by Robert Milligan
MFG’s Race #6 season-closer provided the colorful experience that brings out the ’cross spectators and provides what racers seek: a challenging and technical course.
Truth-be-told, many racers really pursue the glory and attention that is delivered by crowds of heckling fans, cheering and belching while providing local hand-up* treats from sidelines.
This race was held at the region’s favorite venue in Seattle—Woodland Park—characterized by a course that traverses under huge maple trees and has a forest floor piled with giant fallen maple leaves. The sounds of blaring horns, cowbells and screaming fans resonated perfectly throughout this forest, adding to the flavor of the day.
The race also marked MFG Cyclocross’s 10th anniversary; many racers thanked organizers Terry Buchannan and Zac Daab for providing 10 years of fun and transformation of their lives.
This was a hard-working course for riders; they didn’t enjoy any level straight stretches where they could relax, mostly ups-and-downs that wound through the forest. There was just one gravel loop. The primary steep and tall dirt hill run-up was walled with boisterous crowds, some in costumes. The hill was topped with the Space Cadet Racing p/b Hello Bicycle team tent.
Despite non-stop goading by beckoning crowds, only a handful could survive the dirt run-up and remain in the saddle. Some brave riders took Space Cadet Racing’s course detour and made it safely through their tent to enjoy their own brand of banana hand-up treats (hmm, or pretended too).
This race was attended by over 1,000 racers, several dozen of whom were hoping to capture their season titles and secure trophies that will be awarded at the MFG party on November 26th. And there were some surprises.
Another spectacle of the day was the Le Mans-style mass start for the nearly 100 singlespeed men racers. Totally sick mayhem and fun. And the over 70 kiddies and 130 youth captured midday attention, from the push-bikers tumbling over each other at a little barricade to the super-fast high schoolers, our next generation of national champions.
The Women’s Elite race was won by two-time national cyclocross champion, Mindy McCutcheon (DNA Cycling-Cotton Sox). She finished ahead of Heidi Franz (Rally Cycling) by 14 seconds. Placing third by another 45 seconds was 2017 cyclocross national champion, Monica Lloyd (Olympia Orthopaedic Associates).
By a respectable margin, Lloyd captured the season championship title. In second was Mallory Nowels (Tenspeed Hero) and third, Stephanie Taplin (Indigenous Wheel Co Factory Racing Team). Locals will be rooting for these northwest heroines again when they compete in the USAC CX Nationals, December 16th in Louisville, KY.
The Men’s Elite race was a tactical puzzle, with leaders trading places five times in ten laps. Spencer Paxson (Kona Bikes) won over Steve Fisher (McGovern Cycles/FSA CX) by 2.4 seconds, third Calder Wood (Top Club Cyclocross) by another 2.5 seconds. Pure, seasoned-racer competition was witnessed by the spectators.
The season championship goes to Ian Tubbs (Audi), with Adrian Magun (Apex Racing) taking second and Garrett Sczechowski (Dyna Racing) securing 3rd.
Congrats all! Today’s was a great race, the perfect cap to a great season!
This race was sponsored by the Sub Pop Records, promoters of Seattle’s Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc. It originally had the name, Subterranean Records (1986), and was first conceived as a college project.
* Hand-ups: The handing of food, drink or money to racers during cyclocross races as racers pass by, usually funny off-beat and silly. Mostly tasteful. Often hosted by loud and costumed spectators.