MFG Woodland Park © Janet Hill

MFG Woodland Park © Janet Hill

by Joey Mullan

It was the season-ending race for MFG this weekend, and cold hands, colder winds and harsh heckles made the final race that much better. This was truly one to run home and tell your mother about. Nestled within the woods of Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington, the course had features upon features: lengthy gravel sections, sticky off camber turns, single and double track course routing through trees. The entire day was action-packed with pain, jeers, broken bikes and memorable crashes, but the place to be was the stair run-up, which was quickly followed by an uphill log barrier. It was a party for both spectators and the racers.

Thank goodness Movember (a men’s cancer awareness fundraiser) was in full swing here: many male racers decided to don upper lip hair not only to keep warm, but to stay classy during their race. Being the series ending race, turnout of racers and spectators were estimated to be 950 racers and about an additional 1,000 spectators. Even the kids race was packed, with over 70 children testing their might.

In the women’s 1/2 field, Courteney McFadden (Cycling Northwest), Jessica Cutler (Cucina Fresca) and Marsa Daniel (Team Group Health) took an early lead. By the second lap, McFadden was up eight seconds and she never looked back. Each lap she added seven seconds to her lead, easily taking the day. Cutler, Daniel and Kristi Berg (Cycle U/ Popcap) fought hard for second and third place. It was a steady battle between the three women for the last three laps. Ultimately, it was Cutler for second and Daniel for third.

The singlespeed mens category was well stocked with about 100 racers. Local fast guys Brian Myers (HODALA!), Ian Mackey (Alki/Rubicon), and Seth Davis (Blue Rooster) ruled the roost for the better part of the race, taking turns leading each other each lap. Once the engines started sputtering in the last two laps, however, it was Brian Myers who stayed strong, taking first place by 20 seconds.

The men’s 1/2 race was the big race for the day with fast guys Adam McGrath, Steve Fisher (Rad Racing), Spencer Paxson (Kona), and Carson Miller (HSP). Within the first lap, a breakaway of McGrath, Fisher, and Paxson was already five seconds up on the entire field. Every lap the group gained an additional 10 seconds on the field. Lap five apparently got the best of Steve Fisher as he then was left out by 30 seconds with some muddy evidence that he had crashed. Lap eight and Paxson was up almost 50 seconds over second place, which was now Steve Fisher followed by Carson Miller as McGrath had problems and lost three positions in the field. The official placing was Spencer Paxson first, Steve Fisher second and Carson Miller third.

What a great day of racing. But the fun wasn’t over yet. MFG is not only a great race series to participate in, they also know how to show their appreciation for people supporting them. Brouwers Cafe was where the season ending party went down. There was free food, good drinks and lots of talk about ’cross … and mustaches.

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