The return of our Cyclocross Nationals Fantasy game,  presented by Vittoria for 2018, was an overwhelming success, with over 550 teams competing for bragging rights and a sweet set of Vittoria Elusion Disc Wheels and Terreno Dry tires.

We’ve got a lucky winner of the Vittoria wheels and tires, and it came down to a photo finish. But before we reveal if your team is the winner, let’s first take a quick look at the teams and offer a quick refresher how the game worked. Scoring went six deep in Elite Women and Men. You only received points if your rider landed in the place you predicted. Close didn’t get you points, wheels or cigars.

Jeremy Powers hops the ditch. Elite Men, 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

A good number of readers took the leap and entered our fantasy contest. Elite Men, 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Defaults Defend

First, there were no surprise winners on Sunday as the defending champs defended their titles. Fantasy players? They agreed.

Leave the default top choice in first place and you did quite well. Of course, there were a few teams placing a big bet on misfortune or a bad day. Thirteen teams didn’t have Compton in the top six, while eleven teams left out Hyde completely.

Speedo unicorn guy was a regular on the course on Sunday. 2018 Reno Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Vander Stucken / Cyclocross Magazine

Compton and Hyde out of the top six was rare for fantasy players, but perhaps not as rare as say, a unicorn. 2018 Reno Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Vander Stucken / Cyclocross Magazine

Nauman, Ortenblad and Powers Picks FTW

For bragging rights and maximum scoring potential, there were three picks that stood out as smart or lucky selections.

For fantasy players, Amanda Nauman’s finish was the biggest surprise. Of all top six Elite finishes, she received the fewest roster spots, landing on only 48 teams, with only 12 teams (3.3%) picking her to finish fifth. With her strong ride, she proved almost everyone wrong.

Tobin Ortenblad was the second-most picked Elite Male racer, landing on 532 teams, just shy of Stephen Hyde’s mark of 542. However, most (270) of those picks had the local boy finishing in second, and only 30 players had Ortenblad in fourth.

Four-time National Champion Jeremy Powers was no big surprise to finish in the top six, as the majority of teams (412) had him on the roster, but only 36 teams had the Aspire rider in second.

Powers puts in one last effort to shed Hyde. Elite Men, 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Jeremy Powers took some time during Nationals to share his feelings about everyone who did not pick him to finish second. Elite Men, 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © D. Mable/ Cyclocross Magazine

Betting on a Big Upset

Every top six finisher was picked by at least one team to win the race, except the fifth place finishers, Amanda Nauman and Curtis White.

After Compton and Hyde, Keough (72) and Ortenblad (122) received the second-most picks to take the jersey.

Fahringer had three picks to win the whole thing, while McFadden can boast that two teams put their prize chances on her back and repaired Hip 2.0. Noble had 42 picks for the win.

Courtenay McFadden overcame a dropped chain and finished an impressive fourth. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Curtes / Cyclocross Magazine

Courtenay McFadden got some love to win the whole thing. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Curtes / Cyclocross Magazine

On the men’s side, the dark(est) horse pick was Jack Kisseberth. After finishing fourth in Hartford, Kisseberth was expected to contest again, but a flat tire deflated the chances of one gambling team from winning big points. Fourteen teams had Powers winning, with ten picking Werner.

Close Races Decide the Winner

Based on our scoring scheme, two teams ended up with 40 points: Jason Bavuso’s Mudders and Troy M’s RIDEIT, making it a photo finish for the win. Jason guessed a 35-second combined gap between first and second in both races, while Troy had 50.

The two close races, with the top two sharing the finishing straight together, sends the wheels and tires to Jason.

Jason B. took home a nice Vittoria prize package for his prognostication.

Jason B. took home a nice Vittoria prize package for his prognostication.

Jason correctly picked first, second and sixth in the Elite Women’s race, and impressively first through fifth in the Elite Men’s race.

Jason has been racing cyclocross since 2008. He got his start in muddy Seattle but now resides in Bend, riding for the “Murder of Crows” team. He’s excited for the new hoops and rubber as he enters his eleventh season of racing. “I’ve got a State Thunderbird SSCX that that is going to be a lot faster when I get this gear installed!” he said.

As for his winning strategy, he was hoping for a couple of feel good stories. “I was rooting for JPow and Courtenay McFadden so gave them each a little bump,” he explained. “That looks pretty smart in retrospect. Given their respective challenges in the past year, it was great to see them have such solid performances.”

Kerry Werner and Stephen Hyde celebrate their podium finishes at the awards presentation. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Curtes / Cyclocross Magazine

Our fantasy winner gets that podium feeling without well, most of the hard work. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Curtes / Cyclocross Magazine

Have fun playing our fantasy contest? Stay tuned for a 2018 World Championships edition. For more from Reno, see our dedicated 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals page.