Zach McDonald with a gap early in the race. Kenton Berg

Zach McDonald with a gap early in the race. © Kenton Berg

by Kenton Berg
The Seattle Cyclocross Series opened its season today at the iconic Fort Steilacoom park in Lakewood, WA with mother nature continuing to dish out hot and dusty conditions more reminiscent of Southern California cross than the Pacific Northwest. Beyond the dust, and a few crashes, the course served up a combination of twisty and turny sections linked up by two loose dirt climbs and two squirrelly downhills, one of which delivered several riders to the deck due to its loose gravel surface and opportunity for higher speeds. Despite some gritty teeth and a few specks of blood it was an outstanding day of racing.
Loose conditions created a number of these. © Janet Hill

Loose conditions created a number of these. © Janet Hill

With current U23 National Champion Zach McDonald (Rapha Focus) in the house and looking resplendent in his Stars and Bars kit, the Elite Men’s race had all the makings of a potential blowout. McDonald would take the hole shot and create a 5 second gap inside of the first 2 minutes of the race over Gian Dalle (Don Walker Cycles Racing). The pair from, Morgan Schmitt and Nathan Bannerman, lead a smaller group of chasers as the race blew wide open. McDonald and Dalle would widen their gap on that first lap but a big mistake coming through the barriers (caught on a GoPro Hero2) on lap 2 would set McDonald back and leave him chasing furiously for a lap to regain the front.

Check out the video of the crash from Scott Keiper:
[youtube mCEdVWBBu78 580 380]
Once back into the lead group McDonald and Dalle distanced themselves from the rest of the field and McDonald would eek out a small gap to take the win. Schmitt would leave his teammate behind to finish third and with a strong push in the second half of the race single speed extraordinaire Craig Etheridge (Raleigh Clement) would move up to take fourth riding his disc and Di2 equipped Raleigh RCX Pro geared bike.
Mel Lewis leads Marsa Daniel. © Dennis Crane

Mel Lewis leads Marsa Daniel. © Dennis Crane

The Elite Women toed the line after the completion of the men’s race and from the gun it looked to be a two-up race. Last year’s overall podium finisher Mel Lewis (CycleU/PopCap) would go head-to-head for the duration with Marsa Daniel (Group Health) in a race that would be decided on the final part of the last lap with Daniel getting a small gap to secure the win. Dangling just behind the leaders was Kristen Kelsey (CycleU/PopCap), who would hold that position to finish in third, and a bit further back riding strong was Karyn Abraham (Blue Rooster) who couldn’t manage to bridge the gap to contend for the podium.

For full results go to SCX race #2 will cue up on September 30th in Arlington, WA.
Thanks again to all our sponsors and to our awesome volunteers for making this another great race day.