One of the most anticipated races on Sunday was the Women’s U23 race that featured Ellen Noble and Emma White. The two women did not disappoint, as they both shot off the front and got a large early gap back to their rivals. White and Noble rode together for a few laps before Noble was able to open up a gap and extend it en route to her second straight U23 National Championship in Hartford.
Noble (Aspire Racing) and White (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) said their respective backgrounds were likely to play an important role in Sunday’s race. Noble comes from a mountain bike background while White is a road standout. With snow covering the course and icy, slippery corners throughout, it slowly became apparently that Noble’s technical ability fit the Hartford course perfectly.
Noble said she was feeling good about the snow on the course, “I think the entire day today is going to favor mountain bikers, or people that are probably more technical than powerful if anything. I was really really pleased when I saw the weather predictions. I was like, I’m feeling really good, and just mostly excited to race, and I think that was really important. Just feeling excited and positive is really like my best secret weapon.”
Noble took the lead at the end of the first lap with a crafty move to the front, and then rode with White for a half lap before making a move coming off the levee to get a gap.
“Just after the big chicane descent. I rode it and she didn’t. That’s where I got the lead, and I noticed at the bottom of the hill like, she’s not there, so that was kind of the like ‘Oh crud’ moment that was going to happen at some point in the race, or you hope at least. And I was like ok, ok, gotta keep going, can’t let this gap dissolve.”
Emma White finished second by a lengthy margin. Heading into the race she said it would be the smarter rider who wins the duel, and a few mistakes let Noble get her gap:
“I think Ellen had a really clean race. I mean ultimately it came down to who made the least mistakes. Yeah, I guess, you know, [I had a] pretty clean race. It was impossible to have a 100% clean one.”
She continued, “About half-way through the first lap she passed me, and then I was on her wheel for a while, and then I made a mistake, and being second wheel, you can’t really afford to make a mistake. I fought back but it wasn’t quite enough.”
The race for third was a tight battle initially, and in the mix was Ashley Zoerner, who was chasing the bet U23 racers but was also competing for the Junior Women’s title for 17-18 year-old racers.
After surviving a mechanical in the Collegiate Varsity race on Wednesday, Hannah Finchamp (UCI MTB: Clif Pro Team) had to overcome a slow start on Sunday to take third.
“I had a slow start. I had trouble getting clipped in and that’s all it takes once people go around you in stuff like this. People kept crashing in front of me, and sliding out, and it was just one mistake after another, whether it was myself or someone else in my way. I just had to find my line and break through to get up there.”
With the slick conditions, she said saying calm and composed was the key to making her way back to the podium, “Honestly when I saw everyone else making mistakes, even though they were holding me up, I realized that these were mistakes I could take advantage of. And you know, it’s a long race, it’s four laps, and anything and everything could happen out there.”
Ashley Zoerner – Junior Women 17-18 National Champion
Ashley Zoerner won the Junior Women 17-18 National Title. The Junior Women run at the same time as the U23 Women and so it’s hard to keep track of who is exactly a Junior. We chatted with Zoerner after her race and she had this to say: “I had no idea where the other 17-18’s were. I was just trying to focus on the U23 race.”
Zoerner was actually running in the top five of the U23 race for a bit and she would eventually finish in seventh overall. Zoerner added, “It was crazy. We haven’t had a real snow race all season. The ruts were crazy. So it was just all about the handling and technical skills, going as hard as you could, and just staying upright. It was super fun. I went down a couple of times, especially in the last lap when I got kind of excited because I knew I was the first one in 17-18, just got a little too excited.”
2017 CX National Championships Hartford Results - U23 Women
|3||103||FINCHAMP||Hannah||UCI MTB: Clif Pro Team||39:01:00||3:48|
|4||116||ARENSMAN||Hannah||J.A. King p/b BR'C||39:10:00||3:57|
|5||104||SWARTZ||Emma||Trek Cyclocross Collective||39:34:00||4:21|
|7||109||ZOERNER||Ashley||Alpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru||39:43:00||4:30|
|8||106||SANTOS||Katherine||Be Real Sports||40:10:00||4:57|
|9||107||MALLORY||Shannon||Northwest Womens Cyclocross Pro||40:43:00||5:30|
|13||120||RUSSENBERGER||Sophie||Bend Endurance Academy||42:37:00||7:24|
|14||115||ADAMS||Kennedy||Women's CX Project||43:06:00||7:53|
|15||133||O'NEIL||Kathleen||Hicks Orthodontics Women's Raci||43:14:00||8:01|
|19||111||MITCHELL||Ellie||Northwest Womens Cyclocross Pro||43:57:00||8:44|
|21||140||LUNDBERG||Kelsay||Fort Lewis College||44:09:00||s.t.|
|22||136||MACK||Svetlana||Rock Creek Velo||44:35:00||9:22|
|25||126||GIZINSKI||Hayden||Northwest Womens Cyclocross Pro||23:24||@1Lap|
|26||138||SCHEHRER||Anna||Fort Lewis College||23:40||@1Lap|
|27||137||NEUROHR||Ella||Chicago Cuttin Crew||23:41||@1Lap|
|29||122||AHRENS||Lillith||J.A. King p/b BR'C||24:19:00||@1Lap|
|30||113||GALLAGHER||Riley||J.A. King p/b BR'C||24:28:00||@1Lap|
|31||127||WHITE||Emily||Stoudts Brewing Co/JB Mountain||24:51:00||@1Lap|
|32||139||BRAMLEY||Rebecca||Fort Lewis College||25:22:00||@2Laps|
|33||125||SEGENCHUK||Kira||New England Devo||26:09:00||@2Laps|
|34||124||SAVAGE||Anna||Northampton Cycling Club||26:15:00||@2Laps|
|35||131||BAUER||Hannah||J.A. King p/b BR'C||26:29:00||@2Laps|
|36||128||SMITH||Rachel||Tricity Road Club||19:35||@3Laps|
|DNF||134||CHRISTOFALOS||Alex||CTH Peformance Project|
|DNS||114||RAMSAY||Turner||KMS Cycling-Killington Mountain|