Texas knocked it out for round three of the Southern Cyclocross Series with the Highlander Cross Cup in Waco, Texas. This is the third and final Pro CX event in the series, on what is undoubtedly the hardest course in Texas, and perhaps the nation.
It was a great clean start down the pavement for the ladies on Saturday. The usual big guns were up front and gunning for some points today. Relatively new to the group however is Kathryn Cumming (Cyclocross Magazine Racing).
Amanda Nauman (SDG Muscle Monster), Emily Kachorek (Squid Bikes), Christina Gokey-Smith (Dallas Bike Works) and a few others were all mixed in as they hit the first grass segment together. Down the hill, a couple of hard technical mini climbs, and they were all still together.
There was a technical off camber segment that was well worn in at this point, and one of three areas on the course that were holding water. Nauman had her line dialed and blasted this segment. One small bobble from another rider left the rest of the field in a traffic jam.
Down a switchback, and one turn later, Nauman checked back as she made her first trip through pit one, only to see the gap that had been created. “I saw the gap, and decided to go for it” she would later say post race. Capitalizing on this small time gap would put her up 30 seconds coming through the line on first lap.
A group of chasers had formed, putting a gap on the field as well. Kachorek, Cumming, Smith, and Samantha Runnels (ATC Racing) had put to bringing back Nauman, who had her work cut out for her today. The elevation change coupled with 2 sets of stairs on course were sure to add up over the course of the race.
By lap two, Cumming was clear and in pursuit of Nauman and Runnels would follow, trailing Cumming by about five seconds for the rest of the race. Next time through the finish line, Nauman had a 38 second gap with the course’s difficulty working in her favor.
The chase group had fragmented completely with Smith and Kachorek separated as well. Smith, the local Texas favorite, had made her move on Kachorek and would hold that five second gap to the finish. Third place Samantha Runnels had an amazing race today. A strong rider who really showed herself on the climbs. And taking second was Kathryn Cumming.
Your Elite Women's Highlander Cross Cup day one Champion, with her fourth Southern CX Series victory, was Amanda Nauman of SDG Muscle Monster.
Stay tuned for our coverage of the Highlander Cross Cup day two, and be sure to check out our Elite Men's race report to see how Pro CX series leader Jamey Driscoll built on his lead.