Heading into the bell lap, Melinda McCutcheon (UCI WPT: Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling) was cruising to the Women’s Singlespeed National Championship when things got unexpectedly interesting for the Utah rider. A crash in the woods and confusion caused by lapped riders allowed Corey Coogan Cisek (Power Fix CX) to come roaring back to take the lead in the last quarter lap. McCutcheon recovered to retake the lead and win the Stars-and-Stripes jersey after a thrilling last lap.
As the afternoon progressed on Saturday, more and more snow accumulated on the course that has seen a little bit of everything this week. The snow rendered the technical sections more challenging and made everything on the course more dangerous. Lap speeds in the afternoon slowed down significantly, and composure and handling became essential for success.
McCutcheon started off the Women’s Singlespeed race with a single speed: fast. She grabbed the holeshot and raced out to an early lead with Heidi Wood (333fab CX Factory Team) after passing through the woods. Campbell Steers (unattached) sat 15 seconds back, and she was chased by a large group of riders after steering through the tricky, snowy woods section.
McCutcheon stayed on the gas through the back half of the course, and when the riders passed through the start/finish straight for the first time, McCutcheon had opened up a 10 second lead on Wood, as Corey Coogan Cisek sat 40 seconds in arrears.
During the second lap McCutcheon stayed strong while Coogan Cisek worked her way back to Wood and eventually caught her at the midway point of the race.
Heidi Wood’s strong ride was unfortunately soon marred by a flat tire. Coogan Cisek jumped at the opportunity to take over a solo second position. When riders entered the bell lap, McCutcheon was at the front with a 40 second lead, with Coogan Cisek in second, and Samantha Runnels (Squid) 20 seconds behind her.
A Thrilling Last Lap
McCutcheon looked destined for gold entering the last lap, but a crash in the woods and then some trouble getting back on the bike allowed Coogan Cisek to close the gap and make contact with her heading past the gazebo.
McCutcheon described what happened, “Well I kind of went down in the woods because it was so slippery. It just got slicker and slicker as the race went on. So I kind of went down in the woods, and took my time, and fumbled around getting back on my bike a couple times. And then it got confusing — who you lapped and who you hadn’t lapped — so I wasn’t sure if I had lapped that girl or not. She came past me and I was like, oh crap, I think she’s going for it. So I was like I better move.”
Once McCutcheon got passed by Coogan Cisek, she knew she had to fight back with everything she had, “We were in the last like eighth of the lap, so then I was like I gotta do something. So nope, just tried to catch her. She had one little slip up in one of the tree areas, and that’s when I took the opportunity to get around her, and it worked.”
McCutcheon’s move to regain the lead was what she needed to hit the pavement first and pull across the finish line with a much narrower than expected victory for gold.
Relatively new to singlespeed, Coogan Cisek had a slow start and used her technical skills to battle back to the leader. “I really am a very technical rider. This is my third time I’ve ever been on a singlespeed. So selecting a gear, I didn’t do so well with that today. I rode a 38-20, so I really had to ride it on skills, and it took me awhile to get around people. But I am a great technical rider, so I was just eating the time up.”
Once she caught up with McCutcheon, she gave the two-up battle everything she had:
“I got to her and she turned to me and said ‘Have I lapped you already?’ And part of me wanted to say ‘Oh yeah, yeah.’ But needless to say I shut up and she got back in it and there were a lot of elbows and chopping. I mean it was totally clean, but we were fighting for it. I knew if she had me going into the pavement I was probably dead because she’s a pro roadie and probably had more gears than me. I fought to the end and it just didn’t work out this time.”
Samantha Runnels finished third, and Carla Williams (Joes Bike Shop Racing Team) and Pigtail Racer Catherine Moore (Trek Cyclocross Collective) rounded out the top five.
2017 CX National Championships Hartford Day 5 Results Singlespeed Women
|1||797||MCCUTCHEON||Melinda||UCI WPT: Visit Dallas DNA Pro C||40:38:00|
|2||790||COOGAN CISEK||Corey||Power Fix CX||40:41:00||3|
|4||816||WILLIAMS||Carla||Joes Bike Shop Racing Team||42:43:00||2:05|
|5||800||MOORE||Catherine||Trek Cyclocross Collective||42:52:00||2:14|
|6||802||NOWLIN||Jennifer||Power Fix CX||43:08:00||2:30|
|8||817||WOOD||Heidi||333fab CX Factory Team||44:00:00||3:22|
|9||807||SCHAPER||Amanda||Giro Sport Design||44:36:00||3:58|
|10||803||O'NEIL||Kathleen||Hicks Orthodontics Women's Raci||44:37:00||s.t.|
|11||809||SHIELDS||Katherine||Hearts Racing Club||45:58:00||5:20|
|12||820||WHITE||Elizabeth||University of Vermont||46:31:00||5:53|
|14||794||LEWANDOWSKI||Rebecca||Rare Disease Cycling||47:39:00||7:01|
|15||798||MINERY||Jennifer||Pedal Power Team-MA||50:06:00||9:28|
|17||791||DOWIDCHUK||Katrina||Colavita Midatlantic Women's Te||51:36:00||10:58|
|19||778||HOLICKY||Breeze||EVOL DevoElite Racing||39:16:00||@1Lap|
|20||804||PHILLIPS||Kelsey||Chicago Cuttin Crew||39:16:00||@1Lap|
|21||814||WEISS||Nicole||Team Thrive p/b Kaiser Permanen||40:18:00||@1Lap|
|25||789||CHANDLER||Lauren||Team Kyles Bike Shop||49:02:00||@1Lap|
|26||805||PURTILL||Karen||Stedmans Bicycle Co||42:05:00||@2Laps|
|DNF||799||MONTGOMERY||Brittany||Sorella Cycling p/b Hincapie Sp|
|DNF||786||BURTON||Alexandra||Portland Bicycle Studio|
|DNS||806||ROBINSON||Leslie||Sunapee Racing Team|
|DNS||795||LITKA||Kerry||The Velo Resource|
|DNS||788||CARLSON||Alex||Back Bay Cycling Club|
|DNS||818||WRIGHT||Kelli||Guys Racing Club|
|DNS||801||NORMAND||Anne||Essex County Velo|
|DNS||787||CALKINS||Jessie||Hub Bicycle\'s Team Monster Tru|