by Dave Mable
On a singlespeed, no matter what gear you choose, sometimes it’s too big. Sometimes it’s too small, and sometimes it’s just right. It’s a lifestyle and riding style.
The one-gear evangelists toed the line on a warm, sunny Eastern Sierra afternoon with the Women’s Singlespeed Championship race kicking off first.
Headlining the start list was the recently “retired” Meredith Miller, who has also been serving as race announcer at the venue as well as on the USA Cycling live streams. None of the 2017 podium finishers were in attendance, making it a wide-open race between the 42 women at the line.
Kristen Legan (Evol Devoelite Racing) blasted off the line and led the field around the first corner and onto the gradual grassy climb toward the sand and Belgian stairs. Miller was tucked back in the top ten, and Trek rider Sarah Sturm followed Miller.
By the time the race wound its way back down to the barriers, Miller had moved into the lead and was followed closely behind by Sturm, Legan and Caroline Nolan.
At the end of lap one, it was all Miller and Sturm, the two trading pulls and looking for a chink in the armor of the other.
“I think she’s going to be the one,” said Miller after seeing Sturm’s name on the start list. “I’ve known Sarah for a long time, I know that she comes from a mountain bike background, and coming from Durango, too, she’s no stranger to altitude.”
The two Coloradans each worked their strengths, Miller’s on the north, less technical half of the course, and Sturm on the rutted and now polished off-camber climbs and descents on the second half of the course.
“I clearly was having issues with the off-camber section,” said Miller. “I kept sliding out. It’s slick as shit out there. Way different than it has been the rest of this week when it was more tacky. Now it’s like you’re just sliding. My rear wheel just went out from underneath me and I lost my footing. The next couple laps I was prepared for it with a foot down, but I knew that if I made too many mistakes there, I was going to have to overcompensate for it on the first half of the course.”
Miller did eventually put some distance between herself and Sturm, but did not let her guard down.
“If I let that gap get too close,” recalled Miller, “I knew she could close it.”
The gap between Sturm and Miller only grew as the race wore on, and Miller rode across the line to her first Singlespeed Cyclocross National Championship.
Sturm finished in second only 14 seconds back with Emily Shields, the 2017 Collegiate National Champion, in third, another 43 seconds later.
“I wanted to be part of Nationals this year and I’ve been here all week announcing, but coming out here to race singlespeed was what was first, and then I was invited to come out to announce. It’s been fun to be out here announcing,” said Miller. “Tomorrow’s just going to be off the charts. It’s going to be really interesting to see how everybody races. I think it’s going to be fun for the spectators because the course is so fast it’s going to be racing and tactical.”
Women's Singlespeed Results: 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals
|1||807||MILLER||Meredith||RAPHA CYCLING CLUB||Boulder CO||42:27|
|3||790||SHIELDS||Emily||Hearts Racing Club||Advance NC||43:34|
|4||808||LEGAN||Kristen||EVOL DevoElite Racing||Boulder CO||43:57|
|6||828||BONI||Kristal||Rapid Racing||Erie CO||45:07|
|7||832||PERRY||Anne||Utah Cycling Association||Draper UT||45:21|
|8||813||LUPIEN||Leslie||B2C2 Cycling Club||Enfield NH||45:42|
|9||795||WOOD||Heidi||HiFi Sound Cycling Componets||Hood River OR||46:12|
|10||791||SCHAPER||Amanda||Santa Cruz Factory Racing||Santa Cruz CA||46:16|
|12||802||STEERS||Campbell||Northern California/Nevada Cycl||Santa Cruz CA||46:41|
|13||817||TRACE||Laura||Team Oregon p/b Laurelwood Br||Portland OR||47:17|
|15||830||SHIELDS||Katherine||Hearts Racing Club||Salt Lake City UT||47:24|
|19||811||STONE||Erin||San Francisco CA||48:31|
|21||794||ALVARES||Marila||Dirt Birds||Sacramento CA||49:12|
|22||820||ETHRIDGE||Leslie||Topo Designs Cycling Club||Boulder CO||49:49|
|24||804||MAROON||Mary Elizabeth||King Kog||Oakland CA||51:33|
|25||836||YOUNG||Ivy||Santa Cruz CA||52:07|
|26||796||GRIFFO-SULLIVAN||Danielle||Bike Like a Girl||Sparks NV||52:30|
|27||799||BYE||Amanda||Naked Women's Racing||Boulder CO||52:46|
|29||814||KENNEDY||Lynn||She Wolf Attack Team||Los Angeles CA||43:06|
|30||819||JORDAN||Sarah||Santa Cruz CA||43:07|
|32||805||VALLIANTSAUNDERS||Karine||Liquid Velo||Seattle WA||43:33|
|33||823||ESTEP||Gina||Team Thrive p/b Kaiser Permane||Renton WA||43:48|
|34||810||PURTILL||Karen||Stedmans Bicycle Co||Narragansett RI||43:50|
|35||800||LOWBER||Susannah||She Wolf Attack Team||Los Angeles CA||44:12|
|36||831||ENARSON||Bridgette||Naked Women\'s||Lafayette CO||44:18|
|37||822||LARSON||Sarah||Lady Gnar Shredders||Bloomington IN||44:46|
|38||827||PHILLIPS||Kelsey||Chicago Cuttin Crew||Bend OR||46:32|
|39||818||WONG||Dorothy||The TEAM SoCalCross||Altadena CA||46:57|
|DNF||803||ALDRIDGE||Rhea||She Wolf Attack Team||Los Angeles CA|
|DQ *||809||BLOMBERG||Mielle||Portland OR|
For more from Reno, see our continuing coverage of the 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals on our dedicated Nationals page.
Photos from the races and reports are available to license here, with more to be added throughout the next week.
Haven’t yet entered our Nationals Fantasy Game? Enter your team for a chance to win a set of Vittoria Elusion Disc Wheels and Terreno Dry tires.