GARLAND, Texas — Athletes returned to W. Cecil Winters Park in Garland for UCI Category 2 races on Sunday at Resolution ’Cross Cup. It is the fifth consecutive year that Resolution ’Cross Cup was featured as the only Texas stop on the USA Cycling Professional Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX).
Dry and hard-packed conditions led to fast racing where both the Elite Women and Men events were decided in exciting last lap action. This year’s course included a new wooded section, varied use of the steep contour at Winters Park Amphitheater, and a new stairs section climbing back into the top portion of the race venue. The popular BMX-style pump track and creek bottom “wall” climb returned.
Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah/Alpha Bicycle Co.- Groove Subaru) dueled Saturday’s winner Courtenay McFadden (Bellingham, Wash./Pivot Maxxis p/b Stan’s DNA Cycling) to claim her first ProCX win of the 2018 season. Gage Hecht (Parker, Colo./Alpha Bicycle Co./ Groove Subaru) went two-for-two for the weekend to sweep the Elite Men’s races. Sunday was his fourth ProCX victory.
Clouse Shows Resolve, Wins First ProCX Race of 2018
Groups of riders formed on the first lap of the 23-rider field in the Elite Women event. In a repeat of Saturday’s race, Clouse, McFadden, Lily Williams (Asheville, N.C./The Pony Shop p/b KPMG) and Raylyn Nuss (St. Louis, Mo./Gateway Harley-Davidson Trek) separated themselves at the front.
For the next two laps, Clouse and McFadden took turns setting the pace at the front with Williams working hard to stay with the group. McFadden used her experience with the course to her advantage.
“I like it when I can break up a course and it helps me get through the race,” McFadden said, “With this [course] I can really break up the sections, the field, going into the woods and then you do a couple of turns before the pits and then back into the woods before you head back out. To me, I break it up into four different sections and it helps me get through the race and mentally stay in it.”
With two laps to go, Williams came unglued from the front and would continue to race solo to the end. Knowing that she had to try an attack before the finish, Nuss made her move on the final lap.
“I’m so new to the sport so I’m still trying to figure out when to go and when to not go. So I went on the last lap and kind of fumbled and unclipped and that’s where I lost my punch,” Nuss commented. “The last two laps were fast and were super fun and being on these two wheels and really learning how to corner quickly and everything so it was good. It was fun.”
Clouse shut down the attack from McFadden in the final half lap to take the front and continue on to victory. Williams held on for fourth place. Further back, Hannah Arensman (Brevard, N.C./JA King p/b BR’C Women’s CX) took fifth after battling with Bridget Tooley (Frisco, Texas/Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare) for most of the race.
“It was definitely difficult coming into the season late, I just came off of a couple of weeks of hard training so I’m super happy with how I’m racing right now,” Clouse said.
Clouse finished the six-lap event in 44 minutes, 1 second. McFadden claimed her fourth ProCX podium seven seconds later. Nuss followed another 8 seconds later for third.
“I love the wooded section a lot, I think that’s my favorite part every year, it keeps me coming back for more. I love that the course has a variety,” said McFadden who has finished eight times on the podium at Resolution ’Cross Cup, including four victories.
Clouse plans to continue her season at Ruts N’ Guts next weekend. She will then compete at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Louisville, Ky., which will be held Dec. 11-16, 2018.
“These next couple of races with Ruts N’ Guts being next, I’m excited in how I’m racing and hopefully Nationals will go well and hopefully Worlds,” said Clouse who just finished a big block of training.
Hecht Goes Two-for-Two in Texas
The men’s field of 24 riders started fast, and a group of six riders had settled in at the front by the second circuit. The rest of the field was completely strung out.
Canadian Cyclocross Champion Michael van den Ham (Brandon, Manitoba/Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions) did most of the early pacemaking in the lead group with Hecht, Andrew “Drew” Dillman (Fairdale, Ky./SDG Factory Team), Brannan Fix (Fort Collins, Colo./Alpha Bicycle co. / Groove Subaru), Cody Kaiser (El Dorado Hills, Calif./LangeTwins / Specialized) and Ben Gomez Villafane (Scott’s Valley. Calif./Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare) on his wheel.
