By Tanner Culbreath
UCI cyclocross racing made its debut in the Sooner State this weekend with Ruts n' Guts, a two-day event featuring huge prize money and a competitive fields from racers throughout the country. In a repeat of day one, Tristian Uhl (Giant South) and Amanda Nauman (SDG - Muscle Monster) powered away from their competition to take solo victories.
Read on to learn how they netted their respective wins.
Much like day one's racing, Meghan Korol (Team Handmade) took the holeshot. Sunday's course was run in reverse, leading to a small bottleneck under the flyover, and then an immediate run up a sand section.
Following the first sand run-up, Kristina Gokey-Smith (Dallas Bike Works) was off the front, and setting a hard pace. The rest of the field took the cautious route, with no clear chase forming. Smith stayed in the lead for the next lap and a half until Emily Kachorek (Squid Bikes) took to the front leading the chase with Jessica Cutler (Jamis Pro Cyclocross) and day one winner Amanda Nauman (SDG-Muscle Monster) in tow.
The chase of Kachorek, Cutler and Nauman quickly had a gap on the rest of the field. Smith was able to fend off the chasers for a bit, but eventually bobbled in the sand while riding up, and lost most of the gap. At this point, Kachorek would jump clear of her chase group companions, eventually overtaking Gokey-Smith.
After some time chasing, Nauman would roll past Kachorek after a sandy crash left her stuck in a gear that was too easy. Kachorek would fade to fifth overall due to the crash.
Nauman would go on to win day two of Ruts 'n Guts. Well positioned in the chase group, and able to ride a race with minimal mistakes,Cutler secured second place. Erica Zaveta (Maxxis-Shimano Cyclocross) had been well-hidden throughout the race, but would use Kachorek's misfortune to work her way up to finish in third place.
Take a look at interview with race winner Amanda Nauman, who recounts her day two win.
A strong start from Andrew Juiliano (VOLER/HRS/ROCK LOBSTER) put him firmly on the wheel Craig Richey (Red Truck - Garneau p/b Easton Cycling) from the gun. Juliano had snagged 5th Saturday, and rode like he was confident in his ability to stay at the front.
The trio worked together to build a decent little gap through the first lap, and stayed off the front for two laps before Tristan Uhl (Giant South) and Jacob Lasley (SPCX pb RK Black) would connect to begin to pursue the leaders. Uhl hung for a bit, then left Lasley to sit solo just out of podium contention for the remainder of the race.
Less than half a lap later, Uhl had bridged to the leading trio. Juliano appeared to be feeling affects of the fast start, and faded off the group.
A new trio had formed—the battle for the podium was back between Richey, Eckmann, and Uhl.
With two laps to go, attacks started to fly from the leading trio. Many attempts to make a move stick left the pace at the front wildy variable, with each of the leading trio serving as both the hammer and the nail. With half a lap left Richey held a gap, and looked like he may have been able to make it stick until the finish, but Uhl had too much left in the tank catching Richey and dropping him on the last drag up the finish.
The Men's race would end with Uhl taking the victory, Eckmann grabbing second and Richey right back in third—an exact replica of Saturday’s podium.