Based on how the two NCAA Championship games went Sunday and Monday, the last round of CX Madness voting between Ellen Noble and Katie Compton could go one of two ways.
The battle for QOM could be a thriller for the ages capped by a buzzer beater like the one Arike Ogunbowale hit to give Notre Dame the title over Mississippi State (#squadgoals: Titanic Cycling Twitter account) or a relatively comfortable win like Villanova’s romp over Michigan in the Men’s championship Monday night.
After surviving a buzzer beater against Helen Wyman in the first round, Noble overcame her tough 12 and 7 seeds from the CXlection Committee and entered the QOM match-up as the slight favorite thanks to her Fiets Vier vote haul. Sometimes surviving an early-round challenge makes tournament contenders stronger, and for Noble, that was definintely the case in our bracket contest.
Noble and Compton’s QOM battle in the final after knocking off the two top male riders in Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel left many readers in a tough spot.
[Sees that I have to pick between two absolute Queens of CX. Panics a little.]
But yeah, it's great to see appreciation for women's racing (would be even greater to see equal payout). pic.twitter.com/jV3bx1TvOy
— Girl on green bike (@scootypuffrider) March 30, 2018
The leading ladies of CX- love that it's down to these two awesome women….what a tough choice. Man…it's like nationals all over https://t.co/slNObjaafV
— Kate Konkle (@KMKonkle) March 30, 2018
Nah, women’s racing isn’t popular. Nah, fans only care about the men. Sure, whatever dudes; it’s @ellenlikesbikes vs @KatieFnCompton for the @cyclocross title! https://t.co/s36GNbWEw1
— Tara Seplavy (@t_seplavy) March 30, 2018
Noble Slam Dunks the CX Madness QOM
After four days of voting, Noble took home the CX Madness QOM crown with an impressive Villanova-like win over Compton. With over 1,400 votes cast in the final round, Noble doubled up Compton’s total to take the win and gain a bit of revenge from Reno where Compton topped Noble for the National Championship.
One thing we completely forgot to do for CX Madness was stipulate a prize for the winner. Jerseys are popular, so are title belts. We are open to suggestions for an appropriate prize to bestow on Noble to celebrate her accomplishment.
Thanks to everyone who voted during all five rounds and thank you to everyone who helped spread the CX Madness excitement via social media. Hopefully, with an actual prize in place, the 2019 CX Madness version will be even better.
One prize Noble does get is the (now) coveted CX Madness winner’s interview. We asked her some (mostly) lighthearted questions about her impressive accomplishment.
Interview with CX Madness QOM Ellen Noble
Cyclocross Magazine: You’ve accomplished a lot the past year. Where does winning CX Madness rank?
Ellen Noble: I’d have to say it ranks pretty high since I trained all year and still couldn’t beat Katie Compton.
CXM: The final ended up with two women who knocked off the two biggest Men’s names. What do you think that says about Women’s cyclocross here in the U.S.?
EN: I think it speaks to just how much people are loving Women’s cycling right now. I personally like Wout and Mathieu as people, but I know some don’t find the Men’s racing as compelling as the Women’s because it’s slightly more predictable as to who will win. Having a definite QOM coming into the final round is awesome and I’m stoked to see it.
CXM: We never stipulated a prize. What do you think the appropriate prize would be?
EN: I have no idea! My cousin seemed to think it was for the cover, which is why I think I got so many votes. I was personally just along for the fun of it and because my family was so into it.
CXM: Do you think your grandma will be happy you won?
EN: Oh, she will be very happy. She had a lot of fun with it. I also told her “Grammy, I’m not going to win this thing,” way back when it was the original bracket, and she guilted me into posting about it. So she’ll be happy I was proven wrong too. Haha!
Guys, my grandmother REALLY wanted me to share this and ask you all to vote. So, please vote. For Grandma. And me, I guess, too. https://t.co/Vuq4L2ZB4L
— Ellen Noble (@ellenlikesbikes) March 23, 2018
CXM: You did pretty well campaigning on social media … did you ever run for student council? If you didn’t, what would your slogan be?
EN: I did. In 6th grade I ran for “mayor” and also was president of the student council later on. I am SO embarrassed, but my slogan was (cringe):
I think there’s some room for improvement on that one [sic]
CXM: Do you follow the NCAA tournament? Did you have a team in the Women’s and/or Men’s NCAA tournament?
EN: No, not at all. But I did see the NCAA congratulate the 4 people who built a 100 percent incorrect bracket without a single correct prediction. That probably would’ve been me. If Kelsey Plum was playing, I would’ve bet on her because she’s awesome.
CXM: Basketball players always want to have “hops,” bikers “bunnyhops.” You jump higher on a bike or off your feet?
EN: I mean, outright? I’d certainly hope I could hop higher than 40 cm on my feet. But relatively I’m not sure. I did high jump and hurdles in high school, so maybe on my feet?
CXM: Any other witty things I have forgotten?
EN: I think we’re good. Thanks for voting everyone. Hope this doesn’t stunt my chances of becoming besties with MvdP in the future.
CXM: Thanks and congrats on your win!