Day 2 of championship racing at the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships belonged to the women. The racing kicked off with the Women’s Baby Masters 30-34 race. As night fell on the Hartford course, temperatures dropped below freezing and the muddy ruts started to freeze.
Despite the cold weather, Avanell Schmitz (Mermaid Winery) did her best to heat up the course during the Baby Masters race. She took control of the race in the first lap by riding a small plateau on the embankment that was completely unrideable on Wednesday and opened up a large gap she would not surrender to take home Thursday’s first Stars-and-Stripes jersey.
On Wednesday, fans saw riders have all kind of trouble dealing with the large embankment section. Which line to take, when to head up the hill, keeping their footing at the top. The frozen ground on Thursday made the section a bit more manageable and allowed riders the opportunity to ride a small ledge at the top.
Schmitz took advantage of the ledge and the ensuing steep uphills on the levee to ride to an early gap she extended to nearly a minute by the time the riders trekked through the woods section for the first time. A large group of eight chasers formed behind the race leader.
Schmitz said that her hill prowess was key to opening up her large lap one lead, “Being able to find the right gear to ride on those hills. That was a place I think I got a big gap at the start. Riding the off-camber and getting up those hills at the front. All this was pretty flat and it was fun, but that was definitely where things separated, on the hills.”
Schmitz’s lead would hold steady at around 40 to 50 seconds until she came across the finish line as the 30-34 National Champion.
Schmitz said her secret to success was consistency, “Don’t flat, don’t crash. Just be as smooth as possible, for as long as possible. Smooth is fast.”
The first-lap chase group of eight started to break apart in the technical back half of the course. At the end lap one Carla Williams (Joes Bike Shop Racing Team) had emerged as the leader of the pack with a 15 second gap back to a third-place chase consisting of Heather Richard (unattached), Stacy Kalemkiarian (Power Fix CX), and Amanda Schaper (Giro Sport Design).
Williams would keep her gap back to the chase and sit in a comfortable spot for the rest of the race to take the silver medal.
After a short cyclocross season, Williams said it took her a few laps to warm up to the sport in the cold, “I haven’t done too much ‘cross racing this year, so I didn’t really know what to expect out there. The whole time I tried to ride my own race. Some of the off-cambers in the back threw me off because I hadn’t pre-ridden it. I was trying to make up a lot of time on the power sections through the back side of the course because I knew those sections from the pre-ride pretty well.
Richard had a slightly different plan for the embankment than the other two women in the second chase group, going to the low line while the others went immediately up the hill. On the middle lap she struggled a bit trying to ride the low line, but was able to recover to keep the group together at the end of the section.
Over the course of the penultimate lap after the embankment, Richard was able to break away from the chase and establish herself in the third position. During the bell lap Kalemkiarian made a run at Richard, but the Massachusetts rider Richard was able to hold her off to take the bronze. Kalemkiarian took fourth and Schaper finished fifth.
2017 CX National Championships Hartford Day 3 Results Masters Women 30-34
|2||243||WILLIAMS||Carla||Joes Bike Shop Racing Team||41:40:00||54|
|3||236||RICHARD||Heather||Hyde Park MA||42:38:00||1:52|
|4||227||KALEMKIARIAN||Stacy||Power Fix CX||42:57:00||2:11|
|5||238||SCHAPER||Amanda||Giro Sport Design||43:12:00||2:26|
|7||233||MUDGE||Taryn||Fearless Femme Racing||43:45:00||s.t.|
|9||221||BRANNEN||Kayla||Thetford Center VT||45:06:00||4:20|
|12||231||MONTGOMERY||Brittany||Sorella Cycling p/b Hincapie Sp||46:09:00||s.t.|
|13||235||REINKORDT||Elisabeth||Team Laser Cats||47:23:00||6:37|
|16||230||MARION||Philicia||Mount Airy NC||48:58:00||8:12|
|18||225||GARVICK||Sarah||Happy Tooth Women's Racing||49:58:00||9:12|
|19||244||EPPERSON||Cambrie||Sorella Cycling p/b Hincapie Sp||50:17:00||9:31|
|20||232||MORRISON||Frances||BikeReg.com Cycling Club||40:35:00||@1Lap|
|21||222||BRYSON||Elizabeth||Keep It Tight||41:15:00||@1Lap|
|22||240||STONE||Erin||San Francisco CA||41:27:00||@1Lap|
|23||223||CHANDLER||Lauren||Team Kyles Bike Shop||47:14:00||@1Lap|