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Andrea Smith takes the 2012 Cyclocross National Championship Masters Women 30-34 title. © Cyclocross Magazine

Andrea Smith takes the 2012 Cyclocross National Championship Masters Women 30-34 title. © Cyclocross Magazine

by Chris Bagg

VERONA, WISCONSIN—Andrea Smith (Ladies First Racing) took the holeshot and then fended off Kari Studley (Redline) for her first national championship in rapidly deteriorating course conditions. Lap times slowed considerably as the mud began to tack up, and racers struggled to keep the bikes headed forwards. “It was tough,” Smith said after her victory. “The course has been changing all day, so it’s really different from when we rode it this morning.”

Early on the race promised to tighten up, before changing into a struggle for survival. Crystal Anthony, who eventually finished second, tangled in the course tape only a few minutes after the start and went down. Studley and Nicole Thiemann (Team CF) responded, taking over 2nd and 3rd, while Anthony chased from behind. Rebecca Blatt (Kenda/Geargrinder) joined the party as the five women went through the start/finish to begin lap two, and the race was separated by only 23 seconds.

Studley joined Smith at the front, but the Ladies First rider “didn’t panic. I was riding the descents faster than her, so I just took my time and tried to ride safely.” Smith re-took the lead from Studley as the two dropped down the hill to the barriers and didn’t look back. Thiemann soon took over second from Studley, who looked tired from her singlespeed victory two days ago.

It appeared that the race had settled into its finishing order, but Anthony was keen to make up for her early crash. She passed Studley at the top of the run-up halfway through the third lap and then looked up the road for Thiemann. Behind that action, Rebecca Blatt and Carolyn Popovic waged what looked like a battle for fifth, trading the spot between each other but never making much ground.

Smith kept her cool on the treacherous course, which Anthony described as “Really slippery. I was all over the place. Didn’t really ride very cleanly at all. Good practice for Sunday.” Both of the racers will be in the elite field in less than 48 hours. In the end, Smith won by more than half a minute, while Anthony claimed silver. Nicole Thiemann held on for the third step on the podium, and Carolyn Popovic finally distanced Blatt for fourth. Studley fell off the podium, coming home in 6th place.

Photo Gallery:

Masters Women 30-34 Cyclocross National Championships 2012

1Andrea SMITH (1 - Cat1)Somerville, MA49:04:00253Minuteman Road Club/Ladies First
2Crystal ANTHONY (1 - Cat2)Beverly, MA50:04:00240
3Nicole THIEMANN (2 - Cat1)Philadelphia, PA50:15:00249Team CF/Team CF-Elite
4Carolyn POPOVIC (3 - Cat1)East Norriton, PA50:42:00242Team CF-Elite
5Rebecca BLATT (2 - Cat2)Denver, CO51:21:00254Team Kenda presented by Geargrinder
6Kari STUDLEY (4 - Cat1)Bothell, WA51:25:00238Team Redline
7Ellen SHERRILL (3 - Cat2)South Lake Tahoe, CA53:13:00237Bike Station Aptos
8Lisa CURRY (5 - Cat1)Bozeman, MT53:14:00250Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club/Gallatin Alpine Sports/Intrinsik Archite
9Laura MURRAY (4 - Cat2)Baltimore, MD54:03:00257
10Anna DINGMAN (5 - Cat2)Bozeman, MT54:08:00252
11Marne SMILEY (6 - Cat2)Chicago, IL54:10:00236Bob's Red Mill
12Christina TAMILIO (6 - Cat1)Newton, MA54:53:00243Minuteman Road Club/Ladies First
13Brittany MCCONNELL (7 - Cat2)Iowa City, IA54:59:00241Iowa City Cycling Club/Mercy-Specialized
14Amber RYDHOLM (8 - Cat2)Boulder, CO55:49:00255GS Boulder/Trek Store
15Alyssa SEVERN (9 - Cat2)Madison,
16Serena GORDON (7 - Cat1)Bend, OR58:46:0043
17Kristine CHURCH (10 - Cat2)Philadelphia, PA59:16:00234Human Zoom Cycling/Human Zoom
18Jessica HILL (11 - Cat2)Evanston, IL1:00:04247The Pony Shop
19Meredith PETERSON (12 - Cat2)Madison, WI1:01:38248
20Michelle BISHOP (13 - Cat2)Bala Cynwyd, PA1:02:39235Cadence/Cannondale Women's Racing Team
21Cooper AMBJORN (14 - Cat2)Covington, KY1:03:11251Covington-Newport Cycling/Team CNC
22Kristin WENTWORTH (15 - Cat2)Madison, WI1:04:14244Brazen Dropouts/Brazen Dropouts Cycling Team
23Elizabeth COBB (16 - Cat2)Bloomington, IN' Cycling Club
DNSAmanda CAREYVictor, ID246Kenda/Felt
DNFKristina YOUNGChicago, IL258Team TATI

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