The fast pace was too much for Gomez-Villafane who faded out of the lead group after four laps. Feeling the after effects of his crash on Saturday, Van den Ham fell out of the lead group two laps later. Then, Fix and Kaiser could not hold on leaving two riders at the front.
“It was just a really hard race. Pretty much the whole race it stayed hard, there wasn’t a lap where you were just sitting in,” said a tired Hecht.
With two laps to go, Hecht and Dillman were locked in a duel for the top step of the podium. Saturday’s runner-up Dillman knew that he had to attack on a technical section to try and drop Hecht.
“I knew that he was strong on the straights,” Dillman explained. “Right before one to go, I had a little bit of a gap, I saw a little glimmer of hope, I tried to take advantage of it but I looked back by the end of the pavement and he was right there.”
Hecht and Dillman engaged in a tight chess game on the final lap taking turns at the front, trying to be first on the pavement before the finish line.
“I was hopping the barriers, he wasn’t so he made a smart move and got in front of me before the barriers and I was able to pass him back and then he passed me again before the woods. I think he knew what I was thinking so he wanted to get to the pavement first,” Dillman noted.
Hecht was able to get to come around Dillman and hold his tenuous lead to the finish line for his second victory of the weekend.
“It was really hard, I definitely felt yesterday a little bit, I felt like maybe I could keep it together,” said Hecht who expanded a lot of energy Saturday when he had to chase back into the lead group after a mechanical. “Coming into one to go, I felt ‘okay, I can have a little confidence that I had a chance of going for it’.”
Dillman added, “Well played definitely by Gage getting to the pavement first. He knew his strengths, he knew my strengths and it ended up playing out.”
Hecht finished the nine-lap event in 59 minutes, 12 seconds. It was an 8-second margin of victory over Dillman. After dropping down to fifth place with four laps to go, Kaiser moved up to take third, 32 seconds behind the winner. Van den Ham held on for fourth place with Fix taking fifth.
“I’ve always liked this course a lot, we had some warmer temps [compared to last year],“ said Kaiser who claimed two fourth places at Resolution ’Cross Cup in 2017. “I always like it when it’s nasty and muddy. A couple years back, we had some good rain, more of that hopefully next weekend. The track was awesome, I think it suits me pretty well. I had fun.”
Hecht is also looking forward to the upcoming races including the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships.
“We’re all trying to get ready for both Nationals, and most of us are going over to Europe for the World Cup season. I think a lot of it is us trying to be the best that we can be for those big races. This [Resolution ‘Cross Cup] is a really good place to do it because it’s such a big race to just be as strong as we can,” Hecht concluded.
The final race weekend of the season for ProCX wraps up Dec. 8-9 at two events – the Hunter Subaru North Carolina Grand Prix (NCGP) in Hendersonville, N.C. and Ruts N’ Guts in Broken Arrow, Okla. Now in its 14th year, the NCGP returns for two full days of C2 races at Jackson Park. Ruts N’ Guts, now in its ninth season, will return to Chisholm Trail South Park. In addition to a C2 race on Sunday, it offers the final C1 contest of the year for elite riders.
USA Cycling ProCX features the premier cyclocross events in America and uses an overall ranking system to determine the best individual male and female ‘cross racers over the course of the season.
The 2018 ProCX calendar includes a total of 39 UCI-inscripted category 1 and 2 races across 19 states and the District of Columbia. The calendar spans from September to December, culminating with the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Louisville, Ky., Dec. 11-16, 2018. To learn more about USA Cycling, visit usacycling.org, and follow ProCX all season on Twitter – @USACyclingLive (#ProCX).
Elite Women Results: 2018 Resolution 'Cross Cup Day 2
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
Elite Men Results: 2018 Resolution 'Cross Cup Day 2
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|4||2||VAN DEN HAM||Michael||CAN||0:59:58|