling) in 2nd place. Rounding out the podium was Jodi Connolly (Blue Rooster/Sports Medicine Clinic).

Cyclocross Magazine's Kenton Berg feels no pain © Janet Hill

Cyclocross Magazine's Kenton Berg feels no pain © Janet Hill

Speaking of singlespeeds, with the Single Speed CX World Championship coming up soon, interest and participation is peaking in that class. Today, perennial favorite and Bike Messenger World Champ Craig Etheridge (333 FAB) had an
unusually tough challenge. Ian Mackie (Benaroya Research Institute), perhaps tuning for the upcoming SSCXWC extravaganza, stayed with Etheridge through much of the race. Near the end Mackie pried out a small gap which grew to almost a minute to hold off the hard charging Etheridge. Bryan Meyers (Hodala) rode another solid race to take third and also hold his third place in the series behind Mackie and Etheridge, who are tied for the lead.

Next week SCX heads just north of Seattle for its second year at Silver Lake Park. This venue features a fair mix of wooded paved, double-track and single track with the signature feature being the long stretch of sand along the lake
front.  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.

Video Highlights:

Photo Gallery by Janet Hill:

Photo Gallery by Kenton Berg:

Full Results

Elite Men

PlaceNameTeam Name
1Ryan IddingsRedline
2Kevin NoilesLa Bicicletta Pro Shop
3Carl HulitRecycled Cycles
4Jason WilliamsTeam Stanley
5Loren Hanson
6Mark Hanson
7Aaron MickelsCycling Northwest
8Jeff AndersonTeam Stanley
9Cody SimpsonWoodinville Bicycle
10Michael FusaroCycling Northwest
11Landon EricksonTeam Stanley
12Chris HillCucina Fresca
13Randy BottCucina Fresca
14Glenn SojaTeam Stanley
15Adam FungDC Velo
16Michael PeaseCollision 1
17Toby SwansonBro Tour
18John-Christian FlackOlympia Orthopaedic Associates
19Logan OwenRedline

Elite Women

PlaceNameTeam
1Kristi BergCycle University
2Kristen KelseyBuy Local Cycling
3Jodi ConnollyBlue Rooster / Sports Medicine Clinic
4Jo MarkhamOOA
5Liz MarzolfHagens Berman
6Brandee Era-MillerOlympia Orthopaedic Associates
7Lee SmithTeam Group Health
8Angela MysliwiecOld Town Bicycle p/b State Farm
9Jocelyn SetterHagens Berman
10Jadine Riley

Singlespeed

Todays PlaceNameTeam
1Ian Mackie
2Craig Etheridge333 FAB
3Brian MyersHodala
4Seth DavisAlki Rubicon
5John DuquetteAlki Rubicon
6Joseph MullanTraitor Cycles / PowerCordz
7Kenton BergSecond Ascent
8Matt McClunyHodala
9Nat PelemanHodala
10Adam Van Dyke
11Tyler SmithNuun & co
12Dave CookOld Town Bicycle p/b State Farm
13Jim WoodAlki Rubicon
14B Sally FornesHodala
15John Whitnack
16Rob LehtinenAlki Rubicon
17Bill HugginsPCP
18Noah MeryBreakaway Racing
19Justin HarmanCollision 1
20James CookeHodala