Katie Clouse has a successful track record at Cyclocross Nationals, winning her age group title each year since Verona, Wisconsin in 2013. Clouse faced one of her toughest Nationals tests to date on Saturday, where she got off to a slow start and had to fend off a strong challenge from Petra Schmidtmann (Van Dessel Factory Team). Clouse stayed composed on the snowy course, despite the rough start, to win her fifth straight stars and stripes jersey.
Saturday morning brought sub-20 degree temperatures to Riverside Park. The fast, frozen course of the morning was rendered much slower and more challenging by the snow that began to fall around 11am. The early afternoon snow made the woods section and the technical corners near the gazebo even more challenging.
The Women’s 15-16 race started off with Schmidtmann grabbing the early lead. When the riders descended off the levee and headed through the woods, Schmidtmann held a six second lead on Clouse and Ava Lilley (unattached). Clouse got off to a slow start due to poor shifting, in addition to some trouble heading through the woods on the first lap.
After the riders navigated the technical section by the gazebo, Clouse had worked her way back up to Schmidtmann, and the two riders headed out for lap two together. Lilley sat in third, about 15 seconds back, and Bridget Tooley (Dallas Racing) rounded out a group of four that had a sizeable gap back to the rest of the field.
Clouse’s move to the front happened during her second trip through the woods. Schmidtmann went into the section first, but Clouse took advantage of an opportunity to snipe the inside line on a sweeping 180-degree turn where Schmidtmann went further to the outside.
The savvy move put Clouse in the lead, and she was able to open up a small gap heading out of the woods that she would not relinquish for the rest of the race.
Clouse said the move was the result of the old adage ‘practice makes perfect.’ “I was taking different lines, trying to figure out lines, watching other people take their lines… so I was kind of trying out different ones to see which one was faster. I finally found a really fast line and I just needed to get in front. So, I passed her and decided I was taking the inside and it just happened to be faster and it was a really fun line, too!”
Clouse rode a solid third lap to take home her fifth straight National Championship. After experiencing half a decade of Nationals courses, she said Hartford was special.
“This is by far my favorite course. I wasn’t really expecting this coming out here, but I’m really excited about the turnout. And I’m loving the snow, and I’m loving the weather, and I’m excited because it was a really good course.”
Petra Schmidtmann rode a solid ride of her own to finish second. She continued to extend her lead over third throughout the race to take home the silver medal.
Schmidtmann said she enjoyed the chance to ride the Hartford course, “[My bike] handled so great. I think I went down only twice. Everything else it handled phenomenal, through the frozen ruts through the snow and the trees and the hills…it rode great. It was so much fun.”
Lilley finished third with a bronze medal ride. Abigail Yates (Matrix/RBM) and Tooley rounded out the top five.
2017 CX National Championships Hartford Day 5 Results Juniors Women 15-16
|1||252||CLOUSE||Katie||Alpha Bicycle Co.- Vista Subaru||28:02:00|
|2||264||SCHMIDTMANN||Petra||Van Dessel Factory Team||29:19:00||1:17|
|6||260||MOSHER||Ryley||Wheelworks Racing JR||33:09:00||5:07|
|7||259||MORRISSEY||Rosemary||Boulder Junior Cycling||33:54:00||5:52|
|8||257||JOHNSON||Taylor||Boulder Junior Cycling||34:23:00||6:21|
|9||261||O'BRIEN||Abbey||Devo Dirt Militia p/b Midwest C||34:37:00||6:35|
|10||255||FREYMANN||Emma||Laser Cats Feline All Stars||35:24:00||7:22|
|11||266||SMITH||Madeline||KMS Cycling-Killington Mountain||35:41:00||7:39|
|12||269||VANDERHAEGEN||Juliann||Rad Racing NW||36:37:00||8:35|
|13||256||JOHNSON||Katherine||JAM Fund / NCC||36:56:00||8:54|
|14||254||DRUMMOND||Aubrey||SPCX p/b R.K. BLACK||37:29:00||9:27|
|16||265||SEILER||Kate||Sho-Air TWENTY20 Development||39:52:00||11:50|
|17||253||COMER||Cheyenne||The TEAM SoCalCross||40:41:00||12:39|
|20||270||WILLEY||Rosalyn||Lionhearts Junior Racing||27:58:00||@1Lap|
|21||251||BOPF||Cassie||Rock Creek Velo||31:43:00||@1Lap|